In the Vineyard   ::    April 9, 2009   ::    Volume 8, Issue 7

National News

Message from National

Dear Friends,

As we leave the days of Lent and enter into the blessings of Holy Week and Easter, we find our hearts full of the journey ahead for Voice of the Faithful. Since the beginning, VOTF has been an Easter movement, and we must continue to ground ourselves in the Paschal Mystery that is the heart of our faith. 

We must remain grounded in the great hope of transformation and new life. That is why we go forward. We are an Easter people. VOTF is an Easter movement. 

May the blessings and wisdom of this holiest season strengthen us for the journey. May the hope and truth of the Risen Christ sustain and accompany us. May the joy of the Resurrection enter the hearts of all who suffer, and may it enlighten us all as we go forward.

With blessings for this Easter season,

Dan Bartley
VOTF President

Your Help Needed by Religious Orders Subcommittee
The Religious Orders Subcommittee of VOTF's National Representative Council is surveying the major religious Orders (men) and Congregations (women) on their child-safety programs and abuse-reporting procedures. After an initial round of contacts, the subcommittee is calling on VOTF members with ties to religious orders to help "fill in the blanks."

If you would like to help, here are the details.

National Child Abuse Prevention Month
April is the annual celebration of National Child Abuse Prevention Month in the U.S. The Strategic Plan Platform Committee on Protection of Children and Support for Survivors recommends that members and affiliates urge our parish communities to call attention to:

  • The prevalence of child abuse in our society

  • The urgent need to protect children

  • The need for the continuing prayer and outreach to abused children, especially those abused in our Churches.

  • Suggested actions include inserts in parish bulletins, prayers during liturgies, and listening to the stories of those abused.

For more information on how you and your parish can get involved,

Flowers Anyone?
If you send Easter flowers this year, or remember your mother on Mother's Day with flowers, your kind thoughts can also benefit VOTF. By purchasing flowers through our web link, you designate a small percentage of your purchase for Voice of the Faithful. This "referral fee" from Amazon helps support our work, which as you know includes many project plans from our platform committees.

In these challenging financial times, it's a great way to obtain flowers -- and many other goods and services -- at competitive prices while supporting VOTF at the same time.

Just remember to use this VOTF Amazon link as you start your shopping.

News from the Affiliates

Update from NY affiliate on Statute of Limitation Reform
Submitted by Francis Piderit

In the continuing struggle to win justice through SOL reform, we note with sadness the communications being sent out in the name of our Catholic Church by the New York State Catholic Conference, which is the lobbying arm of the Catholic hierarchy in New York State, paid for with your contributions.

Since we are well-informed about the goals and the details of the legislation, it is important for you all to see how our Catholic bishops are communicating with Catholic laity. An e-mail was sent to teachers in Catholic parochial schools, and was forwarded to me by Maria Grieco, who teaches in such a school.

Read more:

Priest On Trial: The Anatomy of Triumphalism and Clericalism in the Roman Catholic Church-Part II
By John E. McGovern, VOTF Palm Beach, FL – President

(Editor’s note – the following article is a follow up to an article published in the February issue of In the Vineyard.)

The jury verdict in the case of State of Florida v. Francis Guinan was delivered at 2:50 pm on Monday, February 23, 2009. Guilty of “the lesser included crime of grand theft in the amount of $20,000 but not greater than $100,000,” read the clerk. During the three hours which passed awaiting the decision, parishioners milling about the courthouse began to tell their stories to the press eager to capture the thoughts of bystanders. One story stood out among the many: “Our pastor recently got up and stated he did not think the parish would mind that he had just sent a check for $36,000 to the poor in his home country in India.” The parishioner said: “You could hear a pin drop.”

Read more:

And finally, to read a heartfelt letter from a survivor that was sent to New York’s Newsday and is reprinted with permission,

International News

Update on the Church in Ireland
By Sean O’Conaill, VOTF Ireland

Things are very quiet in Ireland just now on the church front. The publication of the Dublin report has been delayed until the summer - we hear the delay is caused by court proceedings related to abuse in Dublin. The stepping down of Bishop Magee of Cloyne last month, widely seen as a preliminary to his formal retirement, has taken the heat out of that situation.

Read more:

Site Seeing

How long ago did the Church know about the problem of pedophile priests? Early documents just released suggest it has been for much longer than the Church yet admits…

Aging of Catholic bishops could lead to rebirth – an LA Times article on future possibilities of the Catholic Church,0,1552149.story?page=1

National Catholic Reporter update on the meeting of Bishop Morlino with the congregation of St. Thomas to hear their support of Ruth Kolpack.

Dr. Thomas Patrick Melady, former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, discusses the recent trend of refusing Communion to Catholics and the general lack of civility in public discourse, particularly among Catholics.

In his article for the Washington Post, Kenneth Woodward discusses why Notre Dame should welcome Obama.

Doing any shopping lately? If so, please shop at! Anything you purchase from by following a link to their site from VOTF means a small donation to VOTF! And we get that donation on books, DVDs, CDs, electronic equipment, apparel, toys and more, even gift certificates.


As part of the National Child Abuse Prevention Month, the Attorney General of NH, Kelly Ayotte will discuss the results of the 4th and final audit of the Manchester Dioceses program for the protection of children from abuse. The Meeting will be sponsored by the Nashua area Voice of the Faithful.

The meeting will take place on April 20th at 7 PM at the club house of The Village at Hollis Depot on Route 111A in Hollis, NH.

Directions from Nashua: from Route 3 take Exit 5 W (Rt.111).  Proceed west on 111. At the junction of Rts.111 and 111A   (the 4th traffic light), go left onto 111A. In 3/10 of a mile on the left is Cross Road. You will have passed Alpine Grove on your right) take left at Cross Road and the club house is the building on the immediate right.   The parking lot is in the front of the building. For more information, please contact Bill McPherson at

Twin Cities VOTF is holding its annual Apology Service for survivors of clergy, religious, or church employee abuse of any religious denomination at 4:00 pm, Sunday, April 26 in the Social Hall of St. Edward's Catholic Church, Bloomington, MN. 

The Speaker will be Dr Jim Ayers, member of the Twin Cities VOTF Steering Council and Clinical Director of the Minneapolis Walk-In Counseling Center. A light meal will be shared at the conclusion of the service. Text of the Annual Apology Service can be accessed at:

October 30-31, 2009: VOTF National Conference

Join in lively discussions as we come together to reflect on the state of our church and how we can be part of the changes that will renew our faith.

Book Review

Submitted by Gaile M. Polhaus, PhD
Saving Jesus from the Church (Harper One, 2009) by Robin R. Meyers is a book worth reading. Dr. Meyers is a UCC minister, a philosophy professor, columnist for PBS, and writes in American, not academese. His main point is that the Christian Church changed from following Jesus (action) to believing in Christ (navel gazing) in the fourth century.  This is not a new idea -- others have already written about this idea. This book, however, is readable. While I don't agree totally with all of Meyers' thesis (IMHO worship is dead only when it doesn't propel us to action) I suggest you all read it if you haven't already. It is a good compendium of many contemporary ideas about Jesus and his way.

Letters to the Editor

Dear Vineyard:
Under Federal Law:  "A Conspiracy begins when the first overt act is committed; and all who join in this conspiracy become members of a criminal enterprise: When six or more persons join in a criminal conspiracy: Federal Racketeering  (RICO) state: The "clock does not begin to toll until the last overt act is committed;" and by one's silence; is a criminal act; (EVEN THOUGH IT MAY BE 30 YEARS LATER). Thus; by the silence of one member to cover up the crime of another; is the nonetheless inexcusable to be charged as a member of a criminal enterprise." 

In His Service:  Dennis King

Dear Vineyard:

Have you heard that Bishop Martino of the diocese of Scranton, Pa, criticized Miseracordia college in Dallas PA for having a speaker on campus talking about diversity, which included sexual diversity. When the college invited Bishop Martino to debate the issue as a guest at the university, he refused. Keep in mind, even though the college is in the diocese of Scranton geographically, it is run by the Religious Sisters of Mercy, and is independent of diocesan  control. This did not stop Bishop Martino from essentially butting his nose in where it didn’t belong. The speaker was NOT there to promote a gay “agenda,” nor was the university endorsing his views. He was simply there to lecture on the issues of racial and ethnic diversity and just HAPPENS to be a gay man. This is just one more example of the hierarchy trying to control the smaller issues simply because they can’t control the larger ones. This diocese has a high rate of sexual abuse cases pending from what I’ve heard and read. YOU might want to follow up on this story. It’s been in the Scranton Pa papers a great deal.

Sincerely, Patrick O’Neill, Coal Twp. Pa. 17866

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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