In the Vineyard :: May 20, 2011 :: Volume 10, Issue 10

News from National

The John Jay Causes and Context Study
The long-awaited report on the causes and context of clergy sex abuse in the Catholic Church has finally emerged. The study by researchers at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City cites the lack of transparency and accountability as key factors in the cover-ups that have prolonged the scandal and delayed justice for the abused—the same factors that Voice of the Faithful has long identified as obstacles to true healing and reform.

The report also says “the most significant conclusion drawn from this data is that no single psychological, developmental, or behavioral characteristic differentiated priests who abused minors from those who did not." Poor training, social isolation, job stress and lack of support all contributed to the problem.

Although the study offers some praise for recent efforts to fight child abuse, it also says Church leaders were defensive and self-protective, attitudes that fostered and concealed the problem rather than resolving it.

The full text of the Causes and Context study is available on the USCCB web site. Our initial response to news about the report is here. The links below will take you to the study and to some early reports on it as well as to the earlier volume called Nature and Scope of the Problem:
Causes and Context Study (2011)
Religion News Service
The New York Times
The Boston Globe
The Washington Post(blog item)
The John Jay Study (Nature and Scope of the Problem)

Vatican Letter May 16 to World's Bishops Does Not Go Far Enough to Protect Children
Voice of the Faithful says the letter the Vatican sent on Monday, May 16, to bishops around the world regarding child sexual abuse guidelines does not go far enough to protect children.

VOTF reiterated the recommendations we offered to the USCCB earlier this year in an attempt to tighten the loopholes that permitted credibly accused priests to remain in parishes in Philadelphia even though the diocese remained “in compliance” with the USCCB guidelines.

Among the specific recommendations VOTF made to the review board and Office of Child & Youth Protection are:

  • Amending the charter to mandate specific disciplinary action for future charter violations;

  • Making audits more effective, including, for example, unrestricted access to priests’ personnel files;

  • Re-configuring diocesan review boards to ensure their complete independence, objectivity and expertise and to remove any conflicts of interest;

  • Changing the structure of diocesan victim assistance programs to insulate victims from chancery officials, diocesan law firms and insurance companies;

  • Supporting a call for bishops to stop opposing changes in state statutes of limitations that benefit clergy sexual abuse victims; and

  • Holding NRB listening sessions nationwide to hear lay Catholics’ reactions to clergy child sexual abuse and its cover-up and their expectations for resolving the scandal.

To read more on this go to

Fund Benefiting Women in the Catholic Church Awards $10,000 to Wisconsin Woman Fired as Pastoral Associate
A Wisconsin woman fired for no apparent cause from her parish position has been awarded $10,000 in the third round of grants from the VOTF’s Emily & Rosemary Fund for Women in the Church. These grants support women who have lost employment in the Catholic Church because of injustice or discrimination.

Grant winner Ruth M. Kolpack of Beloit, Wisc., said her grant will fund a documentary “telling of the injustice I experienced when I was fired. I am very excited about receiving the Emily & Rosemary Fund grant. We are just beginning fundraising for the filming and production of the documentary and hope there will be more grants and individual supporters to help us move this project forward.”

Most Rev. Robert C. Morlino, bishop of Madison, the Roman Catholic diocese that includes Kolpack’s hometown of Beloit, fired Kolpack from her pastoral associate position in March 2009. She had been pastoral associate at St. Thomas the Apostle parish in Beloit since 1995. According to Kolpack, she was never given a definitive reason for the dismissal. Morlino was quoted in the media at the time as saying that his action was a personal matter, that a certain mentality on Kolpack’s part was troublesome and that her thesis, of which he had read bits and pieces, was not the only issue. Continued

Two months into the second session of Vatican II, on November 22, 1963, President John Kennedy was assassinated. One news commentator wrote that in one single year, two great Catholic men had died, Pope John XXIII and the president of the United States, both having initiated much work which they left unfinished.


If you have not yet answered our survey on the meeting, it takes about 2 minutes (and you might win a prize). Click here to take survey.

Friday June 10, 2011 — 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Detroit Marriott Hotel at the Renaissance Center
Prior to the American Catholic Council Synod (June 10-12, 2011)

Church Reform: A Do-It-Yourself Job
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 (10 a.m. to Noon) features a report from President Dan Bartley and interactive presentations by our Voices in Action teams.

Afternoon program (1:30 to 3:30 p.m.) features Jason Berry and Fr. Tom Doyle discussing connections between the greatest Church scandals of today: sex abuse and cover-ups by the clergy, and the misuse of funds.
No registration required.

Site Seeing

Diocese of Wilmington ordered to reveal where monies are going

The head of the Philadelphia Archdiocese’s Review Board responds to the failure of the Archdiocese’s clerical leadership in responding to the clergy sexual abuse evidence before them in any way consistent with the Charter the Bishops passed in 2002.

Why let the bishops drive us from the church we love?

Child Abuse Awareness    

The National Child Abuse Protection Center recently published an article that contains 17 tips to assist law enforcement officers and other multidisciplinary team members investigating cases of child abuse. The article is focused on child abuse in religious settings.

In Ireland, The National Board for Safeguarding Children (NBSC), set up by the Catholic Church to monitor its child protection practices, recently reported more than 200 new allegations of clerical child abuse received by Church authorities in the year ended March 31st.

VOTF’s Child Protection and Survivor Support Team has set up an online forum where you can go to comment on these stories or others.

Tricia Bruce Addresses Local VOTF Group
Submitted by Elia Marnik

On April 25, 2011, an enthusiastic group of St. Eulalia’s Parish VOTF affiliate members in Winchester, Mass., assembled to hear Tricia Colleen Bruce, a professor of sociology at Maryville College in Tennessee, reveal messages and content from her new book Faithful Revolution: How Voice of the Faithful Is Changing the Church.

Bruce’s Faithful Revolution was an outgrowth of her doctoral thesis. Her research took more than three years, during which time the author lived in various locales and studied VOTF affiliate groups and their activities.

Professor Bruce explained her understanding of the demographic qualities of the VOTF members and some of her conclusions. For example, the “senior” age bracket of the members results in homogeneity of interest and background. She found that the commitment of VOTF members was evident, since they retained their profoundly deep Catholic roots, at the same time returning to the promises of Vatican II and demanding a meaningful voice for the laity and accountability from the hierarchy.

A singular challenge, however, was the difficulty of making change in an organization (the Church) in which the members were an integral part. This is the uniqueness of an intra-insititutional social movement (“IISM”), which Bruce explored in her talk and in her work. She maintains, nevertheless, that VOTF has established a new way to be Catholic as is noted in these quotes from her work:

“Whether or not Church leaders liked it, VOTF emerged as a public voice for Catholics and for the Catholic Church in the wake of the scandal.” 

“VOTF gave Catholics a space to express outrage at the scandal along with frustrations and hope for the contemporary, post Vatican II Catholic Church.” 

“...they began to recognize their own disempowerment and envision a Church within which they, too, had a voice. In a larger cultural sense, VOTF shifted the very meaning of Catholic identity ... They broadened the “we” within Catholicism to include not just the ordained, not just the silent masses obedient to existing structures of authority.” 

“VOTF presented a Catholic identity that could contain both faithfulness and challenge to the institution.”

Professor Bruce said that her next book is likely to investigate “personal parishes” and intentional faith communities. Any reader of Faithful Revolution will eagerly wait for more from this skillful and readable author.

Click the button on this page to purchase Prof. Bruce’s book and benefit VOTF.

Voices in Action Update: Spiritual and Communal Growth

In May 2011, Pope Benedict XVI began using his Wednesday general audiences as an opportunity for catechisis on prayer. Those remarks have been captured on video and also are available as text. The Spiritual & Communal Growth Team has added links to their web pages that take you to the site where each presentation on prayer is available. You will find them here near the bottom of the web page:

And if you would like to go directly to the first two presentations, here are the links:
May 4, 2011
May 11, 2011

Letter to the Editor

Bishop Dolan says there are as many abusive teachers as priests. An important distinction-Teachers are subject to civil law. Priests used the "secrecy of confessional" to avoid prosecution and are still not being reported.

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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