Voice of Faithful still kicking, looking at financial accountability

It’s been almost five years since Voice of the Faithful came together in Boston to call for a greater lay voice in the Catholic Church.

These days, you can’t say that VOF is thriving. The group has a tiny presence in most regions of the country and has hardly caught on in the Archdiocese of New York (there are only three or four chapters).

But Voice is surviving. An active group in the Diocese of Bridgeport continues to meet, bring in speakers and provide a lay voice — whether or not anyone is listening.

Tomorrow (Saturday, April 28), the Bridgeport group is holding a provocative conference at Fairfield University (in Fairfield, Conn.). It’s called: “Follow the Money: Financial Accountability in the Catholic Church.”

A few months ago, a Villanova University study found that, over a five-year period, money was embezzled from 85 percent of Catholic dioceses surveyed (45 percent of the nation’s dioceses responded). In 11 percent of the cases surveyed, the amount stolen exceeded $500,000.

Mary Pat Fox of NYC, who was elected national president of VOF last year, will speak about “Our role in financial accountability.”

A Jesuit, the Rev. Aloysius Kelley, the chair of Catholic studies at Fairfield U, will also take part, which some folks at the Diocese of Bridgeport probably won’t like.

The conference will go from 9:30 a.m. to about 4:30 p.m. at the Oak Room of the Barone Campus Center at Fairfield.

For information, go to the Bridgeport VOF “website”:http://www.votfbpt.org/ and look to the left.

Gary Stern

Gary Stern covered education in the Lower Hudson Valley for several years during the early 1990s. Now's he back on the beat. He believes that schools are one of the main reasons that people live around here and that educational issues -- from curriculum to financing -- are among the most challenging things that journalists can write about. He continues to be amazed by the complexity of educational jargon. Gary got his B.A. at SUNY Buffalo and his M.A. from the University of Missouri Journalism School (where his master's thesis was about the best ways to cover education). He lives in White Plains with his wife and two sons, who attend public schools.