News at National
Women's Diaconate Commission Includes
VOTF Award Recipient
Pope Francis has established a commission to study ordaining women as deacons in the Catholic Church and has appointed Phyllis Zagano, Ph.D., a recipient of Voice of the Faithful’s St. Catherine of Siena Outstanding Layperson award, as a member. Among the 13 members, six are women, and four of those are lay women.
VOTF has long sought women’s equality in the Church and, as part of that initiative, a women’s diaconate. The goal came closer to reality this month as the Vatican announced Pope Francis’ “Study Commission on the Women’s Diaconate,” particularly to look into the role of women deacons in the early Church.
Appointed to the commission is Dr. Zagano, a senior research associate-in-residence at Hofstra University in New York. She has written widely regarding a women’s diaconate, has spoken often to VOTF audiences, and received VOTF's St. Catherine of Siena Outstanding Layperson award at our 2012 10th Year Conference.
When Pope Francis said in May that he would consider such a commission, VOTF reiterated its call for all baptized Catholics, women and men, to have equal access to all positions within the Church and a voice in all decision-making processes.
At that time, Zagano said, “I am delighted that in this time of Pentecost the Spirit has brought the question of women deacons to the Holy Father’s mind, and I hope and pray that I will be able to assist whatever commission he establishes.”
Today, Zagano’s prayer was answered, and VOTF looks forward to the commission’s study and, eventually, a diaconate for women in the Church.
VOTF & Forming Conscience
Crucible Moments and the Role of Conscience
On Sunday, Sept. 11, 2:30 p.m., at St. Ignatius Church in Chestnut Hill, Voice of the Faithful and Boston College's Church in the 21st Century Center will present a discussion and conversation with David and Sasha Chanoff, authors of From Crisis to Calling: Finding Your Moral Center in the Toughest Decisions.
They will discuss how moral decisions can become defining “crucible” moments in our lives and our communities. Conscience can prompt some unexpected life paths, as they'll show in decisions ranging from Sasha Chanoff's work with refugees in Africa to Jim Post and Catholics who founded Voice of the Faithful.
Please share our flyer with your local faith community and friends! Or contact Nick Ingala for a suitable burb to post in the parish bulletin. It will help in our planning if you also RSVP here.
Join us for the presentation, conversation, book signing, and light refreshments. (P.S. It’s free.)
Click here to learn more ...
Pope Francis and the Unfolding of Vatican II in Today’s Church
From Donna B. Doucette, Executive Director: The following notes are from the presentation “Pope Francis and the Unfolding of Vatican II in Today’s Church” by Dr. Massimo Faggioli at the June 2016 Assembly of the AUSCP.
Dr. Faggioli recently joined the faculty at Villanova University as a professor in theology and religious studies, moving there from a post as associate professor of theology and director of the Institute for Catholicism and Citizenship at the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul MN. Residing in the U.S. since 2008, Dr. Faggioli earned his Ph.D. from the University of Turin (Italy) in 2002 where he also worked at the John XXIII Foundation for Religious Studies in Bologna. He writes regularly for both Italian and American newspapers and journals on the Church, religion, and politics.
His two most recent books are A Council for the Global Church: Receiving Vatican II in History (2015) and The Legacy of Vatican II (2016), which he co-edited with Andrea Vicini. Pope Francis and the Unfolding of Vatican II in Today’s Church.
Dr. Faggioli focused his remarks on a key document from Vatican II: Gaudium et spes. Both Paul VI and Francis were shaped entirely by the teachings in this document, he said, and we must examine its theological approach to get at the center of Pope Francis’s thoughts. Although Gaudium et spes is “big in South America” and consonant with most national church experiences elsewhere, here in the United States the bishops keep trying to ignore it and turn back the clock, he noted. “They can’t believe it’s real.”
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Highlighting issues we face working together to Keep the Faith, Change the Church
Francis institutes commission to study female deacons, appointing gender-balanced membership
“Pope Francis has created a commission to study the possibility of allowing women to serve as deacons in the Catholic church, following up on a promise made last May in what could be an historic move towards ending the global institution's practice of an all-male clergy. The pontiff has appointed an equal number of male and female experts as members of the commission, which will be led by Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria, a Jesuit who serves as the second-in-command of the Vatican’s doctrinal congregation.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter
Australian police investigate abuse accusations against Cardinal George Pell
“Cardinal George Pell, the de facto Vatican treasurer and Australia’s most senior Catholic cleric, is being investigated in connection with multiple allegations of child sexual assault that date back four decades, a top police official said on Thursday (Jul. 28). The official, Graham Ashton, chief police commissioner of the Australian state of Victoria, confirmed a report by the government-run Australian Broadcasting Corporation ...” By Brett Cole, The New York Times
-- Cardinal Pell, Vatican finance minister, rejects latest abuse allegations, By Josephine McKenna, Religion News Service, in National Catholic Reporter
-- Royal Commission into Catholic Church: What has it done? By Sean Britten, Brooke Taylor and Hans Lee, Australian Public Radio
Judge rejects bid to tap parishes, schools in archdiocese bankruptcy
“Catholic parishes, schools and other church properties cannot be included among the assets in the bankruptcy of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, a federal judge ruled Thursday (Jul. 28). U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Kressel denied the request by a committee representing clergy abuse victims to consolidate the assets of various entities linked to the archdiocese, which would have increased funds available to settle victims’ claims.” By Jean Hopfensperger, Star Tribune
30 million online child abuse images found
“Operation Lattise, which was carried out between 6 June and 15 July, has recovered as many as 30 million indecent images. It has involved 134 investigations which have led to raids on the homes of 83 suspects and resulted in the arrest of 77 people so far. They have been charged with offences including rape, sexual extortion, grooming and sharing indecent images of children - some as young as three.” By SkyNews on Sky.com
Ex-church official gets bail, prosecutor vows to retry him
“The city's top prosecutor vowed on Tuesday (Aug. 2) to retry a former church official imprisoned for nearly three years over his handling of abuse complaints, even though the monsignor's conviction has twice been overturned. Monsignor William Lynn was the first U.S. Roman Catholic Church official ever charged or convicted of helping to shield child molesters within its ranks.” By Maryclaire Dale, Associated Press
-- Msgr. Lynn free on bail, Philadelphia DA pledges a retrial, By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter
-- Priest gets new trial date after child endangerment conviction overturned, By Andrew V. Pestano, UPI.com
Click here to read the rest of this issue of Focus ...
Pope Francis and Syrian Refugees
Yesterday, Pope Francis has lunch with 21 Syrian refugees. He gave the children gifts and the children, in turn, gave the Pope drawings they had made. Watch the video, here.
Please send them to Siobhan Carroll, Vineyard Editor, at Vineyard@votf.org. Unless otherwise indicated, I will assume comments can be published as Letters to the Editor.