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Boston Archdiocese blocks funds from reform group

Donations from a Catholic reform group whose new fund is intended to let Catholics give directly to church charities will not be accepted by the Archdiocese of Boston, diocesan officials say.

Voice of the Faithful, a non-clergy reform group borne out of the priest sex abuse scandal, has proposed creating a fund that would bypass the church hierarchy and give directly to archdiocese charities.

But Donna Morrissey, spokeswoman for Cardinal Bernard Law, said in a statement on Monday that the approach "does not recognise the role of the archbishop and his responsibility in providing for the various programs and activities of the church."

Mike Emerton, a spokesman for Voice of the Faithful, said the group was "a little confused" by the announcement because it had not fully explained the fund to the archdiocese.

Last month, the archdiocese said it would reduce its budget by a third, cutting 15 positions as well as aid to parishes, schools and hospitals. Officials blamed the struggling economy.

The lay Catholic group held its first national meeting on Saturday in Boston and says it has grown to 19,000 members in five months. The group is calling for drastic changes in the way the church is governed.

The archdiocese said the annual Cardinal's Appeal is the proper way for parishioners to donate to the church.

The Rev. Christopher Coyne, an archdiocese spokesman, said donations to the Cardinal's Appeal are down because of the sexual abuse scandal and the weak economy. He did not specify how much donations have dropped.

Voice of the Faithful says its alternative fund will allow parishioners to keep giving to charities - many of which have been hurt by drop-offs in donations since the scandal broke - while avoiding supporting church officials.

Archdiocese of Boston: July 22, 2002 - Statement of Donna M. Morrissey, Spokeswoman, Archdiocese of Boston on Voice of the Faithful Collections
Archdiocese of Boston
Voice of the Faithful
Law to reject donations from Voice of the Faithful (Boston Globe)


24 Jul 2002