In the Vineyard :: April 8, 2011 :: Volume 10, Issue 7

News from National

Reminder: American Catholic Council Calls for Day of Prayer & Fasting, April 15
American Catholic Council asks Catholics across the U.S. to set aside Friday, April 15, as a day of prayer and fasting for the renewal of the promises of the Holy Spirit in the Second Vatican Council. Read more...

And if you cannot attend ACC but would like to lend your voice to the proceedings, you can still participate. Here’s a link to a “virtual listening session” where you can collaborate “virtually” in making the voices of all Catholics heard:

VOTF National Meeting
Friday June 10, 2011 — 10 a.m. to noon and 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
Detroit Marriott Hotel at the Renaissance Center
Prior to the American Catholic Council Synod (June 10-12, 2011)

Please join us for our National Meeting in Detroit and learn all about the possibilities for helping us keep the faith but change the Church.


VOTF Members Help Gain Extension
of Virginia SOLs

An extension of Virginia’s sex abuse statute of limitations became law this month with Gov. Bob McDonnell’s signature. Voice of the Faithful provided input as lawmakers debated the bill.
VOTF board member William R. Casey of Alexandria, Va., wrote a statement presenting VOTF’s views on extending sex abuse statutes of limitations and delivered it to a Virginia Senate subcommittee and at a press conference before debate on the bill began. He joined forces with Virginia leaders of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests and National Association to Protect Children.


Vatican II was the first time in history a council of the universal Church met without the interference of any temporal government. The Council convened at a time when there was complete separation of church and state in Italy. Vatican II’s focus on animating the faith of Christians rather than on defining doctrine or condemning heretics was also new.

A Lenten Suggestion

VOTF's Spiritual & Communal team recommends the website Praying Lent for prayers throughout Lent.

Affiliate News

News from VOTF New Hampshire
VOTF NH challenged Bishop John McCormack to honor his pledge to treat clergy abuse survivors with care and concern, not harassment through punitive legal measures. McCormack has opposed an arrangement that would allow the accuser to shield his name so as to avoid damaging his health and that of his wife who has cancer. Instead, McCormack filed motions that could not only reveal the accuser’s name but also require him to pay the diocese’s own legal bills.

Here are the details.

Greater Philadelphia VOTF Recognizes Sr. Maureen Turlish
for Her Work for Clergy Sexual Abuse Victims

In March, VOTF Greater Philadelphia recognized Sister Maureen Paul Turlish of New Castle, Del., a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur, author, educator, and clergy sexual abuse victim advocate, for her work for clergy sexual abuse victims. She received her accolades during VOTFGP’s annual spring meeting where she delivered a talk called “Justice and Renewal in the Church: A Journey.”

Here’s a description of her remarks.

VOTF Ireland
Recently, some VOTF Ireland members met personally with Archbishop Martin to talk about how to reform the Church so that clergy sex abuse and its coverups do not happen again. Additional conversations are expected—one sign that some bishops do hear lay voices.
Earlier, Archbishop Martin had visited the U.S. To read more about that visit:

VOTF Boston: Can the Church Keep Its Young People?Submitted by Anne Southwood

VOTF Boston Area Council sponsored a 3/29 talk at St. James in Wellesley MA by Sister Nancy Corcoran CSJ, a chaplain at Wellesley College. Her topic: “Can the Church Keep Its Young People?" This is a favorite Corcoran subject, and also a topic of real concern to metro-West Catholics. Not surprisingly, after listening to heartfelt floor conversations of concerned parents and grandparents, “love them: remains the Corcoran bottom line.

Here are more thoughts from Sr. Corcoran.

Site Seeing

A New York Times editorial asks, Where is zero tolerance? And how many more Philadelphia’s are out there?

Did Jesuits ignore abuse too?

Sr. Elizabeth Johnson’s book Quest for the Living God criticized by the Committee on Doctrine of the U.S. bishops’ conference who believe she reaches conclusions that are “theologically unacceptable.”

Sr. Elizabeth replied that perhaps the committee should have spoken to her first, or at least told her they were investigating the book. As a result of their failure to do so, she said, the committee “radically misinterprets what I think, and what I in fact wrote.”

Other theologians noted that the Committee on Doctrine had failed to follow its own guidelines in criticizing Johnson’s book—a charge the committee’s spokesperson acknowledged was true but claimed resulted from the need for haste. He also acknowledged that the committee had been meeting for one year about the book:

Maryknoll priest Father Bourgeois must publicly recant his support for women becoming priests or be laicized.

Philadelphia’s fall raises questions elsewhere

Suspensions force bishops to reassess rule changes

Bishops divided over Philadelphia


Faith Formation Adult Education presentation at St. Pius V Lower Church Hall, Sunday April 10, 2011.
In collaboration with the Department of Theology, Boston College, VOTF Northshore/Seacoast and Lynn presents a Faith Formation Program.

Rev. Michael A. Fahey, S.J., Boston College, will speak on Catholicism’s Commitment to Christian Church Unity on Sunday, April 10, 2011, 7:00-9:00 P.M. at St. Pius V Church, Lower Church Hall in Lynn. Ecumenism has played an important role for Catholics especially since Vatican II. Fr. Fahey studied at the University of Tubingen, Germany where his professors included both Joseph Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI, and Hans Kung. Everyone is invited. Refreshments will be served. Donations are always welcomed!

Dr. Nicholas Mazza to speak in Norwalk, CT
Dr. Nicholas F. Mazza, National Secretary of Voice of the Faithful, will address the theme “Adapting to Change: Reshaping our Church for the Future” on Thursday, April 14, at 7:30 p.m. at the First Congregational Church on the Green in Norwalk CT. His presentation is sponsored by Voice of the Faithful in the Diocese of Bridgeport. This event is free and open to the public.

Dr. Mazza will present 10 views of a vibrant Catholic Church and will update the audience on the most recent developments of VOTF’s Universal Church Reform initiative. His 7 years as a seminarian, 12 years in a covenant community and 30 years in positions of service within the church have molded him into a progressive educator and advocate.

Happenings in Chicago
Chicago-area members would like to alert members to the following programs: Jim Forest, founder of the Catholic Peace Fellowship and former General Secretary of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation, will discuss the friendship between Thomas Merton and Dorothy Day at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 5, at the Chicago Cenacle, 513 Fullerton Parkway.

Admission is $10. Jim currently serves as International Secretary of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship and edits its journal and web site In Communion. His books include The Road to Emmaus: Pilgrimage as a Way of Life, Ladder of the Beatitudes, Praying with Icons, Living With Wisdom: A Biography of Thomas Merton, and Love is the Measure: A Biography of Dorothy Day.

Parking is very limited so please arrive early.
Coordinator: Mike Brennan, 773-447-3989

Letters to the Editor

I'm just an interested layperson. I believe it is [not], and probably never was, easy to be a bishop. But a conscientious fellow in that spot today certainly has a tough road to hoe.

So it could be that it was under pressure that the U.S. bishops ignored Bishop. Trautman’s plea to rethink the rollout of the GRIM. They probably hadn't the time to think ahead of the waste of time, effort and patience of the clergy, musicians, and laity that was to result. Or was it just plain poor judgment by the bishops, our teachers?

It is now March of 2011, with a great deal of clergy time being devoted to putting a brave face on the effort. I watched a video of two archbishops manfully attempting that task.

The canned explanatory releases promise a more fruitful experience for congregations. I sure cannot see that at all. And if it might be expected to deter defection from the pews, or bring returnees or new members in, someone has to be kidding!

I wonder what might have been done if all this effort had been directed instead at emphasizing the purpose and value of the Eucharist ... and the strengthening of faith that can come from actively worshipping together.

David Munroe
Montgomery, Ohio

The following letter was sent to the Pope by a Florida VOTF member
Most Holy Father:

“Here stand I. I can do no other. So help me God!” These courageous words proclaimed at the Diet of Worms in 1521 are attributed to Martin Luther when he was directed by this church legislative body to deny or defend his teachings or suffer the consequences of excommunication as a heretic from the Roman Catholic Church. I too must take Martin Luther’s stance and challenge your inexplicable actions in seeking to have Pope John Paul II canonized as one of the church’s saints. [remainder of letter]

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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