In the Vineyard :: January 4, 2013 :: Volume 13, Issue 1

News from National

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 VOTF Members Pray for Newtown

With a Poem ...

By M. Annette Joseph 

The second Sunday after Newtown,
The Newtown school massacre,
The purple-robed priest stands to speak.
The first Sunday after Newtown,
Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday, the third candle
On the Advent wreath, the pink one,
Was lit, while the pastor
Spoke of grief and shock and
How can we rejoice after
This slaughter of innocents?
My sister cried; I rubbed her arm;
They were all our children; and the women
Who ran toward danger, who spread out their arms
As a shield; they were our sisters;
The unknown assailant, our brother.
On the second Sunday after Newtown,
The Newtown school massacre,
We hear of the coming of the Child,
We hear songs of joy, songs of peace;
Their imagined grief mingles with ours
As one prayer of pain. A father
Two rows ahead cradles a newborn—
A glimpse of a baby brow, fine dark hair,
A new child for the holiday, the new year.
We await the Child, we pray for peace,
In our tear-salted solitudes we look for Love
To come within, home to us,
To console Newtown,
To make a new town, a new world, of love.

And With a Letter...
U.S. legislators expect a flurry of proposals for reducing gun violence in the coming  months, at both the national and state levels. In response to the horrific events in Newtown, VOTF’s Bridgeport Affiliate sent the following letter to Cardinal Dolan:

Dear Cardinal Dolan:
As citizens of Connecticut and friends and neighbors of the families of Newtown who suffered the unbearable massacre of their children, innocent six- and seven-year-olds who harmed no one, and their dedicated teachers, we believe that the Catholic community must raise its voice in a persistent plea to end our addiction to violence.

As Catholics who believe that every life is sacred, we appeal to you and all the Catholic bishops of the United States, to rise up and take a firm stand against the tide of senseless violence that afflicts our country. Now is the time for you to issue an unequivocal statement voicing the outrage of the Catholic people and demanding that our legislators, both locally and nationally, take essential measures to protect our people from mindless murder. 

By throwing the weight of the Catholic Church behind the effort to end the destructive violence of mass murderers, you will strengthen the backbone of legislators who in the past have been too timid to do what they know to be the right thing.

This modern-day massacre of the Holy Innocents demands a forthright condemnation by the USCCB and insistent pressure on our legislators until they take action. As we await the birth of Christ our Lord, who came to bring peace on earth, we call upon you, our spiritual leaders, to act!

With all good wishes,

Jamie Dance, Chair and the members of the Board of Directors of Voice of the Faithful in the Diocese of Bridgeport

Members in the News

In a recent article in U.S. Catholic, “What women theologians have done for the Church,” the work of  VOTF member Svea Fraser is discussed. “A Catholic anthropology is so hopeful—you’re loved unconditionally,” she says. 

Fraser’s work illustrates how including women in the community of church scholars has contributed to a better-educated church.

 “Women might not have a voice in the Curia, but I think of the women I’ve read—Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, Rosemary Radford Ruether, Pheme Perkins, Elizabeth Johnson, Joyce Rupp, Joan Chittister, Macrina Wiederkehr ... We women certainly have a voice in the public forum.”

To read the complete article:


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


Judge Says Times Can Argue for Release of Full Church Abuse Files
Media organizations will be allowed to argue against redactions in secret church files that are due to be made public as part of a historic $660-million settlement between the Los Angeles Archdiocese and alleged victims of sexual abuse by priests, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ruled Thursday.

Pastor, 3 Priests from Elizabeth Church Get Their Walking Papers
When parishioners from St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Elizabeth, New Jersey, arrived for Mass on Sunday, Dec. 24, they had no idea they would be saying goodbye to three priests and a monsignor who have served the parish for decades.

Boston Priest to Lead Oversight of Sexual Abuse Claims
The Boston priest was the adviser to disgraced Cardinal Bernard Law.
Abuse victims aren't happy with the choice.
Pope Benedict XVI, on Dec. 22, appointed as the Vatican’s new sexual crimes prosecutor a priest who handled clergy sexual abuse cases in the Roman Catholic Church in Boston at the height of the scandal and for years afterward.

2012 a Year of Unparalleled Justice for Child Sex Abuse Victims
Experts say 2012 was a year of unparalleled justice for child sex abuse victims, but whether the string of high-profile convictions will translate into a turning point for juvenile safety remains to be seen.

Reconciling the Passions of the Members of the Church
The news is filled recently with stories of longtime, loyal Catholics being told the beliefs they have arrived at through experience and reflection are not good enough ... If the church were to ban all its leaders -- ordained and non-ordained -- who didn't follow all the teachings espoused by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and by all its local bishops, how many leaders would be left, how many more followers would realize this church doesn't represent their beliefs

Swiss Abbot Makes Fiery Appeal for Church Reform
A fiery appeal for church reform by an influential Swiss abbot has attracted widespread attention throughout Europe, and has, moreover, been welcomed by the future president of the Swiss bishops’ conference.
 -- Call for Debate to Re-energize Church

Women Deacons? Best Not to Talk About It.
The archdiocese of Philadelphia is looking for someone to address its deacons this spring. Former heads of the USCCB’s secretariat for the diaconate need not apply. Not, that is, if they have publicly acknowledged the unsettled question of whether women may be ordained deacons. That might be “doctrinally confusing.”

It’s Time: The Case for Women Deacons
Phyllis Zagano, award-winning author and Senior Research Associate in Residence and Adjunct Professor of Religion at Hofstra University, reviews the case for ordaining women to the diaconate in the Roman Catholic Church in the Dec. 21, 2012, edition of Commonweal magazine. Zagano received the Voice of the Faithful® St. Catherine of Siena Distinguished Layperson Award in 2012 at VOTF’s 10th Year Conference in Boston.

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

Letters to the Editor

To the Editor,

That the future of the Church depends upon equal and sincere discourse is glaringly obvious. Do the Bishops and Priests not know that the Clerical State is the largest obstacle to renewal? Admittedly there are sensible bishops and priests. This does not take away from the fact that the "WALL" is still there.

At the same time do they not realize that the majority of the Members of the Body of Jesus have lost or are losing respect for these "Servants"?

At the same time do they not realize that until the "full and active participation of the People of God in the Celebration of the Eucharist" is achieved, there is no 'real' community, and the full realization of the gift of Baptism is being downgraded by those whose calling it is to build up that community."

Brother James Loxham

To the Editor,

Background:   Boston-born, first generation Irish American (both parents immigrants)

Eight wonderful years in parochial school (sisters of St Joseph)

Four years of Jesuit High School

Four years of Jesuit College   (Greek Honors degree)

2 1/2 years wartime service in South Pacific 

Seven adult children (none practicing Catholic) and wife deceased.....also parochial grammar and nuns for high school.....and she also left the Church though she maintained her Catholic beliefs and prayer habits

So ????

Cannot see how hierarchy can preach details of the Crucifixion attended by several devoted women and not consider women eligible for full participation in Church ministry and government.

Cannot see why they have their thrones, jewels, gold crowns, silk dresses, velvet gloves etc. etc., want to be addressed as Eminence or Excellency and still recommend humility to the rest of us.

So, where am I going with this?

Could they limit their preaching to the golden rule and the rest will take care of itself?

Can they convert those royal trappings to funds for the poor?

I am going no further with this because my whole theme is ... simplicity. Copy Christ.


To the Editor:

Although this is not the mission of VOTF, members should take an active role in urging a national gun control policy. If the President can draw a line in the sand regarding the fiscal cliff, he certainly can do it in regard to gun control. The time is now; action is needed. -- J.F Weiss

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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