In the Vineyard :: August 23, 2013 :: Volume 13, Issue 15

News from National

Illinois Eliminates Statutes of Limitation on Sex Abuse Claims
Illinois recently passed a law that removes the statutes of limitation on filing charges of sexual assault or abuse when the victim was younger than 18 and when there is either corroborating physical evidence or evidence that a mandated reporter knew about the crime but failed to notify authorities.

No other state has eliminated the SOLs for both civil and criminal child sex abuse cases in the same legislative session. The bills also passed unanimously, which according to those involved is almost unheard of.

Members of Chicagoland VOTF were among those who worked tirelessly on this issue. According to Sandy Stilling Seehausen, V.P. of Chicagoland VOTF, “We had great responses from a number of legislators and particularly their aides, along with significant help from our state ICASA organization on site in Springfield.”

 California also has an SOL bill on its way to the Assembly floor.,0,1933661.story

Extensive Bibliography on Clergy Sex Abuse
Fr. Tom Doyle, long-time advocate for clergy sex abuse victims, has compiled an extensive listing of articles, videos, and documents about clergy sex abuse. Organized into categories, the bibliography cites books and articles about clergy abuse, toxic religion, theological perspectives, the sociology and philosophy of religion, canon law, civil law, history, the psychology and trauma of sex abuse, official Church documents, documentaries and movies. It's an invaluable guide to the information available on sex abuse by clergy.

Keep Protecting the Children
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” (Mark 10:14)

We are all charged with the responsibility and duty to protect children. They simply aren't capable of protecting themselves from abusers.

It is up to you to ensure safe Catholic school and parish environments.

Here's how:

Make certain that your Parish Safety Council:

  • Conducts annual prevention and education for all children and parents. And check the value of its content.

  • Completes yearly background checks for all clergy, staff, personnel, and volunteers and does not allow service without the check.

  • Observes Zero Tolerance for sexual abuse; no second chances.

  • Work to extend or eliminate Statutes of Limitation on child sexual abuse. Reforming laws that protect abusers rather than the abused is another important way to help.


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

U.S. Nuns Strike Positive Note on Vatican Investigation
U.S. Catholic nuns—accused by Rome of “radical feminism” for advocating social justice at the expense of issues such as abortion, gay marriage and euthanasia—responded to a Vatican complaint with a brief, conciliatory statement on Monday (Aug. 19). After its four-day annual assembly, the board of the LCWR emphasized the positive, and remained tight-lipped about negotiations to resolve the investigation.
 -- LCWR Assembly: Little Evidence of Willingness to Comply with Reforms

‘Whistleblower’ Priest Urges Full Transparency for Church Leaders
Fr. James Connell, a retired Milwaukee priest who helped found a national network of clergy and sisters committed to reporting instances of sexual abuse within the Church, has some advice for Catholic leaders dealing with the pedophilia scandal: Come clean.

Ousted Polish Priest Takes His Case to Rome
When a Polish priest was barred from talking to the media by his archbishop and forced out of his parish in July, the news made headlines and touched off claims that the priest was “causing social conflicts” for asking questions and, among other actions, objecting to Catholic anti-Semitism. Fr. Wojciech Lemanski awaits an appeal ruling from the Vatican in a case that has highlighted tensions in what the National Catholic Reporter calls “Europe's most disciplined and inscrutable Catholic establishment.”

Vatican Religious Prefect: Gender Inequality Exists in the Church
Gender inequality exists in the Catholic Church because men and women forget they cannot be "fully human" without one another. "Man without woman is not fully human," Cardinal João Braz de Aviz said. "And woman without man is not fully human either. Each without the other is a piece of humanity, incomplete … History became a primarily masculine enterprise. For many reasons —political, anthropological—this mode also dominated religion."

Court Date Set for Appeal of Convicted Priest’s Conviction
Pennsylvania's Superior Court has set Sept. 17 for oral arguments on the appeal by Msgr. William J. Lynn, convicted last year of child endangerment for his role supervising Catholic priests accused of sexually abusing children.

Archbishop Chaput’s Right-Wing Funk
Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput has voiced the anxiety many right-wing Catholics must be feeling at the extraordinary popularity Pope Francis has been enjoying. He said members of the right wing of the Catholic Church "generally have not been really happy about his election.”
Right Wing ‘Generally Not Happy’ with Francis, Chaput Says

Schuller Wraps Up U.S. Tour: ‘We All Must Speak Out’
Fr. Helmut Schüller's "Catholic Tipping Point" tour of the United States ended where it began: in New York. He gave an address Aug. 7 in Manhasset and on Aug. 8 visited St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan, where he delivered thousands of red ribbons he collected during his tour.
-- Thoughts on Fr. Schuller’s Tour

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

Book Review

American Catholicism in Transition by William V. D’Antonio, Michele Dillon, and Mary L. Gautier

This book does a great service for those of us involved with the movement for structural change in the Catholic Church. It is not a great read from the standpoint of a non-sociologist.  I did not find the statistical information that revealing, surprising or revolutionary. On the contrary, it more or less confirmed what I already knew or suspected. However, I found it very powerful that this was a longitudinal study (the information is based on 5 surveys given over the years 1987, 1993, 1999, 2005, and 2011) and could be described as an on-going observation of the battle field after Vatican II – the unfolding tug of war over the implementation of the words and spirit of Vatican II.

It is easy to forget that after all the great, and not so great, councils of the Church—from Jerusalem to Nicea, from Chalcedon to Constantinople, from Lateran to Trent—there was a necessary and indeterminate period of struggle over the implementation of each council’s meaning, both structurally and theoretically. When Karen Armstrong writes about this in her book, A History of God, she claims that there were always counter-forces both before the councils and after them vying for control of the interpretation and implementation of the meaning of the historical moment and events. She concludes that the explanation which resonates truest and deepest in mind, body, and spirit of the vast majority of Christians at the time, this ultimately moves the history of God forward and becomes recognized as the manifestation of God.

I would say D’Antonio et al are presenting us with a sociologist’s description of this unfolding history of God in the here and now through their surveys. The hot button issues are all there: self-identity of what it means to be an American Catholic, dysfunctional nature of the role of women in the Catholic Church, growing Hispanic presence mediating its culture and practice in American Catholicism, and challenges of infrastructure and mission with respect to how well structures facilitate the mission of God. In all these areas, the book shows where people of the Catholic faith are at and in what direction they are moving—when they are moving at all. The book does not give a prescription for dealing with these issues or a  predetermined outcome to them. Rather it provides a geography of the engagement.

In the final chapter, “Moving Forward,” the authors are well aware of a number of problematic challenges, principally indifference to the Catholic Church, willingness to search for spiritual renewal outside the typical American Catholic structures (e.g., small faith groups and intentional Eucharistic communities), the increasing disenfranchisement of women, and the waning of the original Vatican II generation.

What I took away from the book was this: the need to follow your gut. Both as individuals and in groups there needs to be engagement. American Catholics in Transition lends credence to groups like VOTF, Call to Action, Future Church, Women Priests, etc., not because of the truth or falsity of their positions, but precisely because they are engaged in the pursuit of clarifying their faith in a time of transition.

These issues are simply the issues of our day; they are the issues of the post-Vatican II era. It remains to be seen where the people of God will see the Kingdom of God manifested.

By Bill Murphy, WAVOTF

Who Are We to Judge?
Loyola Productions, a Jesuit-sponsored film production house in Los Angeles, has launched a YouTube channel dedicated to promoting the works and mission of the Society of Jesus.

Ignatian News Network (INN) tells the stories that inspire, inform and spread the word about the people in and around Jesuit ministries and institutions. These short videos, many featuring biographical profiles of Jesuits, give a distinctive Ignatian lens to news and happenings across the U.S.

"Who are we to judge?" is the second part in their series on how gay Catholics live out their faith in the church.

Letter to the Editor

Dear Folks,
For many of you, this is a reminder; for some, it may be the first time you've seen this request. If you find the 2011 Roman Missal problematic, you might be interested in signing a letter to Cardinal O'Malley of Boston.  The team at has composed this letter, expressing our concerns about the new Missal.  We trust it is both clear and respectful.  It is our hope that many will sign the letter, and that Cardinal O'Malley will bring this issue before Pope Francis in October, when the newly appointed group of eight meets with him.  To that end, we will send the letter and all the signatures to the Cardinal on or about September 8th.  If you would prefer to write your own letter, that is encouraged, as well.

Therefore, please consider signing the letter or writing your own... extending the invitation to all you know who may be interested... and continue to check our web site for further information, as it becomes available.  Thank you for your interest.

Sincerely, Gloria Ulterino, for the team at

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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