Coastal Delmarva VOTF
Who Are We?
Voice of the Faithful [VOTF™] is a worldwide organization of
mainstream Catholics formed in response to the clergy sex abuse
scandal in the Catholic Church. It began as a "listening session" of 30
parishioners at St. John the Evangelist church in Wellesley,
Massachusetts. Within a year, VOTF had over 25,000 registered
supporters from 40 U.S. states and 21 countries worldwide, and it
continues to grow. This extraordinary growth has been fueled by our
desire to promote dialogue between laity and clergy as we collaborate to
renew and strengthen all areas of Church life.
The Coastal Delmarva Affiliate of VOTF was formed in 2003 by a group
of Catholics living in Bethany Beach, Delaware. We are not organized
under the auspices of any particular parish and welcome members from
Who Belongs to Voice of the Faithful?
VOTF members are thousands of faith-filled Catholics who have served
at the heart of Catholic parishes for decades. We are the "people in the
pews" who teach CCD classes, proclaim the Good News as lectors at
Mass, speak out for social justice, sing in the choir, take communion to
the sick, and serve as Eucharistic Ministers, ushers, deacons, and
Parish Council members.
What Is Our Mission?
Our mission is "to provide a prayerful voice, attentive to the Spirit,
through which the Faithful can actively participate in the governance and
guidance of the Catholic Church." VOTF members do not seek to
change Church teachings. VOTF does seek an active role for laypersons
in Church decision making related to finance, personnel assignments,
and policies that protect our children, honor the rights of victim/survivors
and their families, and support due process for the accused.
What Are Our Goals?
· To support victims of clergy sexual abuse
· To support priests of integrity
· To shape structural change within the Church
What Do We Mean by "Structural Change" within the Church?
The documents of the Second Vatican Council proclaim that lay
Catholics have a right -- indeed a responsibility -- to become active in the
guidance of the Church as "the people of God." We believe that Catholic
laypersons must become involved by studying the causes of the current
scandal and by working collaboratively with the clergy to ensure that we
have a voice in creating procedures that protect our children and prevent
future misuses of power. To learn more, visit our Web site at
What Has VOTF Been Doing in Parishes across America?
Voice of the Faithful supports the creation of Parish Voice™ affiliates,
which are groups of laypersons at the parish level who agree with the
mission and goals of VOTF and who seek to develop activities for
realizing these goals at the parish level.
To date, over 180 Parish Voice affiliates have formed throughout
America and abroad, with more forming every day. Members come
together to pray, conduct healing services, plan and run educational
programs, and conduct social justice projects. In parishes with Parish
Voice affiliates, laypersons and priests alike report that Church members
are more energized and involved in Church life than ever before.
Links & References