NEWTON — Rain threatened, but Catholics by the hundreds still streamed to Boston Common for a Mass organized by a lay church reform group to protest the closing of dozens of area parishes.
The turnout for the Aug. 15 event demonstrated Voice of the Faithful’s continuing power to mobilize Catholics. Two and a half years after the group emerged from the wreckage of the clergy sex abuse scandal in the Boston Archdiocese, the church closings have given Voice’s members a new cause to rally behind.
But the group’s influence on the church it aims to change remains uncertain. Catholic leaders in Boston have paid little heed to the group, and some observers, criticizing a lack of focus, question how long it can survive.
"So far, I think they’ve been sort of reactive and opportunistic," said Phil Lawler, editor of the Catholic World Report, a monthly news magazine.
The archdiocese has long questioned the group’s motivations, citing links to people who oppose church teachings. And a ban that keeps new chapters from meeting on church property has remained in place through three leaders of the archdiocese, despite repeated pleas by the group’s leaders.
The Rev. Richard McBrien, a University of Notre Dame theologian, said Voice of the Faithful has emerged as an important representative of the laity with a key role to play in the church’s future, despite the church’s resistance.
"It will not peter out. That’s wishful thinking," McBrien said. "The issue on which they were ultimately founded is going to continue for a long time." [Story]
Actually the church will always Peter out. Peter the first pope and the continuation of the line of Popes ensure that charism of Peter will never peter out. Since the leadership of VOTF fancies modern heresies they will fall away just as every other heterodox group has fallen away in the past. Have you seen any Voice of the Donatists chapters lately? Or perhaps Call To Albigensian (CTA)?
I had to laugh at the headline of this story though. " Voice of the Faithful, church still at odds" That is right up there with "Protestants still do not accept authority of the Pope."