In the Vineyard :: November 16, 2012 :: Volume 12, Issue 20

A Thanksgiving Prayer
“This Thanksgiving let those of us who have much and those who have little gather at the welcoming table of the Lord. At this blessed feast, may rich and poor alike remember that we are called to serve on another and to walk together in God's gracious world. With thankful hearts we praise our God who like a loving parent denies us no good thing.”

 From Songs of Our Hearts, Meditations of Our Souls: Prayers for Black Catholics, edited by Cecilia A. Moor, Ph.D., C. Vanessa White, D.Min., and Paul M. Marshall, S.M.

Lamentation Wall
At the VOTF 10th Year Conference in October, we introduced a Lamentation Wall where attendees could post personal lamentations in response to the irrevocable harm, unhealed wounds, and resistance to Church reform that have evolved from the sexual abuse crisis.

Lamentations poured from people’s hearts, expressing sorrow over the lives that have been permanently scarred or taken as a result of childhood sexual abuse. And they wrote of their personal wounds from the revelations of abuse and malfeasance, as well as the wounds suffered as a result of the culture of clericalism that enables such deep harm to continue.

These lamentations emerge from a tradition we inherit from both Christian and Hebrew scriptures—a tradition well-suited to our experiences in the Church this century.

For 10 years, Catholics, in all walks of life, have been engulfed in a tsunami of horrid revelations of child sexual abuse by clergy. The range of emotional responses included revulsion, confusion, fear, anger and distress. Victims/survivors and their families were faced with revisiting deep wounds and traumatic memories. And little has been done to address healing and reform. The hierarchical responses to these deep wounds have reflected more of a corporate defense pattern than a model of Gospel teaching. In response, and in a form urged upon us by the prophets in Christian and Hebrew Scriptures, we echo their call the community to a prayer of lamentation in the face of immeasurable suffering and loss.

VOTF is continuing the Lamentation Wall experience on our home page. We invite you to add your own personal lament to those many postings made at the conference.  Please click this link to arrive at the Lamentation Wall.

Here are a sampling of lamentations posted publicly on the Lamentation Wall at the 10th Year Conference:

“I lament the blindness and deafness of our Church’s hierarchical leaders to the deep wisdom of Jesus’ teachings about harming and healing.”

“My Church has lost its way-lost its voice-lost its moral authority-I grieve and lament.”

“Thanks be to God for those responsible for the film, Maxima Mea Culpa.”

“1st always for the survivors that they feel they are supported as they need, for the priests who speak the truth and for parishes being closed and disbanded and their assets taken.”

“I wait for the one who will guide our thoughts to dialogue, conversation and sharing ideas with heart and spirit. The women of the Church.”

“Perhaps it is time to boycott the Church hierarchy since they are not listening and appear to be incapable of hearing the “cry of the people”. Kesus never meant for this Church to become a state, untouchable to the outside world of laws.”

VOTF Retrospective: Order Now
"Voice of the Faithful: A Retrospective" premiered at our 10th Year Conference. Here's a glimpse of the voices who spoke about who we are and why we are.

Noted director Vincent Rocchio of Da Vinci Consulting pulled together interviews, news headlines, photos, and VOTF notes from our past 10 years to create this moving 20-minute retrospective.

Order yours today! Use our secure online process (check the VOTF at 10 option) or print and mail the order form.

Note that you also may pre-order the VOTF book Voices: Telling Our Stories using the same forms.

Conference DVDs Will Ship Soon
The two-DVD set (5 hours long) of the Conference speakers will soon be available. If you missed the presentations by Justice Anne Burke, John Major, Prof. Tom Groome, Fr. Don Cozzens, David Clohessy, Jamie Manson, or Fr. Jim Connell—or if you just want to hear them again and screen the presentations for your friends, this is a great way to do it.

For a glimpse of the speakers on the DVD, watch this trailer.

Use our our secure online process (check the 2012 VOTF 10th Year Conference option) or print and mail the order form.

Voice of the Faithful FOCUS,
November 16, 2012

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


Convicted Prelate Apparently Not on Bishops’ Agenda in Baltimore This Week
Bishop Robert Finn of Missouri stands convicted of covering up for a priest caught with thousands of images involving “child sex” on his computer. That this is a travesty is an understatement. That Bishop Finn has not resigned or been removed or even censured by his brother bishops is abhorrent. As U.S. bishops gather for their Fall General Assembly, Nov. 12-15, in Baltimore, Bishop Finn’s situation appears not to have made the agenda.

Key Church Lawyer Alleges Cover-up
The senior lawyer who reviewed the Catholic Church's Towards Healing protocol says he can point to alleged contemporary cover-ups in the Catholic Church.

Women’s Ordination Off Table, But Women Deacons a Distinct Question
Roman Catholic hierarchs will not entertain questions about ordaining women priests. While priestly ordination is seemingly off the table and out of bounds, what is emerging is a fairly open discussion about ordaining women to the permanent diaconate.

Eastern Catholics Explain Tradition, Value of Married Priests
In Eastern Christianity -- among both Catholics and Orthodox -- a dual vocation to marriage and priesthood are seen as a call "to love more" and to broaden the boundaries of what a priest considers to be his family, said Russian Catholic Fr. Lawrence Cross.

Monica Yant Kinney: New Sex Abuse Charges Put Institutional Leaders on Notice
After the mixed-message end to the criminal trial of the Rev. James J. Brennan and Msgr. William J. Lynn, speculation is that even one conviction would rock both the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the state legal system.

Association of Catholic Priests Saddened by Bishops’ ‘Snub’
A group representing hundreds of Irish priests (850 out of 4,500 priests in Ireland, but ACP claims 1,000 members) has said it is disappointed that the Irish Catholic Church's Bishops Conference will not meet them.

Watchdog Group Asks IRS to Probe Catholic Bishops
A public watchdog group is charging the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops with openly politicking on behalf of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and it wants the Internal Revenue Service to explore revoking the hierarchy’s tax-exempt status.

University Withdraws Theologian’s Invitation after Pressure from Financial Contributors
Disinvite linked to Vatican supported group
The University of San Diego has canceled a visiting fellowship for a British theologian less than two weeks before her scheduled arrival at the university because of pressure from financial contributors, according to a letter from the university's president.

Church of England Bishop’s Arrest Part of Broad Inquiry into Chichester Diocese Child Abuse
The arrest of Bishop Peter Ball on suspicion of sexual offences against boys and men at addresses in East Sussex and elsewhere is the latest development in a wide-ranging and often contentious series of official inquiries into decades of alleged child protection failures in the diocese of Chichester on England's south coast.

Should Obama Reach Out to Catholic Bishops?
One group of Americans that took a beating in the recent election was the U.S. Catholic bishops. Many of them were not shy in expressing their opposition to the administration and their preference for a Romney presidency. They also fought and lost a series of state referendums on gay marriage.

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

Conversations on Celibacy

What led to the Church’s adoption of celibacy and do those reasons remain valid in days when the number of priests in the U.S. continues to decline and access to the sacraments may be restricted as a result?

VOTF's Priest Support Working Group asked those questions as part of a two-year look at the overall state of the priesthood. What are the problems and promises affecting the priesthood today and how do those realities affect our parishes and sacramental lives?

Their work preceded the follow-on proposal, distributed first at the 10th Year Conference, to apply the same pastoral provision to married Catholic men that now permits ordained Protestant ministers to be ordained as Catholic priests.

You may read the paper on the pastoral provision request here.

To read more about our initial study, go to our web site here.  --- link here =

FutureChurch Supports Women Deacons
In a recent article in America magazine,  Bishop Emil Wcela urged "public consideration" of women deacons on the part of bishops, bishop conferences, theologians, historians and all concerned Catholics.

Cardinal George promised to raise the issue of women deacons in Rome after a Chicago parish asked him to support the candidacy of a woman leader to the permanent diaconate. At this writing, we know groups have met or are meeting with bishops in three other U.S. dioceses.

FutureChurch has developed a brand new resource: Women Deacons: Why Not Now? to help Catholics learn the rich history of female deacons, discover why the Church should restore the female diaconate, and implement a discernment process to surface women candidates to present to the bishop of their diocese. 

 Will you help us make this a public issue?  

In the past year, FutureChurch's Save Our Parish Community project  catalyzed a landmark change in Vatican policy. We discovered it IS possible to influence Rome once a critical mass decides to do something.

Please help us create a new critical mass on behalf of women, especially women preachers,  in our church.  The packet contains everything you need to educate and advocate for women deacons in the Catholic Church.

We hope to create local networks of people willing to work on this issue. Email us if you are interested in becoming a local educator and/or activist in your diocese

Thanks so much.
Liz England and Chris Schenk

PS. Petitioning for the permanent diaconate for women does not mean FutureChurch has stopped requesting continued discussion and prayer about church teaching on women's ordination.  Our A Million Voices initiative contains resources for continuing this important conversation in your faith community. Available for instant download ($3.00) here.

Letter to the Editor

Dear Siobhan, 

The title of the (Ordain Married Catholics in the last newslettter) urging a letter to the Pope to ordain married Catholics  deceived me thinking that VOTF had swallowed hard and included wives, i.e. women, as some of the Catholics to be ordained as well. Unfortunately, it appears that ecclesiatical politics are entering to barter a more acceptable decision and limit the same theological reasons to men. I think VOTF can do better. Bill Allen   

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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