The Voice of the Faithful Story
Founding Member, Voice of the Faithful
When the faithful speak, the faithful listen. And so it has been
for these months of our fleeting infancy and explosive growth. From
25 people gathered on a January Monday evening at St. John the Evangelist
church in Wellesley, Massachusetts, to standing-room-only crowds
exceeding 700 all spring, to tens of thousands of members today
throughout the world, the group that has become Voice of the Faithful
has shared our outrage, pain, deep love of Church, and commitment
to act. Mainstream Catholics are talking as never before
to each other and to Church leadership.
The realization that clergy sexual abuse had infected the Catholic priesthood might have driven us far from our Church. Instead, Voice placed the victims first in our mission statement.
The understanding that the great majority of fine priests would suffer by association might have been lost. Instead, Voice placed priests second in our mission statement.
The discovery of a costly cover-up engineered by Church officials and born of abuse of power might have alienated all. Instead, Voice placed structural change third in our mission statement.
Here marked the end of "pay, pray, and obey" Catholicism. And here
marked the beginning of what Catholic priest and author Henri Nouwen
noted of lives lived in hope they are lives of "prayer, community,
This crisis has brought faithful Catholics all over the world to
their feet - first by ones and twos, and now by the tens of thousands.
Over 4,000 of us met for the first time at our convention,
"Response of the Faithful," on July 20th in Boston. Our mission
is nourished by each other as we continue a Spirit-driven dialogue
toward a stronger Catholic Church. Good hearts and discerning minds
are determined that the voice of the laity will never be silent
Our God-given gifts are everywhere evident, materializing, it has
seemed, at the very moment of need. We have traveled far with friends
and one-time strangers - from folding and unfolding hundreds of
chairs to Web site design, management and enhancement; from hours
of listening to hours of organizing; from endless questions to workable
answers; from 37 supporters on our month-old Web site to over 25,000
today. How fortunate is our Church! Rainer Maria Rilke's poem has
fresh resonance "All will come again into its strength …
lest we remain unused."