In the Vineyard   ::    March 12, 2009   ::    Volume 8, Issue 5

National News

Update on VOTF’s Strategic Plan
The five platform leadership teams have been meeting regularly to design action-based initiatives that will move VOTF decisively forward. Initial reports will be submitted to the officers by March 31, 2009. A face-to-face meeting of all the platform leadership teams will take place in Hartford CT on May 1st and 2nd. Formal roll out of the initiatives is scheduled to occur in June.

Each leadership team remains open and highly receptive to new volunteers. To join, please send an email to Donna Doucette at, indicating which platform leadership team you are interested in joining.

To read about the specific initiatives for each platform:

VOTF Responds to the Connecticut Firestorm
VOTF today issued a statement responding to various media reports about VOTF's role in the bill that was recently pulled in Connecticut.

"Voice of the Faithful fully supports the principle of increased lay participation in the governance and administration of our dioceses and parishes in concert with our bishops and pastors. However, contrary to some press reports, we have initiated specific legislation neither at the national nor at the state level to force this participation."

Following the withdrawal of the bill by the two legislators who proposed it, the Hartford VOTF affiliate issued this statement.

You can find more information about the Connecticut bill here.

International News

Controversy in Ireland
Bishop John Magee, who found himself in the center of controversy over his handling of clergy sex abuse allegations in the Diocese of Cloyne, has stepped aside. Pope Benedict has appointed Archbishop Dermot Clifford to assume the powers and duties of the Archdiocese. Voice of the Faithful in Ireland and the United States hope these events will mark the beginning of a new era of accountability.

To read more about what is happening in Ireland go to and see the latest news.

News from the Affiliates

Why I am Still Catholic
Submitted by
Richard Taylor, Greater Philadelphia Voice of the Faithful

I find it very hard, even heart-wrenching, to be Catholic these days. Everywhere we turn are painful realities that undercut our commitment to the Church. Sex abuse scandals. Bishop cover-ups. Lack of Church financial accountability. Rome’s harsh attacks on homosexuality. Efforts to turn back the clock on Vatican II. The fading hope that women’s leadership gifts and call to ministry can ever be expressed in ordination. The lowly status of the laity, whose talents, intelligence, spirituality and experience are largely disdained by the hierarchy. A governing structure that puts the laity on the bottom rung and gives them no decision-making power. Often the Church, it seems to me, treats us like children.

So I ask myself: Why do I stay? Why am I still Catholic?

The basic answer to “Why am I still Catholic” is that the good, the true and the beautiful in the Catholic Church still far outweigh the bad, the false and the ugly. Sometimes the bad seems so strong – and it can have such a negative emotional and spiritual impact on me – that I can almost lose sight of the good. But the good is there, and it’s strong, beautiful, nourishing and true.

Here is my own inventory of the good:

Site Seeing

Archbishop gets new digs - Cincinnati,OH,USA
"I can't imagine this sitting well with people in the pews," said Kris Ward, the Dayton chairwoman of Voice of the Faithful, a group that advocates for more ...

The following article reference the controversial bill being debated in Connecticut advocating lay financial control of Catholic churches.

Tom Gallagher, presents a thoughtful account of to the steps that could impact financial accountability.

Doing any shopping lately? If so, please shop at! Anything you purchase from by following a link to their site from VOTF means a small donation to VOTF! And we get that donation on books, DVDs, CDs, electronic equipment, apparel, toys and more, even gift certificates.


Hosting the Stranger: Songs of Celtic Christianity
Nóirin Ni Riain, singer composer
Friday, March 13, 2009
8:00 p.m.
St. Mary's Chapel, Boston College

This event is sponsored by the Institute for Liberal Arts of Boston College. 

For further information, please contact Richard Kearney at 617-552-6004 or For directions, please visit
To read more about Nóirin Ni Riain:

The Scituate Affiliate of Voice of the Faithful invites you to a talk by Ronald DuBois, Ph.D., entitled “The Eucharist: Origins in Jewish and Early Christian Practice” on Thursday, April 2nd from 7pm to 9pm at Saint Mary of the Nativity Parish Hall in Scituate.

Starting with early stories of the Eucharist, Ron will trace some of the history that has led to the Eucharistic services we have today. He will also look at some of the ancient Jewish practices of Shabbat and Synagogue worship that were a part of Jesus' history. The conclusions Ron draws may lead to a deeper, more reverent celebration of the Eucharist by contemporary Christians. Ron holds a Master’s degree in Theology from Maryknoll Seminary in New York and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from St. Louis University. He is an elected member of the National Representative Council and the Board of Trustees of Voice of the Faithful and a member of The Paulist Center in Boston. For more information, please contact Kathy Cerruti at

Boston College’s The Church in the 21st Century  has the following offerings for the month of March.

Book Review

Submitted by Anne Southwood

Finding Happiness
Abbot Christopher Jamison
Liturgical Press 2008
Collegeville, MN

Abbot Christopher recently began his American book tour speaking in Boston. He is a well known television personality in Great Britain; more than three million people watched the show "Monastery" filmed at his Worth Abbey in 2005.

Required by funding mandates to provide religious broadcasting, the BBC sought interesting proposals. BBC accepted the Worth Abbey concept of "adopting" a small group of very secular men for 40 days and nights, with continual filming to show any affect on their spirituality. The chosen men had indicated "sanctuary" as a motivating goal when they volunteered. After working with these men, a tough group, including a porn producer and a Northern Ireland terrorist, the Abbot wrote the book, "Sanctuary."  In case you're wondering, the porn producer had a significant spiritual experience just before leaving.

To read the rest of this review:

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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