In the Vineyard :: January 18, 2013 :: Volume 13, Issue 2

News from National

What VOTF is working on in 2013:
Financial Accountability & Transparency—Where does our money go? Our team is working with accountants, attorneys, and canon lawyers to answer this basic question and others, such as: Who is on the diocesan Finance Council and how independent are they? Does your diocese publish independent financial audits?

Roles for Women in the Church—When will our Church open the door to women deacons? Pious assurances aside, we all know women remain “behind the curtain” in the Church, not validated in their own pastoral charisms. Restoring the female diaconate is a start, and that’s where we’ll focus our attention: educating Catholics about a tradition lost and sorely needed in the Church today.

Ordination of Married Catholics—Why won’t the Church ordain married Catholic men? Pastoral provisions allow ordination of married ministers who convert from other faith traditions. Why shouldn’t we offer the same option to Catholic men? Returning to the ordination of married men is especially critical when vocations to the celibate priesthood are declining and our parishes are closing.

Youth Initiative—Why does the Church so seldom provide the spiritual guidance our sons and daughters and grandchildren seek? We know they are spiritual—repeated polls tell us so—and we know they strongly believe in social justice. But too few look to the Church when meeting those needs. We are listening to young adults to see what we may each learn from our different experiences so that we may all grow in our Catholic faith.

Bishop Selection—Why can’t we have a greater say in the appointment of our local bishop? Greater lay input into such selections remains a critical project for us. VOTF members have already wrapped up two projects—in Manchester, New Hampshire, and in Chicago, where more than 600 Catholics offered their ideas through our web-site portal and on a diocese-wide survey. Next year we will spread the model to other dioceses where bishops are nearing retirement age.

Survivor Support & Child Protection—We support survivors who wish to tell their stories, and those whose calls for truth and justice are even today under assault by some bishops who are determined not to answer. We look for ways to strengthen U.S. child protection guidelines too many bishops and pastors—and sadly, too many lay people—no longer apply with vigilance.

Support for U.S. Nuns—Why does the Vatican “investigate” nuns who are on the front lines of ministering to the poorest and the neediest among us when the bishops who hid pedophiles remain unexamined? VOTF continues to support the work and the collegial approach of women religious, which stand as stark counterpoints to the political aspirations of bishops. The integrity of the nuns in responding to bishops stands as a model for us all.

Support for Priests—We reach out to priests, as workers who bear the brunt of down-sized ministries, whose pensions are often one bishop-frown (or one embezzling custodian) away from lost, who find their time spent on re-learning Latinized language and awkward rituals rather than on needs of their parishioners.

Call for Church Reforms--We support Church reforms like these in order to foster the healing so essential in our Church, to strip away a clerical culture that enabled both the crimes of sex abuse and the cover-ups that hid them.

We seek reform in a “time of unease and instability and confusion,” to quote another conference speaker, Prof. Joseph O’Callaghan, “yet the seeds of reform are there.” So, to reiterate Fr. Cozzens admonition: “Never give up. [The Spirit] speaks through you … please carry on.”

Description: Omaha Steak BurgerThis could be you on Super Bowl XLVII game day, with burgers, shrimp, wings, sausage and other party foods from Omaha Steaks®—just by supporting VOTF.
Donate $25 through Jan. 26 for a chance to win a party feast. You get a chance in the drawing for every $25; $100 gets you four chances, etc.
Two prizes will be awarded and delivered in time for the big game.

Donate online. You also may mail your donation to VOTF/Super Bowl, P.O. Box 423, Newton, MA 02464, but we must receive it by Jan. 26.

P.S. VOTF Monthly Partners are automatically entered for a chance(s) to win depending on the size of your monthly donation.

First prize:
-- 16 Omaha Steak Burgers
-- 12 Private Reserve Angus Burgers
-- 4 lbs. Coconut Shrimp (about 68 pieces)
-- 24 Pigs 'n Blanket
-- 35 Hot & Spicy Wings
Good Times Grill Pack -  Sausage, Dogs, Bratwurst, etc.
-- N.Y. Cheesecake

Second prize:
--Same as above but without the Good Times Grill Pack and including a carrot cake instead of a cheesecake.


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


Swiss Abbot Urges Change in How Bishops Are Selected
A leading Swiss abbot is calling for a change in how bishops are selected, saying that the nomination process should include greater local input, and he wants bishops and theologians to join him in pressing for the change. "We are faced with serious systemic problems in our church. For me, as a canon lawyer, solving these systemic problems has absolute priority, as our other problems can only be solved if the structures are consistent and the procedures transparent," Benedictine Abbot Peter von Sury of Mariastein said in an interview with the Swiss Catholic press agency Kipa/Apic last month.

Trial Begins for Priest & Teacher Accused of Abusing Altar Boy
A Roman Catholic priest and a schoolteacher sexually abused a 10-year-old altar boy at different times more than a decade ago, assaulting him in a church sacristy in Northeast Philadelphia and in the back of a car, a prosecutor alleged on Jan. 14.

Release of Church Files in Sex abuse Cases Includes Names of Hierarchy
A judge’s ruling earlier this month requiring the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles to release thousands of pages of confidential records, including the names of church higher-ups, is an important victory for the public and victims of sexual abuse. The documents include the names of church leaders, including Cardinal Roger Mahony, that had been redacted earlier “to avoid further embarrassment to the church.”

Archdiocese of Boston Unveils Details of First Wave of Parish Reorganization
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston on Jan. 10 announced the names of more than two dozen parishes participating in the first phase of a major reorganization that will eventually group the archdiocese’s 288 parishes into about 135 clusters, each led by a team of clergy and lay leaders.

Bourgeois Receives Official Vatican Letter Dismissing Him from Priesthood
Roy Bourgeois, the longtime peace activist and Catholic priest dismissed by the Vatican because of his support for women's ordination, has received the official letter notifying him of the move three months after it was made.

Many Researchers Taking a Different View of Pedophilia
Like many forms of sexual deviance, pedophilia once was thought to stem from psychological influences early in life. Now, many experts view it as a sexual orientation as immutable as heterosexuality or homosexuality. It is a deep-rooted predisposition — limited almost entirely to men — that becomes clear during puberty and does not change.

Second in series of articles
Bishops Investigating US Nuns Have Poor Records on Sex Abuse Cases
This is the second in a series of articles, a joint reporting project by NCR and, examining the background and the principle players in the Vatican's investigations of U.S. women religious. From its palace in Vatican City, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith monitors compliance with Roman Catholic moral teaching and matters of dogma for the oldest church in Christendom. These issues have little bearing on most of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.

Top Five Under-Covered Vatican Stories of 2012
Now that the dust has settled on the New Year's holiday, John Allen presents a run-down of the most under-covered Vatican stories, the stories he says fell through the cracks in the last year or that didn't quite generate the buzz they really deserved.

From Nuns to ‘Nones,’ 10 Ways Religion Shaped the News in 2012
From the nuns to the “nones,” religion dominated the headlines throughout 2012. Faith was a persistent theme in the presidential race, and moral and ethical questions surrounded budget debates, mass killings and an unexpected focus on “religious freedom.” Here are 10 ways religion made news in 2012.

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

Essay from a VOTF Member
 “Unhealed Trauma Gets Passed Forward” by John Marshall Lee
Today, for the first time I heard these five words linked: “Unhealed trauma gets passed forward.” Having followed the broad scandalous outlines of the Catholic clergy sexual abuse of youth for the past nine years, I have also met with many victim/survivors, listened to each story and read their accounts. Still I am jarred by this short sentence. It speaks to me of the healing yet to be accomplished for so many people who have been abused as well as those around them and the ‘unfinished business’, or some might say ‘unstarted’ effort, by the institution that is in the middle of so much of the crisis in the US.

The exposure of the ongoing clergy abuse problems in the Boston Archdiocese so clearly revealed by The Boston Globe in 2001-02 was not the first hint of the institutional problem. But it burst on the scene and could no longer be denied. Since then similar abuse exposure in other states and too many countries around the world indicate that it is a universal church issue, that it has been known (if not understood) in Rome for centuries, and in this age of communication can no longer be kept private and for ordained eyes only.


Book Corner
VOTF member Marshall Thornton recommends a wonderful book of prayers for use during the liturgical cycle and special occasions: Your Word is Near by Dutch Priest Huub Oosterhuis. “I have used it for small private funerals. The prayers are sheer poetry.”

VOTF NJ Invites All to Our Next Liturgy
Sunday, January 20, 2013, at 4:30 pm at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church 
 100 Harter Rd Morristown, NJ
Presider: Rev. Dennis Crowley 

Nourishing Your Spirit Through Art
Artist, scholar, and arts educator Robin Masi and museum educator Kathleen Henderson will speak Saturday, Feb. 9, from 10 a.m. to noon at St. Julia’s Parish Hall, 374 Boston Post Road in Weston MA.
Masi has created several bodies of work that reference spiritual themes and conducted research into the spiritual influence of the work of many great artists like Goldsworthy during her graduate programs at Harvard and Boston Universities. Henderson has a degree in art history and has worked as a museum educator for the past 10 years at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. She guides school groups through the various collections at the museum.
The Sacred Threads interfaith ministry in Boston is sponsoring the event. Sacred Threads offers spiritual companioning, providing opportunities for women to voice their experiences and and to create pathways that connect more deeply with self, others, creation and the Holy. You can learn more about Sacred Threads on their web site, and you can register for the Feb. 9 program here.

“Women and the Word” Teleconference
FutureChurch is sponsoring a teleconference Feb. 12 with canon lawyer Sr. Kate Kuenstler, PHJC. Sr. Kuenstler will speak on canon law and the laity, “Finding Your Voice: Presentation on the Rights and Obligations of Catholics.” There are two opportunities to participate in the teleconference: 12:30 pm EST or 8:30 pm EST.

Sr. Kate is a member of the international congregation: Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ. She received her doctorate in Canon Law from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome, Italy. She also has a BA in education, and an MA in theology. In the past, Sr. Kate has served the church as a diocesan tribunal lawyer, teacher, parish catechetical director, and diocesan director of religious education. She is a writer for the catechetical program, "Seasons of Faith" and is published in Italy, England, Germany, and the United States. Sr. Kate lives in Rhode Island where she has opened a private practice in canon law. Her focus is working for the rights of laity and their role in the Catholic Church.

For more information ...

Letters to the Editor

I was deeply moved by the Newtown poem, the commentary, the letters to the editor, etc. A wonderful edition! Truly we hear the Holy Spirit speaking through these voices of the faithful.
I wish you all a Happy, Blessed New Year!
George Snider, Chatham, MA

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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