In the Vineyard :: October 7, 2010 :: Volume 9, Issue 19

National News

Grant Application Deadline Draws Near
Deadline for the first round of grants from the Emily & Rosemary Fund for Women in the Church is October 10. The Fund offers assistance to women who face financial hardship after losing their jobs in the Church as a result of injustice or discrimination. Grants also may be awarded to women who are working to bring about justice and equality in the Church. For details on the Fund and a grant application, see the report here.

High time for Vatican to Signal End of Patriarchy
The following article was written by VOTF’s Sean O’Conaill and appeared in the Irish Times.

With the Vatican-appointed Church inspectors due in Ireland this autumn, Sean O'Conaill wonders if the patriarchs will announce the failure of patriarchy.

How many in Ireland believe that the pending visit to Ireland of nine Vatican-appointed inspectors, or visitators, can reverse the rapid decline in the authority of the Irish Catholic hierarchy?

So far, scant enthusiasm for the visit has been shown by Ireland's bishops themselves. It was left to the Irish Catholic to strike a tentative note of optimism in its headline of June 3rd: “Could this be the renewal we have been waiting for?”  continued

Clergy Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church

part III in a series
By Tom Doyle

What We Learned in the First Decade: 1984-1994
By the end of 1985 it had become clear that the U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference was interested more in containing the growing problem than solving it.  The attitude projected by the conference’s actions in the first years was that the rash of reports of sexual molestation from around the country was a mid-level nuisance.  continued

Site Seeing

Transparency at the Vatican Bank?

More apologies from the Pope

Chicago’s archdiocese sued again over McCormack,archidiocese-sued-mccormack-092810.article

Choose a well and dig it deeply

Delaware diocese contemplates bankruptcy

Book Review

Theological Insights of Vatican Council II by Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI), Paulist Press, 1966.

Review by Mary Alice Stanton

In 1966, following the close of Vatican Council II, a young German priest named Fr. Joseph Ratzinger published a book of his notes and reflections on the Council. He had attended all four sessions as a peritus, or theological advisorto one of the German bishops. Today, the author is known as Pope Benedict XVI, and 44 years later the book has been republished by the Paulist Press ($16.95). Theological Highlights of Vatican Council II is a fascinating read.

The dynamism of the Council is charted from its tentative beginning through the blossoming of the debate on the liturgy. This debate proved to be profoundly significant as it validated the work of a group of theologians who had been formally censured or silenced in the years before the Council.

It also marked a new era for the bishops as Pope John XXIII intervened to give them a voice as strong as the Curia. Though Father Ratzinger professes to be interested in only the theological aspects of the Council, the shifts in power, the ever elusive goal of collegiality and the impact of infallibility are carefully noted.

The death of Pope John was a great loss, but Pope Paul VI rallied the bishops for a second session.

Farther Ratzinger closes with the highlight of the fourth session when Pope Paul VI embraced Patriarch Athenagoras and mutual forgiveness was expressed. This moment did much to heal the rift started in 1054 - a graphic reminder of the pace at which great institutions change.

To follow the issues that the author thought of greatest import, to relive his enthusiasm for progress, especially in the church’s understanding of itself as a worldwide organ makes one mindful of all the possibilities yet unrealized.

Letter to the editor

Dear fellow members,
As the director of religious education and youth ministry for a small parish, I would like to ask you to please stop encouraging people to withhold their donations to the parish collection.  The lack of funds coming in to a parish's general fund does not hurt the pastor, the bishop, the diocese or the Vatican.  It only hurts the programs in the parish and the lay people who direct them, most of whom are very people working to protect the children and teenagers of your parish! (most of whom, by the way, are also women!)

When our parish collection began to decline, our pastor cut programs and salaries.
He did not cut his salary.  The diocesan assessment remained the same. The only people affected were lay staff, like me, who got cut 20%. And while I am grateful for the volunteers who stepped up and gave their time and talent instead of their treasure, who do you think has to train, coordinate and superivse those volunteers, on a much smaller paycheck?

If you really want to “hurt” the powerful in the Church with your checkbook, you can give donations directly to specific programs in your parish. You can target your donations to just the programs you want to support, and that kind of revenue cannot be redirected or assessed by the diocese. It stays in the parish, doing the good you want it to do.

And when you do this, let the pastor know you are doing it! Tell him and tell why.

Even the best pastor doesn’t always understand. It’s up to us to let him know.

Please pray for and support the lay workers in your parish.
Thank you,
Lucy Soltau
Corpus Christi Parish
Fremont, CA

To: Vineyard
Subject: Giving the laity more than words

Deacon Bill makes a good point when he says, "The goal of empowering the laity must go far beyond simply 'being heard' for any lasting and effective reform. There is no power in simply being heard if the hierarchy is completely free to ignore whatever the laity has to say."

I have been thinking about how to strengthen the laity's voice, and have come to the same conclusion as Deacon Bill. The people of God have to grow up and take responsibility for their parishes. Any real progress will only come with good financial stewardship (we need to handle and control the money that is spent in and on behalf of our parishes). From there we will somehow need to move to ownership of our church property. We VOTF members and parishioners ought never to have to ask "Father" again for permission to meet in a parish hall!

A while ago I grabbed a domain name that could be useful in helping the Catholic laity to move in this direction: Right now it's a domain name in search of a movement. But whenever any serious group of lay Catholics, whether within VOTF or independently, decides to move from words to actions with respect to the stewardship of our money -- our own contributions to our parishes and dioceses, let them be aware that this domain name is ready to be put to good use. It's my gift to the people of God.
Brother Tom
Thomas F. Heck
592 Rosa Linda Way
Santa Barbara, CA 93111-1523  USA
Tel. 805-692-1969

Dear VOTF -

Re subject, before you encourage the world to emulate the Dallas Charter, you should insist that the giant hole in it get plugged. The so-called audits which are suppose to assure us that the local dioceses & religious orders are doing what the bishops pledged to do - they don't!

Rather, they simply asked if the dioceses & religious orders have a plan, a plan only, not
whether they are actually following their plan. And that omission is, in my judgment, deliberate. They are still fooling us into thinking they are doing what they probably are not.
Larry Mulligan


Please join your fellow VOTF members for the TriState VOTF conference on Saturday, October 30, 2010. This is always an information packed conference and a great chance to meet fellow VOTF members! For more information go to

The North Shore-Seacoast VOTF Affiliate in collaboration with Boston College presents the second in the series of adult faith education programs. The theme for the year is “The Unrealized Goals of Vatican II.”

Rev. William Clark, S.J., Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Holy Cross College will speak on “The Lay Person in the Church: What Happened?” The lecture will be held at the Immaculate Conception Parish Center in Newburyport on Sunday, Oct. 17, 2010 from 7:00-9:00 P.M.

The vision of the laity set out by the Second Vatican Council was notable both for its promise and for its ambiguities. How do you personally understand what Vatican II tried to accomplish with regard to the laity? This presentation will discuss ongoing efforts to arrive at a common understanding of the Council and to develop practical means of implementing its vision in today’s rapidly changing church. Everyone is invited. Refreshments will be served. Financial contributions are welcomed.

An Introduction to Centering Prayer
The Scituate Affiliate of Voice of the Faithful will host a talk on An Introduction to Centering Prayer by Father Bill Sheehan, OMI, on Thursday, October 21st at 7pm at St. Mary's Parish Hall in Scituate.

Centering Prayer is a method of silent prayer that is both a relationship with God and a discipline to foster that relationship. Father Sheehan will explain this method of prayer and discuss its Christian roots. In addition, there will be an opportunity during the evening to experience Centering Prayer and share thoughts about the experience with others.

Since 1983, Father Sheehan has been involved in Contemplative Outreach, an organization founded by Father Thomas Keating, OCSO. Contemplative Outreach was formed to renew the Christian contemplative heritage through sharing the method of Centering Prayer to all who wish to learn. The organization consists of a spiritual network of individuals and small faith communities committed to living the contemplative dimension of the Gospel. For almost three decades, Father Sheehan has been leading Centering Prayer workshops and retreats throughout the country. For more information on Centering Prayer, visit

Come enrich your spiritual life by learning about this powerful form of prayer. The talk is free, but donations are appreciated to defray expenses. Refreshments will be served.

Roger Haight to Speak at Paulist Center
Please come to a lecture series by Roger Haight, SJ at the Paulist Center. The Lecture series will begin on

Thursday, October 21, 2010 at 6 pm. “If God can be found in everyday life, why do we need the Church?”

Friday, October 22, 2010 at 6 pm. “Church Governance: Authority from above and Authority from below.”

Saturday, October 23, 2010 at 10 am. “Ecclesial Spirituality: How the spirituality of Jesus became a Church.”

For more information go to

Dramatic Reading in Bridgeport CT
Come and Listen to


Written by Joseph F. O’Callaghan
Directed by Jack Rushen
Followed by a Panel Discussion

Saturday, November 13, 2010, 1-4 p.m. Doors open at 12:30
Norwalk Concert Hall, Norwalk City Hall, East Avenue, Norwalk

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

“Most Catholics think, in a vague way, that the Bishop is accountable for the transgressions of his priests and that he should protect the faithful. . . . If you admit a claim of this kind, you cannot know where it will end. Moreover, if acceptance of responsibility in such a case becomes publicly known, you might be vulnerable in any number of other situations.” Archbishop Egidio Vagnozzi, Apostolic Delegate, to Bishop Walter W. Curtis, Dec. 21, 1965.

Since the first lawsuits were brought in 1993, Bishops Edward M. Egan and William E. Lori waged an expensive legal battle to keep under seal court documents relating to priestly sexual abuse. The Connecticut Superior Court and the Connecticut Supreme Court upheld the public’s right of access and the United States Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from the Diocese. Thus the court documents, known as the Rosado Files, were published at last in December 2009.

Drawing on approximately 12,000 pages of the Rosado Files, “Bless, Me, Father” focuses on four priests who served in many parishes and schools in the Diocese of Bridgeport (Charles Carr, Martin Federici, Laurence Brett, and Raymond Pcolka,). Their conduct, and that of their hierarchical superiors, is presented in a dramatic way by quoting directly from the depositions, affidavits, and letters of bishops, monsignors, the apostolic delegate, priest predators, survivors, and their parents.

“Bless Me, Father” attempts to accomplish several goals: (1) To give voice to the voiceless, namely, the children who were molested, but were threatened not to tell their parents and often disbelieved when they spoke to church authorities. (2) To give all the faithful the opportunity to bear communal witness to the terrible tragedy that affects all of us as members of Christ’s Body, the Church. “If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it”(1 Cor.12:26). (3) To offer our children the compassion that the Church has long denied them. (4) To hold accountable not only priestly predators, but also Bishops Curtis and Egan and their subordinates who, in their zeal to avert public scandal failed to understand that their primary responsibility was and continues to be the protection of the little ones among us. (5) To reflect on the need to reform our Church so that it will be a vibrant witness to the teachings of Jesus Christ.

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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