The Italian movement Catholic Action is what Voice of the Faithful claims to be, but isn’t. They are faithful, orthodox, and dedicated to creating positive change in parishes while remaining obedient to their pastors.
John Paul II has sent a Message to the spiritual assistants of Italian Catholic Action who are holding their national meeting in Rome on the theme “Building New Catholic Action in Parishes.” The Pope noted that they are reflecting on how to contribute “to redesigning the face of the parish, the basic structure of the ecclesial body.”
The Holy Father described the parish: “It is ‘the house of the Christian community’ to which one belongs through the grace of baptism; it is the ‘school of holiness’ for all Christians, even for those who do not belong to determined ecclesial movements or do not cultivate a special spirituality; it is ‘the laboratory of faith’ where the basic elements of the Catholic tradition are transmitted; ‘it is ‘the training ground for formation’ where one is educated in the faith and started on the apostolic mission.”
Saying that “the link between the parish and Catholic Action has always been very close, the Pope stressed that, in renewing itself, Catholic Action could help renew parishes so that they become, in a vigorous, coherent and constant way, living “witnesses to the Gospel” and centers of dialogue with persons in the parish, “reserving special attention to those living in material or spiritual distress.”
Above all, the Pope asked that Catholic Action bring “a daily witness to communion. ... A spirituality of communion, lived with the bishop and the local Church; here is the contribution that Italian Catholic Action can give the Church.”
He added that “the indispensable structure and organizational renewal will be the result of a singular ‘adventure of the Spirit’ that involves the inner and radical conversion of the persons and associations at various levels: parish, diocesan and national.” He urged the spiritual directors to “place your best energies” at the service of this renewal and conversion.
What’s the difference between Catholic Action and VOTF? Catholic Action is about action, about living the Gospel. I see them going out into parishes to provide assistance those who need it, to pray with the people of the community, to cultivate holiness. VOTF seems to me mainly concerned with getting together in meetings and demanding power and a say in how money is spent. I have never heard of one VOTF chapter carrying out one concrete act of the spiritual or corporal works of mercy.