Sociologists Address VOTF Meeting

Dr. Patricia Ewick, professor of sociology at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, and Dr. Marc Steinberg, professor of sociology at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, recently shared some reflections on the work they have done studying VOTF over the last seven years. Both sociologists addressed an audience of VOTF members. Dr. Ewick's remarks are featured in the July 18 issue of VOTF's twice-montly e-newsletter In the Vineyard.

Click here to read excerpts from Dr. Ewick's remarks.

Bridgeport VOTF Will Take Part in Diocesan Synod

Voice of the Faithful® in the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut, in an extension of its contacts with Bishop Frank Caggiano, will send delegates to the diocesan synod to begin this fall and run through the diocese's next fiscal year. An article announcing the synod, which appeared in the July 15 Darien Times, said, "The process has already begun, with parishes and schools throughout Fairfield County that belong to the diocese choosing delegates to represent them during the spring ... Caggiano said approximately 300 to 400 delegates have been chosen and there will also be a group of young people who will parallel the synod. Other groups represented will include immigrants, ethnic groups and Voice of the Faithful. Caggiano broke the Diocese of Bridgeport's long-standing policy of rejecting Voice of the Faithful since its inception ... Diocese communications director Brian Wallace told The Darien Times earlier this year that 'one of the first things Bishop Caggiano did after arriving here was to reach out to the Voice of the Faithful, and in four months he has had several conversations with the VOTF leadership.'"

Click here to read the entire article in The Darien Times.

Vatican Defrocks Archbishop Accused of Sexual Abuse

Voice of the Faithful® hopes the Vatican's laicization of former archbishop Jozef Wesolowski signals a new, uncompromising commitment to holding hierarchy involved in sexal abuse of minors accountable for their actions. The move seems to demonstrate Pope Francis' resolve in promoting "zero tolerance" for clergy sexual abuse --

National Catholic Reporter reported on June 27 that, “The Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has ordered the laicization of an archbishop-ambassador accused of paying for sex with minors.

Click here to read the rest of this story.

Clergy Sexual Abuse Causes Broad, Deep Suffering -- Post Your Comments on Our Lamentation Wall

Catholics have been engulfed in ongoing revelations about the horrid sex abuse of children by clergy for more than a decade. The range of emotional responses has included revulsion, confusion, fear, anger, and distress. Victims/survivors and their families have been faced with revisiting deep wounds and traumatic memories.

At the VOTF 10th Year Conference in 2012, we introduced a Lamentation Wall where attendees could post personal lamentations in response to the irrevocable harm, unhealed wounds, and resistance to Church reform that have evolved from the sexual abuse crisis. Lamentations are a traditional response in Scripture, evoked by prophets who call the community to “prayers of lamentation” in the face of immeasurable suffering and loss.

We are continuing the Lamentation Wall here. Just use the link at left to go to our Lamentation Wall webpage or click here to post your personal lament.

An Open Letter from the People of God to U.S. Bishops

Voice of the Faithful® encourages members to join with FutureChurch supporters and ask U.S. bishops to open a dialogue "about restoring our early traditions of married and celibate priests and male and female deacons."

In an open letter to U.S. bishops, FutureChurch urges bishops "to discern the needs of all the people of God and to listen to Pope Francis' call for courage in realizing reforms that will bring new vitality to Eucharistic communities."

You can join this effort by clicking here to send your bishop a copy of the letter.

We need to shout loudly for our bishops to hear our Spirit-filled voices and help us change the Church.

Another Positive Step?

 We applaud the news that Pope Francis plans to meet with survivors of clergy sexual abuse. Equally important is the report that "three bishops are under investigation" for abuse-related matters. If those bishops are themselves guilty of sex abuse, the step is to be applauded. But other bishops already have resigned or "retired" for abuse they themselves committed. What will truly be laudable is the day (if it ever occurs) the Vatican forces the resignation of bishops who covered up clergy sex abuse, ordered others to do so, or participated in the "don't ask, don't tell" routine of transferring abusive priests from one diocese to another.

Each small step forward brings hope that such a day might arrive.

Nun Justice Project Asks Pope to Remove LCWR Mandate

The Nun Justice Coalition, a group of progressive Catholic organizations that includes Voice of the Faithful®, has written an open letter to Pope Francis asking him to remove the Vatican mandate censuring the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and to apologize to theologian Dr. Elizabeth Johnson, CJ, for Vatican chief of doctrine Cardinal Gerhard Müller's personal attack. In the same document in which Meuller criticized Dr. Johnson, he also accused U.S. nuns of not adhering to the harsh and unjust reform agenda The Vatican has imposed on the LCWR.

Click here to read the open letter, and this is what you can do to support the sisters:

1. Sign the online petition asking Pope Francis to retract the mandate and apologize to Dr. Johnson.
2. Download the Nun Justice letter, add your own comments and send it to Pope Francis.
3. Tweet Pope Francis @Pontifex "We stand with the Sisters!"
4. To help Pope Francis learn more about feminist theology, send him a copy of Dr. Johnson's book, Consider Jesus, in Spanish or send Pope Francis a copy of Dr. Johnson's book, Quest for the Living God, in Spanish.
You may address corresponce to Pope Francis to:
His Holiness, Pope Francis PP
00120 Via del Pellegrino
Cita Del Vaticano