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Anna Krohn, second left, with National Civic Council recruits (The Catholic Weekly/Giovanni Portelli)

For decades, the National Civic Council, led by its charismatic founder BA (Bob) Santamaria, was synonymous with lay Catholic action throughout Australia. Source: The Catholic Weekly.

Now a new generation is staging a comeback, returning to Santamaria’s original vision of a flexible, decentralised movement of traditionally-minded lay Catholics determined to bring the Church’s teachings to bear on Australian public life.

Initially founded to fight Soviet Russia’s threat to Australian security, the new generation insists the communist threat didn’t disappear with the fall of the Berlin wall, but is now represented by the Chinese Communist Party.

They are also organising against so-called “woke” ideologies and – possibly of most interest to Millennials and Gen Z struggling to afford a home and raise children – threats to the flourishing of the traditional family.

With a full-time equivalent staff of about 10 people plus volunteers, new national president Luke McCormack, 46, sees the strength of the NCC in its flexible, decentralised model and relationships with like-minded Catholics and organisations.

“My hope would be that the laity and the clergy spend a bit more time on the social teachings – the Bible in one hand, the newspaper in the other – so that we’re preparing and forming our people to be better guided on how to confront challenges in their lives.”

The NCC’s best bet to recruit the next generation is the Thomas More Centre, formed in Sydney in 1989 to form Catholic doctors and other young professionals in the Church’s intellectual tradition.

Relaunched by its new executive director, Dr Anna Krohn, the Thomas More Centre runs regular in-person events, an online newsletter and a growing social media presence.


National Civic Council’s new generation takes reins (By Marilyn Rodrigues, The Catholic Weekly)