The Outrage of "Faithful" Voices?
It's no secret to readers of this weblog that I'm no fan of a so-called Catholic "reform" group known as Voice of the Faithful. Its national leadership has been plagued by essentially dishonest people from its beginnings. (As a matter of fact, I can prove it, but hang on...) That is not to say that all who belong to it are dishonest; rather that one's allegiance does require one to go along with it at some point.
What would indeed surprise people, is that I participate occasionally on a listserv of a local VOTF affiliate. I spend most of the time explaining matters of Catholic belief and practice, to anyone who asks (and occasionally to those who don't). That does not take away from their sincerity. A few are sincere in their outrage, and I have been blessed with the opportunity to discuss matters of concern at length, as well as break bread, with some of them. Their numbers include victims of clerical sexual abuse, or family members or loved ones of victims. All are justifiably outraged at the dishonesty and incompetence of the American bishops in dealing with the problem.
Unfortunately, a few of them can be rather selective about it.
At every level of affiliation, VOTF has expressed outrage at Cardinal Law of Boston, and Cardinals Bevilacqua and Rigali (and the late Cardinal Krol) of Philadelphia. Their calls in the past for Law's resignation, their alarm over the findings of a grand jury in Philadelphia, are well covered in the secular press.
Now we have the findings that Cardinal Mahony of Los Angeles has engaged in a similar pattern of conspiracy and harboring of child-molesting priests, continuing a legacy that reportedly goes back 75 years!
But where is the indignation?
Sure, the news clippings are on the local VOTF listserv. But what is curiously missing is the corresponding outrage that immediately accompanied the news out of Boston and Philadelphia.
I can't explain this. But I do know that the prelates in Boston and Philadelphia are usually identified as "conservative" or "traditional" in their theological and pastoral approach, while their confrere in Los Angeles is most certainly considered a "liberal" or a "progressive" in the same areas.
So I have to ask myself, is there some selective judgment among the ranks of the righteously indignant?
Before you answer that, there is more.
At their first national convention, VOTF invited as a keynote speaker, one Debra Haffner, a former president of the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), and a former official of Planned Parenthood. That SIECUS has taken a position endorsing same-sex attraction, as well as sexual relations between adults and children, was a matter of record. This evidence was presented to the leadership of VOTF through the online discussion forum they were operating at the time.
VOTF went ahead with their plans for Haffner, after taking the time out to shut down the discussion forum -- permanently.
These are the same idiots who whine about the need for "dialogue" and "accountability." And to this day, they not only ignore the findings that a local priest of the Boston Archdiocese -- namely Father Walter Cuenin -- must make restitution for $75,000 in misappropriated parish funds. They are calling for his reinstatement as pastor of a parish where he has been in charge for nearly twelve years (making it time to move along anyway). They also manage to ignore the issue of "accountability" on the part of the parish finance council that went along with the whole scheme. (See recent reports, and their accompanying links, at Bettnet.com.) Even if you manage to excuse the latter, you can remove lay governance of the Church from the bargaining table, as the panacea for accountability. Or remember what happened at Enron.
Now, to go along with this charade, you have to be either really stupid, or a really good liar. The founding president of VOTF won a Nobel Prize some years ago. We can probably rule out "stupid."
But what of those who would follow him?
(UPDATE: As of this date, the VOTF website has released a "Statement on Los Angeles Clergy Sex Abuse Files." It calls for complete accountablity on the part of the Archdiocese. It does not call for the resignation of Cardinal Mahony.)