March 17, 2005

New priest closes door on meeting of activist church group



MENDHAM - The local chapter of Voice of the Faithful (VOTF), a national organization formed to protect people from sexual abuse by priests, will find no welcome at St. Joseph Church.

The new pastor at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church has notified the group that it can’t meet at the church. The group had planned to meet on April 11.

The Voice of the Faithful was formed in Boston two years ago in the wake of the scandal involving sexual abuse by priests The group has called for changes in the Catholic church, including more openness in helping those who have been abused by priests.

Theresa Padovano, a member of the leadership team of the Voice of the Faithful Northern New Jersey, said the new St. Joseph pastor, Rev. Joseph Anginoli, cancelled the April 11 meeting without explanation.

Padovano said the group has been shunned before. The Newark archdiocese, she said, had not allowed the group to have personal speakers or meetings inside churches in the archdiocese, she said.

The former pastor at St. Joseph’s Church, the Rev. Phillip Briganti, had allowed the group to meet at the church. Briganti resigned last month after police investigated an extortion attempt against him over a picture sent over the Internet. His replacement, Anginoli, did not return telephone calls for comment.

Posted by kshaw at March 17, 2005 05:16 PM