In a post last week, I mentioned that a progressive Catholic organization, Voice of the Faithful (VOTF), was in danger of closing its national office due to inadequate operating funds.  Apparently, the word got out in a big way, and VOTF has just issued a press release announcing that more than enough has been raised to keep the national office operational.

Boston –One week after announcing an urgent need for financial support, Voice of the Faithful reports that donors have responded with more than $63,000 to date and still coming.

‘We are deeply grateful to our many generous donors and encouraged by their sentiments of support,” said Bill Casey, Chairman of the Board of Trustees. “Their response is a testament to the important work that Voice of the Faithful does. It also reinvigorates the organization as we work toward the release of new initiatives aimed at transforming the Catholic Church.

The release also referenced the annual meeting of the organization scheduled to take place in Long Island on Oct 30-31.

VOTF is one of the Catholic reform groups that is joining others under the umbrella “American Catholic Council.”  Their first gathering is scheduled for Pentecost in two years, June 10-11, 2011 in Detroit.  According to the Council’s website:

American Catholic Council is a coalition of organizations, communities and individuals (many involved in American Catholic Church reform) calling for discussion at every level of the Catholic Church in the United States to consider the state and future of our Church.  We believe our Church is at another turning point in its history. We recall the promise of the Second Vatican Council for a renaissance through a radically inclusive understanding of the role and responsibilities of all the Baptized and an engaged relationship between the Church and the World reflecting the true meaning of the Incarnation for our times. This promise is eroding.  We will reinvigorate the Spirit of Vatican II and bring all the Baptized together to demonstrate our re-commitment. We seek nothing short of a personal conversion of all to create a new Church, fully in tune with the authentic Gospel message, the teachings of our Church, and the American context in which we live.   Our reading of the Signs of the Times, our strategic plan, and our agenda are set out in the Declaration set out on this site.  We will educate; we will listen; we will facilitate discussions and encounters; and, we will build toward an American Catholic Council at Pentecost 2011.

The website also quotes the words of Pope John XXIII:

It is not that the Gospel has changed: it is that we have begun to understand it better. Those who have lived as long as I have were faced with new tasks in the social order at the start of the century; those who, like me, were twenty years in the East and eight in France, were enabled to compare different cultures and traditions, and know that the moment has come to discern the signs of the times, to seize the opportunity and to look far ahead.

According to Catholic Online, which speaks critically of the group, other signatories include:  Call to Action, New Ways Ministry, Catholics for Choice, the Women’s Ordination Conference, Women-Church Convergance, the National Association of American Nuns (Sr. Jeanine Gramnick), the Catholic Diocese of One Spirit, and Dignity.

The Council has been the subject of competing blog posts here in Minnesota.  Ray of Mn in Stella Borealis refers to those who support the council as “the usual suspects.”

These malcontents are generally referred to by people who accept Church teachings as dissidents, or sometimes, apostates.

"Dissidents" are those who "disagree with beliefs. "Apostates" are people who have abandoned their religious faith.

What I don’t understand is why these impostors aren’t called heretics? "Heretics" are people who hold controversial opinions, especially, those who publicly oppose the officially accepted dogma of the Roman Catholic Church.

C’mon Ray.  Say what you really think!

Michael Bayly of The Wild Reed considers himself a target of Ray’s comments, and further wonders about the right-wing Catholics and their efforts to “evict those who disagree with them by treating them like unruly tenants.”

Lastly, another Mn blog, The Progressive Catholic Voice, announces:

Roy Bourgeois, a Maryknoll priest and founder of SOA Watch, is a nationally recognized advocate for peace and justice. He will share with us his perspective on the social injustices within Roman Catholicism, and offer a clear and compelling vision of the emerging church.

The Catholic Coalition for Church Reform (CCCR) is sponsoring this event as a major fundraiser for its Synod of the Baptized (“Claiming Our Place at the Table”) scheduled for September 18, 2010. Your generous contribution will help keep our costs (including admission) low. Donations are tax deductible.

DATE: Thursday, August 13, 2009
TIME: 7:30 p.m.
LOCATION: Park Pavilion at the Lake Elmo Park Reserve (North Shelter), Washington County Parks.

No doubt, more of the “usual suspects” will show up.