In the Vineyard  ::   October 1, 2009   ::    Volume 8, Issue 17

National News

I would like to take this chance to thank those of you who have recently donated to Voice of the Faithful. I have heard from many of you about how much you depend on information from VOTF to tell you how our efforts to “Keep the Faith and Change the Church” are going. VOTF is hoping to accomplish even more exciting initiatives with Voices in Action. Your donations help keep this newsletter and Voices in Action going! Thank you!

Siobhan Carroll
In the Vineyard, editor
P.S. As you know, VOTF is a 501c3 non-profit organization and your contributions are tax-deductible.

VOTF National Conference on LI
As we are sure you have heard by now, the Voice of the Faithful National Convention is being held this October 30-31 on Melville, Long Island. If you have not registered yet, we urge you to go to the national site at and register today.

The conference will feature keynote addresses by two giants of American Catholicism, Sr. Joan Chittister and Fr. Tom Reese. The conference is also an ideal opportunity to get together with your VOTF brethren and to invite friends and family who may be interested in VOTF. We would really love it if you would pass around the flyer advertising the conference. Hang it where you get coffee! Or even in the supermarket. Or a bulletin board at the deli—wherever folks gather. The more people who attend, the better!

Jason Berry to Receive Saint Catherine of Siena Distinguished Lay Person Award at VOTF National Conference
Jason Berry, the author, investigative journalist, and documentary producer, has been named recipient of the Saint Catherine of Siena Distinguished Lay Person Award by Voice of the Faithful (VOTF).

The presentation will occur at the VOTF conference October 30-31 at the Hilton Long Island/Huntington in Melville, New York.


Guest Column from Thomas Doyle, J.C.D., C.A.D.C.
On the Holy See’s Response to the U.N. and Tom Reese’s Response to Roman Polanski
[A representative from] the International Humanist and Ethical Union, in a speech given at the U.N. on September 22, took the Vatican to task for its cover-up of reports of sexual abuse by clerics. Predictably the Holy See responded but the response was much less measured and more emotional than usual.


Update from VOTF Ireland
VOTF Ireland Asks for Transparency
The following is a statement by VOTF-Ireland members in the Catholic Diocese of Derry on the unannounced restoration of an additional 3% diocesan levy on parish collections:
Catholic parishioners in Derry diocese have learned that an additional 3% levy for diocesan purposes on parish collections, an addition that was withdrawn after protests in 2005, has been restored by the diocese without prior explanation or notification. 


Update on the Pope’s Investigation of American Women Religious
VOTF president, Dan Bartley, sent a letter of support to the Council of American Women Religious. We have also alerted members to the efforts of other groups supporting women religious and sending letters of support. Here is another—for those of you who would like to show your support for the American nuns currently under investigation by the on!

From the “thankyousister” effort: As many of you know, last January, the Vatican launched an apostolic visitation of institutes of women religious in the United States. Headed by Mother Mary Clare Millea, superior general of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, this study is meant to examine the “quality of life” of communities of women religious and look into ways in which women religious “contribute to the welfare of the church and society.”

Now is the time for those of us who have been served by or served with women religious to stand in support and express our gratitude for these women who have given us so much.


Secrecy, Power, Honesty, Humility
The following letter appeared in the Connecticut Post. It was written by Joe O’Callaghan
The Diocese of Bridgeport, still blithely spending the money of the Catholic faithful, has appealed to the United States Supreme Court. Presenting itself as a victim of injustice, the Diocese alleges that its First Amendment rights have been violated by the order of the State Supreme Court to unseal court records relating to priestly sexual abuse and episcopal cover-up. The Diocese further claims it has not been treated fairly by a succession of state courts that have heard the case. The Diocese complains that all of this happened long ago and that the newspapers only want to rehash old news.

(For the rest of the letter, click here.)

Site seeing

More freedom for female Catholics? Not in the US but in India...

Was it the authoritarian style of the Bishop that caused him to resign?

National Catholic Reporter – Diocese priest criticizes his bishop for implying that those bishops and priests who followed Vatican II were not orthodox. kansas-city-st-joseph-diocese-priest-criticizes-his-bishops-leadership

More on the ousting of Sister Louise Akers from National Catholic Reporter / volunteer-teacher-

In this week’s National Catholic Reporter: Vatican asks U.S. bishops to fund $1.1 million sisters study.

A Call for Help from the SCG Platform
The Team for the Spiritual and Communal Growth Platform is working to facilitate spiritual development and foster community within Voice of the Faithful. We know that unless we are grounded in personal relation with Christ through the Holy Spirit, our efforts are in vain. Prayer and spirituality is the groundwork of all that we do. As Jesus insists: “Without me you can do nothing.” (John, 15:5), and as Paul reminds us: “We can do all things in Christ who strengthens us.” (Phil. 4:13)

Therefore, we are inviting VOTF members and interested supporters to consider responding to your call to discipleship and join our team as we explore ways to deepen our faith and strengthen our solidarity within VOTF. We are looking for help in the following areas


Platform Committee on Supporting Survivors and Protecting Children is Looking for Volunteers with SOL Reform Experience

We need you help. We are preparing an advocacy guide for use in states that have a statute of limitation which prevents survivors of child sex abuse from seeking justice in the judicial system.

We ask individuals who conducted legislative campaigns to repeal one of these statutes to send us information about their experience whether successful or not. We believe that knowledge of the characteristics of your campaign and of your state legislature is vital to our task. This information will enable us to analyze and integrate valuable data to prepare an advocacy guide that will have broad utility.



For those of you looking for information on the American Catholic Council, it will be held on June 9-11, 2011 in Detroit. For more information about the ACC, you can visit their website at Voice of the Faithful initiated the organization of this event, which should be a milestone in the continuing growth of the Catholic Church in America.

Upcoming events from North Shore-Seacoast and Lynn Affiliates of Voice of the Faithful in collaboration with Boston College, Department of Theology.

  • Wednesday, October 21, 2009 – Rev. Robert Imbelli, Ph.D.: Catholic Common Ground Initiative and the Challenge of Dialogue, Immaculate Conception Parish Center, Newburyport, MA.

  • Sunday, November 1, 2009 – Dr. Pheme Perkins, Ph.D.: The Holy Spirit in the Time of Jesus, Holy Family Parish Hall by St. Joseph Church, 11 Sparhawk St., Amesbury, MA.

  • Sunday, March 21, 2010 – Dr. Colleen Griffith, Th. D.: In Prayer Our Lives are Graced with the Holy Spirit, St. Mary’s High School, Connell Center, 35 Tremont St., Lynn, MA.

  • Sunday, April 11, 2010 – Rev. James Keenan, S.J., Ph.D.: The Holy Spirit in Moral Decisions, St. Pius V. Church, 215 Maple St., Lynn, MA.

VOTF NY Events
William Clark, S.J., author of A Voice of Their Own: The Authority of the Local Parish, is back from his sabbatical in Australia and has already confirmed his presentation to us on Monday, November 5. He will discuss his book and his thinking about the inherent authority of the local parish in the Catholic Church.
For more information please e-mail

Voice of the Faithful Northern New Jersey
VOTF NJ will be discussing The Future of Christology, the award-winning book that reprises many of the key Christological views developed by Roger Haight, S.J., a recognized and sometimes controversial author. All are welcome to attend the discussion, which will be held at 7 PM on October 19 at St. Mark Lutheran Church in Morristown.


Letter to the Editor

The new (Voices in Action) "plan" looks great - so much more practical and useful. I would like to suggest adding Ronald Rolheiser's books to your list, The Shattered Lantern, The Holy Longing - they are all good and so helpful and useful for all. 
From: L. Wrightson

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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