Friday, August 2

You know, I try to be nice. Sometimes. I don't know why I bother. Being ....other things (like totally honest, maybe....her conscience intones) is so much more interesting. Proof: Kathy Shaidle on VOTF. (scroll down. laugh.)
A grateful shout-out to Mike Petrik for his insightful and realistic posts on church finances in the comments below.
You want links to religion stories? The Christianity Today weblog has scores today, for every taste and credo.
An interview with Colleen Carroll, author of The New Faithful: Why Young Adults Are Embracing Christian Orthodoxy
Remember how the bishops said they were going to fast on August 14 and pray on August 15 in reparation for the Church's complicity in the sin of clerical sexual abuse? You do remember? Do the bishops?
Traficant's booking photo. I guess they need a wide lens camera next time.
Maureen encourages us to join VOTF and make sure a variety of views are represented, make our voices heard on the message boards, and so on. Not a bad idea, particularly if changes can be to discussions like this one currently taking place on the VOTF message board about the selection of Deborah Haffner, a past president of SIECUS and associated with Planned Parenthood, to speak at the conference. What you see is on the part of the defenders is a kind of absolutism, a refusal to even harbor, for one second, even the suggestion that they might have made a mistake. One more place to get frustrated, sounds like.

Will this be another weekend given over to VOTF discussions on this blog? I dunno, but I will say this - I don't think Cranky Prof has it quite right in the comments. I don't think there are just two kinds of approaches to this situation - prayer and fasting or some kind of action. I believe action is needed - lay-run finances in dioceses and parishes, and lay involvement in priest placement - as well as a greater awareness on the part of laity as to what's going on. To put it more bluntly - don't believe that everything the church leadership (ordained or lay, male or female) is authentic, true and good just because it comes from authority. Question, use what's in canon law already to deal with problems, and be faithful to Christ, not taken in by personalities.

But I think my point regarding VOTF is that while think we should be all trying to fix this problem in our own way, I don't think VOTF is actually doing anything at all. Not yet, at least.

VOTF: its leadership and goals.

The leadership:

Leading the push is a newly hired executive director, Steven Krueger, a former investment banker and corporate turnaround artist who is applying his organizing skills to the task of challenging the Catholic hierarchy....In Krueger, a Needham native with an MBA from BU, they have an executive director with a background in accounting and management and an extensive knowledge of Catholic Church governance. He is a member of the archdiocesan laity council, an advisory group that offers advice to Cardinal Bernard F. Law....Krueger has been joined at the Newton headquarters by Thomas J. White, a one-time political fund-raiser for US Senator John F. Kerry and the late US Representative J. Joseph Moakley, who is putting his skills to use dialing for dollars in a spare office.Another player with political roots is Ernie Corrigan, a former spokesman for the state transportation department and spokesman for the failed 1990 gubernatorial campaign of Democrat Francis X. Bellotti. Corrigan was helping the Archdiocese of Boston manage the crisis when it first broke in February and March, but he also holds allegiance to St. John, his parish and the first home of Voice of the Faithful. Now he is subletting his Newton office space to the group and has a day-to-day presence in the office, although he said he is not taking a lead role.

And the goals?

The grass-roots group, founded in a Wellesley church basement in response to the Catholic Church sex abuse crisis, is trying to organize with a paid staff, a concerted fund-raising effort, and a war room where it is mapping a strategy for national growth...Now, to build on the group's budding reform movement, it wants to raise $1 million for operating expenses over the next 12 months. It will be a crucial time for the organization, which is walking a fine line as it tries to harness dissatisfaction within the church. Krueger suggested the outcome will be determined in large part by Voice of the Faithful's ability to form and sustain hundreds of chapters throughout the country and the world.

So...let me get this right. At the moment, VOTF's goal is the expansion of its organization and establishment of a financial base? That's it? Surely there's more.....

A look at JPII and Parkinson's

Once an active hiker and skier, and a survivor of broken bones and a would-be assassin's bullets, John Paul seems to be making a point of persevering. His plan, says a Vatican spokesman, is ''to stay until God permits.'' Dr. Thomas Perls, a gerontologist at Boston Medical Center who studies people who live to be 100 and more, says that makes perfect sense. ''We shouldn't be making any decisions about anybody's ability to do something based upon their age; we need to make those decisions based upon their functional ability,'' he said. John Paul '' no doubt feels very strongly that he has important messages to convey, and ... he's going to do his best to get those messages across,'' Perls said. ''The young people still are very much taken by him and what appears to be a heroic effort on his part to meet with his flock.''

Very, very cool. The Chicago Tribune discovers St. Blog's!
Please race over to Opinionjournal.com and read Peggy Noonan's account of her meeting with the Pope two years ago. Beautiful.

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