Catholic Group Denied Church Access
By Jaye Watson
WXIA [Atlanta GA]
December 29, 2003
The members of Voice of the Faithful, a worldwide organization of over 30,000 practicing Catholics from more than 40 U.S. states and 21 countries, meet at local churches across the country, but not in Metro Atlanta.
The group, formed in the wake of the recent reports of sexual abuse in the church, has not been allowed to meet on church property by Archbishop John F. Donoghue.
John Dearie, who leads the local chapter, described the organization’s members as “Catholics who are involved in their parishes, serving in ministries, but deeply concerned about what has happened.”
The organization works to support the victims of abuse and to support “our excellent priests smeared by this scandal,” according to Dearie.
The group met with Archbishop Donoghue in September and asked for permission to hold their meetings on church property and to advertise them in the church bulletin.
Two weeks later, however, the group received a letter from the archbishop that said there was not a need for an advocacy group, the organization had subordinated his authority and compromised his duty govern effectively.
The letter also said the group would not be permitted to meet on the property of the Archdiocese of Atlanta nor use the church publication to further their association.
“Our bishop is one of a minority who have refused the Voice of the Faithful to meet in Diocesan facilities,” Dearie said.
11Alive News requested an interview with Diocesan officials but the calls were not returned.
Dearie hopes the bishop will change his mind, but, regardless the group will continue to meet monthly off church property.
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