In the Vineyard :: October 5, 2012 :: Volume 12, Issue 17

News from National

10th Year Conference Outcomes: Accelerating Action for Reform
With prayer as foundation and hope as companion, VOTF looks to our next 10 years and the action plans that can help accelerate Church reform.

"Show us the money" is shorthand for one project in the overall plan--a call for bishops to follow canon law when developing financial plans and reporting on how they spend our money. VOTF distributed at the 10th Year Conference the accountability principles and canon law on which we will base the effort.
Other building blocks, and the related information provided to Conference attendees, include:

  • Completion of the lay input process for bishop selection in Chicago and helping other dioceses put the model into practice.

  • Education programs and work with other reform groups to restore women deacons and assess the roles of women in the Church. (The handouts included additional readings on women's roles.)

  • Efforts to develop restorative justice concepts that can help promote healing in the Church

  • A closer look at the culture of clericalism that helped foster the secrecy and lack of accountability so characteristic of the global abuse scandals.

Also on the agenda:

  • A petition to the U.S. bishops to seek the same exemptions for ordaining married Catholic men that they now seek for non-Catholic ministers who convert and become married Catholic priests.

  • Support for child protection efforts, such as reform of legislative statutes that shield predators rather than protect children.

  • Support for survivors, and efforts to educate all Catholics about their rights and responsibilities under canon law.

It's an ambitious program. We need your support to make it work. Please consider volunteering where you are able when team leaders ask for help, hosting speakers and programs related to our plans, and keeping VOTF strong with both your voice and your donations.

Donna Doucette

Executive Director

Missed the Conference? Catch Up Here
Our 10th Year Conference is history, and we're setting our future course. But if you were not able to attend and would like to review a copy of the Conference Program Book, just click here. For a slideshow of some Conference scenes, click here.
To order your copy of the Friday night video Voice of the Faithful: A Retrospective, use the online Purchase Order form. You may pre-order the 10th Year book Voices: Telling Our Stories using the same link.

Or you may mail in your order using this Purchase Form. Tom Groome from Boston College spoke at our conference on "the best about being Catholic." This 6-minute excerpt will be part of the Conference DVD set (available soon), which will cover all the speakers and events of our 10th Year Conference.

Here also is a 10-minute audio clip from Fr. Donald Cozzens' speech. Fr. Cozzens, an author and international commentator on religious and cultural issues who received a VOTF Priest of Integrity Award in 2009, spoke most eloquently on how VOTF has made a difference during its first decade.

Prof. Groome's and Fr. Cozzens' speeches will be covered in full, along with the rest of VOTF's 10th Year Conference on the Conference DVD set. Check the web site and your email inbox in the next weeks for the announcement.

To add to your virtual experience of the 10th Year Conference take a look at our photo page. We will be posting several additional photos within the next couple of weeks, so check back to see more. You also may wish to review some of the documents distributed at the conference.

More Conference Kudos

“Dear Donna and Nick,
Please give yourselves hugs and pats on your backs for such an excellent event:  your hard work paid off!
It was all I had hoped for, and more!”

“Saturday was tremendous. I loved every speaker and came away with a renewed sense of purpose, excitement, necessity and the important role of VOTF. Every speaker reinforced the importance of the VOTF mission... I can't say enough about how wonderful the conference was, great speakers, great people and everything, from my vantage point, ran smooth as silk. Take a moment to congratulate yourselves (and everyone else who helped) and take a well deserved rest.”
“EXCELLENT job on the conference! It was wonderful...inspiring...invigorating! “
“THANK YOU to all who helped put it together!”
“GREAT conference. THANK YOU for the wonderful, faithful, loyal good work you are doing. I am spreading the word and handing out your literature to fellow Catholics (and I'm asking for their donations to you).”

Philadelphia Story Underscores VOTF’s Calls for Church Financial Transparency
The recent exposure of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s financial woes (see “Archdiocese of Phila. in serious financial shape – and so are its parishes,” Philadelphia Inquirer, Sept. 30, 2012) underscores VOTF’s long-time calls for more transparency and accountability in parish and diocesan finances.

VOTF distributed a paper called Financial Transparency and Accountability during its recent conference in Boston. “Since its founding in 2002,” the paper begins, “Voice of the Faithful® has worked consistently to support increased transparency and accountability with regard to church finances at the parish and the diocesan levels. We (VOTF members) realized then that the scandal of clerical sexual abuse was enabled by lack of diocesan financial transparency. Since 2002, significant progress has been made in many dioceses, although the progress has varied greatly across the United States.”


Voice of the Faithful FOCUS,
September 21, 2012

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


Responding to Clericalism and Sex Abuse
The sexual abuse of children and young adults by a tiny minority of Catholic priests is itself a terrible stain on the institutional church—but the repeated failure of the bishops and other priests to report and remove the perpetrators has magnified and deepened, beyond immediate repair, the erosion of trust and the crisis of faith within the Catholic community.

Ten Years after Revelations of Massive Sex Abuse Cover-Ups
Many Victims Never Get Their Day in Court
The recent revelations that the Boy Scouts of America have spent years covering up sexual abuse reports against their scout leaders came as no surprise to Professor Marci Hamilton. "Boy Scouts, the Catholic church, the Citadel, Penn State, the Mormon church - it's all the identical problem," says Hamilton.

Focus is on ‘healing’ in policy that joins archdiocese, victims
A group of survivors of sexual abuse by clergy and the Archdiocese of San Francisco have jointly created a first-of-its-kind policy on how the archdiocese can better serve victims, one that aims to engage and empower them in the healing process.

Laity Can Help Determine Cardinal’s Successor
Chicago-area Catholics have an unprecedented opportunity to express their concerns and recommendations about our next leader of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Voice of the Faithful Honors Hofstra Professor
A Hofstra University religion professor, Phyllis Zagano, known for advocating in favor of women deacons in the Roman Catholic Church has won an award from Voice of the Faithful, a Catholic group that is highly critical of the church hierarchy and its handling of the sex abuse scandal.

Psychologist Provides Analysis a Decade
After Catholic Church’s Sex Abuse Scandal Publicized
At the height of the clergy sex abuse scandal in 2002, Mary Gail Frawley-O'Dea urged the nation's Catholic bishops to lead "the revitalization and restoration of souls" damaged by sexual abuse. A decade later, Frawley-O'Dea paints a far less-hopeful portrait of the Catholic Church's handling of sexual abuse.

Why Not Women?
Can women receive sacred orders? Let us consult several authoritative sources. Canon 1024 of the Code of Canon Law states, “A baptized male alone receives sacred ordination validly.”

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

Report on Paul Lakeland Lecture to Bridgeport VOTF
By Paul Janensch

“The Second Vatican Council: Does It Still Matter?” was the title of the lecture given to Bridgeport VOTF by Prof. Paul Lakeland, chair of Catholic Studies at Fairfield University. His answer was “yes.”

But it was not just what Vatican II teaches us, he said. It’s also the way it teaches us. Rather than issuing prohibitions and anathemas, he said, Vatican II used language that was “welcoming and inclusive, warm and encouraging.”

Lakeland spoke on Sept. 13 to a meeting of Voice of the Faithful in the Diocese of Bridgeport at the First Congregational Church on the Green in East Norwalk. It was the first in a series of lectures to mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of Vatican II, convened by Pope John XXIII to address the role of the Roman Catholic Church in the modern world.

“Nowhere in the council documents, I think, is the call to simple obedience ever made,” said Lakeland. “Dogmatic pronouncements and anathemas call for obedience. Persuasive rhetoric takes its listeners more seriously and recognizes that assent cannot be simply commanded. Obedience is often right for children, though ‘because I said so’ rarely works – a lesson that parents might pass along to bishops.”

Conservatives and liberals argue intensely about what the council meant when it commented on liturgical change, episcopal collegiality and the role of the laity, he said, “but the very fact that the argument is taking place at all is the strongest testimony to the way in which the Second Vatican Council changed the Roman Catholic Church forever.”



Holy Cross Lecture to Address Catholic Conscience in the Voting Booth
October 1st, 2012 Cristal Steuer

Auxiliary Bishop McElroyAuxiliary Bishop Robert McElroy, Archdiocese of San Francisco, will give a free, public lecture titled “Catholicism, Citizenship and Conscience: What Does It Mean to Be a Faith-filled Voter in our Polarized Society?” on Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 7:30 p.m. in Rehm Library, Smith Hall at the College of the Holy Cross.

In his talk, Bishop McElroy will explore what it means to vote your conscience and how to affirm Catholic values when they split down political party lines.

“Our party structure has bisected the issues that Catholic theology points to as pivotal and critically important,” McElroy said. “It puts us in a terrible dilemma in choosing how we vote and how we express ourselves. So what do we do? We have to turn to our conscience every time we vote.”

Known for his scholarship, Bishop McElroy holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Harvard University, a master’s in divinity from St. Patrick Seminary and University, both a master’s degree in history and a doctorate in political science from Stanford University, and a doctorate in moral theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1980 and ordained as a bishop in 2010.

He is the author of two books, The Search for an American Public Theology: The Contribution of John Courtney Murray (Paulist Press, 1989) and Morality and American Foreign Policy: the Role of Ethics in International Affairs (Princeton University Press, 1992).

The talk, presented by the Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J. Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture, is one of the Deitchman Family Lectures on Religion and Modernity. To learn more about McFarland Center events and to find lectures online, visit

John Thiel to Speak on Vatican II
John Thiel, Professor of Theology at Fairfield University, will speak on “Lumen Gentium: Whatever Happened to the People of God?” on Thursday, October 11 at 7:30 p.m. at the First Congregational Church on the Green in Norwalk. His talk is the second on the series, sponsored by Voice of the Faithful in the Diocese of Bridgeport, commemorating the 50th anniversary of Pope John XXIII’s convocation of the Second Vatican Council. Professor Thiel is the President of the Catholic Theology Society of America and author of Senses of Tradition: Continuity and Development in Catholic Faith.

Subsequent speakers include: Madeleine Boucher, Fordham University; Kathleen Deignan and Elena Procario-Foley, Iona College; Ellen Umansky, Fairfield University; Brian Stiltner, Sacred Heart University; and Nancy Dallavalle, Fairfield University.

All sessions are free and everyone is invited to attend.
For further information see

Vatican II on Its Anniversary – at St. Albert’s in Weymouth MA
Voice of the Faithful will host a two part series on Vatican II presented by Ron DuBois PhD of the Paulist Center Community.
On this the 50th anniversary of the Council, we will discuss the impact of Vatican II and an overview of its content, as well as discuss several documents that were part of this important event in our church.

The dates are Tuesday, October 9, and Tuesday, November 13, at 7 PM in the Church Hall. Refreshments will be served. All are welcomed. Come join us in celebrating Vatican II.
St. Albert the Great Church, 1130 Washington Street (Route 53), Weymouth MA 02189

Catholic Spiritual Practices: A Treasury of Old and New
Book Launch 

Colleen M. Griffith and Thomas H. Groome

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 16, 5:30 P.M.  

PhotoPreviewing selections from their latest book, Catholic Spiritual Practices: A Treasury of Old and New (Paraclete Press, 2012), the editors will discuss how spiritual practices help to strengthen the life of faith. A reception will follow the presentation.
Colleen M. Griffith is STM associate professor of the practice of theology and faculty director of spirituality studies, and Thomas H. Groome is STM professor of theology and religious education and chair of the Department of Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry.

FREE of charge and open to the public.

Please register by emailing
Cosponsored by Paraclete Press, The Church in the 21st Century Center, and the School of Theology and Ministry
T: 617-552-6501 or 800-487-1167

Northern New Jersey VOTF Affiliate
The Northern NJ affiliate invites all to “A Retreat with Jan Novotka – All is Holy; All is One” on Saturday, October 20, at 9 am at The Shrine of St. Joseph, 1050 Long Hill Road, Sterling, NJ 07980. For more information:

FutureChurch Invites You to Celebrate Priesthood Sunday

October 28, 2012: Honor your Parish Priest and Pray to Open Ordination
Download a free Priesthood Sunday Organizing Kit
In late October hundreds of faithful Catholics will honor their parish priests and pray for a return to the ancient tradition of also permitting a married priesthood and women deacons in the Latin rite of the Roman Catholic Church. In 2011, at least 60 celebrations were held in parishes and private homes all over the US and seven other countries, including Australia, Canada, India, Mexico, England, Ireland, Scotland, and the Netherlands.
Join with us this fall in gathering your community to celebrate the gift of priesthood and advocate for the Roman Catholic Church to open ordination to include all those who receive God’s call.


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.

Page One


Shop at Amazon, Support VOTF

VOTF relies solely on the contributions of people like you to support its work.





© Voice of the Faithful 2012. All Rights Reserved