Some time ago somebody signed me up for the VOTF newsletter. I have read that this has happened to several other bloggers also. I do wonder if it was a VOTF member who did it to enlighten my rather skeptical view of VOTF, or somebody who was also skeptical and wants them exposed.
Regardless today their newsletter I saw something different than in the past.
One of the Fall Campaign for Accountability options for our affiliates is to organize one or more group recitations of the Rosary. Where has the rosary been? It was so much a part of pre-Vatican II Catholic prayer life
I think this was the first time they ever suggested a traditional devotional practice. Normally it is always about financial accountability, priestly abuse, and changing the structure of the Church. I though good for them that finally they were promoting something positive. So I opened up the PDF on the Rosary they had and I found that it had the normal overview on how to pray the Rosary with an illustration, though it was missing the Fatima prayer "O MY JESUS, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell; lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy. Amen.", but of course no one is required to say this with the Rosary.
They had one set of reflections included that was VOTF back to their normal form.
The First Sorrowful Mystery: THE AGONY IN THE GARDEN
Jesus comes with his disciples to Gethsemani and says "Stay here, while I go yonder and pray."
Survivors of clergy sexual abuse ask us to stand with them. Do we do so until we become tired and lose
interest? When the authorities accuse them do we run away as the disciples did?
The Second Sorrowful Mystery: THE SCOURGING AT THE PILLAR
Jesus is taken before the High Priest where He is falsely accused, buffeted and insulted. The Jewish leaders
take Jesus before Pilate, for only he can impose the death penalty. The robber, Barabbas, is preferred to Jesus.
Pilate can "find no cause in Him", yet to appease the Jews, he orders Jesus to be scourged.
Survivors have been doubted, vilified, and accused of money chasing. Credibly accused priests have had
excuses made for them, had their crimes covered up, and been allowed to drop out of sight. Do we “wish the
crisis would go away” so that we can relapse into our comfortable “no problem” relationship with our
The Third Sorrowful Mystery: THE CROWNING WITH THORNS
In the praetorium, the soldiers place an old purple robe on Jesus in mockery of His claim to be a king. They
fashion a crown out of thorns, and press it down upon His head. In His bound hands they place a reed, as a
scepter, in mockery of His kingship.
Survivors have been mocked and scorned even in some cases by their very families. They have been ignored
and oppressed by the Church because of a fear of scandal rather than being supported and healed out of a
sense of justice.
The Fourth Sorrowful Mystery: THE CARRYING OF THE CROSS
One condemned to death by crucifixion is forced to carry the cross to the place of execution. The suffering
of Jesus is intense as the cross is laid on His bruised and wounded back and shoulders.
Survivors are condemned to carry the memories of their experience for the rest of their lives. This is a
sentence laid on them by their perpetrators. Such a sentence may be lightened by the assistance and support
which we give them.
The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery: THE CRUCIFIXION
The hands and feet of Jesus are nailed to the cross. "I thirst." "It is finished."
The crucifixion of survivors continues everyday. Until those accountable face this reality more persons will be
sexually abused by representatives of our Church. We must continue to pledge ourselves to thirst and work
for justice for our brothers and sisters.
Yes let us meditate daily on priestly abuse and cover up. That Jesus takes a backseat in these meditations is indicative of VOTF in the first place. Now I realize there have been Rosary meditations in the past, such as Pro-life ones, that interweave an important issue to pray on but concentrates on Jesus. The problem with this set is that they are not interwoven and in some cases totally ignores the meditation on Jesus and concentrates on abuse survivors. I can’t imagine the horror of sexual abuse, but to equate it with crucifixion is over-the-top.
As bad as the abuse scandal is, I have always gotten the feeling that the whole issue is just a Trojan Horse for VOTF. A convenient prop used to deceive people as to their real motives. Instead of Troy though they plan to lay waste and siege Rome. From the beginning they have been the typical less-than-orthodox organization that has used abuse as a patina of respectability to cover their typical dissident agenda. Over the years their mask has slowly slipped, mainly because it was never firmly attached in the first place. For example on their site they say:
We do not advocate the end of priestly celibacy, the exclusion of homosexuals from the priesthood, the ordination of women, or any of the other remedies that have been proposed across the spectrum of Catholic thought.
They say "We accept the teaching authority of the Catholic Church", but by their own statement then deny the Vatican’s authority via the document on not allowing "Persons with Homosexual Tendencies" from the priesthood. They say they don’t endorse women’s ordination yet they recently proposed.
Whereas, the Gospel message of inclusion is diminished by discrimination against more than half of its total membership; and
Whereas, women are excluded not only from governing positions within the Church’s hierarchical structure, but also from many ministerial leadership roles; and
Whereas, the deterrence of future abuses by the hierarchy is dependent on the entire People of God,
THEREFORE, IT IS RESOLVED THAT:
Voice of the Faithful calls for Church-wide discussion on advancing equal access for women to all positions of leadership and ministry within the Catholic Church.
The most important part of reforms is always our inward reform. We must reform ourselves first so that we can see clearly. Reform must start inward before it can work outward. In their case they want to skip step one and go right to removing the mote from the Bishop’s eyes. That so often they are willing to lie and misrepresent what the large majority of the members believe proves doesn’t exactly show holiness, much less faithfulness. They go on an on about openness and accountability yet do nothing to criticize their members when they go against the teachings of the Church and in fact are willing to promote the most heterodox of speakers. They talk about cover ups, but need to look no further than their own organization.
For these self-appointed reformers of the Church, I say "Doctor heal thyself." For myself I say "Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me a sinner."