In the Vineyard :: January 21, 2011 :: Volume 10, Issue 2

National News

Letter Proves Vatican Put Secrecy Before Children’s Safety
A newly public 1997 Vatican letter documents Vatican intervention in local church affairs to prevent mandatory reporting of abuse cases to civil authorities in guidelines the bishops drafted.

The document surfaced as part of an Irish public television documentary that aired Jan. 17. In responding to guidelines developed in 1996 by Ireland’s bishops, the letter’s author stated that “the situation of ‘mandatory reporting’ gives rise to serious reservations of both a moral and a canonical nature.” The letter is signed by the Vatican’s then-representative in Ireland, Archbishop Luciano Storero, and orders the Irish bishops to see that the procedures established by the Code of Canon Law are “meticulously followed.” This letter, in effect, directs the Irish bishops not to report clergy sexual abuse to civil authorities, but to dispose of sexual abuse cases in secret proceedings inside the Catholic Church.


Vatican II was the only ecumenical council ever to use electricity. Or telephones.

We may forget—or perhaps never appreciated—how vastly separated from the “modern world” were the Councils of the past. It’s no wonder Pope John XXIII saw a need to renew the Church. As we advance towards the 50th anniversary of the first session of the second Vatican Council, we will bring you reminders of its significance. Check future issues of In the Vineyard for additional notes and for news about upcoming projects.

News From Ireland

Vatican role in Cover-Up of Clergy Abuse Condemned

VOTF Ireland distributed the following press release upon news of the 1997 letter from the papal nuncio to the Irish bishops.

Voice of the Faithful Ireland is stunned by the revelation in Monday’s 'Would You Believe' programme on RTÉ 1 TV that the Vatican intervened directly to thwart the efforts of the Irish bishops to stamp out clerical sex abuse in the 1990s.  This revelation undermines Pope Benedict’s assertion in his pastoral letter last March that responsibility for the “often inadequate response” to the offences lies with the Irish “ecclesiastical authorities”. Sexual abuse has proven to be widespread among the Catholic clergy in many countries and the response of the bishops in country after country has been to deny and minimise the problem while seeking to shield those credibly accused of offences from civil authorities. The letter shown in Mick Peelo’s documentary demonstrates that these reactions were orchestrated by Rome.

VOTF agrees with the Pope that, “only by examining carefully the many elements that gave rise to the present crisis can a clear-sighted diagnosis of its causes be undertaken and effective remedies be found” (Pope Benedict XVI, Pastoral Letter). In our open letter to the Pope


Guest Column

The following article appeared in the Irish News Belfast, Jan 13th, 2011
Is Unaccountable Leadership Worthy of the Public’s Respect?

As the Apostolic Visitation to Armagh ordered by Pope Benedict XVI begins, Sean O’Conaill wonders if it will examine why it took state inquiries to expose deep problems within the Church

It can be a fascinating exercise to trace the remote origins of current events, and this is especially true of the ongoing apostolic visitation, headed in Ulster by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor.

At first sight the cause of this visitation is recent and obvious. In his pastoral letter of March of last year Pope Benedict XVI promised such a visit “to assist the local Church on her path of renewal,” However, that pastoral letter was itself an unprecedented event, originating in the greatest public relations disaster the Catholic church has ever suffered in Ireland. That disaster climaxed in 2009 with what are now known as the Ryan and Murphy reports—the results of exhaustive Irish state inquiries into the criminal abuse of children by Catholic clergy in recent times. The detail of those reports shocked us all to the core. Certainly the Irish church is in need of renewal, but it is far less certain that this visitation can begin that process.

The central question crying out for an answer by all Catholic churchmen is why it required two Irish stateinquiries to identify and describe such deep seated problems within the church. Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor will leave Ireland under-informed if he does not hear that many of us are asking this question—and asking also why he and his brother cardinals show so far no inclination to address it.


Site Seeing

Another Vatican-approved group gone astray?

What authority do the Bishops have? The Phoenix hospital case raises questions.

Bishops won’t support repeal of healthcare law.

Affiliate News

News from Suzanne Severson of Twin Cities VOTF

Jack Manley, long-time VOTF advocate and founding member of Twin Cities VOTF, passed away December 22nd after a long illness. Jack was the Chair of the Goal 1 Working Group for many years, advocating for survivors. He was instrumental in working to include advocacy for family members of survivors in our work. Our sympathies go out to his wife Sheila and their family.

News from Yakima VOTF
On January 22, the Yakima affiliate of VOTF will hold a prayer vigil for survivors and victims of sex abuse in the Catholic Church, to be held outside diocesan offices. Participants will be praying a traditional Stations of the Cross, at each station reading a brief story of a child abused by a priest or religious. They have asked VOTF members nationwide to support them in their efforts. Read more


“Laughter is more important than ever”
Join VOTF of Southwest Florida as it opens its Annual Speakers Forum with the Wit and Wisdom of Carol O’Flaherty: Nurse, humorist and member of the Association for applied Therapeutic Humorists.

Jan 27, 2011 at 7pm
Vanderbilt Presbyterian
1225 Piper Blvd, Naples

Also, mark your calendar! Jason Berry will address VOTF of SWFL on February 10 and Tom Doyle will speak on February 28.

For more info call VOTF of SWFL 239-417-3077

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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