Sunday, October 5, 2003

'Time to take back church'

Get involved, Catholic group tells members

By Dan Klepal
The Cincinnati Enquirer

MONTGOMERY - The sex-abuse scandal that has enveloped the Roman Catholic Church for the better part of two years in the United States has brought Catholics a few gifts - along with the terrible pain and suffering to those victims of abuse.

For one, it has awakened the masses.

That was the message Saturday from the Rev. Donald Cozzins, keynote speaker at the first Voice of the Faithful conference in Greater Cincinnati, held at Good Shepherd Church Community Center.

"We are witness to the unraveling of the last feudal system in the west," Cozzins said to thunderous applause from the 250 people participating in the conference. "The feudal system depends on the serfs - in this case the laity - being uneducated. The most significant gift this scandal brought us is a laity who will no longer be treated as less than full adult members of the church they love.

"They are no longer serfs."

Formed in Boston at the beginning of the abuse scandal, Voice of the Faithful now has more than 3,000 members nationwide. The group's goals are to support victims of priest abuse; support priests of integrity; and shape structural change within the church.

Cozzins said it is the right of every Catholic to question the traditional structure of the church, which he said is partly to blame for keeping secret the abuse of priests.

"It is time for all of us to say: I am here as an adult Catholic who loves the church and I have some questions," he said.

Nan Fischer, chair of the Cincinnati chapter and regional coordinator for Voice of the Faithful, agreed.

"We have all suffered, because we really care about the future," Fischer said. "We want to make sure it doesn't happen again, we want to help in healing the survivors and we want to return a higher power to the church."


Voice of the Faithful

Suspects: 'You talk, you die'
Officials seek plan to protect witnesses
Ring suspected of stealing dogs
Support sought for road

PULFER: October's the pinkest month - for a good reason
BRONSON: Sheriff was left out of Bush's visit
CROWLEY: Candidates pull punches in gubernatorial debate
HOWARD: Good Things Happening

'Time to take back church,' Catholic groups says
Flower and Farm Fest continues today
Freedom Center honors pioneers
Tradition begins at Bilkers
Tell us what you think
A diploma long overdue
Regional Report

Candidates adjust to school changes
Inside City Hall: Lynch donors expand
Questions and answers about vote registration
Election calendar

Obituary: Patria Brown's energy, activities belied her age
Obituary: Bruce Goldstein 'was just there for everybody else'

Two Miami U. workers make different choices
Mason road plan worries residents
Macy's parade to borrow Firecrackers for show

Fire truck takes fallen fighter to funeral
OSU adds four essay questions to undergraduate applications
Vultures' onslaught terrorizes livestock
Ohio Moments: Battle of the Thames ended Tecumseh's fight

Small town sees big growth ahead
Church devoting special day to pastor
Maryland investors plan horse center