In the Vineyard :: February 28, 2014 :: Volume 14, Issue 4

2014 Assembly Will Feature Workshop on "Priestless Parishes: There IS An Answer" have a baptismal right to the Eucharist. Yet, mandatory celibacy limits the priesthood and reduces the availability of the Eucharist. Bishops prefer to close parish communities rather than open the priesthood. How did we get into this sad situation? And how do we open the doors again to a priesthood embracing the celibate and the married?
We invite you to sign up for this workshop at our 2014 Assembly to learn how. 

Priestless Parishes: There IS An Answer will be one of six workshops presented during the VOTF 2014 Assembly on April 5 in Hartford, Connecticut. Click here to register online and choose the Optional Celibacy workshop option to be part of the solution to priestless parishes.

Additional workshops will include Clericalism; Parish Finances: Tools for Securing Collections; The Montana Hustle Case Study for Diocesan Financial Accountability; Female Voices; and Survivor Support: Spirituality & Trauma, which will be facilitated by Fr. Thomas Doyle.

Church Governance and Pope Francis
Voice of the Faithful has put together a document on Church Governance that is available to members.  This document is one of several by different members of COR (Catholic Organizations for Renewal) in honor of the first year for Pope Francis, and appears with the others on the website Please take the time to see what Pope Francis has accomplished to date.

Pathways to Healing and Reform
Over the past twelve years we have yearned, individually and collectively, for healing in the wake of all the wounded spaces in our Church and in our souls. The panel presentation, Pathways to Healing and Reform, at the VOTF 2014 Assembly will address ways in which you can be a part of the monumental task of healing.

VOTF is honored to welcome three experts who will present their individual perspectives and lived experiences as they journey toward the same goal of healing. They will share their wisdom, and you will have the opportunity to ask questions of all three presenters:

Fr. James Connell is a canon lawyer and retired pastor who helped found Catholic Whistleblowers.
William Casey is coordinator of a restorative justice program at the Northern Virginia Mediation Service and former VOTF board chair.

Tom Porter is a trial lawyer, mediator, Methodist minister and teacher of restorative justice in Boston University's School of Theology.

Register online today for the VOTF 2014 Assembly or visit our website homepage for links to additional  information.

Family Synod Responses
 As cardinals gather in Rome this month to welcome newly named cardinals and prepare for the October 2014 synod on the family, some of the formal responses to the synod questionnaire are emerging.

Last week saw publication of the German bishops' response, a preliminary report from Switzerland, and publication of questionnaire results by the Diocese of St. Petersburg in Florida. This week it's the Japanese bishops' report.

All of the reports stressed the gaps between Vatican thinking and pastoral realities. The report from Japan added criticism of the questionnaire itself, which presumed a "Christian majority" image of family and a Western viewpoint of cultural life.
As a companion effort to the U.S. questionnaire distributed by dioceses, Voice of the Faithful joined other groups in the association Catholic Organizations for Renewal (COR) to host an online questionnaire. Results from that compilation were sent to Rome in December. A complete report is now available online.

Here are links to the reports made available online:
St. Petersburg FL
Independent COR-sponsored questionnaire


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

Francis Creates Central Vatican Office for Economy, Appoints Pell Head
“Pope Francis has approved a set of sweeping moves to reorganize the financial and administrative structures of the Catholic church's central bureaucracy, creating a new central office with wide control particularly of economic issues, the Vatican announced Monday (Feb. 24). Sydney Cardinal George Pell will head the new office, known as the Secretariat for the Economy.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter
 -- Vatican gets Fiscal Shake-Up, By Jim Yardley, The New York Times
 -- Financial Reform Shows Crafty Political Side of Pope, By John L. Allen, Jr., The Boston Globe
 -- Pope Makes First Overhaul of Vatican in 25 Years, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press
 -- Pope Francis Warns Cardinal Against Gossip, Court Intrigue, By David Gibson, Religion News Service
 -- Pope Tells Cardinals to Shun Intrigue, Cliques of Royal Court, By Philip Pullella, Reuters
 -- Following the Money, By Phyllis Zagano, National Catholic Reporter
 -- Cardinal Pell to Head New Vatican Finances Department, By

The Promise of Francis
Voice of the Faithful President Mark Mullaney was among Boston-area Catholics interviewed for a Boston Globe Magazine article by Neil Swidey. Swidey considers the popularity of Pope Francis has garnered with his ‘dramatically different message’ and asks what effect he is having on Catholics who responded so strongly to the sex-abuse scandals and the Church’s dogmatic focus under Benedict XVI.
-- Pope, Cardinal Discuss the Future of the Family, By America from Catholic News Service

The UN Confronts the Vatican
“A United Nations report excoriated the Vatican on Wednesday (Feb. 5) for failing to live up to international commitments to protect children, finding the widespread sexual abuse of children by priests had been compounded by church policies that allowed abusers to continue to prey on youngsters.” Editorial in The New York Times

New Jersey Archbishop’s Retirement Home an Assault on Parishioners’ Goodwill
“Newark, N.J., Archbishop John Myers' decision to expand his summer residence cum retirement home -- already a model of luxury with five bedrooms, three full bathrooms, an elevator, a three-car garage and a large outdoor pool and valued at nearly $800,000 -- is nothing short of an assault on the goodwill and trust of the people of God.” Editorial by National Catholic Reporter

Bishop Seeks to Build Bridge to ‘Faithful’
“Five months after he began his leadership of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Bishop Frank Caggiano will do something unprecedented. He will speak at a chapter meeting of Voice of the Faithful, an organization of concerned Catholics formed in 2002 to call for reform in the church as scandals were breaking over cases in which priests sexually abused children and were shielded by bishops who moved them among the parishes.” By Angela Carella, Greenwich Time
-- Bishop Acts to Open Door, Editorial in Connecticut Post

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

Come Hear Sister Simone Campbell
Sister Campbell, famous for her Nuns on the Bus tour in 2012 opposing Rep. Ryan’s budget cuts, and again in 2013, back on the bus for immigration reform, will be speaking on Thursday, March 6, 2014 from 7:30-9:30 at Regis College, The Fine Arts Center, 235 Wellesley Street, Weston, MA.

For more information go to

Interesting Happenings at Saint Susanna Parish
in Dedham, MA

All sessions will be on a Monday evening from 7:00 to 9:00 pm, in the Parish Hall, 262 Needham Street, Dedham. There is no pre-registration requirement and there are no fees, although voluntary donations are gratefully accepted to cover our speakers' honoraria and our refreshments. For map and directions, go to the Directions Page on the parish web site,  In case of cancellation due to inclement weather, we will make every effort to post our web site, so check the site for a notice if the weather appears threatening. Come and See!  

March 3 – Movie: "The Way." This movie is presented picking up on the talk by Dr. Hartwig on October 7, on The Pilgrimage as an Act of Worship.

The Way is a 2010 American drama film. It is a collaboration between Martin Sheen and his son Emilio Estevez to honor the Camino de Santiago and promote the traditional pilgrimage. Read more

March 10 – Planning the Final Farewell: A Practical Guide through the Many Options of Celebrating a Funeral (Two Sessions) Father Steve Josoma will make a presentation on how to plan a funeral (yours or a loved one’s) in life-giving hope, transforming a time of sadness and grief into a moment of cherishing Loved Ones. Both sessions will offer interactive learning where participants will be amazed at how enjoyable and life-giving planning and praying our farewells can be.

Session I: the many honest conversations and family planning options to consider before letting the funeral director and "the Church" determine "what ought to be done."

March 24 – Planning the Final Farewell (Continued)

Session 2: the actual planning of the many options available, quite a few of which are unknown to the average person. For example: what are the "rules" on cremation?

Letter to the Editor

In general your comments are appropriate but the UN report on the Vatican needs to be reviewed carefully.  The countries on the committee that issued the report are certainly not examples of moral, upright character.  Most have an anti-Christian agenda.  This report was a chance for them to “gang up” on the Vatican.  The report was not objective and not worthy of discussion.
W. Guller

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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