Decision on Lay Group Stalls until New Bishop Installed

By Eric Convey
Boston Herald [Fall River MA]
May 23, 2003

Members of the lay Catholic group Voice of the Faithful will have to wait until the installation of Diocese of Fall River Bishop-elect George W. Coleman to learn whether he'll let them meet on church grounds.

In the meantime, at least two chapters have been banned from meeting on church property as priests enforce an order Coleman issued earlier this year as temporary diocesan administrator. The chapters are gathering elsewhere.

A spokesman for the diocese, John Kearns Jr., said yesterday that Coleman would not make a formal decision until he is elevated to bishop this summer because he believes a matter of such significance should not be settled by an interim leader.

"To speak as a bishop, he first needs to be ordained and installed as one," Kearns said.

Voice of the Faithful leaders said that leaves members in limbo.

Most Voice of the Faithful members are devoted Catholics who want only to see the church improve, said Chris Boyd, who heads chapters in the Fall River diocese. "It seems surprising not to be allowed to meet on church grounds."

In the Archdiocese of Boston, Bishop Richard G. Lennon has banned new chapters from meeting on parish property, but is allowing existing groups to meet.


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