The 10th anniversary conference of Voice of the Faithful (VOTF) in Boston this month proved to be anything but "faithful" to the teaching authority of the Catholic Church.
TheMediaReport.com was there when Jamie L. Manson, a writer for the dissident newspaper National Catholic Reporter, unleashed a vitriolic attack on Catholics who have the audacity to be faithful to the Magisterium.
The title of Manson's talk was "Church and young Catholics: Is there a future?" but Manson reserved her harshest venom for those young Catholics who have celebrated Church orthodoxy. After deriding those who would attend "World Youth Day," Manson unleashed a barrage that can only described as bigoted, condescending, and nasty.
According to Manson, orthodox Catholics:
- "don't want to see women's equality in church or even in society" (!);
- "do not want to see gays and lesbians and transgendered people treated with dignity";
- "are in denial about the sex abuse crisis";
- "are afraid of cultural flux and uncertainty"; and
- "are afraid of the world."
Without providing a shred of proof to support her attack, Manson also went on to imply that young, orthodox Catholics are "not immersed in the world." She then accused the institutional Church, which she compared to a "burning building," of creating a Church of "exclusivity" and "orthodoxy tests."
It was truly mean stuff. But, then again, Manson is shilling a dissident, anti-Church agenda. Manson has served on the board of the "Women's Ordination Conference" and has been active with a gay, lesbian, and transgender advocacy group called "Dignity USA." (While studying at Yale Divinity School, she worked under the dissident theologian Sr. Margaret Farley (a fact that drew applause from the sea of white hair at the conference).)
But first there was Phyllis
The night before Manson's assault, VOTF presented the National Catholic Reporter's Phyllis Zagano with the group's "St. Catherine of Siena Award."
Fortunately, Zagano was not nearly as choleric as Manson. However, from the way Zagano spoke of St. Catherine, one would have thought that the 14th-century figure was an anti-hierarchical zealot who was forcefully muffled by an all-male clergy. Instead, Catherine was an admired advocate who fought for the unification of the Church in a time of schism and was a pioneer whom the Church declared a saint within a century of her death and later a Doctor of the Church.
As numerous biographies have noted (this, this, and this, for example), so deep was her thirst to serve Christ and the Church, Catherine once cut off her hair in her youth as an act of defiance to her family, who ardently opposed her wishes for a religious life and wanted her to get married. And within a few years after her brash move (which was suggested by a Dominican friar, by the way), Catherine convinced her family of her desires, and she was soon donning the habit of a Dominican tertiary. The rest is history.
However, when talking about the life of St. Catherine, Zagano implied that that Catherine believed that "the only way" for her to speak the Gospel in her era of a male-dominated Church was to cut off her hair, "abandon her femininity," and become like a man. "How like today!" Zagano exclaimed.
The real agenda surfaces
Predictably, Zagano addressed a recurring theme from many at VOTF: women's ordination. Zagano has long argued that the Catholic Church can, and should, ordain women as deacons. She reiterated this point in her speech, and near the end of her speech, she added:
"Will any of the goals of Voice of the Faithful or the hopes of women for ordination be met? I would advise: don't quit. Don't quit, because if what you do is from the Lord, it cannot be stopped and it cannot be denied."
Although Zagano did not explicitly make any case at all for women in the priesthood, one could not help but wonder if the audience was inferring that she was. And if there were any doubt that the VOTF crowd of aging left-wingers want to see women in the priesthood, prominently displayed near the entrance of an exhibition room at the conference was the following can't-miss poster:
Yes, the same Roy Bourgeois: the staunch advocate for female "priests," whom VOTF nominated for its "Priest of Integrity Award" in 2009. Bourgeois is also a favorite fundraiser for the National Catholic Reporter.
Stay tuned for more about the 2012 VOTF Conference in the coming weeks.