In the Vineyard :: November 30, 2012 :: Volume 12, Issue 21

News from National

Acts of Conscience
Sadly, Fr. Roy Bourgeois learned recently that the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in October had dismissed him from the Maryknoll order and also released him from “his sacred bonds” (i.e., removed him from the priesthood).

As Voice of the Faithful noted previously, such action in response to an act of conscience stands in stark contrast to the Vatican’s failure to censure bishops who failed to act morally when it came to child sex abuse by priests.

For those interested in Church teachings on conscience, here is a link to the pertinent sections (Part III, Section 1, Chapter 1, Article 6: 1776 – 1802) of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the Vatican website. Voice of the Faithful® also has published a study guide on conscience, Conscience and Excommunication: A Dilemma, which was first posted in 2008 when Fr. Bourgeois faced excommunication.

Advent Action
This Advent, FutureChurch and Voice of the Faithful, through The Nun Justice Committee, are asking you to let Church officials know of your continuing concern and support for the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. The LCWR continues to pursue dialogue with the Vatican about the unjust mandates imposed upon them.

You can help by making contact, either by email or regular mail, with the three bishops who are responsible for the investigation. Send them a Christmas card and tell them you support the nuns!

Complete messaging information and addresses are all available here:

Shipping Now
VOTF’s 10 anniversary Retrospective and Conference DVDs are shipping now! Re-live the laughter with Thomas Groome, feel proud of the work we have done when you listen to Donald Cozzens as he tells us not to give up.

Our secure online ordering process is quick and easy (check the 2012 10th Year Conference DVDs option or the Retrospective option). Or you may print and mail the order form (on which you also may order the VOTF book "Voices: Telling our Stories").

Christmas Shop with VOTF
As you do your Christmas shopping, please start at VOTF’s website! Anything you purchase via by following a link to their site from VOTF’s link means a small donation to VOTF (6% to 15% of the total, depending on the volume of sales). We get that donation on books, DVDs, CDs, electronic equipment, apparel, toys and and much more, even gift certificates.

There are at least two ways to make the VOTF-Amazon link: Go to our “Books” page at and then (1) click one of the book icons to purchase it, or (2) click the link to in the second bullet.

Voice of the Faithful FOCUS,
November 30, 2012

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


Bishop’s Appeal Letter Doesn’t Have Much Appeal
All the while, sitting in the room, was [Bishop] Finn, perhaps the most glaring contemporary exhibit of the bishops’ total disregard of their own promises of transparency and accountability. Not once was he mentioned, nor was mention made in that meeting of the fact that a sitting bishop had been convicted of a crime that, were he a priest, would disqualify him from ministry. The fine print in the charter — rather the script written in invisible ink — must read: None of the above applies to bishops.

AP Interview: Vatican Sex Crimes Prosecutor on Sin
When Pope Benedict XVI announced last month he was transferring his respected sex crimes prosecutor to Malta to become a bishop, Vatican watchers immediately questioned whether the Holy See's tough line on clerical abuse was going soft and whether another outspoken cleric was being punished for doing his job too well.

D.C. Bill That Expands Child Sex Abuse Reporting Requirements Advances
Nearly all adults in the District would be held liable if they fail to report suspected child sex abuse under a bill tentatively approved by the D.C. Council.

The Future of the Church: Discernment or Intimidation
It is possible to repress change temporarily -- to slow change, to resist change, to deny change -- but it is impossible to stop a change whose time has come. It is impossible to ignore change once it has begun to well up through the cracks in the cement of a society, however rigid the barriers to it.

The Parallel Catholic Church
Andrew Sullivan praises a new HBO documentary, “Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God,” by Alex Gibney on the perpetration and cover-up of sex abuse in the Catholic Church that traces the corruption all the way to the Pope. Interesting comment on how the loss of moral credibility among the hierarchy has created two parallel churches.

The Dangerous Side Effects of the Hierarchy
Sadly, sex abuse by church personnel is a well-documented side effect of the hierarchical structure that Pope Benedict XVI vigorously seeks to restore as a central feature of his so-called reform of the reform, also known as the overturn of Vatican II.

New Non-Profit Urges Public to Face Child Sex Abuse
Recent institutional sex abuse coverups within the Philadelphia Catholic Church and Penn State University mobilized a group of professionals, parents and advocates to form CSA: Let’s Face It. Through its Web site and events, the new nonprofit offers support to adult survivors and hopes to raise awareness of the public health crisis created by child sex abuse.

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

Australian Catholic Church in Upheaval
There is a familiar theme happening in the Australian Catholic Church. Clergy sexual abuse is being investigated by a government commission. This week the national bishops are meeting there, and the sex abuse scandal is sure to be discussed.

Advice to Bishops on Royal Commission
(Nov. 15, 2012) In two weeks' time the Australian bishops will meet in their biannual meeting. It is obvious the Royal Commission into sexual abuse will be a major topic. I respectfully suggest some matters for their attention. By Bishop Geoffrey Robinson,

Canonization of Dorothy Day Moves Forward
“People say, what is the sense of our small effort? They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time. A pebble cast into a pond causes ripples that spread in all directions. Each one of our thoughts, words and deeds is like that. No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless. There is too much work to do. “ Dorothy Day

The USCCB recently voted to support the canonization of Dorothy Day. Following is an excerpt from The Catholic Worker Movement’s website (a group Dorothy helped found).

Dorothy Day, Servant of God
Almost immediately after her death in 1980 controversy arose about whether Dorothy Day should be canonized a Saint by the Church.

Now that the Vatican has approved the late Cardinal John O'Connor's request to consider Dorothy Day's "cause," the controversy is being rekindled.

Voices opposing the process say that Dorothy Day shunned the suggestion she was a saint and believe she would rather have any money spent on her canonization given to the poor. Others are concerned that her radical vision will be sanitized and spun to support Catholic traditionalism and a narrow anti-abortion stance, neutralizing her ardent pacifism, radical critique of society, and love of the poor.

Many voices are in support of the canonization process as well, citing Dorothy Day's life as an example that has inspired them to prayer and action for social justice. Her faithfulness to the Gospel, living the "preferential option for the poor" and showing that a lay person can achieve heroic virtue are often cited.
"Dorothy Day is already a saint" is a common refrain, which reminds us that the Church doesn't make saints, but only recognizes what the faithful acknowledge as the action of God's grace in a person's life.

To read more about Dorothy Day

Advent Celebrations

Christmas is coming to Holy Cross College, and now you can participate from the comfort of your home!

Join the Holy Cross College Choir on Thursday, Dec. 6 at 8:00 p.m. EST as they perform the 35th annual Advent Festival of Lessons and Carols. This festive holiday service will be streamed LIVE over the Web from St. Joseph Memorial Chapel.

The service consists of Advent and Christmas lessons taken from the Bible, beginning with Old Testament prophecies and concluding with the Gospels. The lessons are read by various members of the College community, and each is followed by a corresponding carol sung by the College Choir.

Click here to bookmark the online location and be sure to tune in at 8 p.m. on December 6!

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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