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April 15, 2004

A Great Example

Bishop Vigneron of Oakland writes a regular column in the Catholic Voice. He is planning to use the next several articles to provide some commentary on the coming ad limina visits of the American Bishops, and on the Holy Father's words to the Bishops.

I found his current (April 12) commentary very encouraging.

Pope John Paul II leaves us in no doubt about the path that will lead to the reconciliation and renewal he is prescribing for what ails the Church in America: “a holier priesthood, a holier episcopate and a holier Church” (Address # 1, sec. 1).

Effective reform can only come from interior renewal, from conversion from sin and turning back to obeying the Lord’s commandments. So, the first of our “marching orders” from our Holy Father the Pope is to recommit ourselves to putting off the ways of the old Adam and living the life of Christ in the Spirit.

In taking to heart the challenge of the Holy Father, I cannot help but think of the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation, which is the very means our Savior gave us to accomplish the goal the Pope says we must work for.

So, I intend to start a series of discussions with the consultative bodies of our diocese about how we can mobilize the resources of our local Church for the continued revitalization of the practice of frequent Confession. Peter, speaking through his Vicar John Paul II, has pointed out to us where we must begin. Now, we need to strategize about how to move forward on the path he has traced out.

I fully acknowledge that the Pope says the renewal of the Church in Oakland must begin with the reform of the Bishop of Oakland, that is, with me. If we are to become holier, I must become holier. It is my practice to see my spiritual father for direction and Confession frequently.

I am resolved to be more careful about being faithful to this commitment and to make the issue of my growth in holiness for the sake of our Diocese a regular theme of my dialogue with my confessor. I will begin again to follow Christ, so that I can lead you to Him.

What was encouraging is that this is the similar to the same conversation I had with my spiritual director today.

Also in the current issue of the Voice there were several letters to the editor criticizing Bp. Vigneron for not letting the Voice report on or advertize the local VOTF conference. His response to that is clear and direct

In these words of Peter’s Vicar I find clear confirmation of my serious doubts about any group or movement that seeks to build up the Church while withholding assent from the Church’s teachings.

I am looking forward to working in the Oakland Diocese again.

Posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. at April 15, 2004 12:35 PM

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I'm not sure from what teachings Voice of the Faithful, as an organization, withholds its teachings. Individuals who are members, but not officers, may be withholding assent.

What are the standards? What level of teaching? Public dissent by officer or organization policy adopted by vote of the board? Private dissent, or suspicion thereof, by individuals?

If this is the standard for a group to use diocesan facilities or be included in the diocesan paper, there are an awful lot of pro-death-penalty and pro-war Catholics and groups to whom this dictate is not being applied.

There were a lot more sponsors of the speakers and event at USF which we could not hear about in our diocesan paper besides Voice of the Faithful.

Posted by: Maureen Lahiff at April 15, 2004 4:22 PM