March 09, 2005

Priest urges lay Catholics to take a leading role in the church

Naples Daily News

March 9, 2005

A prescription for healing the Catholic Church scarred by the priest abuse scandal will require a healthy dose of democracy, a priest and leading critic of the hierarchy's handling of the cases said Tuesday night.

More than 300 people turned out to hear Father Thomas Doyle speak at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in North Naples, organizers estimated.

Doyle, 60, was an expert witness in more than 150 clergy abuse cases and profiled in "Vows of Silence," a book chronicling the scandal.

"There's a fear of democracy in the Catholic Church," he said. "The age of monarchy is gone. It is no longer effective. That was a world into which the church was born ... But we're no longer riding on horseback. We have cars."

The Southwest Florida chapter of Voice of the Faithful, a group formed by lay people in response to the scandal, hosted Doyle as part of its speakers forum.

He said the decades of Catholics following clergy like "a docile flock" are gone, inspiring applause

Posted by kshaw at March 9, 2005 06:22 AM