In the Vineyard :: February 17, 2011 :: Volume 10, Issue 4

National News

Update on Philadelphia
Scandal has once again rocked the Catholic Church, this time in Philadelphia. A grand jury found that Monsignor William Lynn, who served as the secretary for clergy under then-Philadelphia Archbishop Anthony Bevilacqua, endangered children, including the alleged victims of 37 priests charged last week. Lynn is accused of knowingly allowing dangerous priests to continue in the ministry in roles in which they had access to children.

According to some, this is the first time a Catholic priest has been criminally charged with the cover-up, as opposed to the abuse itself.

As In the Vineyard goes to press, this story is still developing. Reports on Wednesday said the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is reopening the 37 cases of child abuse cited by the local grand jury and has placed three priests on administrative leave. Cardinal Justin Rigali said in a statement that sexual abuse of children is a crime, is always wrong and gravely evil.

When will it end?

Philadelphia Catholic Diocese to re-open sex abuse cases
PHILADELPHIA | Wed Feb 16, 2011 6:22pm EST
(Feb. 16, 2011) The archdiocese of Philadelphia, reeling from criminal and civil allegations of sexual misconduct by priests and church officials, said on Wednesday it would reopen 37 cases of possible child sexual abuse cited by a local grand jury. From Reuters

3 Philly priests named in sex report are suspended
(Feb. 16, 2011) The Philadelphia archdiocese has suspended three priests named as child molestation suspects in a scathing grand jury report issued last week and has pledged to reopen complaints made against 34 others still on the job. By Maryclaire Dale, Associated Press in the Mercury News

Archdiocese faces new suit alleging abuse cover-up
(Feb. 14, 2011) Attorneys for a man alleging he was molested by two priests in the 1990s filed a lawsuit this morning that includes Cardinal Justin Rigali and retired Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua as defendants. By Peter Mucha, Philadelphia Inquirer

Why 37 accused priests are still serving
A Philadelphia grand jury cited allegations of abuse and inappropriate behavior. Three cases show how the archdiocese rejected them.
(Feb. 13, 2011) A bomb was buried deep in last week's grand-jury report on clergy sex abuse in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia:  At least 37 priests accused of molestation and other inappropriate behavior toward children have been allowed to remain in active ministry. By David O’Reilly and Nancy Phillips, Philadelphia Inquirer

Philadelphia church official charged in scandal
(Philadelphia, Feb. 12, 2011) Nearly a decade after the scandal over sexual abuse by priests erupted, Philadelphia's district attorney has taken a step no prosecutor in the U.S. had taken before: filing criminal charges against a high-ranking Roman Catholic official for allegedly failing to protect children. By Associated Press

Philadelphia Priests Accused by Grand Jury of Sexual Abuse and Cover-Up
(Philadelphia, Feb. 10, 2011) A grand jury on Thursday accused the Archdiocese of Philadelphia of failing to stop the sexual abuse of children more than five years after a grand jury report documented abuse by more than 50 priests. By Jon Hurdle, New York Times

This month we celebrate the 9th birthday of Voice of the Faithful and start our 10th year of working to Keep the Faith and Change the Church. So Happy Birthday everyone!

As a celebration, perhaps today is a good day to light a candle and say a prayer for our efforts to provide a prayerful voice, attentive to the Spirit, through which the Faithful can actively participate in the governance and guidance of the Catholic Church.

In preparation for Vatican II, the first step, a technical one, was to declare Vatican I officially closed. It had been adjourned because of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870 and the siege of Rome by Italian nationalists, but it had never been officially closed.

Do you have friends that would be interested in hearing about Voice of the Faithful? If so, please feel free to use the forward button on this e-mail and send them In the Vineyard. You can help our faithful voice be heard!

Save the Dates!

Voice of the Faithful’s 2011 National Meeting will be held June 10, just prior to the American Catholic Council synod on Pentecost weekend (beginning the evening of June 9), both in Detroit, Michigan.

The VOTF meeting will open with president Dan Bartley’s talk, followed by presentations by our Voices in Action teams. In the afternoon, author Jason Berry will talk about his new book on financial malfeasance within the Church, followed by a Q&A session.

The ACC's “Celebrating the Spirit of Vatican II” synod has been two years in the making. Featured speakers include Hans Kung, Joan Chittister, Anthony Padavano, Jeannette Rodriguez, James Carroll, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and others. Breakout sessions will cover a myriad of topics important to everyone concerned with Church reform. The liturgy throughout the weekend has been specially prepared just for the synod. So, mark your calendars. We hope to see you there.

Please Support VOTF

Help us speak for you by adding your voice for accountability and Church reform to thousands of other VOTF voices by fulfilling your VOTF 2011 dues as soon as you can.

Dues are $50 per year or $85 per year for a couple. You may make your payment online, or by mailing your dues to: VOTF, P.O. Box 423, Newton, MA 02464.
Thank you!

Theologian Memorandum on Church Reform Calls for Participation of Faithful in all Areas of the Church

“We address all those who have not yet given up hope for a new beginning in the Church and are committing themselves to this.” This is the message of Church 2011: A Need for a New Beginning, a memorandum calling for Church reform signed to-date by 247 university theologians from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and other European countries.

Among reforms, the memorandum calls for married priests, for women in ordained ministry and for participation of the faithful in all areas of Church life, including the appointment of bishops, parish priests and other important office holders.

For more on this story, NCR has the following...

Update on New Liturgical Translation

Fr. Anthony Ruff, O.S.B., a Benedictine monk, recently wrote the following letter to the Bishops detailing the reasons he no longer feels he can take part in the presentation of the new liturgical translation. To read his letter click here

Father Ruff is one of VOTF’s prophetic voices. To read more prophetic voices click here.

Guest Column: Top-Down and Bottom-Up in the Catholic Church

James D. Rooney is a member of the Voice of the Faithful Bishop Initiative Team. He holds an MPA from Harvard Kennedy School and a BA in Ethics and Political Philosophy from Brown University. He lives in the Boston area.

Pope Benedict XVI recently installed 24 new members of the College of Cardinals, who among their other duties will elect his successor. As the pope is replenishing Church leadership “from the top down” with cardinals hewing closely to his approach, a lay Catholic organization is moving to restore the laity’s role in active participation in the process of recommending candidates for bishops “from the bottom up.”

Since 2002, Voice of the Faithful has sought to strengthen Church governance in the wake of the clergy abuse scandals that continue to roil Catholicism. As part of this commitment, VOTF proposes the laity regain their historic role in the process of recommending candidates for bishops, drawing upon a rich history of Church tradition beginning with the Apostles and continuing into the Twentieth Century.

Read more:

Vatican Overrules Springfield Diocese and Halts Closing of Three Massachusetts Parishes

The Vatican recently overruled the Springfield, Massachusetts, diocese and ordered that three churches there remain open. The churches are St. Patrick and St. George in Chicopee and St. Stanislaus Kostka in Adams. The Vatican said the Springfield Diocese had not sufficiently justified the closings.

Parishioners at St. Stanislaus Kostka have held a constant vigil in their church for two years to keep it open, and other parishes in the state holding similar vigils are watching these events closely. For more information go to

Site Seeing

Confession by phone? The app’s ok but doesn’t replace confession

Catholic church still largest but slow growing

More shame

Letters to the Editor

I am very much a Vatican II Catholic, and like Dorothy Carter, I lament the apparent demise of Pope John XXIII’s legacy - globally and in the Vatican. Four years ago, I was able to purchase holy cards from a popular Catholic publishing house bearing Pope John's picture and seeking his intervention for an inclusive church. They were sold at a hefty discount!

Five years ago, while I was visiting the Vatican, the site of Pope John’s memorial drew me more than the other Vatican treasures. Among the quiet crowd and guards, there was a definite spirit of gratitude and unity.

Sadly, our attention may now apparently be diverted toward pre-Vatican II clerics! Why, for example, the sudden rush toward canonization of Pope John Paul II while many of us honor the Spirit of God in promoting a just and pastoral church?

The conferences entitled “Unfulfilled Promises of Vatican II” and “The Hijacking of the Second Vatican Council” in Sarasota and Chicago, respectively, go a long way in addressing these crucial issues. How I wish we could engage in such learning in my part of the country!

Elaine Pfaff
Hertford, NC

I was reading this article ( and found it brought me some hope. Recently, with the whole Egyptian situation, I also became impressed by how the Internet helped to organize the Egyptian people, particularly the younger ones, with the effort paying off.

Seems to me the Catholics of the world ought to use the Internet to put pressure on the Pope and the Bishops. They need to sweat for a while. Perhaps VOTF, Future Church, and all the other organizations of Catholics who want change could start this movement. Interesting idea, I think!!

S. Grove

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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