In the Vineyard :: June 21, 2013 :: Volume 13, Issue 12

News from National

VOTF Offers Prayers for Success of AUSCP June 2013 Assembly
VOTF put out a statement today offering its prayers for clergy attending the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests’ (AUSCP) second annual assembly June 24-27 in Seattle.

Like VOTF members, the priests of the AUSCP are working toward, among other things, greater participation in the administration of the Church by the entire People of God. The Church hierarchy has too easily and for too long ignored the voice of lay members, men and women religious and parish priests—to the Church’s detriment. Our prayers are with these courageous men as they start their important work at this year’s assembly.

Reformist Austrian Catholic Priest Comes to U.S.
Amid calls for institutional change and an inclusive priesthood for the Roman Catholic Church, Austrian reformist priest Fr. Helmut Schüller is touring the United States this summer to raise awareness of his campaign. His tour will bring him to the Unitarian Universalist First Church and Parish, 670 High St., Dedham, which is just down the street from Saint Susanna’s in Dedham. VOTF and St. Susanna’s are sponsoring the talk, at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 17. The talk is open to the public free of charge. (A good-will offering will be collected.)

The speaking tour, called The Catholic Tipping Point: Conversations with Helmut Schuller, will cover 15 U.S. cities.

Fr. Schüller founded the Austrian Priests’ Initiative in 2006 to address a global priest shortage. His U.S. tour comes as the Church worldwide faces a declining number of parish priests to deliver sacraments, which is one of the problems Fr. Schuller cites. He also has identified needs for governance transparency and greater number and variety of lay voices in running the Church.

In 2011, Fr. Schüller led a “Call to Disobedience” among Austrian priests that was well received by more than 70% of them. Pope Benedict XVI rejected this initiative, and Fr. Schüller, who once served Cardinal Christoph Schönborn as vicar general, was stripped of his honorary title of “Monsignor, Chaplain of His Holiness,” though he remains a priest in good standing.

For more Catholic Tipping Point tour information and dates, visit:

More on Financial Accountability

Michael W. Ryan, who works with VOTF on ways secure financial transparency and accountability, contributed a report on that topic to the June 7 issue of CQ Researcher, which focused on the future of the Catholic Church. You can read his contribution here. To learn more, you can purchase Mr. Ryan's book Nonfeasance through VOTF's Amazon link, or check his web site:


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


Report Illuminates Eight Decades of Capuchin Province’s Poor Handling of Sex Abuse
For eight decades, leaders of a community of Catholic priests and brothers spanning 10 U.S. states acted inadequately in responding to sex abuse allegations and protected accused abusers over their victims, according to an audit released June 18.
-- Audit Finds Sexual Abuse Was Topic Decades Ago
-- Report of the Audit and Review of the Files of the Capuchin Province of St. Joseph
-- SNAP Member Abused by Capuchins Responds to Reports

Hague Court Declines Inquiry into Church Abuse Cover-Up
The International Criminal Court in The Hague has decided not to investigate or prosecute the former pope and other leaders of the Roman Catholic Church on allegations of covering up the sexual abuse of children by priests.
-- Confronting the Vatican on the Rights of Children
-- Victims Urge UN to Challenge Vatican on Child Abuse
-- International Criminal Court Rejects Request to Investigate Vatican Officials
-- For Now, Vatican Officials Will Not Face Criminal Charges

Accountability Gap
When the spotlight of the national press is on them, bishops appear to be acting responsibly. But, Nicholas Cafardi, an inaugural member of the bishops’ National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Youth, had a different perspective. When the board went looking for national data about the phenomenon of sexual abuse by clergy, the California bishops, led by Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles (now retired), strongly resisted the audits.

Priest, Teacher Get Stiff Terms in Sex Abuse Case
Stunning the packed courtroom, a Philadelphia judge sentenced a Catholic priest to six to 12 years in prison, and a former parochial teacher eight to 16 years, for the serial sexual assault of a 10-year-old altar boy in the late 1990s.
-- Priest and Ex-Teacher Get Prison for Abuse

New NRB Head Says Church Has Led Way in Addressing Abuse of Minors
The Catholic Church has led the way in addressing the sexual abuse of minors, according to the new chairman of the National Review Board, Francesco C. Cesareo, president of Assumption College in Worcester and a member of the review board for one year.
Fledgling National Priests’ Group to Tackle Broad Agenda
Reinstating general absolution in the United States, consultation in the selection process for bishops, studying the ordination of women and married men, and collegial exercise of church authority are among topics of 15 resolutions on the agenda of the second annual assembly of the fledgling Association of U.S. Catholic Priests June 24-27.

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


For the Week Following Eleventh Sunday of Ordinary Time
Reading 2 -- Gal 2:16, 19-21
Description: and sisters: We who know that a person is not justified by works of the law, but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one is justified. For through the law I died to the law, that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me; insofar as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me. I do not nullify the grace of God; for if justification comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.

It is so easy to think that we can earn God’s favor by the things we do or lose it by the things we do. It is by our faith that we live, the faith that God has given to us.

Gaile M. Pohlhaus, PhD
Practical Theologian and former VOTF officer

Book Corner

Thomas M. Kelly, Ph.D. just completed When the Gospel Grows Feet: Rutilio Grande, SJ, and the Church of El Salvador - An Ecclesiology in Context, a book on the life, ministry and death of Rutilio Grande, S.J., the first Jesuit killed in El Salvador, and inspiration to Archbishop Oscar Romero.

One of the key aspects of how Rutilio lived out his priesthood was an empowering of laypeople and a complete rejection of clericalism (what he called paternalism).  He took this method and direction directly from how he interpreted Vatican II and the Bishop’s conference at Medellin in 1968,
This book was just published by Liturgical Press, and has many aspects that are consistent with statements made by Pope Francis on an ecclesiology of inclusion that is lay-centered and progressive.

If interested, please got to and follow the books link to amazon.

Letters to the Editor

This (last) edition of Vineyard is excellent!! Remarkably informative and hopeful about reform efforts in the Church. Thanks much for your great work!!
D. O'Brien
Long Beach, NY

Dear Siobhan,
The Vineyard covers so much. And so much is happening to report on. The Spirit does seem to be moving. Thanks for keeping everyone well informed.
J. Merchant

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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