Voice of the Faithful, the reform and advocacy group that emerged in 2002 in the wake of the clerical sex abuse revelations in Boston, has announced that it may be forced to close its national offices unless it receives a quick infusion of cash.
In an e-mail sent to members and media representatives, the organization said it was “at the crossroads of financial survival” and is looking to raise at least $60,000 by the end of July in order to continue operations.
You want to know why their funds are low...?
No people in their 20s and 30s belong to voice of the faithful. It is a baby boomer organization at best.
Why is that the case? You would think that they would find the cause of supporting those who have been abused laudable, no?
I would offer a few thoughts here.
1) Most of the younger adults I know don't really have a problem with the church, rather the church isn't even on their radar. It's simply not part of their life and when they see all the infighting that happens with their older compatriots--many of whom are their own parents, the church looks even less attractive, much less an organization that calls the irrelevant organization to task.
2) Younger people simply don't have the time for an organization like this. As an example, a young man I know was asked by his baby boomer mother why he wasn't more of a voice for change in his own parish? His response was simple:
"Mom, I just don't have that kind of time. It's just not worth it to me. I'm going to do all this work and NOTHING is going to happen because, pastor, bishop, etc is going to do what he wants anyway."
Can't say I disagree with him.
3) Lastly, I think there's clearly a perceived agenda with Voice of the Faithful that goes beyond the scope of the sex abuse scandal and into other issues like women's ordination, optional celibacy, and a more democratic decision making process in different areas. Younger people tend to see more value in religious organizations that actually do good work in the areas of social justice, global change and even prayer and sacraments--the so called passing along of the tradition. When they see infighting that is the clear death knell and simply is translated as a waste of energy.
I wish VOTF well. I know that these people are faithful Catholics for the most part who see the challenge of today in developing priests that we can depend on as trusted sources and not suspects. It's an area that they have little control over however and the fact that many Bishops have outsided them from their diocesan property doesn't help either.
But their lack of success, financially at least is not a surprise to me. Everyone is struggling and VOTF is not just one more struggling religious organization. They are one more organization that seems to raise the level of suspicion past the point of something to which young people can see a value to contributing their time.