What Is VOTF's Real Agenda?
Monday, Aug. 12, 2002
Recently, Voice of the Faithful (VOTF) became the news media's favorite "Catholic" lay organization to cure the Catholic Church of its sex-abuse scandal.
The New York Times and Boston Globe wrote glowing articles about this new "mainstream" Catholic organization. Even in Ireland and on the European landmass, newspapers were covering this "grassroots" group that started from a humble church basement.
VOTF claims it wants to democratize and subordinate the bishops to "lay participation." It also claims to be mainstream and conservative.
I received this e-mail from one of my readers asking me about VOTF's claims:
"Could you please direct me to a reliable assessment of the group Voice of the Faithful? A local 'chapter' is meeting this afternoon in Nashville, and it has been characterized by a local priest as 'just conservative Catholics who want some changes."
Voice of the Faithful and Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation
The only information I had about this "conservative Catholics" group was that a member of VOTF's steering committee was working closely with the homosexual spin group Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).
On June 15 at the Dallas bishops meeting, homosexual activist Cathy Renna, writing for GLAAD's Web site, said that during a victory get-together, she met with "a number of familiar media faces" and Anne Barrett Doyle of the Coalition of Concerned Catholics, who is a member of the steering committee for the lay reform movement Voice of the Faithful.
According to Renna, "Anne was one of the first people I spoke with back in March when we were cultivating resources and contacts to offer media outlets. ... Seeing Anne at the cathedral brought to mind how far we've come in the past months."
During those months, the media outlets, under the sway of gay activists like Renna and her friend Doyle, had censored George Will, Pope John Paul II's spokesman Dr. Joaquin Navarro-Valls, and the almost-all-conservative spokespersons in Dallas who attempted to report the "link between homosexuality and sexual abuse by priests," which U.S. News & World Report detailed before the media cover-up.
Earlier in the year, before the recent cover-up was solidified, U.S. News & World Report columnist John Leo wrote that studies have shown that 5 percent of priests or fewer fit the pedophile description. He said: "Most sexual victims of priests are teenage boys [abused in homosexual acts], according to one estimate. A study of Chicago's 2,200 priests identified 40 sexual abusers, only one of whom was a pedophile."
Now, just because one of the VOTF steering committee members was working closely with the Gay & Lesbian Alliance spin group to censor George Will, Pope John Paul II's spokesman and the Catholic conservative spokespersons at the Dallas bishops meeting doesn't necessarily mean that the VOTF isn't a "mainstream" and "conservative Catholic" group.
One must examine the "mainstream" and "conservative Catholic" priests that are supporting VOTF before making any judgments about that group. Unfortunately, not one single mainstream and conservative orthodox Catholic priest supports the group.
Voice of the Faithful and the Liberal Richard P. McBrien
However, Father Richard P. McBrien, a professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame, put his support for the organization into an article in the Tiding on July 19 called "Listening to the 'Voice of the Faithful.' " As all mainstream and conservative Catholics know, McBrien is one of the most liberal Catholic theologians in the U.S.
McBrien has shown that he is 100 percent opposed to the official teachings of the Catholic Church when it counters the gay and lesbian movement's agenda.
The official Catechism of the Catholic Church states in section 2357 that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered ... under no circumstances can they be approved."
Also, the Sacred Congregation for Religious in Rome in 1961 stated: "Those affected by the perverse inclination to homosexuality or pederasty should be excluded from religious vows and ordination." Roman Catholic Faithful President Stephen Brady said, "The Church directive has never been rescinded and is still officially in force."
But McBrien, on a April 5 Tiding piece, disagreed with those who hold the official teachings of the Church, calling them "homophobes who look upon gays as disreputable souls held in the grip of the worst sort of moral perversion."
He then went on to attack Pope John Paul II's spokesman Dr. Joaquin Navarro-Valls for wanting to get "rid of gay priests."
The Vatican spokesman said homosexual ordination might be invalid in the same way a marriage can be annulled on the grounds that it was invalid from the start. For example, a woman who marries a homosexual can get her marriage annulled on those grounds.
McBrien, in his anger at Pope John Paul II's spokesman, revealed how widespread the homosexual problem is in the U.S.
He wrote: "A few priests have privately observed that, if this [homosexual ordination annulment] were actually to happen, the Roman Catholic Church might lose two-thirds of its priests under the age of 45 and some bishops as well. At the same time, many of its seminaries could be emptied of all but a handful of students."
A Large Percentage of the Liberal U.S. Priests Are Homosexual
Some orthodox Catholics have observed that the Vatican and some Latin American bishops are naïve as to how big a percentage of the liberal U.S. bishops and U.S. priests are homosexual.
The statement by one of the most respected liberal U.S. Catholic theologians that "two-thirds of its priests under the age of 45 and some bishops as well" are homosexual will hopefully open the eyes of those who are naïve about the "gay movement's" influence over liberal priests and certain VOTF lay Catholic theologians.
Lay Catholic theologian Thomas Groome, Senior Professor of Theology and Religious Education at Boston College who has been a featured speaker at VOTF meetings in the Boston Diocese, is – like McBrien – in favor of homosexual ordination.
On March 21, according to the Miami Herald, Groome said homosexuality is rampant in the nation's seminaries. The Herald quoted the lay theologian as saying, ''A well-balanced gay person can make a fine priest. ''Having been 'inside,' I knew lots of gays and philanderers. I've known hundreds of priests and never known a pedophile. They hide themselves well,'' said Groome.
According to the Boston Diocese Sacred Heart Bulletin, in June Groome gave his lay participation talk on "Doing Theology Ourselves" at St. Eulalia's Parish (Manion Hall) on Ridge Street, Winchester, which is a major chapter of VOTF in the diocese.
The Rev. Victor LaVoie, a Strong Supporter of Voice of the Faithful
The Boston Globe said St. Eulalia parishioners praised pastor Rev. Victor LaVoie as "a strong supporter of the Voice of the Faithful."
One must consider the Rev. LaVoie to be unfaithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church on homosexuality if he has ex-priest (and McBrien clone) Groome – now turned lay spokesman – speaking at his parish.
On July 26, LaVoie became "the17th priest the archdiocese [of Boston] has removed over allegations of sexual abuse since January," according to the Globe.
The parishioners who supported VOTF also support their pastor. The Globe said, "Hundreds of parishioners attended a prayer meeting at St. Eulalia's last night to discuss LaVoie's suspension and to pray for him."
This is still the U.S. and LaVoie is innocent until proven guilty. So to be fair, the archdiocese's review board is still investigating all the priests suspended on credible allegations.
It has not yet announced any decisions on any of the cases, including the pastor of St. Eulalia. It is good that LaVoie has been suspended and it will be good that he and others spend time in jail if the allegations are true.
VOTF and Liberals Use Church Scandal as a Power Grab
VOTF and other liberals, however, were not so fair with other priests alleged to have committed sex abuse who they have been using as a political football to forward their lay participation and homosexual agenda.
Nor have VOTF or the liberals been so fair with the Vatican when it brought forward the real reason for the vast majority of the sex-abuse scandal.
It is safe to say that one cannot find one liberal Catholic who will support the whole statement of the 1961 Sacred Congregation for Religious, which stated: "Those affected by the perverse inclination to homosexuality or pederasty should be excluded from religious vows and ordination."
In fact, the pro-gay National Catholic Reporter (NCR), which is "the newspaper" of U.S. liberal Catholics – and a strong supporter of McBrien – has been pushing Voice of the Faithful as a mainstream organization for months.
On May 24, in an article called "Church in Crisis: Scandal Diminishes Churches' Clout," NRC said, "Not only are pastors running weekly notices about Voice of the Faithful's meetings – explaining the group's mission and goals – but some are assisting laywomen and men in establishing parish voice chapters in their respective churches."
In the very same article NCR said, "While these legislative developments indicate a waning of the [Boston]archdiocese's influence on relatively mainstream social policy matters, perhaps an even stronger measure of the cardinal's diminishing political clout came last month at a joint state House and Senate committee hearing. Two priests publicly opposed the church's position. The topic was same-sex marriage. ...
"While many of the gay community's longstanding political, legal and religious allies gathered in the statehouse to oppose the gay civil-rights setback, they were joined – for the first time in state history – by two Roman Catholic priests."
These statements on VOTF and homosexuality by the most respected liberal U.S. Catholic newspaper and the Rev. McBrien, the respected liberal theologian, show that VOTF is not mainstream, as James Likoudis says.
"Richard P. McBrien oozes with admiration for this group [Voice of the Faithful] seeking to restructure the Church, democratize it, gain financial control of it, and subordinate our Bishops to this new lay class of secular feudal lords and professionals," Catholics United for the Faith's Likoudis said.
"It's a power grab under the guise of more 'lay participation' and is made up of those dissenting liberals and radicals who do not like Catholic moral teaching but do like Dignity and GLAAD [radical homosexual organizations]."
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