Banned , yet , again by Bishop Coleman.

Voice of the Faithful Fall River

VOTF changes wording of *Structural change* again.



VOTF STATEMENT Following is the statement issued by the South Coast Voice of the Faithful group:


A committee of Catholic lay men and women in the Diocese of Fall River representing local affiliates of the national organization known as Voice of the Faithful has been meeting with Bishop George W. Coleman's representatives periodically since February 2004.


These meetings derived from a May 2003 directive when then bishop elect, George W. Coleman, asked all pastors to refrain from allowing members of a Catholic lay organization called Voice of the Faithful from using parish facilities for their meetings. Shortly after the installation of Bishop Coleman, VOTF requested to meet with him to seek the removal of his ban on VOTF's use of parish facilities to conduct its meetings and activities.


In February 2004, Bishop Coleman agreed to meet with representatives of VOTF and up to the present time VOTF had felt that the meetings were useful to both parties.


Currently, however, VOTF has been unsuccessful in contacting the Bishop's staff to arrange another meeting and is consequently left with the impression that Bishop Coleman has terminated the meetings without notification to VOTF and with several issues still unresolved. Several efforts to communicate with the chancery office, including telephone calls and a registered letter for the purpose of scheduling our next meeting have been unsuccessful.


Local affiliates of VOTF have been conducting their meetings in rented spaces including rented halls of other faith communities.


The organization continues to work to promote its three stated goals of :

1. support for victims of clerical sexual abuse,

2. support of priests of integrity and

3. the reform of those administrative structures that have limited lay participation, transparency, and accountability in our church administration.

[ Previously ³ structural change² ]


In addition, VOTF continues to monitor hierarchical administrative decisions and to study the documents of Vatican II that serve as a guide for lay responsibilities in the Roman Catholic Church.


All of the VOTF meetings are open to Catholic lay people and the general public.


The next meeting will be July 21 at the Friends' Meeting House, Route 6 in Mattapoisett, at 7 p.m.


We will view and discuss a tape of Vatican II documents narrated by Michael Himes, SJ of Boston College.