Mallon's Media Watch

Mallon's Media Watch

Saturday, October 05, 2002

This is what I was trying to post when my template crashed. My commentary was lost, and better than this version...

Democracy in Action

I think VOTF has forgotten their original goals (Goals? There are goals?)

A piece of VOTF Stategery

"I'll join the revolution if I'm not babysitting my grandchildren!"

I think FOTF have lost it and are covered in confusion

Note the part about "OUR church property" ... If I pay taxes does that mean I set up a cot in the lobby of city hall?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 10/01/02 02:59PM All-

Bob C's email reference "...There may come a time when VOTF members may indeed be arrested but let us pick the time and place and cause", reminds me of what many of us on the original Steering Committee had to consider when Jim Muller raised the topic of being arrested for the civil disobedience of loving our Church and wanting to meet on OUR property. At that time so long ago in March or April, many of us said, including JM, that we would take that risk of being incarcerated and accept it if events so resulted.

Given this morning's news, that we/VOTF are being banned from meeting on OUR church property, by the bishop who "oversees the North suburban parishes" .... what better issue is there than simply wanting to meet on OUR home parish ground for VOTF meetings (even if it is on the FRONT LAWN of the local Bishop's residence)?!

Let me know where this is being considered and I will be there, if I'm not baby-sitting for my grandchildren. Come join me! KFCC, Jan L.

[the following is in response to the above/k.c.]

Date: Tue, 01 Oct 2002 15:32:54 -0400
From: "Larry Kessler"
To: Subject:
Re: taking a risk/ being arrested....

Jan and friends...some thoughts on your comments and perhaps some suggestions we might consider in response to the ban in North Andover. This is the opening shot and you can be sure the local Bishop did not make this move without encouragement and approval from his boss. If there is not a response you can be sure it will happen in other area real soon. I think a meeting on the lawn of the local Bishops lawn would be a good place to start. A meeting in his office (sit-in) might be effective as well and won't necessarily lead to arrest...if you leave when the police order you to do so.

Certainly a phone campaign is in order to his office, his home and to the local press who are probably very interested in this decision. When I read the Globe I immediately thought of tactics other right wing groups use as does the FBI, CIA, INS, IRS, etc. That is attend some the meetings of the other team. You can be sure that the Faithful Voice is attending meetings of VOTF and we should be attending theirs as well. We need to know in advance what mischief and pranks they are up too so we can pre-empt their actions.

We need to know where their source of support is coming from and why does a local Bishop listen to 15 members of a fringe group and order a large group of incredibly thoughtful, prayerful and faithful people out of the house. ITS WRONG AND IT MUST BE ADDRESS WITH ALL OUR PASSION, ENERGY, CREATIVITY AND OUTRAGE.!!!

Now really...

I guess VOTF is convinced of their own superiority to others...

St. Blog's Parish Directory (Until I can get my links rebuilt. Thanks to Gerard Serefin of the Praise of Glory Blog)


Archives are up.


Crash! (Time to throw Holy Water on Blogger...)

As you may have noticed, my blog went down for several days, actually disappeared for a few days. I have no idea what happened, but I don't want it to happen again. Does anyone know how to get blogger support, ie on the phone?? I managed to back up my archives but I don't know if they are all available through the blog. I also lost my links. It may take a while to reconstruct so please bear with me.


Friday, October 04, 2002

Thursday, October 03, 2002

VOTF is Coming Unglued: This from Deal Hudson:

"Voice of the Faithful" Shows Its Stripes

CRISIS Magazine - e-Letter

October 3, 2002


Dear Friend,

There was quite a flurry in the news yesterday involving our favorite dissident group, Voice of the Faithful (VOTF). It seems that yet another bishop has banned a VOTF affiliate from meeting in a North Andover, Massachusetts parish. Auxiliary Bishop Emilio S. Allue from the Boston Archdiocese wrote that "the activities and promotion of the VOTF must be curtailed in order to avoid further scandal and polarity among our parishioners," emphasizing that the archdiocese would need "clarification of all hidden and open issues involved and promoted by the VOTF" before signing off on the group.

As you probably guessed, VOTF is furious. They've been enjoying such popularity lately that any break in their stride must come as a shock. John Vellante, the spokesman for the Saint Michael's chapter of VOTF, said, "We love our church and all we ever sought, from the beginning, was open and honest dialogue."

Which is, apparently, why they've hired a canon lawyer to help them fight back. Jim Post, president of VOTF, had this to say about the archdiocese's move: "Bannings and denunciations are wrong on fact, wrong on process and wrong on morality. The bishops must understand that Voice of the Faithful, on behalf of the Catholic laity, will demand fair and equitable treatment according to the spirit of canon law. We will use any procedure available in civil law to discover the truth and rebut slander coming from any source, and we will not fail to bring our case before the court of public opinion."

Sound like fighting words to me. But as far as I can tell, Bishop Allue has done nothing out of line. He isn't denying their right to exist, merely their right to meet on private church property. That seems "fair and equitable" to me. I mean, must VOTF expect to be welcomed with open arms wherever it goes? They're getting the same treatment any organization would, and yet they seem to think they deserve special privileges.

This kind of temper tantrum doesn't give me much confidence about their direction, either. They insist time and again that they're a centrist movement, one that respects Church authority. And yet, whenever they're in the news it isn't about their work to "support the abused" -- the first goal of their mission -- but about bringing in canon lawyers to fight the bishops in their struggle to "change the Church."

The Evolving Voice

VOTF is continually honing its image in response to the mounting criticism. I have to admit, their presentation is very attractive. Of course, that's what concerns me the most. They've smoothed over the rough spots of their early mission, explaining away inconsistencies and trouble areas, or simply not mentioning them at all.

Let me give you an example.

Some things have mysteriously disappeared off their new and improved Web site. Take, for example, a May 15th article from the Philadelphia Enquirer. The article outlined VOTF's intention of holding a "a Continental Congress in Philadelphia next year to write its constitution -- an effort [former VOTF president Jim] Muller said it was coordinating with Leonard Swidler, a professor of Catholic thought at Temple University."

If the name Swidler sounds familiar to you, it's probably because we mentioned him in our first report on VOTF. He's the "Constitution chair" for the Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church and one of the leaders in its movement for a Catholic Constitution. Predictably, Swidler is a big figure in the "restructure-the-Church" movement.

So, to connect the dots, VOTF's original mission involved reshaping the Church in consultation with dissident Leonard Swidler.

Of course, the link to this article is impossible to find on VOTF's new Web site. A convenient way to sweep its questionable history under the rug and out of sight. As a result, the updated version of VOTF can promote its identity as one of "centrism" that doesn't take any stand on divisive issues in the Church.

Fortunately, not everyone is falling for it. In a report last week, Massachusetts News covered a meeting convened at Holy Cross College on September 18th. Ostensibly, the meeting was called to discuss the merits of establishing a VOTF affiliate group in the Worcester Diocese.

According to the article, there was a period of "shouting and confusion about goals of the organization," followed by a vote to determine if a VOTF chapter should be established. According to VOTF's own rules, a two-thirds majority must vote in favor of a motion before it can be passed. When the votes at the meeting were tallied, the results were 30 in favor of opening a chapter, and 27 against -- not even close to a two-thirds majority.

I bet you can guess what happened next.

In true democratic form, VOTF went ahead and established an affiliate chapter anyway. MassNews reports that, "almost on cue, someone in the audience questioned why they had to vote on it in the first place and suggested they should start an affiliate anyway."

Apparently, this wasn't the only time during the meeting when the voices of the real faithful were being ignored. According to MassNews, some of the people in attendance where hushed or told to leave when they started asking questions about that slippery goal of VOTF to "shape structural change in the Church."

Laurie Letourneau should know -- she was at the meeting. Apparently, the gathering wasn't publicized very well, a fault she attributed to their desire to appear democratic while restricting the vote to supporters. She told MassNews, "Speaking as a faithful Catholic, and not representing anybody, what I witnessed tonight was people who pretended to be open, but when push came to shove, just weren't open at all."

Unfortunately, Laurie, I'm not too surprised.

I know it's wrong to gloat, but there's something vaguely satisfying about seeing Voice of the Faithful discredit itself so publicly. So much for establishing a more democratic Church! I only hope that more bishops will follow suit with Allue, Lori, Murphy, and others in keeping VOTF's ideas of "change" away from the true faithful.

Till next week,



Please forward this letter to anyone you think might benefit from it.


Wednesday, October 02, 2002
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DNC in bed with "Catholics for a Free Choice"

DNC Spokesman Defends Vicious Anti-Catholic Link
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Tuesday, October 01, 2002

Can someone please explain to me what is meant by "working for structural change within the Church"?

As a 20-year veteran of the war for orthodoxy in the Church, I can't read this hackneyed phrase to mean anything but dissent. Why does VOTF deny it? Or else define this goofy phrase. The structure of the Church didn't molest children or cover for them. Individual men who failed to live and enforce Church teaching did. Had the structures been followed this wouldn't have happened. (What part of that don't they understand?)

Boston Globe Online / Bishop bans group from meetings at parish

''To ban people from using church property to talk about the biggest scandal in the 500-year history of the Catholic Church in North America is ludicrous on its face,'' said James E. Post, president of Voice of the Faithful. ''If they are looking for scandal, all they need to do is look inside the chancery to find out where the real sources of scandal lie.''

VOTF has been antagonistic to the Church and her teachings from the start, stupidly confusing bad Church governance with Church teaching. They pit Catholic against Catholic, which is what dissenters do.

The North Andover ban was triggered by complaints from another group of parishioners who object to the organization. Those who complained are members of an alternative group, Faithful Voice.

Carol M. McKinley, spokeswoman for Faithful Voice, confirmed that her group is urging bishops to oust Voice of the Faithful from other local parishes.

''The participants have underlying agendas, like ... the Women's Ordination Conference and all those groups - they're all the same dissenting people with dissenting agendas, and they only take on different names,'' she said. ''Actually, they're anti-Catholic, and they're bringing in anti-Catholic ideas and asking us to accept them. Naturally, we can not have that within our buildings.''


Voice of the Faithful has not taken a position on any issues of Catholic doctrine and denies being a group of dissenters. But the group is facing increasing resistance around the country.

If VOTF wants to convince anyone they are not dissenters, they should publicly go before the local bishop take the Oath of Fidelity. Only then would they have credibility and only then should they be welcome on Church property.

The Church does not need "change." She needs repentence, correction, amendment, reparation and healing. Not people who have no sense of the Church yelling for "change."

In a letter to his parish last weekend, [Fr. Paul] Keyes expressed hope for change. [reporter's word] ''Hopefully, in the days ahead greater unity, integrity, and compassionate understanding can happen throughout our own archdiocese and throughout the Church universal,'' he wrote.

''Certainly, some faithful parishioners and nonparishioners alike will continue to meet somewhere else as members of the Voice of the Faithful,'' he added. ''I pray that God's Holy Spirit will bring them great wisdom, and I pray that faithful VOTF members will help bring practical and orthodox solutions and answers to very complicated and challenging issues in our Church.''

This is not change, but the promise of the Church. Note Fr. Keyes, (an old friend) says "...faithful VOTF members..." and it's not redundant. Also "practical and ORTHODOX solutions.

Catholic group banned from meeting at parish

``It is inappropriate to foster these meetings,'' he wrote, while Law and his vicar general, Bishop Walter J. Edyvean, seek ``clarification of all hidden and open issues involved and promoted by VOTF.''

Yes, how about it, VOTF?

John Vellante of North Andover, a spokesman for the 135-member VOTF chapter, said his group is ``extremely disturbed by all this.''

Why? I thought you were all for openness and diolouge.

Since early summer, he said, the chapter has held weekly meetings open to all in which victims of clergy abuse and theologians have lectured about Catholic issues.

Oh! Then it must be okay. And those voices, no doubt, were perfectly objective!

``All our meetings have been strictly in line with church teachings,'' he said. ``Our aim is co-existence with every point of view.''

Oh? But, Mr. Vellante, not every point of view is in line with Church teachings. Do you mean you aim to co-exist with untruth?

I think VOTF needs to figure out why they exist and what they stand for. Because that is not at all clear.

Catholic group provides aid to accused priests

Opus Bono Sacerdotii

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This is the first I've heard of a bishop doing this. Why? Was there ever a more tone deaf group of people than the American bishops? If more would do this we wouldn't have to put up with VOTF.

San Jose Diocese conducts service for victims