Steve Gandt sends an email relating his experience at a VOTF chapter meeting at his parish:
- It was pretty much like the one a month before – approximately 120 – 150 people (approx. 1/3 fewer than the September meeting), nearly all attendees between the ages of 50 and 60 (a very reassuring observation), and filled with accusations of “misperceptions” being spread by opponents of VOTF. At their invitation to speak at the beginning of the meeting, I spoke about the presence of Mr. Massimini’s detestable “constitution” (small “c”) document on VOTF’s website, and I pointed out his erroneously-selective excerpts from Lumen Gentium. I requested that VOTF remove the document from their website. The VOTF “leadership” at the meeting said they did not want to get into the specifics of that particular document (perhaps because they hadn’t read it?), which only strengthens my perception of VOTF’s leadership as flatly refusing to engage in any specific discussion of issues that might weaken their “cause”.
VOTF also invited a speaker: Laura Richter, Director of Mission at Youville Hospital in Cambridge, Mass. One of the things she cited during a Q&A was that the encyclical Humanae Vitae was an example of “clericalism” because the bishops and priests who wrote it didn’t consult “people who were actually having sex.” In that case, I would have to label Ms. Richter and anti-clericalist and not in the good sense. Denying laypeople their rightful place in the hierarchy (small “h”) of the Church’s order is wrong, but so is denying the clergy their place.
Richter shows a lack of understanding of where Church teaching comes from and it’s a pattern that shows throughout the whole heterodox community. Truth does not come from consulting opinions; truth comes from God. And the Lord promised that the Holy Spirit would guide the Church in Truth: through the ordinary and extraordinary magisterium and the sensus fidei. The latter is not democratic polling; it is the common consensus of the lived faith of all the Church—not just American Catholics. Yet that’s such an amorphous thing—who is to interpret the consensus? The Lord promised us a guide—the Holy Spirit guiding the Pope and the bishops in union with him. That is his role. In other words, it wouldn’t have mattered if Pope Paul VI had consulted 10 million “people having sex” and they all said “Yay, contraception!” Because in the end he could not have put his signature to the encyclical if it did not contain the Truth—the Lord promised as much and you can take that promise to the bank.
I will post Steve’s letter to Richter under the “More…” link below. It’s a very good exposition of the error of Richter’s statements.