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faithful ... to what?

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jun 28, 2004

Nice work by Otto Clemson Hiss in isolating this pearl of VOTF candor from an article on Oakland Bishop Alan Vigneron from the San Francisco Chronicle.

"(Vigneron) claims that Voice of the Faithful is advocating the ordination of women, but we take no position on church doctrine," said Peter Davey, who leads the group's Easy Bay chapter.

Got that? "No position on church doctrine." So what becomes of VOTF's motto "Keep the Faith, Change the Church"? If they pretend to no position on what the Church teaches, their "faith" is entirely devoid of content. These are not Catholics -- to be Catholic means to take a position on Church teaching -- but ex-Catholics who have not yet formalized their apostasy, "defectors in place," in the jargon of Sandra Schneiders. Davey's admission is as final as it is succinct.

It's an occasion of shame, then, that VOTF members in many parts of the country appear to be the only persons publicly calling the bishops and religious superiors to stand accountable for their derelictions of duty. It should be believing, orthodox Catholics -- not dissenters and crypto-apostates -- who are in the vanguard here. Though Davey and (say) Diogenes may deplore the same clerical crimes, our purposes are contradictory. The distinction seems too subtle for many people, but I insist that there really is a difference between the man who objects to Bishop Ziemann's boffing Father Salas because it's intrinsically evil and because it mutilates his episcopal office, and the man whose objections would be withdrawn if Ziemann and Salas were in a "committed relationship." There's a difference in saying, "You're a scoundrel for not doing what you promised us to do," and, "You're a scoundrel for not doing what I've decided you should do." I'm calling for bishops who believe what Irenaeus believed and behave as Irenaeus behaved. Davey's calling for bishops who believe what Davey believes and behave accordingly. Not the same.

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  • Posted by: - Jun. 30, 2004 8:58 PM ET USA

    "...said Peter Davey, who leads the group's Easy Bay chapter." Apt name for the chapter, I should think.

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