In the Vineyard :: October 29, 2009 :: Volume 8, Issue 19

National News

VOTF National Conference This Weekend!
Please join your fellow VOTF members this weekend as we discuss the role of VOTF in the Catholic Church and listen to some incredible speakers including Sister Joan Chittister and Father Thomas Reese.

On site registration is welcome

From Bill Casey

On April 16, 2009, the Board of Trustees announced that it would propose by the end of 2009 a new model to incorporate the voice of VOTF members in governance of the organization. This announcement followed the Board’s decision to declare the National Representative Council (NRC) inactive after the NRC ceased to conduct business from October 2008 until April 2009.


VOTF’s Priest Support Working Group Questions Celibacy Requirement

VOTF’s Priest Support Working Group questions Vatican’s recent willingness to accept married Anglican priests into the Catholic Church. “What will it take, we ask,” says John Ryan, “for church leadership to reach out to its own anguished brothers and sisters by starting the discussion about removing celibacy as a requirement of ordination to the priesthood?”

To read the press release click here.
To join the conversation on the Priest Support Working group site to make comments and join in the conversation:

Father Phil Cover Speaks of Being a Prophetic Voice for Action

On Thursday evening, October 1, Fr. Phil Cover spoke to the Montgomery, MD VOTF.  The topic for his talk was “On Being a Prophetic Voice for Action, Rooted in Contemplation”. Below is an excerpt from his remarks.

My remarks this evening relate to the third goal of the Voice of the Faithful—to shape structural change within the Catholic Church, and the seventh objective of your recent. “Voices in Action Campaign”—encouraging systematic transformation and growth in the universal Church. My operating premise is that any action directed toward systemic change in the Church requires also some systemic changes in the lives of those committed to and seeking change.

In short, the individual Christian and the ecclesial community are always in need of conversion, reform, and purification; always in need of being fashioned and refashioned according to the ways and thoughts of God, generation to generation to generation. We cannot change anyone other than ourselves, but individually and collectively, we can influence change for the better. If we remain steeped in payer and faithful to our deep desire to be God’s instruments in and through whom God can bring about transformative change, we are then positioned to influence change, even systemic change.



Pheme Perkins, Ph.D., Professor of New Testament at Boston College, will speak on the topic, The Holy Spirit in the Time of Jesus, at Holy Family Hall by St. Joseph Church, 11 Sparhawk St., Amesbury on Sunday, November 1, 2009 from 7:00-9:00 P.M. This is the second in a series of presentations sponsored by the VOTF North Shore-Seacoast & Lynn Affiliates in collaboration with Boston College, Dept. of Theology.


VOTF NJ will be screening the film, Vows of Silence, at 7:30 P.M. on Monday, November 2, in the Carnevale Faith Formation Center (Main Hall) at St. Mary's Parish, Pompton Lakes NJ. 

The 2008 film tells the story of a group of boys recruited by Catholic priest Rev. Marcial Maciel into his new religious order, subsequently sexually abused, and initially refused a hearing 40 years later by the Church judiciary.  It is based on exhaustive research for the book Vows of Silence: The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul by Jason Berry and the late Gerald Renner, and is widely recognized as the catalyst for reopening investigations and sanctioning of molestation charges against Fr. Maciel. Founder of the Legionnaires of Christ, he was, at the time, one of the most powerful priests in Rome. 

Vows of Silence is produced and directed by Berry, this year's recipient of the national VOTF St. Catherine of Siena Distinguished Lay Person Award. The Center is located at 10 Lenox Avenue across the street from the Municipal Building. Juan Vaca, one of the original accusers, will introduce the film and take questions afterwards.

The film presents an enlightening picture of the scope and complexity of one small part of the sex abuse scandal, and highlights the need for better accountability on the part of the hierarchy and the necessity to listen to the sense of the faithful.  It has been cited as the best television documentary at an international film festival, among other awards. 

All are welcome to attend the screening, which is free of charge. 

Theresa Padovano
Voice of the Faithful Northern New Jersey or 973-539-8732 

Site seeing

Vatican’s New Defense on Child Molestation Charges: Finger-pointing, The Jewish Daily Forward Newspaper.
And a response sent to the remarks made by the Pope’s representative at the UN by Father Tom Doyle

Interesting article from the National Catholic Reporter on the new translation of the Roman Missal from Latin to English.

Catholic Diocese of Wilmington files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

Editorial on the Diocese of Wilmington

And the response by Coastal DelMarva’s VOTF

25th Anniversary of Diocese of Palm Beach celebrated,0,1921483.story

Archbishop suspended by the Vatican for sexual abuse

Book Review

Coming Out and Covering Up
Reviewed by Father Thomas Doyle

Coming Out and Covering Up, Lisa Rene Reynolds, PhD (Dead End Street Publishers, 2004; 53 pages)

I saw this book advertised and bought it. It appears to be an adaptation from the author’s doctoral work. It is mostly the results of a survey the author took of Catholic priests. Her goal was to explore the attitudes of Catholic priests towards the clergy sex abuse phenomenon. The book is made up of the key questions from her survey and a summation of the responses. 

The questions include the priests’ estimation of the impact of the abuse scandal on their parishioners. Other questions center of the priests’ feelings about celibacy, commitment, the hierarchical church and self image. They were asked about their responses to the revelations about clergy sexual abuse over the years.

The book is worth reading for anyone who is trying to comprehend the seemingly incomprehensible response of the clerical world to the clergy sex abuse “scandal.” I put the word “scandal” in quotes intentionally. I don’t see it as a scandal but rather as a revelation of a heretofore hidden quality or aspect of the institutional church and the clerical culture.


Letter to the Editor

I would just like to congratulate V.O.T.F. for their decision to present the “Lay Person Award” to Jason Berry.

His excellent journalism in revealing the truth of the abuse problems within the Catholic Church has been an inspiration to many, and after reading his book Lead Us Not into Temptation I felt that he had opened doors that one day could lead to the necessary changes in our church. Then I read Keep The Faith – Change The Church by James Muller and through both of these books I have received a renewed determination to work for change rather than walk away from the church I believe Christ wanted us to have.  
M. Palmer

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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