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“Good and Gracious God, we realize that the task we undertook five years ago is far from over and that like the early band of followers of your Son we often trip and stumble in our efforts to help. Open our ears and hearts to your Spirit and to the voices of survivors. We abandoned them in the past by not seeing what was happening to them and not being responsible for the actions of the Church. Guide us now so that we act with respect and not condescension, reality and not pretentious piety. Keep us strong in our love for you that we may continue the work to which you have called us. We ask this in the name of Jesus, your son.” VOTF Prayer on an Anniversary from VOTF secretary Gaile Pohlhaus

VOTF National News: Vigils across the US marked the fifth anniversary of the Boston Globe’s revelations of clergy sexual abuse; this was a story that became a tome of abuse and cover up in the Catholic Church and it continues to be told. SNAP organized and led gatherings in 56 cities to commemorate the courage of the survivors who continue to come forward and bare the truth. VOTF affiliates also marked the anniversary. See coverage in Five Years Later, including VOTF Stan Doherty’s scripture reflection.

  • Don’t miss VOTF NH Carolyn Disco’s excellent commentary on a response to New Hampshire Bishop McCormack’s question, “Do you believe the survivors or do you believe me?” As Carolyn says, “It now happens that a documentary … ‘Hand of God’ … part of PBS’ ‘Frontline,’ will give everyone a chance to judge for themselves before answering McCormack’s question.” [Note the new Frontline (PBS) site for viewing “Hand of God” and other relevant links.] By the way, if you live in the Brownsville, Texas diocese, this may be your only opportunity to view the film on PBS. See coverage of that diocese-owned PBS affiliate station’s decision against airing the scheduled film.
  • Former VOTF executive director Steve Krueger and Boston’s Cardinal O’Malley were on the same page on January 7 – literally. Each wrote an op-ed piece in the Boston Globe: “Rebuilding faith, five years on” by Cardinal Sean O’Malley “Unanswered questions linger” by Steve Krueger. If you would like to see a pdf of the Globe page featuring these commentaries, click here.

National Representative Council November 2006 meeting minutes are here; also, see NRC resolutions passed to date. The National Representative Council has a busy slate in the coming weeks. Representatives are discussing the merits of three proposals focused on survivor support and two proposals calling for better financial accountability. Texts of those proposals may soon be ready for membership-wide evaluation. Approximately two-thirds of the Regions represented on the Council are preparing for the biannual elections to that body. The hope is to complete the elections by March. The Council also has sent to committees for evaluation a proposal from the Goal 2 Support Priests National Working Group.

Site-Seeing, Etc. will take you to the movies and to a parish’s unique handling of an abuse allegation, deliver a sermon, recommend a book and more; Diocese/State Watch news from NY, MA, WA, and MO; and see Financial Accountability: It Takes a Parish.

"Deliver Us from Evil": The documentary about the abuser priest Fr. Oliver O'Grady in California was nominated for an Academy Award. The "Deliver Us From Evil" website links to the Voice of the Faithful petition drive from 2006. Click here.

SITE-Seeing, Etc.

Commonweal magazine’s Jan. 12 issue has an interesting, and instructive, take on the Pope’s listening style:“Learning to Listen” by Francis X. Clooney, SJ, Parkman Professor of Divinity at Harvard University.

Frank Douglas (NRC Region 13) notes Public Broadcasting System coverage of the clergy abuse story covering the past five years. Part 1: Abuse Scandal Still Echoes Through Catholic Church; Exposing the Scandal: Key Players; The Aftermath: Church Reforms. Visit the Archives of PBS at

  • If you missed the Jan. 16 PBS Frontline broadcast of “Hand of God”, you can view the film here.

The Union Leader notes “Abuse, but no scandal” in one parish. Why? Because secrecy is not part of the culture in this parish. Read more.

The annual MidWest SNAP Conference will be held in Chicago Feb. 16-18. Visit for details or contact

Editor’s choice: James F. Keenan, S.J., Boston College professor of moral theology, has written nothing less than a gift for Catholics of all ages. Moral Wisdom: Lessons and Texts from the Catholic Tradition, published by Sheed and Ward (2004) is both timeless and timely, accessible and informed, practical and reflective. Highly recommended.

Another perspective: A balanced and pastoral essay from Rev. Les Wicker, Senior Pastor at First Congregational Church of Naples, FL.

Anything you always wanted to know about bishop selection (but were afraid to ask)? See the Pittsburg diocesan newspaper Pittsburg Catholic article. also noted the five-year anniversary of clergy abuse revelations with a special issue of their newsletter The Monitor. See Commentary for a reprint of the recent issue that links to Jan. 6 and 7, 2002 Boston Globe coverage.

USA Today reports that Fr. Cozzens “tackles mandatory celibacy in a new book, calling it burdensome and unnecessary.”

Letter to editor takes exception to the use of the word “calculated” in Jan. 4 editorial.

QUOTE for our time: “Mercy is the willingness to enter into the chaos of another.” Fr. James Keenan from his book Moral Wisdom (see commentary for book notes).

In the Vineyard
January 25, 2007
Volume 6, Issue 2
Printer Friendly Version (PDF)

Page One

Diocese/State Watch

AFFILIATE Update – VOTF Boston

Five Years Later

LETTER to the Editor


Theologian’s Corner: Gaile Pohlhaus – “What’s Infallible? What’s Not?”

Asleep in 2002? “Archivist of Our Time:”

“It Has Been an Honor” – Executive Director Ray Joyce says good-bye

“Remembering Dot Winslow” – reflections from friends


Structural Change Working Group

Voice of Renewal/Lay Education

Prayerful Voice

Goal 2 - Priest Support



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