A reader writes:

Several commenters wonder if RCF (Roman Catholic Faithful) might become a national organization by which orthodox Catholics could express their views. I think we’re going to have to look elsewhere.

Steve Brady, founder of RCF, is a straight-shooting, hard-working, and gutsy guy. You wouldn’t expect a high-school grad running a pizzeria to make a contribution to the reform of the clergy, but he did it. On the other hand, he is apparently sometimes pretty hot-headed. A few years ago a couple of his friends claimed that he was so worked up in fighting the Springfield diocese scandals that he was half-tempted to quit the Church and head off for the fringe.

RCF is angry, and they have a right to be angry: many Midwest dioceses have suffered under misrule for a long time. But as a result, RCF can’t stand waiting for action: they even condemned Cdl. George for what they perceived as his inaction on the Ryan case. To me, it was sheer foolishness to go on the attack against one of the best bishops in the country, one who is making clear progress against the sources of corruption. (I know he’s not perfect and he still has some clean-up work to do.) Yes, sometimes the “good guys” deserve criticism too, but don’t fail to appreciate that you and they are on the same side.

Bottom line: RCF has done some good work, but it is a blunt instrument.

There are other initiatives around: e.g., the new Catholics for Authentic Reform . And is the National Committee of Catholic Laymen still active as a lobbying group?

“Women for Faith and Family” is close to what we need, in terms of national reach and activism, but of course we need something for men and women. Somebody suggested that Rod and Peggy go have a lunch with Steve to find out if he’s the man to lead the cause, but they’d do better to go see Helen.

I agree with the assessment of RCF. James says that the anger of man does not bring about the righteousness of God. Or, as I’ve sometimes put it, you can’t build a life on protest. I am wary of groups that are filled with anger because they do tend to eat their young and round on those who are, on the whole, on the side of the angels for the fault of not being perfect. Anger is a sort of drug. When you come to want the drug more than food, there’s something wrong.

For myself, I’ve not associated with any particular reform group (they seem to be East Coast phenomena mostly). I hope that some authentic reform movement can find a place in the sun away from VOTF. Maybe Catholics for Authentic Reform will pull it off.


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