It appears that my prediction that Voice of the Faithful would wither away is coming true. My local newspaper reports that when the regional VOTF chapter had it’s first meeting since Cardinal Law resigned last month, only 34 people showed up. Almost 90 people came to the last meeting in November.
So where was everybody? Some blamed the temperatures (It’s New England in the winter; it’s always cold), others looked inward, saying the group’s reputation has suffered, because people are afraid they’re heterodox. I hope to take some credit for exposing their liberal bent. But rather than dispute VOTF’s heterodoxy, one of the mid-level VOTF leaders from headquarters said they have a different goal.
But Frank Brophy, the regional representative of the VOTF from Winchester, said enlightening the group’s skeptics is not on the agenda.
“Many of our fellow parishioners have suspicions. They are more traditional than we are,” said Brophy, speaking to the group of mostly older members. “The younger end is not as concerned, and that is an area where we can expand.”
Let me translate: Educated and aware Catholics realize that the stuff we’re spouting contradicts Church teaching and is leading us outside of the communion. So we should go after younger Catholics who are less educated, less aware, and more apt to want to protest against authority figures.
- “We are members of the church, not heretics,” said Brophy. “What will happen with VOTF in the future will happen in meetings like this,” he added.
You’re not heretics yet, but if you don’t repudiate the stuff on VOTF’s web site and publicly affirm the Church’s teachings on matters of dogma, you will be well on the road to heresy.
As for the future of VOTF, if their numbers continue to dwindle as they have in this group, it has no future. Their problem is that they never had a real platform or base to work from other than anger at Cardinal Law and other bishops who colluded to coddle abusers. When Law was ousted, most VOTFers apparently said, “Well, that job’s done. Back to my easy chair.” So what can VOTF do? They either fade away or engage in “mission creep,” which is creating new goals to keep an irrelevant organization going.
I expect to see some VOTF mission creep in the next few months as they flail about for reasons to remain relevant, at least in Boston. They’re weekend treks to protest in Manchester, New Hampshire, are one part of that. Stay tuned for more.