Registration Open for Online Women Deacons Seminar

Learn more about women in the diaconate--what it was historically, what it is today, and what we can seek for the future--from the FREE online seminar led by three scholars who have done so much to educate the faithful about the roles for women in the Church.

Best thing about the seminar? You can participate from anywhere: at home, at work, on vacation, from the top of Mt. Everest or on a tour of the Everglades; if you have an online connection, you can join in.

From this page, you can learn what the course will cover and how to register. 

Sign up NOW. The course begins June 9 and runs until July 8.

Voice of the Faithful Presents Successful 2014 Assembly

The Voice of the Faithful® successful 2014 Assembly: Turning Talk into Action, this past Saturday, April 5, in Hartford, Connecticut, generated tremendous enthusiasm that is permeating the entire organization. We'll post resulting papers and initiatives, as well as photos and videos, soon, but here is a preview.

The morning's first guest speaker was John L. Allen, Jr. (right), Associate Editor for Catholic News at The Boston Globe. Allen founded the Vatican beat for National Catholic Reporter and has been a long-time Vatican correspondent for CNN. He presented his insider's view of Pope Francis and his papacy in a talk called "Perspectives on Pope Francis & A Climate of Change." Click here to watch Allen's answer to the last question during his Q&A session.

Fr. Thomas Reese, SJ (left), followed Allen as the 2014 Assembly's second guest speaker. Fr. Reese's "Jesuit Spirituality" talk enlightened participants on the particularly Jesuit aspects of Francis' papacy. Fr. Reese is another Vatican "watcher," as a Senior Editor at National Catholic Reporter and former Associate Editor at America magazine.


In the afternoon, 2014 Assembly participants heard a panel discussion led by three experts in applying the principles of restorative justice. They considered options for applying such principles to healing the wounds the clergy sexual abuse scandal has caused. Panelists were, left to right, William Casey, former VOTF board chair, Fr. James Connell, who was instrumental in founding the Catholic Whistleblowers organization, and Prof. Thomas Porter, a Boston University theology teacher with a concentration in religion and conflict resolution.

Two people familiar to many VOTF members, Jayne O'Donnell, former trustee, development coordinator and 2014 Assembly chair, and Mark Mullaney, VOTF board chair and president, were highly visible in Hartford, Jayne as chief-of-the-works and Mark as MC.

Former VOTF president Jim Post, left, and his wife Jeannette join VOTF member Joe Finn at the 2014 Assembly.

The 2014 Assembly certainly would not have been successful without the Spirit whom the orgainization calls on to provide its prayerful voice, and you can click here to read the opening and closing prayers.

VOTF Contributes to Pope Francis Stories

Voice of the Faithful® President Mark Mullaney was among Boston-area Catholics interviewed recently for two major media articles written around the one-year anniversary of Pope Francis’ election. In The Boston Globe Magazine writer Neil Swidey offers “The Promise of Francis,” and CNN Belief Blog co-editor Daniel Burke writes about “How to Really Measure the ‘Francis Effect.’” Both authors compare Francis’ “dramatically different messages” with his influence among Catholics, former Catholics and non-Catholics.

Photo from Globe Magazine by Essdras M. Suarez, The Boston Globe staff

Family Synod Responses

 As cardinals gather in Rome this month to welcome newly named cardinals and prepare for the October 2014 synod on the family, some of the formal responses to the synod questionnaire are emerging.

Last week saw publication of the German bishops' response, a preliminary report from Switzerland, and publication of questionnaire results by the Diocese of St. Petersburg in Florida. This week it's the Japanese bishops' report.

All of the reports stressed the gaps between Vatican thinking and pastoral realities. The report from Japan added criticism of the questionnaire itself, which presumed a "Christian majority" image of family and a Western viewpoint of cultural life.

As a companion effort to the U.S. questionnaire distributed by dioceses, Voice of the Faithful joined other groups in the association Catholic Organizations for Renewal (COR) to host an online questionnaire. Results from that compilation were sent to Rome in December. A complete report is now available online.

Here are links to the reports made available online:

Germany

Japan

St. Petersburg FL

Independent COR-sponsored questionnaire

U.N. Sex Abuse Report Holds Bishops Accountable

"In an unprecedented report critical of the Catholic church’s handling of the clergy sexual abuse scandal, the United Nations demanded Wednesday (Feb. 5) the Vatican immediately remove all clergy known or suspected to be child abusers, turn them over to civil authorities, and hold ‘those who concealed their crimes’ accountable." National Catholic Reporter

See more on VOTF Blog post.

The Enigma of Pope Francis

The Enigma of Pope Francis
Presented on Friday, October 25, 2013,
at St. Eulalia Parish Hall,
Winchester, Massachusetts

Pope Francis has ushered in a kinder, more pastoral papacy and speaks eloquently of the reforms needed. He encourages us, but his rhetoric has not yet fully matched his actions. Is this the mark of a collegial, pastoral approach or the sad reality of dealing with entrenched bishops and the Vatican Curia? Author and Catholic studies professor Paul Lakeland, Ph.D., has been observing Pope Francis and shares his views in this presentation.

Click here to see the presentation.

Pope Francis Issues Apostolic Exhortation "Joy of the Gospel"

Pope Francis has issued his first Apostolic Exhortation, "Joy of the Gospel." Evangelii Gaudium expounds on the proclamation of the Gospel in today's world. Click here to read "Joy of the Gospel."