|Voice of the Faithful Hopes to Refocus Its Efforts
By Elana Zak
MetroWest Daily News
December 7, 2008
WELLESLEY — Voice of the Faithful, a Catholic lay organization started to help restructure the Catholic Church after the sexual abuse scandal, is giving itself a makeover.
Since its inception in a church basement in Wellesley six years ago, the group has looked to help support victims and priests after the embarrassing and costly scandal was revealed. In an effort to continue moving forward, group President Dan Bartley has outlined five key elements: Local action, safety and reform, global action, partnership and community.
Bartley said he hopes the changes will not only bring other Catholics to the group, but also help the organization raise the money it needs to continue operating.
"We have a branding issue which is we have not articulated very well ... who we are and what we're all about," said Bartley, speaking to almost 50 people at St. James the Great Church in Wellesley earlier this week. "The root cause turns out to be that we have a fairly disorganized, inefficient organizational structure that hinders our ability to develop and execute ... focus and plan."
While it now has more than 25,000 registered supporters nationwide, according to its Web site, the group has been controversial, with many feeling it is in oppostion to the Catholic Church. That is an image members hope will change with the new plan.
"I think that improving (the) plan will bring more Catholics into the organization because clarifying what we're about, what we do, what actions we're interested in, I think we'll get more Catholics aware that we're a centrist organization that's looking to improve the Catholic Church," Kathy Cerruti said, who drove from Scituate to attend the meeting.
Looking to recruit people to leadership positions, Bartley said Voice of the Faithful hopes to improve communication. It is also looking to attract younger members.
Many at the meeting seemed to agree with the basics of the plan. After Bartley's hourlong presentation, many people stayed to either sign up to volunteer or donate money.
"I thought he gave a very, very good presentation," said Stan Curran, MetroWest representative for the Boston chapter of the group. "It was well thought out and I think it has a possibility of success in the future. The way he's talking, this is going to be a bottom-up type of thing.
"We're going to work from the parishes, get the parishes working well and then it goes up to the hierarchy, get the hierarchy getting well there. That's the key."
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Elana Zak can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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