This in today's Boston Globe:
Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley has agreed to meet Friday with local leaders of Voice of the Faithful, marking the first time in nearly three years that he has sat down with the lay reform group that has energized a group of active churchgoers but is viewed with skepticism by some conservatives.
O'Malley's office downplayed the significance of the meeting, and said the cardinal has not revised the Archdiocese of Boston's policy toward the group, which includes a ban on meetings in parishes by chapters formed after October 2002, when the group was first banned by Cardinal Bernard F. Law .
O'Malley last met with the national organization in November 2003 and said he would reconsider the ban, but he did not make any change.
Don't be fooled by the archdiocesan spin -- this is a significant meeting. O'Malley could have stiffed the group, which would have been red meat to his base, the baa-baas (unquestioning sheep) who don't have the brains or the guts to challenge the Church. SeE, if O'Malley played his cards right, alienating the Church's tiny progressive wing, he could achieve the Baa Baa Dream: a Church without dissenters. The only obstacle to that doomsday scenario is O'Malley's basic decency. If he has any heart at all, he'll see that a Baa-baa Church would be the meanest, snivveliest of organizations -- hardly worthy of the name Christian. Any hope for a Church that lives up to its name lies with the dissenters at this point.
The meeting between Cardinal Sean and VOTF could well be seen as historic. It may represent the first point at which the Church of the past meets the Church of the future. VOTF is a cautious group, but it is strong and growing. It may well be the nucleus for a Church in which lay people are taken seriously, bringing closer the unfulfilled reforms of Vatican II.
Or, it could be just one more betrayal of the lay faithful by the pathetic little boys who run our Church. My money is on Cardinal Sean, but I'm not making large bets just yet.
Image from http://www.traditio.com/comment/com0409.htm -- a traditionalist site that makes The Cranky Catholic seem positively mild by comparison.