Here's the drivel from VOTF about their collaboration with the Cardinal and the Vicar General and the RCAB:
(While the August Boston Council meeting has been cancelled, if you would like to find out more about our meeting with the Cardinal, you are invited to attend the Boston Council Board meeting scheduled this Wednesday, August 9, at 7:00 p.m. at Our Lady Help of Christians in Newton.)
¡§We are approaching this (meeting) in a spirit of collaboration and trust, a spirit we hope you share.¡¨
¡§The purpose of this meeting is to initiate and formalize an on-going relationship and to discuss areas where the Boston Council might assist in renewing the church in Boston.¡¨
We are committed to implementing the spirit of Vatican II where church is the community of believers, open for all and to all, where lay people work alongside religious to honor God and to carry out His example.¡¨
- Excerpts from the transmittal letter to Cardinal Sean O¡¦Malley prior to our meeting with him.
Dear Members and Friends of the Boston Area Voice of the Faithful Council,
Last Friday, August 4, was a good day for the Boston Area VOTF Council. After three years, Cardinal Sean O¡¦Malley met again with Voice of the Faithful, a first for the Boston Council. We believe this is a step forward.
In addition to Cardinal Sean, Fr. Richard Erickson, Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia, Fr. Robert Kickham, Secretary to the Cardinal, and Terrence Donilon, Director of Media Relations, were in attendance. You were represented by Dorothy Kennedy, President of the Boston Council, Sheila Connors Grove, Vice President, John Hynes, former Chair of the Boston Council Steering Committee, and Elia Marnik, Boston Council Board member and member of the VOTF Protecting our Children working group.
We kept our agenda contained as we knew time would be limited. In preparation we sent a package to the archdiocese prior to the meeting providing information about us, the purpose of the meeting, the agenda, VOTF, Boston Council accomplishments, etc. The quotes above are from the letter of transmittal sent with that package.
Our meeting covered: „X Introductions - Our Backgrounds / Who We Were „X Brief Overview of the Agenda and What We Hoped to Accomplish „X Discussion on the ¡§Protecting our Children¡¨ Initiative „X Archdiocesan Registry of Abusers „X Discussion on VOTF and Concerns on ¡§Our Positions¡¨ „X Discussion on Areas Where We Might Collaborate „X Wrap-up and Plan for Future Meetings
After introductions (Fr. Erickson, a trained sociologist in the job for seven weeks, spoke about his clerical and military experience), we spoke about an existing, on-going collaboration between the archdiocese and VOTF¡¦s Protecting Our Children working group. We stated that collaboration like this can help heal the church. Suggestions were made, like having a ¡§Safety Sunday¡¨ to enhance our children¡¦s safety and having VOTF be members of the standing committees of this RCAB initiative.
This led into a discussion on the Statute of Limitations bills and a diocesan registry of abusers. Eleven dioceses already do something in this area. We committed to get back to the Cardinal on the civil Statute of Limitations issues since we did not have a mutual understanding of the proposed laws.
We spoke briefly about Voice of the Faithful, its mission and three goals.
This we did due to a comment made in a letter received by a parish who had asked for their VOTF affiliate to meet on church property. The letter stated that ¡§¡Ksome of the positions (of VOTF) that are put forth are of some concern to him (the Cardinal)¡¨. There was no information on what these ¡§positions¡¨ were, so we asked. The Cardinal had two perceptions:
1) that VOTF is an organization some of whose members hold dissident teachings and 2) negative, ¡§mean-spirited¡¨ statements are sometimes made by VOTF in the press. We reiterated that as an organization of committed Catholics, our focus is on our mission and goals. We do not have another agenda. An ongoing relationship and regular dialogue with the archdiocese would improve this perspective. We did ask Cardinal Sean and Fr. Erickson for a commitment to reconsider the ban on VOTF meetings.
There was good interaction and dialogue throughout the meeting. Unfortunately time ran out so our discussion about areas of collaboration was held with Fr. Erickson only. We spoke about how the abuse crisis, reconfiguration, and other areas may have been different if laity and clergy had worked in concert. We emphasized that working together as church was the only way we would heal and again be strong. We stated that if that does not happen, we would continue working alone toward our mission and goals. We asked to meet again. Fr. Erickson is hopeful that we will have another meeting but was not willing to commit for the Cardinal.
Overall, we were pleased with the meeting. It is a start. We approached it in the spirit of Vatican II church as the last quote above states and we attempted to represent you to the best of our abilities. We are optimistic but also realistic about the future. What we do know and what we made very clear is that whatever happens, we will continue to vigorously pursue VOTF¡¦s mission and goals.
While the August Boston Council meeting has been cancelled, if you would like to find out more about our meeting with the Cardinal, you are invited to attend the Boston Council Board meeting scheduled this Wednesday, August 9, at 7:00 p.m. at Our Lady Help of Christians in Newton.