Reflecting on VOTF after five years

Reflecting on VOTF after five years

Phil Lawler of Catholic World News reflects on Voice of the Faithful’s fifth anniversary (subscription required) and while acknowledging it lasted longer than he thought it would, it’s just as incoherent as ever.

I know that VOTF is still working, but despite scores of public statements I don’t really know that the group is working for. ... VOTF was founded out of concern for the integrity of the Church, and compassion for the victims of clerical abuse. Those were causes that all good Catholics could support, and thousands did. With invaluable help from the Boston Globe—which gave the fledgling group the sort of constant favorable publicity that most organizations can only dream about—interest in VOTF soared and quickly spread across the country.

Yet Phil notes that it wasn’t long before it became clear that if you peeked under VOTF’s covers, you found something very different: an organization whose leaders were closely allied heterodox Catholic groups and whose founding documents and vision statements sounded suspiciously like the same old dissident rubbish in a not-very-new package.

Despite the group’s high-minded rhetoric about not taking a position on controversial public issues—like abortion, gay marriage, women priests, homosexuality, and so on—it has consistently promoted a certain dissident viewpoint. Whenever a VOTF leader was quoted in the media he was usually taking the contrarian, dissident point of view, whether it was gay marriage, gay priests, priestesses, abortion ,what have you.  Eventually, no matter what your official claim, your actual words will reveal your true heart.

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  • Bill Dittrich was, and perhaps still is, in charge of “Structural Change” for Voice of the Faithful. While in that position he was also the Acting Director of the Archdiocesan Institute for Ministry(AIM). AIM courses were taken by people who wanted to be Directors of religious Education, Pastoral Associates, and involved in other parish functions.
    Will someone tell me why Bill Dittrich was given the job as
    Acting Director of AIM? AIM is no longer functioning , to my knowledge. Bill Dittrich is now a Pastoral Associate at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Walpole. I don’t know if he is still in charge of Structural change for Voice of the Faithful.
    Perhaps someone knows the answer to this.

  • Given that most VOTF members seem to be part of my generation and the prior one, I bet that they made a deal with AARP to share mailing lists, which accounts for their continued existence.  But, alas, not for long.  Even dissent gets to be boring and moribund.  Look at the Rev. Andrew Greeley.