Voice of the Faithful nears silence UPDATE

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The economic crisis may have an unlikely casualty: Voice of the Faithful, the Catholic lay reform group created in response to the sex abuse crisis, is nearing insolvency. According to a fundraising appeal and news service stories, the group will fold by the end of the month if it doesn't raise $60,000 to cover its operating expenses. Even if it manages that feat, its future survival depends on the success of a strategic plan meant to go into effect in August.

Though it was never welcomed by bishops--many of whom refused to allow the group to meet on church property--VOTF tried to find a middle way. More conservative than its much older counterpart, Call to Action, VOTF focused more on safety for children, accountability for bishops, and greater lay involvement in the financial governance of the church.

It will be a loss if VOTF finally folds; we might wish for a more institutional body like it, a group of committed laypeople diocese by diocese who assist the bishop in the ministry of governance. If VOTF's reception by the bishops was any indication, that's not likely to happen soon.

UPDATE: On July 21 the Associated Press reported the VOTF had managed to raise $63,000--enough to keep it solvent until it can get its funding situation in order. Let's hope they can keep it together...