The real face of VOTF

The real face of VOTF

A reader sent me a copy of the ballot for Voice of the Faithful’s elections for the national representative council from their Region XI, which includes California, Hawaii, and Nevada.

There are three candidates. The first is Jim Jenkins of Berkeley, California, the current officeholder. Jim says that his agenda includes “Church governance where all the people of God participate fully and have the determinative voice” and “Promotion of national (and international) convocation(s) - sometimes
called ‘lay synods’ - to chart the pastoral direction of the church in North America.” Note to Jim: The Church is not a democracy. I’d rather the Catholic Church in America not end up in the same splintering mess that the Episcopal Church has because we know exactly what kind of changes the people who advocate such “lay synods” and lay governance are looking for.

The next candidate is James P. Keating. James has an impressive resume including a “Catholic Father of the Year” award. Oh, and he “perform(s) civil marriages (as allowed for by the State of California) [but not the Catholic Church] for those that can’t, or don’t want to get married in the church.” You’d think that might be a disqualification for a Catholic position, but James assures us that “My good friend, Bishop Frank Quinn, says this is a growing number!”

James is also an honorary member of NOVA, an association of married priests and, he so helpfully tells us, “kissed the Blarney stone.” Indeed.

Our final candidate is perhaps the most impressive. He is a Hugh ORegan, “a former Roman Catholic priest (Benedictine)” who is also an active member of Most Holy Redeemer Parish in San Francisco. Click the link to see why that is significant, if you don’t recall.

And that’s Voice of the Faithful in a nutshell. They claim to be “centrist”, if such a thing is even possible for a Catholic, but every prominent player in the organization seems to come from the heterodox side of the balance sheet.

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  • I have to say that my experience is to be wary of laicized priests in any governance role. Priests can be hyper-clerical, of course, but I have found laicized priests can bring all of that authoritarian instinct with little of the attitude of being obliged to uncongenial service that cannot be shirked.

    There, I got that off my chest.

  • …“he (James) so helpfully tells us, ‘kissed the Blarney stone.’ Indeed.”

    Archbishop Sheen once defined the difference between blarney and baloney.  Blarney is “the varnished truth” while baloney is “the unvarnished lie.”

    To hang on to a lie like VOTF, James must have faced down instead of up and kissed the wrong stone.

  • VOTF unveiled itself as subversive from the outset, but its mission statement. There are many groups who have fallen into dissent by association but VOTF, like a surprisingly great number of others, organized in order to gather support for its dissent.
    As to being wary of laicized priests in governance, I have the same problem with “practicing” nuns. It’s a prejudice, and it, also, comes by association. Dissent is the issue, not whether a priest is laicized by the church, or whether a leader is a nun. But that doesn’t make the hives go away!
    I’ve been looking for a common denominator in dissent, and I think I may have happened upon it: betrayal or the strong shattering SENSE of betrayal by an authority figure is, I venture, the most common cause of the well-intentioned dissenter. It is human to react to betrayal with mistrust and rebellion. With faith, prayer, guidance, and a safe place to recover, dissent is temporary. But the temptations are fierce and the road back home is long, in my experience.
    We need to pray for those who have lost their way. And sometimes, stay out of their way, especially if they’ve organized against the Church. Still, it’s lucky I don’t have a sword…