In the Vineyard :: February 1, 2013 :: Volume 13, Issue 23

News from National

This Just In – Accountability Attempt
L.A. Cardinal Mahony Barred from Public Ministry
In an action possibly without any precedent in church history, Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez has barred his predecessor, Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, from any public ministry in Los Angeles. “Effective immediately, I have informed Cardinal Mahony that he will no longer have any administrative or public duties” Gomez said in a Jan 31 letter. By Jerry Filteau, National Catholic Reporter --

Read the VOTF press release on Bishop Gomez's action:

Open Discussion in the Church?
In the gospel for Sunday, February 3, Jesus comments to his hometown friends that “No prophet is accepted in his own native place.” That seems to be true in every age. In fact, Catholic Church leaders in our time seem to be rejecting many modern day prophets to whom they would do well to listen.

Recent examples of prophets who have been rejected are: Bishop Geoffrey Robinson of Australia, Fr. Helmut Schuler of Austria, Fr. Tony Flannery of Ireland, Fr. Roy Bourgeois, Sister Elizabeth Johnson, Sister Margaret Farley, and the sisters of LCWR from the United States. The Vatican seems so afraid of mere discussion of certain issues that they take extreme steps to silence or censor those who even attempt to speak out. Isn’t it better to engage in dialogue, as was called for by Pope Paul VI in his encyclical Ut Unum Sint

Here are a few links to some of the recent condemnations.

Father Tony Flannery in Ireland:
The Bourgeois case:
Targeting the nuns:
The attack on Margaret Farley:
The attack on Elizabeth Johnson:
Vatican Strips Austria’s Reform Priest of ‘Monsignor’ Title
No One Can Say Why Austrian Priest Lost ‘Monsignor’ Title
Milwaukee Priest, 92, Sanctioned for Mass with Woman
Jesuit, 92, Penalized after Eucharistic Liturgy with Woman Priest

Voice of the Faithful continues to support those who are calling for reform of the Catholic Church and a return to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council.

Sunday Donations Don't Always Make It to Your Parish Bank

As Voice of the Faithful® continues its focus in 2013 on financial accountability in the Church, we suggest reading Nonfeasance: The Remarkable Failure of the Catholic Church to Protect Its Primary Source of Income, available from Michael W. Ryan.
Nonfeasance is a detailed examination of the Church’s stunning failure to protect its Sunday collections. Ryan, a retired federal law enforcement official experienced in financial audits and security investigations, is interested in Church security. He has developed procedures that would virtually guarantee every dollar placed in collections gets deposited in parish bank accounts. He will be assisting our Financial Accountability team as we strive to improve both diocesan and parish accountability.

Nonfeasance is available from by clicking this BOOKS link and then clicking the Nonfeasance icon (it's on the top row at the right). You'll also support VOTF by using our website to buy Nonfeasance from Amazon, which donates a small portion of book sales to us.

You can find additional readings and information on Mr. Ryan's church security site.

Superbowl Winners
Robert Donnellan from Ipswich MA and a VOTF member from Fairfield CT were our two prize winners.


Abuser Clergy Loose in Community
Submitted by Bill Casey
January 23, 2013

The reprehensible behavior by hierarchical officials to assign known abuser-clergy to new parishes and schools, without alerting their communities of the risk to children (and even adults), is a well-documented pattern of the Catholic clergy sexual abuse scandal. Less well-documented are equally insidious hierarchical decisions to move abuser-clergy from one diocese to another, again without disclosure of risk to communities where they next serve.

A victim/survivor in Vancouver, British Columbia, recently shed light on this latter behavior by filing a civil lawsuit against the Vancouver Archdiocese and the priest they removed from active ministry after she reported that he sexually abused her as a minor. However, less than a year after her report, the Diocese of Rockville Centre on Long Island re-activated this same priest’s ministry and assigned him to parish work for the next six years—that is, until it too had to remove him a second time for “problems of a similar nature”. Although the Vancouver Archdiocese claims that it fully informed the Rockville Center Diocese of the priest’s history, Rockville Centre has been silent on this matter.

The abuser-priest, Fr. Damian Cooper, also known as Lawrence Cooper, began grooming Kathleen Taylor at age 16 while providing counseling to her at a youth leadership camp, and four months later began a sexually abusive sexual relationship. The abuse lasted for five years until Taylor broke his hold over her and reported his abuse to Vancouver Archdiocesan officials. The Archdiocese removed Cooper from active ministry when it learned of what it offensively referred to as Cooper’s “affair”.
When the Archdiocese denied Cooper’s request to be reinstated after six months of counseling, he moved to New York for additional professional help. Two months later, the Diocese of Rockville Centre returned Cooper to ministry and assigned him to at least two parishes for the next six years—until, as noted, it removed him from active ministry for “problems of a similar nature.”

After the Vancouver Archdiocese learned of his second removal, it recommended to Cooper that he seek laicization from the Vatican.

A recommendation, seriously? That is the extent of their responsibility for the priest they trained and ordained? Whether Cooper is laicized or not, Cooper is a risk if he has access to girls or women in a pastoral relationship. Yet he appears on no sex registry where adults have an opportunity to take preventive measures. Further, the communities in which he served in the Vancouver and Rockville Centre dioceses likely have no information about him. Neither Vancouver nor Rockville Centre seemed to take any responsibility for their “charge” once they no longer permitted his active service.

By bringing a civil action against the Vancouver Archdiocese and Cooper, Kathleen Taylor has taken on responsibility to bring Cooper’s sexual abuse into the public domain. As a survivor, she is trying to alert the public to the risk of Cooper remaining as an ordained priest and working in a position of trust in future without the Church providing any indication of the risk to girls or women. She also wishes to inform and reach out to other possible victims of Cooper’s abuse, so they know they are not solitary victims.

The Vancouver Archdiocese stated that the abuse victim was not a minor in the abuse that led to Cooper’s second removal. However, adult women who are sexually exploited by priests in pastoral relationships often find it even more difficult to come forward and ask for support after being abused, because they are made to feel that the abuse was somehow their choice, or their fault. In this context, was the second woman informed by the Church that she was not Cooper’s first victim, or did the Church once again try to pass off the abuse as an “affair”? Taylor feels that this second, unnamed victim, along with any other adult victims of pastoral sexual abuse, deserves to know the truth and be supported in taking whatever actions will support her healing.

As admirable as Taylor’s motives are in this regard, I wonder why the Catholic hierarchy wash their hands of the needs of actual or potential victims in their communities where abuser-priests served, or currently reside?

Kathleen Taylor has stood tall and is actively trying to do what Church officials are not. VOTF leaders at the national office and on Long Island are supporting her efforts.

More information about this story is available at the following two links.


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

L.A. Cardinal Mahony Barred from Public Ministry
In an action possibly without any precedent in church history, Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez has barred his predecessor, Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, from any public ministry in Los Angeles. “Effective immediately, I have informed Cardinal Mahony that he will no longer have any administrative or public duties” Gomez said in a Jan 31 letter.

The Cardinal and the Truth
No member of the Roman Catholic hierarchy fought longer and more energetically than Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles to conceal the decades-long scandal involving the rape and intimidation of children by rogue priests. For years, the cardinal withheld seamy church records from parents, victims and the public, brandishing endless litigation and claims of confidentiality.
 -- Victims Accuse L.A. Catholic Church Leaders of Covering Up Sex Abuse
 -- Files Show How Catholic Church Leaders in L.A. Controlled Damage
 -- Church Sex Abuse Files Unlikely to Lead to Charges, Experts Say
 -- Sexual Abuse Files Cast Shadow on Los Angeles Cardinal
 -- Los Angeles Cardinal Hid Abuse, Files Show
 -- A Priest’s Confession, a Man’s Relief
 -- L.A. Church Leaders Sought to Hide Sex Abuse Cases from Authorities
 -- Files Show How Catholic Church Leaders in L.A. Controlled Damage
 -- Files Show How LA Catholic Leaders Shielded Priests
 -- Catholic Hierarchy Hid Priests' Sex Abuse
 -- Letters: Sex Abuse in the Catholic Church
 -- Southern California Clergy Abuse News

Catholicism’s Curse
Frank Bruni, op-ed columnist for the New York Times, says he has nothing against priests, but quite a lot against an institution that has done a disservice to them and to the parishioners in whose interests they should toil. “I refer to the Roman Catholic Church, specifically to its modern incarnation and current leaders, who have tucked priests into a cosseted caste above the flock, wrapped them in mysticism and prioritized their protection and reputations over the needs and sometimes even the anguish of the people in the pews.”

German Priests Carried Out Sexual Abuse for Years
A report about child sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church in Germany, based on victim accounts and released by the church this week (Jan. 18), showed that priests carefully planned their assaults and frequently abused the same children repeatedly for years.

Church May Lose ‘Shield’
Victoria's commission inquiring into clergy sex abuse is likely to recommend at least six state laws be reformed to hold the Catholic Church to account, including removal of the legal ''shield'' it has used to avoid being sued by victims.

New Jersey Parishioners Protest Priests’ Ouster
About 150 parishioners from St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Elizabeth, N.J., including a contingent of Voice of the Faithful members, traveled by caravan Jan. 6 to Sacred Heart Cathedral in Newark in an effort to reverse an order by Archbishop John Myers that the four priests living in their parish rectory vacate this month.

Fr. Flannery’s Grasp of Theology Better Than That of His Silencers
The Irish Redemptorist Fr. Tony Flannery refuses to meet the Vatican demand that he affirm, among other things, that "Christ instituted the church with a permanent hierarchical structure and that bishops are divinely appointed successors to the apostles."
 -- No Question of Excommunication for Father Tony Flannery
 -- Priest ‘Threatened’ by Catholic Church over Ordination Stance
 -- Priest Is Planning to Defy the Vatican’s Orders to Stay Quiet

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

News from VOTF Affiliates
Following is a letter submitted by VOTF Santa Barbara to their local papers:

As leaders of Voice of the Faithful Santa Barbara, a Catholic reform group, we express both sadness and outrage at the recently released LA Diocesan documents.  Sadness, because the two leaders named, Cardinal Roger Mahony and Bishop Thomas Curry, have accomplished much good in their time of service.  But to read about the devious methods by which they kept pedophile priests from the law, thus endangering countless children not only in our diocese but in New Mexico, Mexico, the Philippines and elsewhere, is infuriating. It is true that these leaders have now put in place good mechanisms to prevent clergy sexual abuse, and it is true that they have apologized more than once for their egregious behavior.

But their apologies ring hollow.  Against the claim of “naiveté,” we have documents indicating that they knew pedophiles could be repeat offenders.  They knew that sexual abuse was a serious criminal offense. The calculated shuffling of offending priests to other dioceses was not a “mistake.” It was a deliberate refusal to deal with these sickening crimes.

There must be honest admissions of the truth.  In Luke 17, Jesus says “Scandals will inevitably arise, but woe to him through whom they come.  He would be better off thrown into the sea…than giving scandal to one of these little ones.” There is no question what Jesus felt about those who abuse children and those who allow children to be abused.

For the good of all the people of the Church, we call for the resignation of Bishop Curry.  And we further call for lay participation in the management of every diocese and in the selection of bishops and pastors.

Leadership Team, Voice of the Faithful, Santa Barbara Area
Marie Foley, Anne Heck, Thomas Heck, Christine Milne and Kathleen Strittmatter

The letter was printed

Coastal Del Marva VOTF Asks Cardinal Dolan to Accept and Implement Charter for Protection of Children and Young People

Dear Cardinal Dolan:
I am writing on behalf of the members of Coastal Delmarva Voice of the Faithful to commend you for your Presidential Address given at the USCCB General Assembly Fall meeting in November 2012 in which you stress the necessity of the interior conversion and personal renewal of each bishop before he can become an agent of “the effective transmission of the faith for the transformation of the world.”

We agree with you and believe that each of us as Christians is charged to do the same. Conversion of heart and interior repentance must certainly precede transformation. But that is not the end of the story. Our public actions must demonstrate the change of heart that has taken place.

In your talk you discuss the work of the Conference during the coming year, listing many worthy items for reflection leading up to your special assembly next June. But nowhere do we see any consideration of one topic of great importance: the need for each bishop to accept and implement without exception the provisions of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

We urge you and all Conference members to act on this matter, using every means possible to achieve universal compliance, including fraternal correction and recommending to the Vatican that bishops who fail to comply with the Charter be removed or publicly censured. It is unconscionable, for instance, that Bishop Robert Finn, convicted of the crime of failing to report a priest suspected of child abuse to government authorities, is still in position.

We bring this to your attention because we believe that you and your brother bishops do not fully realize how your inaction in this area has compromised your overall mission as pastoral leaders, and continues to work against you in promoting the New Evangelization in particular. You must work to implement the Charter more vigilantly if you wish to restore the people’s trust in bishops as “evangelizers of the Gospel of Mercy.”

Yours respectfully in Christ,
John K. Sullivan
Chair, Coastal Delmarva Voice of the Faithful


North Shore-Seacoast Affiliate in collaboration with the School of Theology and Ministry at Boston College
Everyone is invited to hear Richard Gaillardetz, Ph.D., Boston College speak on “The Legacy of the Second Vatican Council for the 21st Century” on Sunday, February 10, 2013 from 7 to 9 pm.  The location is St. Thomas the Apostle Church Hall, 1 Margin St., Peabody.  Refreshments will be served.  Free will offering is always appreciated.  Questions to consider: “What have been the most significant contributions of Vatican II?”  If the Church were to convene a new council, what issues should go at the top of its agenda?

For further information please contact:  Barbara & John Gould,  978-535-2321  or Mo Donovan, 978-518-0133

SNAP Offers Early Registration Conference Discount
SNAP's Annual Conference takes place Friday-Sunday, July 26-28, in Washington, D.C., and the organization is offering an early registration discount. Full-rate registration for the weekend is $130 ($100 for one-day), but if you register by Mar. 1, full-rate registration is $95 for the weekend ($75 for one-day), and by Jun. 1, $110 full-rate ($90 one-day). Click here for more information and registration.

At the Movies
Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God will be premiering on HBO, Monday, February 4.This movie was premiered at VOTF’s 10th anniversary conference and is riveting. Alex Gibney explores the charged issue of pedophilia in the Catholic Church, following a trail from the first known protest against clerical sexual abuse in the United States and all the way to the Vatican. See it if you can.

FutureChurch is Going to Rome!
From March 11-23, Sister Christine Schenk will be in Rome with FutureChurch program coordinator, Liz England, two board members and 30 others for a pilgrimage to archaeological sites of women leaders in the early Church.  We want to meet with Vatican officials and deliver the current list of all who signed our Open Letter and e-postcards for optional celibacy and women deacons. So far there are nearly 20,000 signers.

Please help us add 5,000 additional signatures between now and March 10.

If you haven't already, click Optional Celibacy E-postcard to show your support for permitting both a married and celibate priesthood in the Catholic Church.  
And click Women Deacons E postcard to help end the silencing of Catholic women by allowing women to preach at Mass.  

Letter to the Editor

Simplex Priests?
Not sure if this is the right term - since I have not found it in any literature but I remember in the seminary 50 years ago that some of the deacons in the Buffalo diocese were ordained earlier than the rest of us and they were limited in faculties for a little while -- celebrated Mass , preached but did not do perhaps confessions or anointings.

Why could not the deacons who are presently preaching be ordained and celebrate Mass in places which are in need of priests – i.e. Eucharist ?

Keep up the good work. 
E.J. S.

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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