WHO WE ARE
The tragedy of priestly sexual abuse was brought to the attention of the American bishops long before January 2002 when the scandal erupted in the archdiocese of Boston. Since then similar stories from all over the country and abroad have become front page material.
Appalled by this news, parishioners at St. John Church in Wellesley, Massachusetts gathered to consider their responsibility for restoring the Church's good name. As a means of making their voices known, they organized Voice of the Faithful, which now numbers more than 40,000 members in 40 dioceses and 21 countries. See VOTF.org.
Throughout the nineties, the steady stream of revelations of sexual abuse by some priests and the cover-up of their activities by some bishops has also stunned Catholics in the Diocese of Bridgeport.
Inspired by the development of Voice of the Faithful in Boston, Catholics in Fairfield County organized affiliated chapters at St. Jerome Parish in Norwalk and St. Paul Parish in Greenwich. Parishioners from other parishes have been welcomed from the beginning.
In June the St. Jerome affiliate wrote to Bishop William E. Lori explaining our intention to study and reflect on Lumen Gentium, the Second Vatican Council's Dogmatic Constitution on the Church and expressing our desire to collaborate with him and the priests of the diocese in restoring the image of the Church, so badly tarnished by this scandal. We invited the bishop to meet with us.
In response Bishop Lori, through his representatives, on August 12, 2002 prohibited us from meeting on church property. On the next day he released that statement to the press. All our subsequent efforts to enter into dialogue with him and to obtain an explanation for his ban have been ignored.
As our membership was drawn from many parishes throughout the Diocese we incorporated ourselves on February 28, 2003 as Voice of the Faithful in the Diocese of Bridgeport, a non-profit entity under the laws of the State of Connecticut.
VOTF-Bridgeport, P.O. Box 5044, Westport, CT 06881