Monday, February 20, 2006

Parishioners say "no thanks" to VOTF

Earlier this month, VOTF sent out a frantic call to action; i.e., to disrupt a Sunday Mass at Saint Joseph's Parish in Mendham, NJ, on the grounds that the parish's new pastor was "not in keeping with a parish formed in Vatican II spirituality."

At first the protest was scheduled for February 12; hours later it was rescheduled for February 26.

Now, it's the parishioners' request.

From an e-mail forwarded to me today:

The call to join St. Joseph parishioners in Mendham on February 26th for the celebration of the liturgy, and a potential demonstration, in conjunction with the bishop’s visit, has been called off. The decision to do so was made last week by St. Joseph parishioners.

VOTF issued an Action Alert on February 8th in support of St. Joseph parishioners. The plan was to join them in the celebration of the 10:30 AM liturgy, and if the issue of parish finances arose, to leave the pews and proceed outside to demonstrate with them in support of the concerns they have attempted to address with their pastor, and subsequently with the bishop.

Some sleight o' hand going on here.

The initial letter made it clear that this protest was initiated by ex-parishioners, not "parishioners." This, of course, might be a bit of face-saving on VOTF's part, but that doesn't make it true. In fact, it makes it false.

Still, they try.

VOTF initiated the Action Alert at the invitation of St. Joseph parishioners, as a support to their objectives, and as an activity consistent with VOTF’s goals. Due to their current assessment of their situation, we have recalled it. VOTF does not wish to force any action on anyone or to interfere with any parish and its self-definition.

No, "the invitation" came from ex-parishioners. And the irony of the claim that the organization "does not wish to...interfere with any parish" is priceless. It's my guess that the rebuff has set VOTF noses painfully out of joint.

One final bit o' bluster:

Canon 212 recognizes the duty of the faithful “to manifest to their sacred pastors their opinions on matters which pertain to the good of the Church.” To the bishops, Lumen Gentium 27 warns: “Let him not refuse to listen to his subjects.” (Come to think of it “subjects” does sound a bit dated. Perhaps it is time for the laity to call another council.)

Perhaps it's time for VOTF to face the music and dance...right off the floor and out of the picture.