In the Vineyard :: April 6, 2012 :: Volume 12, Issue 6

News from National

A Message from VOTF President Mark Mullaney

Dear Faithful,

May you all experience the joy of Easter and the mystery of Holy Week.

A few thoughts that we might reflect upon during the next few days leading to Easter Sunday:

May we all understand the ongoing need for Truth and Justice for those who have been abused and those that survive!

May we appreciate and validate the role of and the beneficial strengths of women in this church!

May we take advantage of the opportunities to reform and heal the church we love!

May we every day bring Hope into our lives and the lives of all we know that bias and hatred have no place at our table!

May we all experience optimal Health for ourselves and all we know!

And finally, may Happiness find your heart and may you share it with everyone you touch!

Enjoy this week and especially Easter Sunday sharing your faith and hope to all.

Easter blessings to you all!

Mark Mullaney

One deadline is fast approaching as we plan for Voice of the Faithful’s 10th Year Conference this September 14-15:

April 20 is the deadline for being included in our conference hotel room night raffle.

Yes, if you register for the conference by April 20 we will enter you in our drawing for a free room night at the Marriott Boston Copley Place Hotel during the conference. We will be drawing two names and awarding one free room night to each. (If you’ve already registered for the conference, you’re in the drawing.)

VOTF’s special room rate at the Marriott is $199 per double-occupancy room per night during the conference. Use this link to register for the conference and this link to reserve your hotel room—the room link goes to the Marriott website room reservation form where our conference Group Code is already filled.

If you win the free room-night, we’ll reimburse you at the conference.

And remember please that your early registration will help us plan the many details necessary to ensure that you enjoy a superlative conference experience.

The cost for early bird registration is $150 per person, and our conference includes, on Friday, Sept. 14, a reception, dinner, speaker (Honorable Anne Burke, Illinois Supreme Court Justice and children’s advocate), 10th year/founders’ recognition ceremony, and VOTF at 10 video; and, on Saturday, Sept. 15, an all-day conference, with six additional speakers, Priest of Integrity and St. Catharine of Siena Distinguished Layperson Award presentations, Mass, continental breakfast and food and beverages during two break periods.

MORE 10th Year Conference Updates!

As an example of the high caliber of our conference speakers, one was involved in Church news just this week when the Holy Ghost Fathers (Spiritans), C.S.Sp., in Ireland became the first Roman Catholic Church religious order to request an independent public audit of clergy child sexual abuse within the congregation.

The lead investigating organization for the Spiritans’ audit this May is the NBSCCC (National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland)—and our first speaker Saturday morning is John Morgan, the chairman of the NBSCCC.

Morgan has had a career in business in Ireland primarily as a corporate lawyer. In addition, he was chairperson of the Bishops’ Committee on Child Protection from 2002–2006. Before that he served on a number of committees established by the bishops to deal with child protection, and was a member of the first formal Bishops’ Committee on Child Abuse, to which he was appointed in 1999.
Click here for a complete 10th Year Conference agenda.

Board of Trustees Call for Nominations

In accordance with the Bylaws of Voice of the Faithful, Inc., the Board of Trustees is calling for nominations from the membership to fill four (4) seats on the Board of Trustees. Terms of the incumbents in these four seats will expire in June 2012.

The Bylaws state, "Of the eleven trustees, four will be elected by the membership; the remainder will be elected by the Board upon recommendation of the Trustee Nominating Committee.

Qualifications for nominations include:

  • Membership in VOTF for at least two (2) years

  • Submission of written endorsement from at least ten (10) others who have been member(s) of VOTF for at least two (2) years

The Nominating Committee will provide the name, qualifications, and a brief biography of each nominee to the members.

"The Board shall attempt to achieve geographic balance among the trustees. The Board will attempt to attract members with skill sets determined by the Board to be necessary."

Roles and Responsibilities of the Board of Trustees are documented in VOTF Bylaws, which are available on the VOTF website.

Please note that voting eligibility is subject to payment of annual dues of $50 per person or $85 per couple.

Nominations are due by Tuesday, May 1, 2012.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call the VOTF office (781-559-3360 or

From the Nominating Committee:
Elia Marnik, Chair
Dan Bartley
Janet Hauter
John Hushon
Mary Pat Fox

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month
Submitted by Patricia Gomez

For more than 20 years, April has been a time to acknowledge the importance of families, institutions and communities working together to prevent child abuse. April was first declared Child Abuse Prevention Month nationwide by presidential proclamation in 1983. Since then, child abuse awareness activities have been promoted across the country during April of each year. The U.S. Office on Child Abuse and Neglect (OCAN) within the Children's Bureau coordinates these activities at the Federal level, providing information and releasing updated national statistics about child abuse and neglect. Many governors also issue proclamations to encourage initiatives and events in their States.

During April of every year since 2002, Voice of the Faithful® has raised public awareness that child abuse can be preventable when institutions, community programs, and systems are engaged and work together. Research has identified factors known to prevent and reduce child abuse and neglect. Among these are education of parents, children, and the community to raise awareness of prevention measures. VOTF® advocates that all parishioners be educated in abuse prevention through child abuse awareness training.

If your parish does not provide adult and child education on preventing abuse, VOTF can be your resource for more information

One action is to place a brief notice in your parish bulletin on the Sundays of April. Those posting can include information on how to prevent abuse, how to recognize predator grooming behavior, and resources in your local area for reporting abuse. Some parishes present an awareness Question one week and provide a Response in the following bulletin.

The U.S. Catholic Bishops’ website can also be a resource when planning for Abuse Prevention Month ( Also, check your diocesan website for resource materials and information on programs that are offered in your area.

What is happening in your area?  Can you help raise awareness of child abuse in your local communities?
For more information (click here)

Affiliate News

Boston Area VOTF
Submitted by Anne Southwood

Each April the VOTF Boston Area Council board members try to track the degree of diocesan and individual parish involvement in child abuse public awareness. April is National Child Abuse Prevention month. We have been looking for simple but consistent participation. This year things are looking up.

Though an early Easter dropped diocesan production back a week, sample templates and other web resources are being sent to parishes as a hard copy package. For example, suggestions for parish websites are now included.

The Director of the Boston Archdiocese Office of Child Advocacy also has included suggestions that can be used year-round in a proactive way regarding child abuse.

Pastors will vary in their response to this continuing important issue. One of our pastors answers submitted questions weekly in his bulletin. Some pastors will only do a simple bulletin announcement, and some will elaborate on what his parish is doing to protect children. If a pastor refuses to do anything, someone could contact the Vicar Forane in Boston and ask why not.

If a diocese is not participating or it is difficult to secure information from your Chancery, we suggest going to the following USCCB page, which lists many actions in the area of child abuse, running from healing services and blessings, through specific clergy child abuse, to safe environments and also human trafficing: Take some of these to your pastor in April.

The Holy Ghost Fathers (Spiritans) Request Independent Public Audit
The Holy Ghost Fathers (Spiritans), C.S.Sp., in Ireland has become the first Roman Catholic Church religious order to request an independent public audit of clergy sexual abuse of children within the congregation. In an announcement on the congregation’s website March 30, the Spiritans said that, “until a complete picture is known of past and present abuse within the church, there can be no possibility of authentic accountability or renewal for the future.”

VOTF has issued a National Statement applauding the congregation’s effort.

“Voice of the Faithful® has been working for 10 years to bring about the attitude toward transparency and accountability within the Church shown by the Irish Spiritans’ request for an abuse audit,” said Mark Mullaney, VOTF president. “Just as Spiritan priests, brothers and lay associates have dedicated themselves to the Holy Spirit, so also VOTF members seek to heal their Church by providing it with prayerful voices attentive to the Sprit’s will. It’s our mission and our constant desire.”

The Spiritans’ website announcement also read in part: “The Spiritans Congregation in Ireland has requested to be audited. The present Provincial Leadership Team, supported by the recent Provincial Chapter, believes that only a public audit of the reality of abuse committed by Spiritans can free the Congregation to carry out its mission of service among God’s people here in Ireland and overseas.”

The Spiritans also said the NBSCCC (National Board of Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland), whose “competency and independence” has been recognized by the Irish government, will conduct the Spiritans audit this May, and the report will be issued along with reports of audits on other dioceses and congregations.

John Morgan, NBSCCC chairman, will be a keynote speaker at Voice of the Faithful’s 10th Year Conference in Boston, Mass., Sept. 14-15, 2012.

Voice of the Faithful Focus,
April 6, 2012

Highlighting issues we face working together to Keep the Faith, Change the Church.

Monsignor’s Landmark Trial Continues in Philadelphia
New Information Unfolds Daily in Philadelphia Sex Abuse Trial; Some Difficult to Hear
Each week in Philadelphia new allegations are made and new stories told. It is a sad situation but important to understand.
-- Monica Yant Kinney: Accuser Holds Up Well on Witness Stand at Clergy Sex Abuse Trial
-- Jurors Told that Church Put Off Abuse Complaints
-- Secret Church Documents Presented at Clergy Trial
-- Former Priest Admits Charges (and pleads guilty)
-- Priests' Trial Opens with Lurid Tales
-- Landmark Sexual-Abuse Trial: Monsignor Called 'Keeper of Secrets'
-- Pa. Trial Shows Church Abuse Allegations Strategy
-- Dysfunction Among the Vicars of Christ
-- Witness Recalls Being Stalked by Priest     
-- Witness Recalls Gropings by Pennsylvania Priest in Her Teen Years
-- Trial: Priest Joked About Abusing 3 Boys in Week
-- Confirmation – (Fr. Edward) Avery Tells the Truth

This is The Kind of Bishop That I Long for as a Priest
And this is also the kind of Bishop that we laity long for. A few years ago I unexpectedly found myself as the guest of an archbishop whose diocese was a large bustling city in Bolivia. Not only did I get a shock at the sight of so much poverty in Bolivia, the poorest country in South America ... but I was also immensely surprised at the manner and lifestyle of the archbishop.

Bishop: Total Re-Examination of Catholic Faith, Culture Needed
In light of abuse crisis, Australian prelate calls for complete rethinking. The roots of the decades-long clergy sex abuse scandal lie not in any set of rules or practices, but are found deep in the culture of the church itself, retired Australian Bishop Geoffrey Robinson said Wednesday in a wide-ranging talk at the historic Newberry Library in downtown Chicago.     

Online Sexual Predators Only Need Eight Minutes
8 minutes. Researchers discover sexual predators “groom” children for sex online in just 8 minutes. In an article in the Irish Independent newspaper, researchers at Middlesex University in London revealed that online predators appear to be much more aggressive in the way that they approach children in cyberspace.

7 Reasons Catholics Leave Church (in Trenton, #1 is Sex Abuse Crisis)
Even though Roman Catholics are the second-largest religious group in the United States, the tradition has seen an exodus of members in recent decades. One in ten Americans is an ex-Catholic.
-- Unusual Study Asks Former Catholics Why They Left Church
-- N.J. Catholics Give Church a Piece of Their Minds

Read the rest of this issue of Focus here...

Questions, Comments?

Please send them to Siobhan Carroll, Vineyard Editor at Unless otherwise indicated, I will assume comments can be published as Letters to the Editor.


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