As Lent begins, Priests Seek Restoration of Vatican II Rites for Penance

On Ash Wednesday, the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests announced its 1,000-plus members were endorsing a letter to all U.S. bishops requesting full restoration of Vatican II rites for penance.
Specifically, they seek return of "Rite 3," a communal liturgical service and communal absolution." This will rebuild and encourage a return to the practice of individual confession, they say. Today, 75% of Catholics have abandoned the sacrament, and Rite 3 would "move hearts in the future toward the value of periodic personal confession."

Click here to read the rest of the announcement and the letter the priests are sending to all U.S. bishops.

And during this first week of Lent, we invite you to pray with the Psalmist:

"Turn away your face from my sins;
     blot out all my iniquities.
A clean heart create for me, God;
     renew within me a steadfast spirit.

Do not drive me from before your face,

     nor take from me your holy spirit.

Restore to me the gladness of your salvation;

     uphold me with a willing spirit."
(Psalm 51:11:14)

Cardinal O'Malley sets timetable for accountability

Following up on hints given during a CBS "60 Minutes" interview last fall, Cardinal Sean O'Malley told John Allen of The Boston Globe on Monday, Feb. 16, that the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors will present "proposals for new accountability mechanisms to the pope within two months' time."

Click here to read the rest of VOTF's statement ...

We have a winner ...

Svea Fraser is the winner of the Legal Sea Food surf & turf dinner in VOTF's 2015 National Assembly drawing.

You could be a winner too, enjoying our National Assembly meeting April 18. Just click here for Assembly information and directions for online registration.

At the National Assembly, you'll hear featured speaker Marie Collins, a clergy sexual abuse survivor who helped pioneer child protection policies in Ireland. As a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, Marie wants bishops who have covered up abuse held accountable. At the Commission's recent meeting in Rome, she said that, if the Vatican has not dealt with this problem in two years at the latest, she would not be on the Commission.

Workshops at the National Assembly will include a discussion led by Tom Doyle on clergy sexual abuse survivor issues and an exploration of a Healing Circle model of Restorative Justice that could help heal the People of God from this scandal.

Click here for a mail registration form for the VOTF 2015 National Assembly if you would prefer mail rather than online registration.

VOTF 2015 National Assembly -- Register Now

VOTF's 2015 National Assembly takes place on Saturday, April 18, at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford. Click the VOTF 2015 National Asssembly button at left for information and registration.

The featured speaker is a clergy sexual abuse survivor who pioneered child protection standards and is now an advisor to Pope Francis. Workshops range from a new process for healing the People of God from the clergy sexual abuse scandal, to a case study in the good, bad, and confusing in diocesan finances, to lay input options for the 2015 bishops "family life" synod.

We'll be at the same beautiful venue where we held last year's assembly, and discount hotel rooms are available. Spring is a special time in New England, and the picture above of springtime in Hartford really doesn't do the city justice.

Come and greet old friends and make new ones.
We trust we'll see you there!

Millions of dollars each year slip through Roman Catholic collection baskets

The Vatican recently reported finding hundreds of millions of dollars “tucked away” off the official balance sheet. This is only one dimension of the Roman Catholic Church’s need for financial accountability. In the United States, theft, fraud and embezzlement occur at every level, with parishes alone losing millions of dollars each year from Sunday collections.

Catholic Church reform movement Voice of the Faithful® is urging parishes and dioceses to adopt simple security procedures that can protect weekly collections, which are the primary source of income for most parishes, and has developed a simple test to assess the effectiveness of current security procedures.

Click here to read the rest of VOTF's news release on Parish Financial Accountability and VOTF's simple parish self-test. You also can visit VOTF's Parish Financial Accountablity web page for more information.

The Vatican also still has a long way to go regarding financial reforms, as evidenced by continuing press coverage, e.g., "Calls grow for reform in Catholic Church financal affairs."

Pope criticizes "disease, malfunction, and infirmity" in Curia

The National Catholic Reporter posted news of the traditional papal pre-Christmas meeting with Curia officials in Rome and said the message was anything but traditional.

Instead, Pope Francis detailed 15 "diseases" to which Curia members are prone. He urged the prelates to reflect on the failings and make a "a real examination of conscience."

Among the "diseases" Francis cited: a feeling of indispensability and narcissism that often "stem from a pathology of power"; a "heart of stone"; "spiritual Alzheimer's"; "existential schizophrenia"; gossip and backstabbing; and the deification of superiors -- 15 in all.

The list would suggest that reforms planned for the Vatican Curia include more than simply consolidating and renaming offices.

Vatican Report Conciliatory Towards Nuns, But VOTF Joins Call for Removal of LCWR Mandate

Nuns in the United States can get on with their missions to those on the margins of society in keeping with the best traditions of their religious orders without undue Vatican interference—sort of.

The Vatican issued today, Dec. 16, a report on its six-year apostolic visitation to religious women in the United States.

Roman Catholic Church reform movement Voice of the Faithful® joins in solidarity with its U.S. sisters first in being encouraged by the report’s conciliatory tone and second in decrying this investigation in the first place and the mandate against the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.

VOTF would like that mandate removed as soon as possible.

Click here to read Voice of the Faithful's full statement.