Date           Sun, 23 Nov 2003 22:27:06 -0500

From          Oswald Sobrino


Subject    Article for your Faithful Voice Website



If you would like more material for the Faithful Voice website, please feel free to reprint the following article on Voice of the Faithful that I published on my Catholic Analysis website.

Oswald Sobrino

Editor/Writer, Catholic Analysis




The message of VOTF is clear:˛ the Catholic hierarchy is evil˛.

Voice of the Faithful Feverishly Proclaims That Catholic Hierarchy is Evil

Oswald Sobrino , Editor/Writer, Catholic Analysis   23 NOV 03

The false prophets are active within the boundaries of the Church. Indeed, the smoke of Satan is still, unfortunately, with us.



If anyone had any lingering doubt about the questionable origins, beliefs, and intentions of the Voice of the Faithful (VOTF), the statements made at a recent tri-state gathering of the organization at Fordham University in New York City make the anti-Catholic nature of the organization clear. The tirade by former priest Eugene Kennedy, a well-known writer, psychologist, and former professor at Loyola University of Chicago, can easily match the invective, contempt, and hatred expressed over the centuries by anti-Catholics, whether during or after the Protestant Reformation. VOTF and Kennedy take their place along extreme fundamentalist anti-Catholics such as those at Bob Jones University or those who publish anti-Catholic pamphlets such as Chick Publications. Extended excerpts of Kennedy's diatribe, a diatribe laced with discernible New Age affectations and exhibiting the influence of a life accustomed to psychobabble, are reproduced in an article found in a Connecticut newspaper.


Here is a partial sample of the Kennedy harangue, loudly applauded by the assembled VOTF activists:


Abusing the body of Christ sacramentally and the bodies of children sexually are the responses of persons with power. The responses they make to people who trust them and have no power. The hierarchical poison is tasted every day by persons who seek very ordinary, but very important things -- the date and time of a wedding, a dispensation of some sort. Perhaps, permission to hold a meeting on church property. "Scholars taste it when officials strive to control what they think, write or say. Ministers gag on it when ordered to guard against homosexuals, the scapegoats of our age branded by hierarchs with the mark of Cain. People are told to submit to their own demeaning and thereby to gratify something unhealthy in the officials as they put you down to raise themselves up. All of this of course for the good of the church."


"The Voice of the Faithful," by Francis X. Fay, Jr., in The Hour Online, Norwalk, Conn. (first accessed on 10/28/03) (emphasis added).


This excerpt plus the rest of the excerpts from the newspaper article make the message of VOTF clear: the Catholic hierarchy is evil. In these excerpted remarks, there is no attempt to limit criticism to one or more particular bishops. What we have is a wholesale condemnation of the hierarchical structure itself, of the very concept of a church hierarchy.


By condemning the very idea of the hierarchy, they are rejecting Christ, and have put themselves outside the belief of the Catholic Church. Vatican II's Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, plainly proclaims that it was Christ himself who instituted the hierarchy:



In order to shepherd the People of God and to increase its numbers without cease, Christ the Lord set up in his Church a variety of offices which aim at the good of the whole body. . . . .That divine mission, which was committed by Christ to the apostles, is destined to last until the end of the world . . . . For that very reason the apostles were careful to appoint successors in this hierarchically constituted society.


Lumen Gentium, 18, 20, trans. by Austin Flannery, O.P. (Costello Publishing 1998)(emphasis added).

Kennedy and VOTF clearly reject the letter and spirit of Vatican II. The conclusion, in my view, is inescapable: these activists are not Catholic in spirit, word, or intent. They are a force for anti-Catholicism parasitically existing within the technical boundaries of the Church. They have remained in the Church, to borrow again from Lumen Gentium, " 'in body' not 'in heart'" (LG, 14). They have come full circle. They are now persecuting the same hierarchical Church for which many of their own immigrant ancestors suffered persecution.


The assertion of Penn State professor Philip Jenkins that much anti-Catholicism comes from within the boundaries of the Catholic Church is again being confirmed. Jenkins anticipates my own conclusions about the Eugene Kennedy harangue:


Many of the most damaging attacks against the Church derived from internal sources rather than external critics: [Maureen] Dowd, [James] Carroll, [Anna] Quindlen, [Eugene] Kennedy, [Garry] Wills, and [Richard] Sipe would all describe themselves as faithful Catholics. Yet their rhetoric deployes an often ferocious range of anti-Church arguments, which are readily adopted and amplified by the most fervent anti-Catholics. In this view, the Church is of its nature un-American, abusive, and totalitarian; clergy are closeted perverts.


Philip Jenkins, The New Anti-Catholicism (Oxford Univ. Press 2003), p. 156.


The false prophets are active within the boundaries of the Church. Indeed, the smoke of Satan is still, unfortunately, with us.   will be forwarded to Oswald Sobrino


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