VOTF’s hubris and infighting

I don’t mean to continually harp on Voice of the Faithful’s ongoing financial and membership problems, but they keep giving interviews and illustrating why they are so problematic.

The latest is in the UK’s The Guardian newspaper, which brings out not just VOTF’s money woes, but also the infighting plaguing it and the arrogant attitude.

Mary Pat Fox, the elected president of the group, tells the newspaper why Voice of the Faithful must succeed.

The group is poised to rebound, Fox said, but it needs to see some success in its initiatives, and it also needs to continually show Catholics why Voice of the Faithful is important.

“If the only voice that you heard on the Catholic church was from the hierarchy, that would be a problem,” she said.

That last sentence right there is exactly the problem with VOTF: the arrogance. As if, before VOTF came along, the only voice we ever heard about the Church, from within the Church, was that of bishops. Nevermind the long list of laymen, saints among them, who have contributed to the Church. Go to any parish and tell me where most of the initiative is coming from. Father is one man; he relies on the laity.

And what’s wrong with hearing from the hierarchy? Our priests and bishops are our spiritual fathers. We need them to speak out on the matters important to our faith. That some bishops and priests have failed in their important duties in the past is no reason to set yourself up as if your were the opposition party in a newly parliamentary government. We are a family, not a series of factions in a democracy. Unfortunately too many of VOTF’s founding fathers and mothers don’t know that.

That is perhaps the other reason the group is struggling so much, according VOTF’s board chairman William Casey.

The group is also facing what Casey called a “crisis in leadership” due to infighting, difficulty respecting each other’s positions and trouble reaching consensus on decisions, according to the notes of his remarks at a leadership conference in April.

Can’t say I’m surprised, given what I recall of their turbulent beginnings in 2002 when people walked out of their inaugural national convention after they were confronted with heterodoxy on a large scale and other well-meaning orthodox Catholics were effectively hounded from group chapters and online bulletin boards for daring to stand up for Church teaching.

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Domenico Bettinelli, Jr., is a father of five and husband, a Roman Catholic, born in Boston, educated at Franciscan University of Steubenville, who has worked in Catholic media--print, broadcast, and online--since the mid-90s. Find out all about Dom on his About Me page.