Sunday, November 24, 2002

The fight over VOTF in Newark

Myers' only direct contact with members of VOTF came last month when he sent them, in response to their first entreaty, a copy of an anti-VOTF article written by the conservative Catholic editor of CRISIS magazine. Myers' business card was attached to it -- no note.

VOTF reacted adroitly: Members contacted the CRISIS editor, Deal Hudson -- whose article called the group "a wolf in sheep's clothing" -- and persuaded him to speak at their February meeting in New Jersey.

"If they want to meet face to face, I give them credit for that," Hudson said when contacted last week at his Washington offices. "I have been a vocal critic of theirs, and it is only fair that if they invite me that I respond."

Hudson said that if he were a bishop he would do exactly what Myers did and ban the group. He said that when he speaks to VOTF he will stipulate that it not be on church property within the Newark archdiocese in respect of Myers' ban.

Asked whether opening dialogue with the group is violating the spirit of Myers' edict and his own support for Myers' position, Hudson agreed he is engaging in "a balancing act."

"I am definitely going to call Archbishop Myers to see if it is all right with him," Hudson said. "It is always possible that they are using me for cover."

It would be very disapppointing if Myers tells Hudson not to speak to that meeting. This is exactly what VOTF needs - the voices of all the faithful.

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