(This message was sent to the members of the National Representative Council of Voice of the Faithful)
Dr. Anthony T. Massimini, In-house Theologian for VOTF, writes:
There is no joy in having to say this, but these are my thoughts:
1. Bishop Murphy wants VOTF Long Island to make a public statement of support for him "as spiritual shepherd of the Church on Long Island."
Bishop Murphy is the legal leader of the Church on Long Island. But he has lost his right to be the moral and spiritual leader of the Church on Long Island. He has canon law on his side, but he has the truth and Gospel of Jesus Christ against him. If VOTF backs away from its position, it will be backing away from the truth and Gospel of Jesus Christ--from Jesus Christ himself.
2. The authorities want VOTF/LI to seek to "repair the damage caused by your attacks on the Bishop". This is the thief complaining because the police are after him.
3. The truth is that Bishop Murphy is responsible, whether directly or indirectly, for horrific damage done to some children. As the Catechism says:
Anyone who uses the power at his disposal in such a way that it leads others to do wrong becomes guilty of scandal and responsible for the evil that he has directly or indirectly encouraged. No. 2287
Bishop Murphy has a millstone around his neck and it is his spiritual responsibility to do the penance necessary to remove it. The severity of the harm he has caused to the children, to the Church, and by extension, to society, which more than ever needs the moral and spiritual example and guidance of the Church, requires nothing less than that he resign. This expectation is not revenge on VOTF's part; it is the spiritually adult response to the horrific harm and scandal Murphy has caused, and it is the spiritually adult insight into the true process of confession, absolution and forgiveness. Any other kind of "forgiveness" would be naive and spiritually empty.
Given the institutional corruption that presently afflicts our Church, resigning is not part of the system. That is for the Church authorities to resolve in their own consciences. In the meantime, VOTF can try to relate to Murphy as the legal bishop, in order to try to do some good for the Church. But we should relate to him (and all other guilty bishops) with the full awareness that they are guilty of inflicting horrific harm, and are not morally and spiritually worthy to be Church leaders. If we do anything less, we will fall into the same corruption that keeps men like Murphy in legal power.Tony Massimini