Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Brooklyn Bishop Takes the Time to Listen

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Brooklyn Bishop Takes the Time to Listen

Article excerpt

Bishop Thomas Daily of Brooklyn, N.Y., provided a rare bright spot in the ongoing sex abuse crisis when he announced in an April 29 letter that he had lifted his ban on the use of church property for meetings of Voice of the Faithful.

Any bishop has the right within his diocese to decide who can speak, who can use church property and who can't. In this case, although he first presumed that Voice of the Faithful members would come to meetings loaded with other agenda items, he took the time to listen.

He listened to his diocesan presbyteral council, which had recommended a relaxation of the ban and he listened to "a number of good and dedicated members of the diocese, who were members of VOTF" who "were truly desirous to prayerfully reflect on our present ecclesial concerns and collaborate in strengthening the unity of our church."

Some might consider a change of mind a sign of weakness. In this instance, it shows the best pastoral instincts at work and can only increase trust between Daily and people who care deeply about the church and who are interested in doing whatever they can to prevent another scandal.

Said Melissa Gradel, Voice of the Faithful regional coordinator for Brooklyn and Queens, "We are pleased that Bishop Daily has recognized that we are seeking only to assume the responsibilities that are ours as baptized Catholics, and especially gratified that he has acknowledged the need for new forms of collaboration in carrying out the mission of the church--a mission that lay people, religious men and women, priests, deacons and bishops all share by virtue of our baptism. …

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