In the Vineyard :: June 7, 2011 :: Volume 11, Issue 10


Friday June 10, 2011 — 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Detroit Marriott Hotel at the Renaissance Center
Church Reform: A Do-It-Yourself Job

The VOTF meeting will take place in the Mackinac Ballroom at the Marriott Renaissance Detroit Hotel.
At the ACC exhibit room in Cobo Hall, VOTF will be in booth #412.

Please join us to hear from team members working on bishop selection, women’s initiatives, statutes of limitations reforms, spiritual and communal growth, financial accountability ... and so much more.

Morning program (assemble at 9:45 a.m., program from 10 a.m. to Noon) features a report from President Dan Bartley and reports from our Voices in Action teams—plus an update on the Philadelphia revelations.

Afternoon program (1:30 to 3:30 p.m.) features Jason Berry and Fr. Tom Doyle with David Clohessy and Barbara Blaine of SNAP discussing connections between the greatest Church scandals of today: sex abuse and cover-ups by the clergy, and the misuse of funds.

No registration is required. No fee will be charged.

A Closer Look at the Agenda for VOTF's National Meeting
The agenda will include: The Philadelphia Story: a discussion about the loopholes in “Zero Tolerance” by Marita Green.
Voices in Action teams will present the initiatives their groups pursue. Bill Casey from Child Protection/Survivor Support will discuss CPSS Initiatives in Motion—An Overview. Jayne O’Donnell will talk about the  new Forum web page CPSS sponsors on the VOTF site and what they hope it will accomplish.

From Chicago, Bob Kopp will discuss the Priest Work History Research Project that seeks to determine whether priest assignments offer clues about those who may be abusers.
From Bridgeport CT, John Marshall Lee will describe “Bless Me Father, for I Have Sinned,” a script created from documents the diocese there had to turn over to the court.

For the Universal Church Reform Team, Nick Mazza will present an overview, Ed Wilson will discuss the Bishop Selection Initiative, Pat Gomez will describe the Women’s Initiative, and Ron DuBois will talk about what is new with VOTF’s Priests’ Initiative.

For Spiritual & Communal Growth, Kevin Connors will present a model for Prayer-Based Affiliates—A New Domain.

The afternoon session will be “Connecting the Dots to Define Root Causes.” Common features and causes of the sex abuse and financial scandals that plague the Church today. Panelists include Fr. Tom Doyle, Jason Berry, David Clohessy, and Barbara Blaine with moderator Bill Casey. An audience Q&A will follow.

The American Catholic Council

The American Catholic Council will be in Detroit on Pentecost Weekend June 10-12. It will begin with the release of a report on nearly 100 local and regional Listening Sessions across the country over the past 18 months.

These sessions have taken place in diverse settings, from parish halls and living rooms, to hotel conference rooms and retreat centers. Each has been an occasion where the faithful have had the opportunity to dialogue and listen to the promptings of the Spirit as they prayerfully considered fundamental questions about the future of the Catholic Church. Many gathered out of a sense of urgency and a shared sense of responsibility to build a better Church, and one grounded in the vision and promise of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65).

For more information on the Listening Sessions and the meeting, please go to

In October of 1962, the first session of Vatican II focused on “The Schema on Liturgy” because the council’s work was to be directed primarily toward the task of internal renewal of the Church. A schema is a draft document.


The Church and Young Catholics: Is There a Future?”
Jamie L. Manson, award-winning columnist for the National Catholic Reporter, will speak about “The Church and Young Catholics: Is There a Future?” at Voice of the Faithful’s meeting on Thursday, June 9 at 7:30 p.m. at the First Congregational Church on the Green in Norwalk CT.

Recent studies suggest that more than half of twenty-something Catholics in the U.S. never attend Mass. Only 10% consider themselves orthodox. Not only have young adult Catholics lost interest in the church, the traditional symbols of Catholicism no longer seem relevant to them. Jamie Manson will examine the challenges that the church faces in reaching out to new generations of Catholics. She will highlight the spiritual longings of young adults and will consider what elements of Catholicism may still resonate with them. She will also discuss the unique gifts that new generations of Catholics can bring to the life of church.

Jamie Manson received her Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School where she studied Catholic theology and sexual ethics. Her weekly column, Grace on the Margins, appears in the National Catholic Reporter. Her writing has earned her a first prize Catholic Press Association award for Best Column/Regular Commentary in 2010. Her essay on St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix AZ was highlighted by Nicholas Kristof in a recent New York Times op-ed.

The John Jay Report: Commentary and Discussion with Walter Robinson
Co sponsored by the Paulist Affiliate (Boston MA)

Recently the US bishops released a report called The Nature and Scope of the Problem of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests and Deacons in the United States: A Research Study Conducted by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. The Paulist Center will host a discussion of this report, led by guest speaker Prof. Walter Robinson.

Walter V. Robinson, who accepted appointment as Distinguished Professor of Journalism at Northeastern University in January 2007, spent more than 30 years at The Boston Globe, where he specialized in political and investigative stories, as both reporter and editor. In 2002, Robinson and his Spotlight Team unearthed the clergy sexual abuse scandal in the Boston Catholic Church. For their work, the Globe won several investigative reporting prizes, as well as the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 2003.

Prof. Robinson will speak on Tuesday, June 21, 7:00 PM, at the Paulist Center in Boston. Sponsored by the Office of Outreach and Reconciliation and Adult Ed Committee. Info: contact Bob Bowers @ 617-948-2422 or

Affiliate News

Jim Post Speaks to VOTF Affiliate
Submitted by Elia Marnik
In early May, Jim Post, co-founder of VOTF and past President and Trustee, addressed the VOTF affiliate at St. Eulalia’s Parish in Winchester, Massachusetts. Jim was the ideal speaker for the occasion of the 9th Anniversary of this vibrant group. The affiliate has been meeting weekly since 2002 securing respected and noted speakers who focus on important topics of concern for today’s Catholics. Dr. Post commended the affiliate for its leadership, determination, and service as a model of the importance of lay voice participation in the Church.

Post reminded the group that there has not been a crisis of such magnitude in the Catholic Church for 500 years. He maintained that there are cross currents now operating within the Church, and there is a positive energy increasing and pointing towards progress.

Post noted that three weeks after the founding of VOTF, he had identified four issues, all of which still apply today. These are: first, how to help survivors; second, how to determine which priests were involved in the scandal and which were not; third, how to fix the administrative systems of the archdiocese, which had broken down; and fourth, what corrective action was necessary.

He noted that Bishop Morris in Australia had been removed after recommending that an investigation be made into the issues of married men, married women, former priests and Anglicans as priests. Therefore, one of the cross currents today is the source of ordained priests given the dwindling number of seminarians. Another crosscurrent is the continued failure to fix the systemic problems, namely the hierarchical power structure; he recommended a close analysis of the recent Philadelphia Grand Jury report.

On the tempo of reform, Dr. Post agreed with the Jesuit Tom Reese that changes in the Church will take time—much longer than we want.

Post agreed that the Catholic youth need to be recruited, by listening to what they value and want from the Church and meeting them where they are.

Finally, he praised the affiliate groups, such as St Eulalia’s, for their hard work and perseverance and for raising voices of lay Catholics.

Jim Post is currently the John F. Smith Jr. Professor in Management at Boston University, Ph.D., J.D.

Site Seeing

New scandal isn’t new at all

More on the debacle in Kansas

Morale faltering in Australia

Parish consolidation – not always bad?

Two new documents on the scandal, one glaring omission

An unusual message from a Bishop

Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor;

I applaud you for awarding a grant (the Emily & Rosemary Grant for Women in the Church) to Ruth Kolpack, who according to media reports is most deserving. As a donor to the fund, I feel that it was well spent.

P. Schlachter

Dear Friends at Voice of the Faithful;

Greetings from New Zealand!

I write to invite you to consider supporting our petition about a scandalous abuse of power in the church. Not this time about sexual abuse, but about the unjust dismissal - or forced retirement - or Bishop William Morris of Toowoomba, Queensland on May 2nd.

I am sure that some of your members will wish to sign this letter, to point out to Pope Benedict that what he has done was outrageously unjust.

We hope that they will also share it with their friends, to add to the list that has just begun to grow. We expect to collect many thousands of signatures.

The address to access the Petition is: 

Peter Murnane OP

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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Site Seeing

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