Is VOTF “Anti-Catholic?”
By Fred Martinez
Back on Oct. 11, 2002 Archbishop John Myers of Newark, N.J. wrote “Voice of the Faithful [VOTF]...has used the current crisis in the Church as a springboard for presenting an agenda that is anti-Church and, ultimately, anti-Catholic.”
Myers is considered one of the most pro-life and orthodox members of the American Bishops. When bishop of Peoria, IL, he published a pastoral letter calling it "morally illicit" for Catholics to vote for pro-abortion candidates.
In the October column called “A Voice Not Rooted in Faith” printed in the Catholic Advocate, the archdiocesan newspaper of Newark, the Archbishop said that VOTF “has as its purposes: to act as a cover for dissent...and to openly attack the Church hierarchy. Myers wrote:
“[A]ltering Church teaching on sexual morality, and defiance of the apostolic authority that has guided the Church since its founding 2,000 years ago by Our Lord Jesus Christ, have all found a place in the ranks of Voice of the Faithful.”
I contacted Voice of the Faithful’s central office so they could respond to critics of their agenda.
The VOTF receptionist said Steve Krueger, the Interim Executive Director, would call this reporter back shortly. After not getting a return call, I again contacted the central office a second time, but the receptionist said Krueger was not available. Krueger never called back.
When the publisher as well as editor of Crisis Magazine and former professor of Philosophy at Fordham University, Deal W. Hudson was asked if he agreed with Archbishop Myers’ criticism on VOTF.
The former philosophy professor concurred that “absolutely” Voice of the Faithful’s agenda is still “ultimately, anti-Catholic.”
He has for months been warning Catholics about VOTF through his Catholic monthly published in Washington, D.C. and other publications. Hudson in a recent interview with this journalist said:
“I think it’s anti-Catholic in the sense that they are trying to change fundamental Church teachings, which are at the heart of Catholic identity.”
Deal Hudson said that orthodox Catholics who join VOTF “are being fooled. They are falling for a bait and switch tactic, which is being used throughout the United States. Voice of the Faithful leadership well know what they are doing, but they are willing to practice a deception for the sake of spreading a dissenting agenda.”
One day before Archbishop Myers’ statement that VOTF “has as its purposes: to act as a cover for dissent,” VOTF president James E. Post wrote a letter and did an interview with the Boston Globe on October 10, 2002 where he claimed “we are not a dissident group.''
The Globe article said that Post's letter “posted on the group's Web site, www.votf.org, asserts that ''we accept the teaching authority of the church.”
However the VOTF site then and now also states that they do not ''advocate ...the exclusion of homosexuals from the priesthood,” which is contrary to Church directives.
On December 5, 2002 the Catholic World News reported that the Church reaffirmed the Sacred Congregation for Religious in Rome in 1961 statement: "Those affected by the perverse inclination to homosexuality or pederasty should be excluded from religious vows and ordination."The Catholic World News wrote:
“In a letter dated May 16, 2002, Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez-- who was, at the time, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship-- said:
‘Ordination to the diaconate or priesthood of persons with homosexual tendencies is absolutely unadvisable and imprudent, and from a pastoral point of view, extremely risky.’”
When Hudson was asked why Voice of the Faithful appeared to be covering up the fact that 90% of the sex abuse scandal was homosexual priests acting out on adolescents, he said:
“Because their agenda is being supported by priests in the Boston [Archdiocese] who themselves do not want the homosexual dimension of the scandal addressed. And these are the members of the Boston Priests Forum.”
In an article on Voice of the Faithful’s agenda, the Notre Dame Magazine website called Keep the Faith, Change the Church Richard Conklin wrote:
“It is the third objective -- structural change in the church -- that holds the seeds of divisiveness that some bishops have accused VOTF of fostering.”
“’It is a struggle to keep traditional Catholics in VOTF," [Voice of the Faithful founder Jim] Muller concedes, "but we must keep 'structural change' undefined until its specifics can be determined by a lay voice that includes all spectrums.’"
VOTF founder Muller despite claiming “structural change” must remain undefined in the Notre Dame Magazine said:
"The problem is a concentration of power in the hierarchy," he asserts. "It is as though the executive, legislative and judicial branches were combined. We want...more 'democracy' in the church. Muller makes it clear it is not a democracy of theology he envisions -- there will be no votes on the Nicene Creed.”
However, when Hudson was asked what are the structural changes that Voice of the Faithful wants to make he said:
“They’ve never defined them in any way. So the only conclusion you can come to is that the kind of structural changes they want are those represented by the people they invite to address their meetings,” Hudson said.
“Which are those who want ordination of women, married priests, to end priestly celibacy and finally to end Vatican authority over the parishes in the United States.”
The VOTF website (www.votf.org/Structural_Change/structural.html) said that the Structural Change Working Group (SCWG) ”has been working to define what VOTF means by its Goal 3.”
According to the site “The group [SCWG] has also consulted with Fr. Ladislas Orsy, S.J., in an effort to ensure that its conclusions are sound, and that none of its statements could be misunderstood. Fr. Orsy has been retained as a professional outside consultant in canon law and related matters by VOTF.”
It appears that Fr. Orsy might be a questionable choice as a consultant according to the American Cardinal Dulles and Cardinal Ratzinger of the Vatican.
The American Cardinal in a November 25, 2000 America article (www.bigbrother.net/~mugwump/Dulles/dulles_online.html) said of the priest:
“On the papal teaching office, Father Orsy renews his plea (made in several other places) that Catholics should be free to dissent from definitive teaching.”
Cardina1 Ratzinger in an article published in Céide May/June 1999 (found at www.womanpriest.org/teaching/ratzing1.htm) said:
“Father Orsy assures us that the new canons were not needed because the category of definitively proposed teaching “as it appears now in official documents had not developed yet”...How the author could have come to this thesis is inexplicable.“
A few paragraphs later the Cardinal wrote:
“I do not find it objective that Fr.Orsy constructs an opposition [contradiction] between Ad tuendam fidem and Vatican II. [He writes that] the Council intended no threats and penalties because the Fathers of the Council “trusted that truth will attract by its own beauty and strength” ... In fact, a large number of the bishops of the world wish today for the “sharpening” of the penal law; this is a consequence of the cases of priests guilty of paedophilia. The protection of the rights of the accused priests has become so strong that the bishops feel powerless in cases when for the sake of the faithful they should have the power to intervene.”