Laity Group, Lennon Have 'Cordial' Meet

By Eric Convey
Boston Herald
March 12, 2003

Bishop Richard G. Lennon refused yesterday to either lift a ban blocking new chapters of the lay group Voice of the Faithful from meeting on church property or to accept $35,000 it raised, the organization's president said.

Emerging from a one-on-one meeting, Voice of the Faithful President James Post said Lennon - the temporary apostolic administrator running the archdiocese - left both options open.

The issues will be the focus of meetings in several weeks with Lennon or his top deputy, Bishop Walter Edyvean, Post said.

Lennon declined through a spokeswoman to comment.

Post characterized the meeting, which lasted a little more than an hour and took place in Lennon's official residence, as "cordial."

Comparing the sit-down to an earlier session with former archbishop Bernard Cardinal Law, Post said yesterday's meeting had "a very positive tone."

"Let's face it, there's a certain lack of trust on both sides" that will only be reconciled through one-on-one meetings, Post said.

Post said a group working with VOTF told Lennon if the archdiocese does not accept the $35,000 by the end of the month, the money will be offered to Catholic Charities.

The week Law resigned in December, Catholic Charities bucked his prohibition against Voice of the Faithful money and accepted $56,000.

There were no discussions yesterday about whether VOTF's democratic agenda contradicts Catholic teaching or tradition.

"Bishop Lennon seemed comfortable with the role of a more involved laity," said Post.

Moreover, he said, Lennon seemed to embrace the notion that the archdiocese needs more financial "transparency and accountability."

"We touched on every aspect of what the Archdiocese of Boston is facing right now," said Post, a management professor at Boston University. Topics included the legal, financial and "moral" ramifications of the abuse scandal, he said.

Post said Lennon spoke at length about his desire to see civil lawsuits brought by alleged victims resolved through one "global settlement." Under such an arrangement, the church and its insurers would establish a pool of tens of millions of dollars from which all the plaintiffs would draw payments according to a formula.

Lennon believes "it is the mechanism by which a fair and equitable settlement can be reached," Post said.

Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.