In the Vineyard :: December 16, 2011 :: Volume 11, Issue 24

The staff in VOTF’s National office would like to wish everyone a blessed and peaceful Christmas. We would also like to share with you the following Christmas blessing.

Franciscan Christmas Blessing for Justice and Peace
May God bless you with discomfort...
at easy answers, hard hearts,
half-truths, and superficial relationships.
May God bless you
so that you may live from deep within your heart
where God’s Spirit dwells.


Welcome New VOTF Officers!

We would like to both welcome and thank VOTF’s new officers. To learn more about VOTF’s new officers, please click on their names and you will be able to read each of their statements of commitment.

Mark Mullaney,  President
Wayland, MA

Ron DuBois, Boston, Vice-President
Braintree, MA

Anne Southwood, Treasurer
Marshfield, MA

Patricia Gomez,  Secretary
Tewksbury, MA

To read more about how the process of electing these officers was undertaken, as well as changes to VOTF’s bylaws, please click here.

We would also like to thank the current officers for their service to VOTF  - Dan Bartley (President), Janet Hauter (Vice-President), Kevin Connors (Treasurer), and Nick Mazza (Secretary). We appreciate all you have done!

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2012 Year of the Survivor:
Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of Confronting the
 Catholic child sexual abuse scandal

Conference Dates:
January 6, 7, 8, 2012 (Friday - Sunday)

Holiday Inn, Beacon Hill

Early Registration $20 (now through Dec 15, 2011)
Registration $25 (12/16/2011-01/02/2012)
Late Registration $30 (after 01/03/2012 and walk-ins)

You are cordially invited to a celebratory few days in Boston’s Back Bay. Experience all the warmth and hospitality Boston has to offer. We are coming together to recognize and celebrate what we as survivors and supporters have accomplished in exposing Catholic clergy sex crimes over the past several years and re-energize for our future. We will also be creating an opportunity to meet and share with others who are also working for a meaningful change and accountability. Plans are well underway for a weekend of informative and high-spirited speakers, workshops and panels.

We hope you can join us!

For more information and to register go to:

Voice of the Faithful Focus,
Dec. 15, 2011

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

The Irish Church’s National Board for Protecting Children Releases Audits
On Dec. 1, the Ireland’s National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church, similar in responsibility to the U.S. bishops’ National Review Board, released audits on clergy sexual abuse in six of Ireland’s 26 dioceses. We have gathered several stories and commentary on the audits and links are below. The VOTF national office also worked with VOTF in Ireland and released a statement you can read by clicking here.

Focus Shifts to Irish Abuse Scandal in 2011, but U.S. Problems Persist
Auditing Catholic Abuse: Why the Survivors Need Their Day in Court
Ireland Abuse Audit: Recent Improvements after Years of Neglect
Give Me a Crash Course in...Catholic Church Reports on Child Sex Abuse
Apologies for Abuse Won’t Ease the Pain
Irish Church’s Abuse Review Stresses Accountability
New Report: Irish Catholic Church Is Dedicated to 'Complete Transparency and Accountability'
The Catholic Hierarchy Still Doesn't Get It

One Way the Clergy Abuse Scandal Has Affected the Irish Church
Dublin, Ireland’s largest Catholic diocese, is facing its biggest crisis since emancipation in 1829, according to its archbishop Diarmuid Martin, who said, “The change that will take place between now and the year 2020 – just eight years away – will be enormous. I am more and more convinced that they will be the most challenging years that the diocese has had to face since Catholic Emancipation.”

Belgian Catholics Issue Reform Manifesto Signed by 6,000 To-Date
The week before the start of Advent four Flemish priests issued a church reform manifesto that called for allowing the appointment of laypeople as parish pastors, liturgical leaders and preachers, and for the ordination of married men and women as priests. As of Dec. 1, 6,000 active Catholics had signed on to the "Believers Speak Out" manifesto.

Read all of this issue of Focus...

Looking for a Last Minute Christmas Gift?

Books are always great! VOTF has a list on our site of books recommended by members.

A new recommendation is Mother Teresa of Calcutta: A Personal Portrait: 50 Inspiring Stories Never Before Told by Leo Maasburg.

As with any of your Amazon Christmas shopping, if you begin on VOTF’s page and click on the Amazon link, VOTF will get a portion of anything you buy.

Not Too Late: Vatican II Advent Series Under Way
If you have not yet requested the discussion series "The Promise of Vatican II," there is still time. Designed as a study guide for the four weeks of Advent, the guide is suitable for use in parishes, faith-sharing groups, book clubs, or even for ad hoc gatherings in your home. You can download your copy here and then print out as many as needed.

The guide (in a "non-Advent" form) also is available from our web pages, for use at any time during the year. Look under the Spiritual & Communal Growth Team pages under Prayers and Prayer Services, and on the Voice of Renewal/Lay Education pages under Study Guides.

Speaking Out Against Statutes of Limitation on Child Sexual Abuse
In an editorial in the National Catholic Reporter, Sister Maureen Turlish recently spoke out against the statutes of limitation on child sexual abuse, especially the machinations of Philadephia’s Archbishop Charles Chaput and New York’s Archbishop Timothy Dolan. “No one in the Catholic community has suffered more than the innocent children whose minds, hearts and souls were torn asunder by those who stood in the place of Our Lord Jesus Christ,” said Sister Turlish. To read her article

To learn more about what VOTF is doing to help change laws and support victims of abuse, please go to

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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© Voice of the Faithful 2011. All Rights Reserved