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 Latest coverage

March 23
Law's words frame new play

March 2
Wary Catholics return to church

January 25, 2004
Churches report attendance up

January 4, 2004
Dot parish struggles to survive

December 28
Hudson fill-in priest welcomed

December 12
Law prays daily for diocese

November 22
Assignment for Law expected

November 20
Policies on VOTF reconsidered

September 19
Crisis issues in church's future

September 18
Meeting ban at parish is lifted

August 4
O'Malley given warm welcome

August 1
Lawmakers see shades of gray

July 31
An angry protest, and prayers
Voices of protest and support
Three in crowd bound in hope
At BC, optimistic students watch

July 29
Lay group to engage O'Malley

July 24
Many outraged after AG's report

July 21
Law to skip bishop installation

July 18
O'Malley invites Law, victims

July 11
Bishops seek private opinions

Earlier stories

Spotlight Report

  Voice of the Faithul began as a small gathering of laity in the basement of St. John the Evangelist Church in Wellesley, far left. In July 2002, more than 4,000 members met in Boston for the group's first national convention.
(Globe Staff Photos)

IN-DEPTH

The rise of Voice of the Faithful

As the clergy abuse scandal enveloped the Archdiocese of Boston in early 2002, a small group of concerned Catholics began gathering in the basement of St. John the Evangelist Church in Wellesley to discuss the crisis. From those humble beginnings, the group blossomed into Voice of the Faithful, a 25,000-member national organization pushing to give the laity a greater voice in policies of the Catholic Church.

April 14, 2002
Reclaiming their church
By Eileen McNamara, Globe Columnist
Cardinal Bernard F. Law would have been better served these last painful weeks in the company not of sycophantic subordinates but of a newly empowered laity.

April 25, 2002
Lay leaders express caution, optimism
By Corey Dade and Matt Carroll, Globe Staff
The summit between American Catholic leaders and Vatican officials struck many of the church's lay leaders, including members of the burgeoning Voice of the Faithful, as an encouraging sign that could help spur reforms.

April 27, 2002
Law seeks to curb organizing by laity
By Michael Paulson, Globe Staff
Cardinal Bernard F. Law is cracking down on efforts by lay Catholics to organize in Greater Boston, ordering priests not to cooperate with an evolving coalition of parish leaders.

May 1, 2002
Catholics drawn to lay group in Wellesley
By Michael Paulson, Globe Staff
In the basement of a parish school at Saint John the Evangelist Church, a quiet revolution is brewing.

May 24, 2002
Activist group told to work 'with and under' Law
By Michael Paulson, Globe Staff
A top aide to Cardinal Bernard F. Law yesterday told a delegation of leading lay activists that they have a right to meet, but that their fast-growing organization should operate only "with and under the bishop of the diocese."

July 16, 2002
Let church reform begin
By James Carroll, Globe Columnist
Next Saturday, thousands of Catholic lay people will gather at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston to respond to the catastrophe caused by priests abusing children and by bishops protecting abusers instead of victims.

July 17, 2002
New Catholic reform groups at a crossroads
By Michael Paulson, Globe Staff
In a moment of expected triumph for advocates of change in the Catholic Church, several thousand laypeople, joined by numerous priests and nuns, are planning to descend on the Hynes Convention Center in Boston Saturday for a daylong show of strength.

July 20, 2002
Catholic group to rate bishops
By Michael Paulson, Globe Staff
Taking their first steps to try to claim more power for laypeople within the Catholic Church, leaders of Voice of the Faithful said they will begin publicly evaluating bishops around the country.

July 21, 2002
Lay Catholics issue call to transform their church
By Michael Paulson, Globe Staff
Some 4,000 Roman Catholics from across the United States gathered in Boston and vowed to transform a church that they say betrayed them by failing to protect children from sexual abuse

July 21, 2002
Small group has big goals
By Thomas Farragher, Globe Staff
Voice of the Faithful members wanted their religious leaders to know the drumbeat for change that rumbled through the Hynes Convention Center yesterday was only the beginning.

July 23, 2002
Law to reject donations from Voice of the Faithful
By Sacha Pfeiffer and Matt Carroll, Globe Staff
Cardinal Bernard F. Law's first response to the fast-growing lay reform movement Voice of the Faithful was to refuse to accept charitable donations raised by the group.

July 24, 2002
The politics of giving
By Eileen McNamara, Globe Columnist
Your donations need not go begging if the clergy sex abuse scandal has undermined your confidence in the integrity of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.

July 24, 2002
In rift with Law, agency to accept lay group's funds
By Stephen Kurkjian and Michael Rezendes, Globe Staff
In a rebuff to Cardinal Bernard F. Law, officials with Catholic Charities said that the organization will accept donations from the newly formed lay group Voice of the Faithful.

July 25, 2002
The Cardinal's rebuff
A Boston Globe Editorial
Cardinal Bernard Law's rejection of faithful Catholics who want to support the church's charitable activities but not through the archdiocesan hierarchy was remarkable for its clumsiness, even more so for the way it mirrored the church posture earlier this year that alienated so many parishioners.

July 26, 2002
Catholic Charities shifts on lay group's fund-raising
By Sacha Pfeiffer and Stephen Kurkjian, Globe Staff
Contrary to earlier statements, Catholic Charities said that the organization will not accept donations from the lay reform group Voice of the Faithful until its 50-member board of trustees has voted on the issue.

August 2, 2002
Lay group works toward $1m goal
By Christopher Rowland, Globe Staff
The grass-roots group is trying to organize with a paid staff, a concerted fund-raising effort, and a war room where it is mapping a strategy for national growth.

August 8, 2002
Voice of the Faithful's appeal inspires new chapter in area
By Emily Shartin, Globe Staff Correspondent
Responding to the priest sexual-abuse scandal that has engulfed the Catholic Church, members of a cluster of parishes in Plymouth, Kingston and Carver are establishing a local chapter of Voice of the Faithful.

August 8, 2002
Op-Ed: Cardinal Law's $10 million mistake
By James E. Post
Cardinal Bernard Law's decision to refuse contributions from a charitable fund called the ''Voice of Compassion'' is an unwise and costly mistake.

August 11, 2002
Sharon church to establish Voice of the Faithful chapter
By Judith Forman, Globe Staff Correspondent
Following the lead of several local - and national - churches, members of Our Lady of Sorrows in Sharon are forming a chapter of Voice of the Faithful to give lay members a chance for a more active role in the Catholic Church.

August 14, 2002
Bishops are behind curve
By Eileen McNamara, Globe Columnist
The Voice of the Faithful will need to stage regular public readings of documents from the Second Vatican Council that make the case for a broader role for the laity in the church.

August 17, 2002
Push is on to quell Voice of Faithful
By Michael Paulson, Globe Staff
Voice of the Faithful is facing growing opposition from conservative corners of the Catholic Church, as well as from a few bishops who are kicking the group off church property.

August 21, 2002
Lay group responds to conservatives
By Michael Paulson, Globe Staff
The president of Voice of the Faithful, seeking to counter conservative criticism of the growing lay Catholic organization, yesterday sent an e-mail to 22,000 members defending the group's faithfulness to Catholic teachings and apologizing for inviting one controversial speaker to the group's convention.

September 16, 2002
Church meets dissenting voices with silence
By Michael Paulson, Globe Staff
Many of the region's Catholics are engaged in a broad and wide open debate over the future of their church. But Cardinal Bernard F. Law and his auxiliary bishops are not participating in that debate.

October 1, 2002
Bishop bans group from meetings at parish
By Michael Paulson, Globe Staff
In the first clear sign of a local crackdown on a Catholic group pressing for change in the church, a bishop in Boston has ordered a parish in North Andover to bar a chapter of Voice of the Faithful from meeting on church property.

October 4, 2002
Catholic group fights bishop over banning from church
By Michael Paulson, Globe Staff
Voice of the Faithful issued a written demand that the bishop who banned it from using a church hall in North Andover reverse his order and apologize.

October 5, 2002
Keating questions banning of lay group
By Michael Paulson, Globe Staff
Governor Frank Keating of Oklahoma, the man US Catholic bishops have chosen to oversee the church's efforts to address a clergy sexual abuse crisis, said yesterday he is baffled by a Boston bishop's banning of the lay group Voice of the Faithful from church property.

October 6, 2002
Churches vote to back role of laity
By Steven Rosenberg, Globe Staff Correspondent
Parishioners from three North Shore Catholic churches who voted last month to affiliate with the Voice of the Faithful organization insist they're not out to start a revolution.

October 6, 2002
Bring democracy to the church
By Bella English, Globe Staff
The "new normal" Catholic Church should look a lot more democratic. And that's what Voice of the Faithful is trying to do.

October 11, 2002
Group and Law seen at odds on donation plan
By Michael Rezendes, Globe Staff
Voice of the Faithful is preparing to offer the Boston Archdiocese $62,000 in donations for the poor, money Law has signaled that he will reject.

October 13, 2002
Law relaxes ban on lay group's meetings
By Michael Paulson, Globe Staff
Cardinal Bernard F. Law declared that a Catholic lay group should be allowed to meet in a North Andover church, but he also said that he does not want any new chapters of the Voice of the Faithful to meet in church halls in the Archdiocese of Boston.

October 16, 2002
Funds offered to cardinal, on condition
By Michael Paulson, Globe Staff
Voice of the Faithful said yesterday it has offered $56,000 to Cardinal Bernard F. Law, with the provision that the money be spent on local Catholic ministries, and not on Law's own administration.

October 24, 2002
Law said to soften stance toward group
By Matt Carroll, Globe Staff
Cardinal Bernard F. Law told about 400 priests that he hoped to sit down with leaders of Voice of the Faithful.

November 26, 2002
Cardinal, Voice of Faithful to meet
By Michael Paulson, Globe Staff
Cardinal Bernard F. Law is scheduled to meet today for the first time with leaders of Voice of the Faithful.

November 27, 2002
In his first meeting with Voice of Faithful, Law seeks answers
By Michael Paulson, Globe Staff
Cardinal Bernard F. Law yesterday met for the first time with leaders of Voice of the Faithful, not responding to either of the group's central requests.

December 12, 2002
Lay group votes to seek cardinal's ouster
By Thomas Farragher, Globe Staff
A group of moderate Catholics formed in the wake of the clergy sexual abuse scandal last night voted to demand Cardinal Bernard F. Law's ouster.

December 15, 2002
Lay reform groups, priests are reassessing their roles
By Michael Paulson, Globe Staff
As Pope John Paul II accepted the resignation of Cardinal Bernard F. Law, a new breed of reluctant activists faces a challenging question: Can they, and should they, continue to battle, now that their primary foe is gone?

December 17, 2002
Catholic Charities accepts donation from lay group
By Walter V. Robinson, Globe Staff
Catholic Charities has accepted $56,035 raised by the lay activist group Voice of the Faithful.

December 18, 2002
Bishop faults accepting money
By Walter V. Robinson, Globe Staff
The vicar general of the Archdiocese of Boston chastised Catholic Charities for accepting $56,035 from the lay group Voice of the Faithful without getting archdiocesan approval.

January 10, 2003
Group presses Lennon to meet
By Michael Paulson, Globe Staff
The president of Voice of the Faithful yesterday criticized Bishop Richard G. Lennon for not meeting with the lay group and for not being accessible over the last several weeks.


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