Faithful Voice Is Muted by Archdiocese

By Don Singleton
New York Daily News
October 5, 2003

The New York Archdiocese couldn't stop Voice of the Faithful from holding a major conference in the city this month.

But the Catholic Church drew the line last week on helping the group, which was formed in response to the church's ongoing scandal involving pedophile priests, promote its big meeting at Fordham University - even for money.

The one-day conference, "Being Catholic in the 21st Century - Crisis, Challenge and Opportunity," is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 25, at Fordham University, with a full roster of speakers.

But last Monday, the New York Archdiocese turned down the group's application to place a paid advertisement in this month's editions of Catholic New York, the official archdiocesan publication.

This left the Voice with a case of laryngitis, said Marie Ford Reilly, the conference coordinator.

"We've had multiple committees working on this for several months, and we were depending on advertising to get the word out," Reilly said.

"Last week, our marketing committee submitted a paid ad to Catholic New York, and we were told it had to be reviewed and approved," she said. "Are all ads reviewed like this? They said no."

The rejection came Monday morning, and there was no appeal, Reilly said.

"This is a conference organized by Catholics for Catholics to discuss issues we face as Catholics," she said.

A notice on the Voice of the Faithful Web site described the goal of the meeting this way: "Together, we want to ensure that the abuse of children and the abuse of power do not recur and together, we want to define and work toward a stronger, healthier church in the 21st century."

"It has been a surprise to us that we have been denied access to this means of reaching our fellow Catholics in the New York area.

"And I hope that eventually the church will come to trust Catholics to make good choices about which events they want to attend."

A spokesman for the archdiocese could not be reached for comment.


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