A member of Voice of the Faithful wrote a letter to the editor in the local newspaper in reply to a previous letter to the editor that I wrote in reply to a guy who took my pastor to task for refusing to allow a Voice of the Faithful meeting.
I don’t mind criticism. Lord knows I make mistakes in deed and judgment—just ask my brother. But if I’m going to be criticized, I wish it would be on the basis of what I actually said. The letterwriter falls into two traps: (a) she criticizes me for positions I never take and (b) she attributes motives that I never express. And of course, it boils down to the ad hominem attack.
She claims that I am rejecting the teachings of Vatican II because I reject the teachings of VOTF, and of course, they claim the mantle of Vatican II. I love the teachings of Vatican II. I just wish more people advanced what they really said and not what people wish they said.
- The documents speak of the Church as the People of God, Pilgrims on a journey. It is never assumed that we have arrived and have all the answers.
No, we don’t have all the answers, but God does and He has revealed some of them to us in an infallible form. We call those the Church’s dogmatic teachings. Some things are settled and not up for discussion. It’s that simple. And it’s fundamental to the two millennia of Church history and understanding of the Church.
She claims that I am opposed to people discussing the Scandal. I think everybody should be discussing it. What I am opposed to is the self-appointed leaders of VOTF leading that discussion, especially given the agendas that I see so many of those people expressing.
- All you need to do, he proposes, is listen to the bishops and priests—those very bishops and priests who threw our children to the wolves and lied about it! They will give you guidance in interpreting what God’s Word is for us today, Mr. Bettinelli seems to say. Vatican II’s message and spirit (hence VOTF), would disagree!
It’s not what I say, it’s what Vatican II said—and those pesky 2,000 years of Tradition, too. The gift of protecting the Deposit of the Faith has not been given to the laity. It was given to the bishops. You can read that right in the Gospels and Paul’s Epistles and even the documents of Vatican II, if you care to read them.
- Another thing that puzzles (or, in truth, amuses) me is the list of heretical positions always attributed to VOTF on celibacy, homosexuality, women priests, abortion. I wonder why the Catholic teachings on divorce, remarriage and birth control aren’t usually listed. Could it be that those orthodox Catholics are witnessing such things going on in their own families?
I will heartily denounce anyone who tries to say that divorce, remarriage, and birth control are not sinful, but people get tired of long lists in letters to the editor. And those first four seem to the most common teachings of the Church questioned in VOTF documents. If she’d like to point out where those heterical beliefs are explicated on VOTF’s web site, I’ll happily reject them, too. And, I don’t feel like checking right now to be sure, but I’m pretty sure I included contraception in that list.
- But the greatest puzzlement to me is how the horror of abuse of little children can deteriorate into a battle of words! When did what VOTF’s beliefs become the issue?
It became the issue when VOTF tried to hijack the Scandal of the horrendous abuse of little children to push their own political agenda for reshaping the Church according to their wants and needs and not according to the will of God. And certainly with no eye toward doing anything to help the victims of sex abuse.