In the Vineyard   ::    December 19, 2008   ::    Volume 7, Issue 22

Message from National

We here at VOTF’s National Office would like to wish VOTF members and their families a peaceful and merry Christmas and a joyful New Year. We appreciate the support and feedback you have given us throughout this last year and count ourselves blessed to work with such a thoughtful and inspiring group of people.

Merry Christmas!

National News

The national office of Voice of the Faithful has been busy these last few weeks! They sent out a press release refuting Judge Merz’s op-ed in the Boston Globe. VOTF’s release was picked up in David Gibson’s blog, (

VOTF also signed on to a letter from SNAP requesting that the Archdiocese of St. Louis review the case of Father Osborne through the procedures set up by the lay-led National Review Board.

And, in the case of Father Roy Bourgeois, VOTF sent a letter to the Papal Nuncio as well as put out a press release asking that the pope reconsider the harsh response to Father Roy’s support of women’s ordination.

Something to Ponder: What happens when a personal decision, made in accordance with a “well-formed” conscience, places one in opposition to what the Church defines as doctrine? Fr. Roy Bourgeois found out that one answer is excommunication. VOTF has prepared a study guide on the Church’s teachings about conscience, for use as a personal review or as part of a discussion session in your affiliate or parish. You will find all the materials you need here.

VOTF Remembers Cardinal Avery Dulles
VOTF expresses its sorrow and regrets to the New York Province of the Society of Jesus and the Dulles family on receiving word of Cardinal Avery Dulles death.  Cardinal Dulles died on December 13, 2008 in the Jesuit infirmary at Fordham University, New York.

VOTF members will remember Cardinal Dulles’ outstanding book Models of the Church originally published in 1974 and significantly revised in 1991.  Although he was usually characterized as a conservative theologian, it was Models of the Church which encouraged many post-Vatican II Catholics to think of their church in new and different ways.

News from Working Groups

VOR/LE Advent Gospel Reflection Series Underway
Voice of Renewal/Lay Education’s yahoo-list members began an Advent gospel reflection series on November 30 with Mark, (“we're all the work of your hands”); continued with Mark 1:18 on John the Baptist; moved to John 1:6-8/19-28; and will finish on Dec 21 with a reflection on Luke 1:26-38. The Advent Sunday gospels are found at

The method used on the discussion list is to begin with reflections by Gaile Pohlhaus (Prayerful Voice working group) and VOR’s Bill Murphy and Anne Southwood. The gospels are then “unpacked” by members. As each member explores their reactions to the gospel reading, they focus on one word or phrase. In the words of the reflection leaders: “We hear different things at different times; VOR people are not static. Some words jump out more than others and reappear as we connect with each other: Watch....Prepare....Repent....Path....

We’d love it if you want to join the conversation next Sunday, but you need to go to to subscribe to the discussion list. Read more of the conversation

Is Enrollment in Seminaries Truly on the Upswing?

The Boston Globe’s Michael Paulson did a recent article on the increase in enrollment in Boston’s St. John Seminary. (“Stunning Turnaround for St. John’s Seminary”

But according to John Ryan, chair of VOTF’s Priest Support Working Group, “The truth of the matter is that Cardinal O’Malley has saved the brick and mortar seminary facility, not via a turnaround in vocation enrollment for the Archdiocese of Boston, but by persuading nearby bishops to send their seminarians to Boston to study.  Most dioceses send their seminarians to larger metro area seminaries, and we find that the trend of recruiting up to one-third or more of their seminarians from outside the U.S. continues.” Read more of John’s thoughts

Affiliate News

VOTF Ireland Voices Outrage
In response to news that parishioners had raised more than $60,000.00 for Father Eugene Greene, a self-admitted child rapist., Voice of the Faithful in Ireland called upon Bishop Boyce to issue a pastoral letter, condemning Father Greene’s crime and supporting his victims. You can see the VOTF Ireland’s release here.

Site Seeing

David Gibson’s blog, which mentions VOTF’s reaction to Judge Merz was also picked up by Commonweal Magazine. (

U.S. nuns have also thrown their support behind Father Roy Bourgeois”

The nuns told the Pope they "join Fr. Roy Bourgeois and the majority of U.S. Catholics, who believe that women are called to priestly ordination in the Catholic Church."

VOTF Ireland’s Sean O’Conaill  had an article printed in Belfast’s Irish News last month – “Change overdue in culture of pray up, pay up and shut up.” Is Irish Catholicism poised for change? Read more


Voice of the Faithful of Southwest Florida’s 2009 Speakers Forum presents:
Robert Blair Kaiser  “An Action Plan for Citizenship in the Church
7:00 PM, Thursday, January 29.
The venue for the Speakers Forum is Vanderbilt Presbyterian Church, 1225 Piper Blvd., Naples, FL.

For more information please contact Peg Clark at 417-3077 or visit VOTF of SWFL at A free will offering will be taken to cover expenses. All are welcome.

Book Corner

If you are looking for a thought provoking book for your holiday break, try The Shack, by Wm. Paul Young. It is the story of a man who suffers horrible tragedy and finds his way to understanding and a closer relationship with God. More spiritual than religious, the Shack introduces readers to an engaging, loving and accessible image of God.

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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Working Group News

Affiliate News

Site Seeing


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