VOTF brings up celibacy question

VOTF brings up celibacy question

Voice of the Faithful is splitting hairs by saying that it’s demand to reconsider celibacy among Latin-rite priests is not a matter of doctrine, but of discipline, and therefore it’s okay. What it is is a red herring.

The Voice of the Faithful is considering requesting an official review of mandatory celibacy among priests, according to Svea Fraser, one of the movement’s original founders, at Monday’s Parkway Voice meeting.

“There is this bubbling sense of need to talk about this,” said Fraser. “If we get at some of the issues that create a culture of secrecy, maybe we can protect our children better.”

[…] As part of our mantra, we don’t take on doctrinal issues. Celibacy is a discipline issue,” said Fraser.

“We’re not necessarily taking it on,” she added, stressing that a critical reason for approaching the issue is to show the group’s support for clergy and forge a stronger relationship between the two.

“This is a test case. We’ve never done this in our movement before,” said Fraser. “I still don’t know if we should be doing this.”

Blaming celibacy

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
9 comments
  • Can someobe please clarify the ban on VOTF meetings ? There is much publicity surrounding an upcoming VOTF meeting discussing Church governance here on the South Shore. VOTF has been meeting in this parish for several years now. Whya re they not banned ?

  • “If we’re still banned in some places, why are they going to let us talk about priests and celibacy?” p>

    Ummmm…I thought VOTF was a non-idealogical group that does not seek to change controversial church teachings?

  • Domenico,
    You probably hear a lot more about VOTF than we do out here.  It appears to be a regional movement, but then it was born in Boston so that’s probably why you hear about it.

    Out here in Michigan, there were some feeble attempts at starting something up, but they were pretty much limited to the crackpot few who already belong to the CTA.  In fact, the two orgs have joint meetings (to the hilarity of the few who notice CTA in the first place).  Like I said, VOTF is a curiosity out here.  Probably most Catholic people here don’t even know it exists.

  • Margie,

    The ban was put in place by Cardinal Law and prevented any new groups from meeting on Church property. Chapters that had already been formed and had already been meeting were allowed to continue. Not sure why the distinction, but there it is.

  • “This is a test case. We’ve never done this in our movement before,” said Fraser. “I still don’t know if we should be doing this.”

    I remember the good old days, when VOTF’s leaders were much better liars. They’ve been a forum for attacking Church teaching (not just discipline or policy issues) from the very beginning. In fact, very little of their initiatives has anything to do with helping victims of clerical sexual abuse, which is one of the reasons I’m always being told they’re in business.

  • Dom, I suspect the distinction is because the first places to be “blessed” with VOTF were also parishes “blessed” with abusing priests.  Certainly that is the situation in my own parish.  It would have seemed punitive and inappropriate to ban what began or seemed to begin as a survivors’ group from meeting in their parishes.  Another case of sow the wind, reap the whirlwind.

  • Certainly the victims of abuse needed support. But this group, in a book by one of its founding members, listed some disturbing items in its mission statement. The two most disturbing items, from the outset, dealt with the “right’ of the laity to co-govern the Church and support for “faithful priests.” I don’t believe the laity has any such right, and I sure don’t know how VOTF expects to intuit the “faithfulness” of any given priest.
    BTW, i can’t remember the name of that book. I just googled and don’t recognize any VOTF titles—I read it in ‘04, I think, and I do remember writing about it…

  • As part of our mantra, we don’t take on doctrinal issues

    Well, that sure shows where her head is.  She could have just as easily said “our bylaws” or “our policy” or something like that.  Instead, she uses a Hindu term—and incorrectly uses it at that.

  • P,
    I thought the mantra thing odd, too. Images of robed persons chanting “We don’t take on doctrinal issues…We don’t take on doctrinal issues…” smile

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