Voice of the Faithful Creates Charity Fund

Newsday [Bridgeport CT]
April 3, 2003

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- A local Voice of the Faithful chapter has started a charity fund as an alternative for Catholics who do not want to donate to the diocese's annual fund-raising drive.

The group says the funds raised are for diocesan projects and services like schools, hospitals and soup kitchens.

"We are just providing an alternative place to give money to support worthy projects in the diocese," said chairman Joseph O'Callaghan.

Some Catholics question donating to bishop's fund because funds could be used to settle sexual abuse lawsuits, O'Callaghan said.

Voice of the Faithful is a national organization founded in Boston following allegations of child sexual abuse by priests. The Bridgeport chapter has been opposed by Bishop William Lori, who has refused to let members meet on diocesan property.

Diocese spokesman Joseph McAleer said the diocese does not support the alternative fund.

"No funds raised through the Annual Bishop's Appeal have been, or will be, used for (settlements)," he said. "By withholding donations to the Annual Bishop's Appeal, this group is actually harming people, not helping them."

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