July 08, 2005

Reformers open strategy meeting aiming to enlist more Catholics

Worcester Telegram & Gazette

Associated Press Writer

INDIANAPOLIS— Voice of the Faithful brought together organizers from across the country for its first national meeting in nearly three years Friday, determined to take steps that it hopes will enlist more Roman Catholics in its mission to give non-clergy a greater role in the church.

Leaders of the meeting expected about 500 organizers from local affiliates of the lay Catholic reform group to attend the three-day meeting at the Indiana Convention Center. It's the group's first national gathering since more than 4,000 people attended a meeting in Boston, the center of the priest sexual abuse scandal that gave rise to the organization.

Since then, Voice's membership has remained generally flat with a claimed roll of about 30,000 people, and one of the group's goals going into the Indianapolis meeting was to grow its ranks. Among the workshops offered Friday was one on recruiting.

The focus of the meeting, titled "The Laity Speak: Accountability Now," was to search for ways to gain greater financial transparency within the church and build accountability among both bishops and lay persons in the some 67 million member U.S. church. Working groups were to tackle those topics Saturday and present recommendations on Sunday.

Also on Sunday, Voice of the Faithful was set to honor Illinois appeals court Judge Anne Burke, a former chairwoman of theAbuse Tracker Review Board, the lay watchdog panel that U.S. bishops created amid the sexual abuse scandal. Burke, who will receive Voice's first distinguished lay person award, also was scheduled to speak on bishops' accountability on Saturday.

Posted by kshaw at July 8, 2005 08:44 PM