In the Vineyard :: October 28, 2010 :: Volume 9, Issue 20

National News

October 26, 2010-Boston –Commenting on the court-ordered release of more than 10,000 pages documenting sex abuse by clergy and religious in the Diocese of San Diego, Voice of the Faithful issued the following statement:

Again we hear, this time from San Diego, about extensive clerical molestation of children and the appalling, systemic cover up by the Catholic hierarchy over decades.

One illustration of this is the sad story of the molesting priest in Heber, California, who, in 1976, was returned to ministry despite the contrary advice of those professionals who treated him at a psychiatric center. While this may be an old story, the continuing clerical cover-up is the actual root problem and is still quite current. Even after a $200 million settlement in 2007, the bishop of San Diego paid huge additional legal fees to fight release of these documents until he lost the case last Friday.

The Los Angeles Archdiocese, led by Roger Cardinal Mahoney, continues the same costly struggle, putting its reputation before the safety of its children, despite a $600 million settlement, also in 2007. Voice of the Faithful strongly urges Archbishop José H. Gomez, when he becomes the next Metropolitan Archbishop of Los Angeles, to adopt a more compassionate and pastoral response toward this entire scandal.

We urge all bishops to think first of the victims and of their pastoral responsibilities. Transparency and accountability must become the ‘default option’ for the Church, rather than the last resort in attempted cover-ups.

Tri State VOTF Conference

Your last chance! Don’t miss this important event.

On Saturday, October 30, 2010 join VOTF members from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut at the College of Mount St. Vincent in Riverdale, NY. The theme of this year’s conference is “Breaking the Time Barrier – A 21st Century Laity Demands Relevance from a Medieval Hierarchy.”

Keynote speaker Dr. Anthony T. Padovano will talk on the Magnitude of Vatican II. He will explore why the Church is no longer the papacy and hierarchy, but the People of God. Professor and author Joseph O’Callaghan will explore lay involvement in the selection of bishops. Sr. Chris Schenk will update us on projects currently underway at Future Church, including their latest undertaking to save parishes, called “Crying out with a Million Voices.” Jamie Manson, most recently director of social justice ministries in New York City where she ministers to the needs of Manhattan’s poor and homeless and writer for National Catholic Reporter on youth, will also speak.

There’s much more, including an update on VOTF developments from President Dan Bartley. Tickets are $50 and include a continental breakfast (with fruit!) and lunch. Complete details and directions are available at

Round Two of the Emily & Rosemary Fund
While the Committee reviews grant applications from Round 1 for the Emily & Rosemary Fund for Women in the Church, applications for Round 2 may now be submitted. Here are the details.

Moment of Silence

6:30 pm Rome Time, October 31, 2010

Survivors Voice will observe a one minute moment of silence for all victims of childhood sexual abuse on Sunday, October 31, 2010.

They are asking the world to join them at that exact moment, wherever you are, and take one minute out of your life to stop and think about All Survivors.

Please join them. Check out the schedule of events for other activities that you can get your community involved in by clicking here:

(There is also a clock on the site that will tell you what the time difference is!)

Mark your calendar, don’t forget the American Catholic Council gathering June 10-12, 2011. For more information, please go to

VOTF Ireland

Following is the text of remarks by Sean O’Conaill of the VOTF Ireland affiliate, who spoke at a gathering of all diocesan priests in the Diocese of Killala, Country Mayo, Ireland.

Crisis and Renewal in the Irish Catholic Church - A VOTF perspective

Bishop Fleming has asked me on your behalf to speak about the future of the church as seen through the eyes of our organization, Voice of the Faithful.  He asked me to deliver this in two parts - one for each session, each part to be followed by discussion.  First I'll tell you a bit about Voice of the Faithful, and review what we have been up to.  In the second part, after the break, I'll present a vision of the future, and let you respond to that.


Site Seeing

Sex abuse lurks behind election of Bishop. Insight into the Chicago bishop election from Boston College Theologian, Thomas Groome, Father Tom Doyle and the father of an abuse victim...

Unsealed Church documents show abuse allegations:

Richard Sipes argues that is time to talk reform of the clerical cuture at the heart of the abuse scandal:

Sister Joan Chittister commends church reform organizations, including VOTF, in her column in National Catholic Reporter:

Jason Berry wins journalism award; decries Pope Benedict’s “passivity”

by Carolyn Disco of New Hampshire
Jason Berry’s investigative reporting on clergy sexual abuse was honored by Trinity College in Hartford earlier this month with the Moses Berkman Memorial Journalism Award. The biennial honor is named for a distinguished alumnus, and reporter for over 35 years at the Hartford Times.


Open Letter Response of American Catholic Council

Earlier this month, the bishop in Detroit told Catholics in his diocese not to attend the American Catholic Council gathering planned for June next year. In response, the organizing committee for the council presented this Open Letter, which is reprinted here and also can be found on their web site.

The Archdiocese of Detroit has issued an “advisory” (published in the Detroit Free Press and apparently distributed widely within the diocese) that the American Catholic Council (ACC) movement and its planned national gathering in Detroit for the weekend of Pentecost 2011 (June 10-12) are “not being conducted under the auspices of the Detroit archdiocese.” 

This is true: ACC was founded more than two years ago by a large group of Catholics who wanted to celebrate the important upcoming anniversaries of the Second Vatican Council and Cardinal Dearden’s Call to Action (held in Detroit in 1976). 

The advisory cautions all against cooperating with ACC, attending its listening sessions, or attending the Council in 2011.

Prior to issuing his advisory, there was no attempt to talk or meet with ACC planners—despite repeated invitations issued by them.


Clergy Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church

Part IV in a series that looks at Clergy Abuse in the Catholic Church from 1984-2010.
By Tom Doyle J.C.D., C.A.D.C

Academic Interest
There were stirrings of academic interest in the first decade.  Although the institutional Church reacted defensively, claiming it was a temporary aberration involving a “few bad apples” scholars who looked beyond the actual events saw much more.  The most intense interest focused on the cover-up by the institutional Church.  The focus broadened to include the Church’s governmental style, the meaning of the priesthood as it was infused into the Catholic laity, the relationship of mandatory celibacy and the Church’s understanding of human sexuality.  The revelation of countless cases of sex abuse by clergy was a lurid symptom of a malady that permeated the entire Church structure.



Voice of the Faithful will present “Bless Me, Father, For I Have Sinned!”, a dramatic reading of court documents concerning priestly sexual abuse in the Diocese Of Bridgeport, written by Joseph F. O’Callaghan and directed by Jack Rushen on Saturday, November 13, 2010 at the Concert Hall, Norwalk City Hall. Doors will open at 12:30 p.m. Barbara Blaine, President of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), and Terry McKiernan of Bishop Accountability will lead an open discussion.

Tickets are $20 and may be purchased at or at the door.

Catherine Keller, Professor of Constructive Theology, to Speak
Catherine Keller, Professor of Constructive Theology, Theological School and Graduate School, Drew University will speak on her latest book On the Mystery: Discerning Divinity in Process at 7:30 P.M., Tuesday, November 9, at St. Mark Lutheran Church, 100 Harter Road, Morristown, NJ.
For more information

Voice of the Faithful Northshore–Seacoast Affiliate
Last October, a few members of VOTF Northshore-Seacoast Affliliate attended the National VOTF Convention in Huntington, Long Island, New York. The main speaker at the event was Sister Joan Chittister, OSB. We were so impressed with her speech that we decided to purchase the DVD to share with our membership at a meeting in the future. That meeting will be Sunday, November 14, 2010, at 7:00 PM in St. Rose Parish Hall, in Topsfield. Sister Joan’s speech covers the topic of “Authority and Leadership,” particularly as it pertains to the Catholic Church. From her biography given below, you will see that Sister Joan speaks from her own vast and varied experience with leaders and authorities of all kinds. Her insight and humor make for an experience that will leave you inspired and hopeful.

Joan Chittister, a Benedictine sister of Erie, Pennsylvania, has been one of the church’s key visionary voices and spiritual leaders for more than thirty years. She is an international lecturer and award-winning author of more than 35 books. She has served on the Global Peace Initiative of Women, received the Hans Kung Award from the Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church as well as the Outstanding Leadership Award from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. Her column, “From Where I Stand,” appears regularly in The National Catholic Reporter.

Following the presentation, there will be time for discussion and fellowship. Please join us.

For more information, please contact:
Kathy Sullivan     (978) 356-3807
Mo Donovan        (978) 465- 0620
Elaine Nylander   (978) 887-9882

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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