The Voice of the Faithful will “be calling for the Vatican to do an ecclesiastical review of the celibacy issue,” according to the New York Times. The group’s president, Mary Pat Fox, asked for the review because research showed “it plays a role in the abuse crisis.”
I would humbly ask what research is she referring to so it could be verified. Shame on the New York Times reporter for taking that statement without asking for the research. Something tells me that if I stated that homosexuality in the priesthood had a lot to do with the priest abuse scandal any reporter would ask for copies of the research.
“It’s not that celibacy drives someone to be an abuser,” said Fox. “It plays a role in creating this culture of secrecy that then caused the bishops to handle the crisis the way they did” because “you’re calling for a group to be celibate, and any deviations from that is something that you have to keep quiet.”
So the fact that the church has rules means that it is encouraging a “culture of secrecy” in order to cover up the breaking of said rules. This makes perfect sense. Let me tell my wife right now that this vow of being faithful is not really going to work out for me because it’s just inhibiting my being honest with her. That will go over real well.
The Voice of the Faithful is a lay group formed in response to the sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church. The group, I believe, was likely well intended and probably did some good for the Church in the long run. But this recent statement comes as the group is admittedly facing a severe budget deficit from a drop-off in large donations. It is likely an attempt to find new donors.
I find myself agreeing with this reasonable thought from James E. Post, the group’s first president, who remains on its board:
“Even I, from time to time, wonder whether we shouldn’t just declare victory and say a lot’s been done in five years, the church is doing better than it was, and then let the other organizations — Call to Action, Future Church and others that really want to deal with these issues — have the field.”
This moment in the life of this group reminds me of the feminist movement which accrued great accomplishments over decades of struggle but morphed into extreme and dangerous groups after they accomplished so many of their goals.
The same can be said for the civil rights groups led by heroes like Martin Luther King but have sadly become dominated by the likes of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.
God save the Church from a similar outcome from The Voice of the Faithful.