In the Vineyard :: August 11, 2011 :: Volume 11, Issue 15

News From National

Some Books Are Life-Changing
You could win three, autographed by the authors

Perhaps one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, or a family member or friend, is an amazing, possibly life-changing book. VOTF has handpicked three exceptional reads that you can win in our summer raffle. Each book is sure to inspire you, provide food for your soul and challenge you intellectually. Each of two winners will receive all three volumes, autographed by the authors.

The books are:

The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See
by Richard Rohr, OFM
Special Bonus with the book: An audio CD with a presentation by Fr. Rohr 

Quest for the Living God: Mapping Frontiers in the Theology of God 
by Elizabeth A. Johnson, CSJ

Faithful Revolution: How Voice of the Faithful Is Changing the Church 
by Tricia C. Bruce

For brief introductions to these books, click here.

To participate in the raffle, simply donate at least $25 between now and August 31. You may donate online by clicking here, or mail your check (postmarked by August 31) to VOTF, PO Box 423, Newton, MA 02464.

The greater your donation, the more chances to win.  You’ll receive –

$25 Donation = 5 chances!
$50 Donation = 15 chances!
$75 Donation = 30 chances!
$100 Donation = 50 chances!

Thank you. Your support during these summer months makes all the difference!

German Church Opens Files to Abuse Investigators
Late last month, the Roman Catholic Church in Germany announced that all priest and employee files would be open to clergy sexual abuse investigators. In nine dioceses, investigators will have access to records back to 1945. In 18 other dioceses, they will review records between 2000 and 2010.

If investigators do have full access to files, this study would be more thorough than the John Jay study in the United States. John Jay researchers had to rely on information handed to them by dioceses. Germany’s lower Saxony Criminological research Institute will conduct statistical studies on the nine dioceses, and the University of Essen-Duisburg Psychiatric Institute will research predator priests’ behavior to help determine how to prevent abuse.

VOTF responded by sending the letter to the Most Rev. Stephan Ackerman, Bishop of Trier, who is spokesman for the German bishops’ conference. Copies of the letter were sent to certain U.S. bishops and the media.

Support Fr. Roy Bourgeois’ Right to Conscience
Maryknoll priest Fr. Roy Bourgeois has run afoul of Church hierarchy for his support of women’s ordination. Recently, Maryknoll Superior General Fr. Edward Dougherty sent Fr. Bourgeois a second Canonical notice of his imminent dismissal from the Maryknoll if he continues his campaign in support of ordaining women priests and does not recant.

Fr. Bourgeois has responded that he cannot recant as a matter of conscience. If you wish to support Fr. Bourgeois’ stand for primacy of conscience, send a note by mail to Rev. Edward M. Dougherty, M.M., Superior General, Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers, P.O. Box 304, Maryknoll, NY 10545. Or you may e-mail your note to him by clicking this e-mail address:

Please send your note as soon as possible, as action will be taken against Fr. Bourgeois in only a couple of weeks. And be sure to sign and print your name on your note or print your name or your e-mail. Here is a suggestion for a brief note:

To Fr. Edward Dougherty,

As a faithful Roman Catholic, I want to make clear that I support my brother in Christ Fr. Roy Bourgeois, M.M., in his priesthood and in his right to speak from his conscience.


Print Name_____________________________

To read more about Father Roy Bourgeois

An Open Letter to Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Rev. James Connell, Vice-Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee sent the following letter on August 1. In it, Rev. Connell asks the USCCB to fully support the requirements outlined in the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

Re: An Opportunity to Rebuild Trust (Charter Compliance Audits)

Dear Archbishop Dolan,
There is an opportunity for the Catholic Bishops of our country to rebuild the people’s trust in them that has been severely damaged because of the clergy sexual abuse crisis. This opportunity is found in the audits of each diocese / eparchy (= “diocese” in this Open Letter) for its compliance with the requirements of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People (Charter). Indeed, the more that people are able to understand and accept these audits as being reasonable and thorough, the more that the people might be willing to begin to trust their bishops again. But without the people being able to understand and accept the audits, their trust in the bishops will continue to wane. Continued

VOTF St. Louis Awards “Person of Integrity” to Four Locals

VOTF St. Louis recently handed out four "Person of Integrity" awards. The awards were given to Fr. Joe Starmann, who was  recognized on June 19 after a Mass at the Missouri Veterans Home; Fr. Gerry Kleba, who was recognized at St. Cronan's parish on June 25 of this year after 5:00 Mass; Sr. Jackie Toben, SSND, who was recognized on the evening of June 19 before a performance of a play by formerly incarcerated women whom she serves at St. Vincent's Parish; and Sr. Rosemarie Nassif,SSND, who was recognized on May 1st at a dinner celebration with her family during her 50th anniversary celebration as a School Sister of Notre Dame.

VOTF SL has named their award “Person of Integrity” because they want to be able to recognize priests, religious men and women, and lay men and women serving their Archdiocese.
Chris Nassif - Chairperson-VOTFSL


Weymouth VOTF Presents:
A fundraising event to benefit The Friends of St. Frances X. Cabrini, Inc.
Place:  Scituate Country Club
91 Driftway, Scituate
Date:  Friday, August 19, 2011
Time:  7:00P.M. to 10:00P.M.

Event will feature abundant theme baskets and fabulous silent auction items. Tickets include a wide array of hors d’oeuvres, soup and salad, dessert, coffee and automatic entry for wonderful door prizes!

Tickets ($35 each) can be purchased at St. Frances church, 27 Hood Road, Scituate or online at
Thank you for your support and donations!
The Friends of St. Frances X. Cabrini, Inc. is a non-profit, 501(c)3 entity.
P.O. Box 129, Scituate MA 02066

Site Seeing

The editors of America Magazine discuss the widespread abuse scandal and look for glimmers of hope:

The Episcopal Church seems to have problems with accountability:

Appeal of Diocese of Belleville rejected:

Belleville agrees to pay $6.3 million:

Clergy abuses hurts more than victims:

Letters to the Editor

As has been pointed out, there is no shortage of vocations to the priesthood. There are many, many persons who feel the call to be ordained; what keeps that from happening is human (man) made laws which then are attributed to being God’s will. The major problem is that those who should be speaking up and demanding changes, the bishops and cardinals, are not doing so for fear of finding themselves on the non-employed list along side Bishop Morris of Australia. It is most interesting to note that just before retiring, or just after having done so, bishops and cardinals will speak up and suggest that changes need to be made. As examples: Egan of New York, the fellow in Portugal who is nearing retirement and, of course, John Quinn of California.

There are unquestionably many, many more but they will not speak up for fear of being slapped down by Rome where obedience is considered the prime virtue.

Yet, those with the most power to bring about change are the laity. Without the absolute necessity of money from the laity, Rome, and especially diocesan bishops, would soon run out of funds for food, toilet paper and airfare to attend meetings where they walk on eggs lest Rome crush them. In short, the bishops are letting us down by not speaking up for the necessary changes which will ensure that the sacraments, especially Mass, are available. Just closing churches is not the answer.

Since the bishops and cardinals will not speak up it is the laity who must, once again, exert their God-given right and power to be heard and truly listened to. Just look at how the bishops, wimp-like, let themselves be walked all over by letting Rome dictate who will control the translation of the missal, a right which is clearly that of the regional bishops. And these pretend to be leaders.
J.R. Braddick

Editor’s Note – Cardinal Rigali’s resignation was recently accepted – for details go to

The powerful reaction from Ireland over the Cloyne Report—detailing the hierarchy’s insensitivity over sexual abuse of 19 victims in the last decade—stands in sharp contrast to the ineffectual hand-wringing over the almost identical report coming out of Philadelphia.

Where is the U.S. counterpart? Why was not the Vatican ambassador to the United States recalled as was the ambassador to Ireland? Why has Cardinal Rigali not been removed from office?

I challenge VOTF to stop just being a good purveyor of bad news and to do something about it. Specifically, I challenge VOTF to organize a March on Baltimore to confront the U.S. bishops at their next annual meeting. If the call went out from VOTF (and Call to Action, and Future Church, et al) tens of thousands of Catholics would fill the streets of Baltimore and force the bishops to finally deal with the long laundry list of issues they have so studiously ignored.

J. McMahon
Boise, Idaho

Dear Siobhan,

Thank you for all your investigations and collections of what good people are doing, even internationally, to foment and achieve reform of the Church in which we dare to believe has an authentic good news to reveal from Jesus through the first apostles despite the historical miscreants of authority and power and the sins of millions of faithless and faithful believers during more than two thousand years. It is always the good people who try who save the day and sustain faith. VOTF is full of these people.

In the most recent mailing, I received a copy for signing of an appeal to the Bishops of the United States to back an organized movement requesting papal acceptation of married men as priests to resolve the problem of the lack of clergy to attend the needs of the faithful.

Unfortunately, there was no place in the email to reject such a request.

I could not sign the letter because it favors the unreformed Vatican supported teaching that only male, married or unmarried, priests are acceptable before God and that women are unacceptable and to be placed in the subservient role of a revitalized deaconate, which the bishops themselves long ago abandoned.

To memorialize such rule changes by the stroke of a canon is to perpetuate the untruth that women, because they are women and for no other reason, are lesser children of God. That is not true. Functionality follows being. Not the opposite. It is God who makes us free not the socially evolved circumstances of a primitive ethnic group in deep antiquity.

It is far better to allow an old house  to collapse upon itself while the real owners think of a better way.

Enjoy the Vineyard, Siobhan. It's a great place.

B. Allen

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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