October 28, 2005

Voice of the Faithful seeks unity for strength

Barnstable Patriot

By Pamela Higgins

As a tree creaked and groaned, the wind pushing it against the West Barnstable Community Building, a breeze of renewal and change flowed among the more than 75 members of the Upper and Lower Cape Voice of the Faithful (VOTF). The groups met Oct. 16 to discuss the highlights of theAbuse Tracker Convocation of VOTF and the possibility of merging the Cape groups.

“People were coming that were hungry to have the church meet its potential,” said Andrea Demars, who attended the convocation and is a member from the Falmouth VOTF. “They love their church and are disappointed by the lack of accountability.” Demars reported that approximately 600 people attended.

Meeting in Indianapolis in July, the convocation issued nine resolutions, which involve accountability for lay people and bishops and financial and moral integrity, according to Frank Fessenden, a Falmouth VOTF member. In response, the Upper Cape group agreed VOTF should call for an independent, widely disseminated, understandable annual CPA audit report for all church-related entities that would include all income, expenses, assets and liabilities. Members agreed also that VOTF should promote legislation that protects children and holds bishops accountable for their failure to protect children. Insistence that elected laity becomes fully participative members at all levels of diocesan and national decision-making is another goal.

After some minor technical difficulties in getting the DVD player to cooperate, the group watched a video presentation of three speakers from the convocation. Father Donald Cozzens called on the attendees to “commit yourselves to being an adult believer.” He called the church “fundamentally feudal” in its stance and an absolute monarchy in its management style.

Father Tom Doyle reminded attendees that “Christ loved the broken and marginalized” and that if they do not act like adults they allow the monarchy to thrive. “Much of the fear and anger (of the priests) is based on a need for security,” he said. “We have to overcome the fear of speaking up.”

Posted by kshaw at October 28, 2005 08:12 AM