Child abuse is not the only the item on the agenda in Dallas. Pressure groups, with extensive coverage from the secular media, are taking advantage of the crisis to foment revolution inside the Church.
In the June 13 issue of The Dallas Morning News, the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) is publishing the text of a letter sent to the bishops expressing precisely this concern. The TFP claims an alliance of the secular media and reformist pressure groups is expanding the problem from child molestation to Church government and doctrine.
“What we need is a restoration of the true moral and doctrinal teachings of the Church and energetic action,” claims TFP president Raymond Drake who signed the letter. “We don’t need calls for revolution.”
The TFP letter cites as an example the Boston-based Voice of the Faithful (VOTF), a movement that sprouted up in the midst of the present controversy and calls for reform of church structures. VOTF leaders see themselves as American patriots, with allusions to “the Boston Tea Party,” and the use of slogans like “no donation without representation.”
Long-standing groups such as Call to Action and others who hold positions that often clash with Church teaching have also rallied around the groundswell of legitimate concern with agenda in hand.
Far from denying the very real crisis inside the Church, the TFP takes note of the manner in which the present crisis is paraded before the public on every occasion. It also points out that a veritable media-reformist alliance seeks to undermine the trust of the faithful in all clergy.
By creating a “hurricane of pressure,” reformists create the conditions for presenting a range of demands to the bishops: empower the laity; eliminate, curtail, or render meaningless all priestly, episcopal, and papal authority; make priestly celibacy optional; ordain women; and change Church morality.
The TFP letter cites articles in the May 27 issue of America magazine where church figures compare the present crisis to the Reformation and the French Revolution. The letter claims that a general assembly of lay people to be consulted on all issues demanded by groups like VOTF is very similar to the French Revolution’s Estates General.
The American TFP insists that these reformist pressure groups do not represent average American Catholics who are extremely concerned with the crisis and their hearts bleed for the victims of so much abuse.
“However, they stand by the Church’s hierarchical structure,” Mr. Drake reiterates. “Their hearts are not those of revolutionary firebrands but of deeply hurt but faithful sons and daughters of the Church.”
The American TFP, a civic organization of Catholic inspiration, is currently involved in a campaign centered on an analysis of the scandals titled “The Church, Holy and Immortal, Shall Prevail!” The TFP has published it as a full-page ad in newspapers throughout the country. In addition, hundreds of thousands of flyers with the TFP statement are circulating in Catholic parishes.