Only 8 attend VOTF meeting at St Michael ,N. Andover, MA

VOTF calls on another anti-Catholic priest for advice.

A film on Father Richard McBrien speaking at a meeting of the VOTF Portland, Maine




The following is a review of the meeting held at St. Michael's last night that I thought might interest you.




VOTF Meeting held at St. Michael's Parish, North Andover (covering St. Augustine & St. Bellomine's Parishes of Andover as well as St. Michaels) at 7 p.m. on December 9th, 2003.


There were a total of 8 VOTF people who attended the meeting. It started with a prayer and then a film on Father Richard McBrien of Notre Dame University speaking at a meeting of the VOTF Portland, Maine was shown. The film was about l l/2 hours long.


The film showed a Fr. McBrien very glib and very full of himself. He pointed at one of the main causes of the sexual abuse in the Catholic Church is the rule of celibacy. He stated how many Catholics there were of the 3 other Catholic denominations that are not Roman Catholic who allow their priests to marry and who do not have sexual abuse in their churches. He mentioned Bishop of Milwaukee who got a petition of 163 priests wanting to address the issue of celibacy but that even though the bishop is a good guy did not want to change the celibacy rule.


He did not feel that homosexuals could not be good priests and that anyways there was no way to test a person to see if they are gay. He felt heterosexuals and homosexuals were okay for the priesthood but it was the person who wasn't sure what he was, that was not right for the priesthood. They had a lot of maturing to do so it would not be a good idea to become a priest. He felt that the sexual problem was that no courses were taught in the seminary on human sexuality so priests didn't know how to face problems of a sexual nature. He said he didn't believe those priests who said that being celibate didn't bother them, that they felt fulfilled.


Fr. McBrien said there were too many gays in the priesthood because of the celibacy reason as well. They were able to go into the priesthood and not be questioned why they were not married and also earn a degree of respect. At the seminary, some heterosexuals left due to the fact of a gay culture that they found there.


If priests could marry or even if women could become priests that would clear up that problem.


 He went on to say that women comprise about 80% of the ministries of the church and why should they not be named to the priesthood.


 He said in 1976, Pope Paul VI asked the Pontifical Biblical Commission to see if there was any biblical scriptural passage that stated that women could not be made priests. They came back with the finding that they could find none.


He said he could understand reasons like the fact that if we did ordain women right now that the chance of us uniting with the Orthodox faith would be over and that also in other countries where women are not treated on the level as they are in this country, it would cause more to leave.


He could understand reasons such as this but not spiritual reasons as the roles of Mary and Christ figured in the male and female.


Fr. McBrien spoke much about "All of us are the church". That includes the hierarchy, priests, laity - everyone. He spoke of Vatican II and the placement of the chapter on the laity and how its placement was changed and put before the chapter on the hierarchy and the revisions that were done on the chapter which was called the People of God. He spoke much of Kungar(?) who is some theologian on the limiting of the role of the laity?


Fr. McBrien said even though the Pope has done many good things, his main concern was always to appoint hierarchal believers and to protect the church from scandal. He said the bureaucracy of the church is way out of control and many priests and bishops totally resent that part of his pontificate. He said this Pope is in the twilight of his pontificate and that he thought it was disgusting how they dragged him around in public as a display.


He said he would not even do this to his father but put him away so as not to be seen by the public.


He said the Pope should have made a resounding statement to the church and retired 5 years ago when he was still lucid. Other popes have retired and he could have too. He said that what he understands of Parkinson Disease is that it continues to destroy you until you can no longer even communicate and that he hopes that he dies a happy death rather than be in a coma or such where other people in power are running the church which considering his physical health is a real possibility . There is no provision for what to do if a pope becomes incapacitated physically or mentally and he has really put us in a bad position by refusing to retire. He thought it looked bad for the Catholic Church using the Pope in his present condition. "Would you buy stock in a company if their CEO looked like that?"


Father McBrien called himself a centrist. He called those outside of groups like VOTF the "Simple Faithful" as they don't want to be educated but want to be simple minded.


Father McBrien said not to bother working on your bishops. He said what you should do it work on your parish priests especially those of "integrity". You can see what happens by just looking at Bishop Bernard Law. When people were attacking him, he wasn't budging but when 58(?) of his own priests signed a petition for him to resign, a week later he did so because he had lost a good portion of his own priests under him and he realized that he had lost his base. Therefore, this is the way to go about getting the changes you want in the church. He said to talk to your priests and have them talk to the Bishops and if they disagree with what they want then to have them go public regarding whatever the issue is.


Father McBrien tries to be funny and has very sarcastic humor. If he has all the answers now, how did he not see this problem years ago. When asked about the issue of not allowing girl altar servers, he said how could they ever even come up with such a stupid idea especially in view of the scandal now. If anything they should say only allow girl altar servers, no more boys! Doesn't this show that he thinks and knows that the issue of the sexual scandal has a direct tie to homosexuality?


John Cronin came in during about the last half hour of the film. One VOTF member had to leave part way through the film. After the film, John and I spoke with the members of VOTF on what problems we had with the organization of VOTF and about Father McBrien and some of the points he made in the film.


A couple of the women left. Not sure if it was just because it was getting late or they didn't want to have a discussion. Of the 4 VOTF members left, 3 were very into changing the structure of the church and the 4th had some reservations and did not like McBrien’s comments about the pope either.


We left at about 8:45 p.m. and I think some good was accomplished as number one, there were very few who attended the meeting and none of the priests or other members of the staff at St. Michaels were there.


Also, for at least one of the attendees, another view was shown to her for her to think about.




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