News Release — Voice of the Faithful Forms Advisory Council

NEWTON, Mass., Jan. 31, 2011 – Voice of the Faithful, the international organization of more than 35,000 Roman Catholics committed to church reform, has formed its first advisory council.

“Nearly a decade old, VOTF is at the point where input from highly regarded experts in areas like theology and church history can help the organization greatly in facing the challenges and opportunities presented to it as the organization enters its second decade,” said Elia Marnik, VOTF board chair.

She said VOTF sought candidates with knowledge and experience in theology and institutional church dynamics and with a unique understanding of VOTF’s origin and development. Council members include:

  • Francine Cardman, associate professor of historical theology and church history, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, Boston, Mass., who has written and taught on the development of doctrine and early Christian ethics, women’s ministry in early Christianity, tradition and hermeneutics with regard to women’s ordination, lay leadership and participation in the early church, structures of governance and accountability in the church and Vatican II and ecumenism
  • William D’Antonio, Ph.D., fellow, Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies, The Catholic University of American, Washington, D.C., who is co-author of eight books on the sociology of religion, including Voices of the Faithful, a study of a lay social movement striving to help change the church that uses VOTF as its example
  • Paul Lakeland, Ph.D., Aloysius P. Kelley S.J. Professor of Catholic Studies and director, Center for Catholic Studies, Fairfield University, Fairfield, Conn., who has written and taught Catholic ecclesiology, liberation theology and religion and literature for more than 30 years
  • James E. Post, Ph.D., J.D., John F. Smith Jr. Professor in Management, Boston University School of Management, Boston, Mass., who teaches strategic management, corporate governance and professional ethics, has held leadership positions in the school’s doctoral and public and non-profit management programs and management policy department, is the author, co-author or editor of 20 books and more than 100 scholarly papers and was co-founder and president of VOTF
  • Christine Schenk, csj, theologian and executive director, FutureChurch, a national coalition working for full participation of all Catholics in the church, who has created the national dialogue projects Women in Church Leadership, The Future of Priestly Ministry, Celebrating Women Witnesses and Save Our Parish Community and who has written widely and given hundreds of presentations and interviews on the worldwide Catholic priest shortage, strategies for preserving vibrant parishes, women in scripture, Jesus and women and women in the early church

The council will advise VOTF’s board of trustees on issues relating to its mission and goals, offering analysis and recommendations solicited by the board, and will counsel the board on issues it feels are pertinent to VOTF’s success.

“As VOTF continues to address the clergy sexual abuse scandal that so deeply wounds the church,” Marnik said, “our board of trustees can serve the interests of our mission and goals better by consulting with a body of expert advisors. We are honored to have such esteemed experts answer our call for advisory council members. I look forward to working with them.”

VOTF was organized in 2002 at the height of the clergy sexual abuse scandal in Boston, Mass. VOTF’s mission is “to provide a prayerful voice, attentive to the Spirit, through which the faithful can actively participate in the governance and guidance of the Catholic Church.” The organization’s goals are to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity and shape structural change within the Catholic Church. More information about VOTF is available at


Nick Ingala, 781-559-3360, 617-291-3495 Cell