Return to main page


  IT ALL BEGINS WITH DISSENT  Dr. Peter W. Frey     2/4/03

Catholics who are faithful to the Magisterium  easily see through the VOTF scam.

Watch with vigilance the future actions of  the "Boston 58" .



     Voice of the Faithful  (VOTF) is simply the latest in a long, dreary

line of Catholics and pseudo-Catholics whose vision of the Church is in

opposition to the defined and revealed dogmas entrusted by Christ to His

Church.  Members of VOTF may make their protestations of simply wanting to

"reform" the Church in the wake of the abuse scandals which have legitimately

shocked the faithful.  But Catholics who are faithful to the Magisterium

easily see through the VOTF scam.

           The 2000 year history of the Church shows that VOTF is really

nothing new, that dissent and self-willed objections to the teachings of

Christ reach back to the very time that Jesus was setting up His Church and

entrusting it with His divine authority.   The real challenge which VOTF and

other modern dissenters such as Call to Action or We are Church is not to

object legitimately to this or that problem with the Church, but to attack within

the very structure and nature of the Christ's kingdom on earth.

           History bears out the fact that every single good intentioned

:"reformer" who set out perhaps in good faith to purify the Church of

corruption ended up in complete revolt and outright apostasy.   In the 16th

century, Martin Luther recognized scandal of land abuse in the Church of his

day, but finally rejected almost the entire depositum fidei.  Other reformers

followed suit, and the result was a fragmented and divided Christianity that

endures to our day.  Our Lord ,Himself, was betrayed by His own dissenter in

the ranks of his chosen twelve, the one who "handed Him over" and left the

company of Jesus because he could not accept the teachings that Jesus had

clearly established.   Even in more recent times, popes have condemned errors

and false teachings which simply seek to present doctrines incompatible with

the moral and dogmatic teachings of the Catholic Church.

         And the fundamental cause?   It comes down to a

refusal to accept beliefs which the Church has carefully preserved through

the ages, a pride which echoes the "Non serviam" of the original angelic


          Out own times have a particular virulent form of dissent, however,

which seems to penetrate every level of Catholic belief, values and

practices.   Pope John Paul II stated this concern clearly in his encyclical

Veritatis Splendor "it is no longer a matter of limited and occasional

dissent, but of an overall and systematic calling into question of traditional

moral doctrine... and the lack of harmony between the traditional responses

of the Church and certain theological positions encountered even in

seminaries and faculties of theology" (VS 4)

       In that same encyclical, John Paul focuses intently on the gospel

story in Matthew about the rich young man who asked Jesus, "what must I do to

have everlasting life?" (Mt 19).   The answer comes down to Jesus words to us

as much as to him, " keep the commandments" (Mt 19:17)   The holy father goes

on to say that obedience to lawful commandments, to the teachings of the

Church, far from restricting freedom in any way are the true way to freedom

in Christ.  "Those who live by the flesh experience God's law as a burden,

and indeed as a denial of their own freedom.  On the other hand, those who

are impelled by love and walk by the spirit, and who desire to serve others,

find in God's law the fundamental and necessary way in which to practice love

as something freely chosen." (VS 18).

            The great risk which dissenters pose to the Church hinges on the

presentation of issues long since rejected by the Magisterium: contraception,

divorce and remarriage, homosexual unions and women's "ordination"   Yet

vociferous members of VOTF insist on putting forth these items in their

personal agenda, and as John Paul points out "the Magisterium has the duty to

state that some trends of theological thinking and certain .philosophical

affirmations are incompatible with revealed truth (VS 49).   Thus in Ordinatio

Sacerdotalis  the pope affirms that the church "has no authority

whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women, and this

must be accepted by all the faithful  as authoritative" (OS 1).   Yet members

of VOTF and other groups demanding a "constitution of lay rights" continue

to agitate for a change in this divinely revealed  truth.

          Moreover, the same kind of intellectual and moral dissent continues

to flourish where it is most dangerous, in Catholic seminaries and

universities.  But here too, the holy father has again affirmed the lawful

role of the Magisterium to define truth and to declare what is authentic

teaching, and he call upon those entrusted with educating young Catholics to

be true and faithful to that vocation.  "Catholic theologians, aware that

they fulfill a mandate received from the Church, are to be faithful to the

Magisterium as the authentic interpreter of Sacred Scripture and Sacred

Tradition." Ex Corde Ecclesiae, 1,3)

          Thus dissenting groups such as VOTF have no legitimate credentials

to stand as an authentic Catholic organization.  Only by loyalty of the

Magisterium, to defined teachings, and by a humble spirit can scandal and

corruption be rooted out.   The Church is by nature "holy" because it is the

Bride of Christ (Eph 10) and it alone is charged with the responsibility of

safeguarding sound doctrine, as Paul advised Timothy (2 Tim 4).   Therefore

its doctrine is incorruptible, though its individual members sin, and often

sin grievously.   And with dissent scandal inevitably follows.  As Fr Matthew

Lamb of Boston College said, "How many of the priests and bishops who brought

such suffering to minors and scandal to the public were first encouraged by

teachers and theologians to cut corners and dissent from the truth of the

Catholic faith.... a climate of dissent was promoted by wholesale dissent

from Catholic teaching (Lamb,

        Thus VOTF seeks not a return to fidelity to those teachings but to

even further dissent and fragmentation, designed not for healing at a time

when healing is most needed, but to advance their personal agenda.  Once

again it seems they are being led by the same academic dissenters who caused

the problem in the first place.

It is imperative for good and loyal Catholics to support the Church by

prayer, by spiritual and personal support of good priests, of young men

discerning a vocation and by living out fully the baptismal vocation each of

us has.


Dr. Peter W.     2/4/03


Return to main page