In the Vineyard :: November 4, 2011 :: Volume 11, Issue 21

News from National

Happy Thanksgiving!
Win a complete turkey dinner for you or a family in need!
To thank you for your support, Voice of the Faithful wants you to enjoy a scrumptious Thanksgiving Day Feast: turkey, ham, side dishes, dessert and all. Or, you could send the dinner to a family in need. Just click here for details...

VOTF Survey Results
Thank you to all those who participated in our membership survey this past August. Results are posted on our web site, along with a note from the Survey Committee. In general, our members approve of the emphasis on spiritual growth, participated in numerous activities supporting survivors, and see the role of the laity as a key focus for the Voices in Action teams.

Update on Vatican II Spirituality Today
To help celebrate Advent, VOTF is putting together a week-by-week guide for lively discussion on how Vatican II has affected us personally and as a church community. To see a general sample and an outline of the readings for the four weeks, click here.
To participate in the Advent series, please email your request to, or you can mail your request to Advent V-II, VOTF, PO Box 423, Newton, MA, 02464.

VOTF Response to John Jay study
Voice of the Faithful has identified a serious flaw in the 2011 John Jay Report on the Causes and Context of clergy sexual abuse that was released earlier this year. After a comprehensive review of Causes and Contexts, Voice of the Faithful concluded the report failed to emphasize how much a clerical culture that hides, enables and minimizes the abuse substantially contributed to that abuse.

VOTF also concluded the John Jay report’s data and findings demonstrate pervasive hierarchical behaviors that led to:

  • denial or minimization of persistent evidence of clergy sexual abuse of minors;

  • mismanagement of the corporate response to the evidence; and

  • harmful treatment of victims, their families and the faith communities for which the bishops bore pastoral responsibility.

VOTF faults the report for describing, but not naming, an overriding set of beliefs and behaviors in which the clergy view themselves as different, separate and exempt from the norms, rules and consequences that apply to everyone else in society—the essence of clerical culture or “clericalism.”

For VOTF’s complete conclusions, click here, and for the full John Jay Report on Causes and Contexts of the clergy sexual abuse scandal, click here.

Open Letter to the Bishops
The open letter to the Bishops that VOTF collaborated on with FutureChurch, will be published in the November 7 issue of America Magazine, according to Sr. Christine Schenk. The letter asks the bishops to engage in dialogue about the priest shortage, and to consider recognizing married priests and women deacons. To read the letter click here

Are You Ready for the New Missal?
After more than a year of objection and resistance from English-speaking Catholics, including several bishops and many liturgists and translators, the Vatican has imposed its new translation of the Missal for regions where English is the predominant language.

Many of you also are familiar with the various opposition efforts, letters, and petitions developed internationally in an attempt to halt or at least delay the implementation. Some groups hope to continue the objections. If you would like to voice your thoughts on the topic, please contact Kevin Connors. If you would like to learn more about the translation, VOTF has a number of resources on our website.

A Way for Bishops to Begin Rebuilding Trust
The following editorial appeared in the October 24 issue of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. It is being reprinted by permission of the author.

By James E. Connell (The Rev. James E. Connell is vice chancellor of the Milwaukee Catholic Archdiocese and is currently serving as the pastor of two parishes in Sheboygan.)

An excellent opportunity exists for the Catholic bishops in the United States to begin rebuilding the people's trust in them that has been severely damaged because of the Catholic clergy sexual abuse crisis. This opportunity is found in the audit process to verify that each diocese actually is in compliance with the requirements of the charter that was originally established by the bishops in 2002 to enhance the protection of children from sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.

Remember, whether committed by force or by seduction, every act of sexual abuse of a minor by a priest is a crime, both in civil law and in church law. So in discussing sexual abuse of minors by priests, we are not talking about the actions of schoolyard bullies. We are talking about the actions of criminals. This must be the starting point for addressing this crisis and scandal in the church.



Voice of the Faithful Focus, Nov. 3, 2011
Highlighting issues we face working together
To Keep the Faith, Change the Church

The Pope recently called for  reform of the global financial market, highlighted by the call for an international "public authority at the service of the common good" to enforce accountability on the part of the states, banks and exchanges who comprise the worldwide monetary system.

Fifth survey of Catholics in America released
The fifth in the series of Catholics in America surveys was released in National Catholic Reporter on Oct. 24. William V. D'Antonio, Ph.D., a member of Voice of the Faithful's Advisory Committee and fellow at the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies, Catholic University of America, has led the surveys, which are conducted every six years. "Taken together," NCR says, "they make up one of the deepest and most consistent portraits ever compiled of the membership of the country's largest religious denomination." Here is an overview by D'Antonio and links to stories about the survey published so far in NCR:

New Survey Offers Portrait of U.S. Catholics
What Is Core to American Catholics in 2011?
Religion and Political Affiliation
Old and New Spiritual Resources
Trends in Catholic Commitment Stable over Time
Survey Reveals Generation Shift in the Catholic Church
Catholic Reactions to the Sex Abuse Scandal

Read the rest of Focus here...


North Shore- Seacoast Voice of the Faithful Affiliate sponsoring a retreat day in support of victims of clergy abuse
On Saturday, November 12, 2011 from 9:30 AM until 4:30 PM, the North Shore – Seacoast Affiliate is offering a retreat day in support of victims of clergy abuse at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 705 Hale Street, Beverly Farms MA. The retreat will feature a staged reading by Michael Mack of his one-man play Conversations with My Molester: a Sacrament of Reconciliation. Affiliate members who previewed Michael’s sensitive and powerful solo performance were so deeply moved by his portrayal of childhood trauma and subsequent reconciliation as an adult that they were eager to share it with a wider audience during a day of retreat.

More information:

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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