With Heavy Hearts
Message from Bishop John Noonan, Diocese of Orlando
All life is sacred as each one of us is made in the image and likeness of God. We cherish each person as a child of God.
We pray for victims of violence and acts of terror … for their families and friends … and all those affected by such acts against God's love.
We pray for the people of the city of Orlando that God’s mercy and love will be upon us as we seek healing and consolation.
Every time we look at the Cross, we see how God has forgiven us in Christ—with a love that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things; love never fails.
We dry the tears of those who weep and mourn as gently as Veronica wiped the Lord’s bleeding face on the Via Dolorosa.
May the Peace of Christ dwell within our heart.
News from National
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A space for different voices to speak on topics of importance in church reform
Martin Luther King famously observed that “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability but comes through continuous struggle.” There may be times when members of the Voice of the Faithful family become weary with the struggle and impatient for results. It’s easy to become discouraged with the slow pace of any institution’s change and the continual battle against entrenched patterns of behavior.
But we are a family and, like a family, need to encourage each other when some become downhearted. We need to remember as well that although it appears as if Pope Francis is also challenging clericalism and advocating for behaviors of integrity and transparency, he cannot effect this change by himself. Nor can we sit back and hope he takes care of it all. We can, however, see this moment as an extraordinary opportunity to push for reforms that will restore trust in the church we love.
Change, like healing, takes time. The changes we seek, the healing we need, will come if we remain energized, vigilant and hopeful.
The challenges we as a VOTF family face are not different from the challenges in many other arenas of contemporary life, where adaptive change requires a nimbleness, persistence and openness that is at times painful, difficult, and hard to sustain .
But for VOTF, the goal of a church worthy of the faith and sacrifice that established it is one to which we are committed – heart and soul.
By Priscilla Deck
News from Affiliates
History of Mid-Michigan VOTF to May 2016
By R. Barta
After the 2002 expose of clerical sexual abuse in the Boston Archdiocese, it became known that a priest involved in a sexual abuse scandal in Ohio had been transferred to Blessed Sacrament Parish in Midland, Michigan, unbeknownst to anyone but the pastor and bishop. Although there is no knowledge of any abuse occurring there, the parish did have a school and many of the parishioners became very upset when they became aware of the situation . Some of the staff felt a meeting was needed to give people a chance to voice their concerns, and the bishop was invited to attend. The staff expected about 30 people to attend, but over 300 showed up.
Due to the emotional situation, a committee was formed to continue meeting with anyone concerned to allow people to work through their feelings, and this group gave input to the bishop to present to the Task Force on Sexual Abuse at the USCCB meeting in Dallas. Soon after, the USCCB issued the Dallas Charter and the diocese implemented the Virtus program.
The pastor in Midland, of the opinion that the issue had been addressed and the committee was no longer needed, proceeded to disband the committee. However, a number of committee members felt that a forum was still needed for people to voice their concerns, and contacted the Voice of the Faithful for information on starting an affiliate in the Saginaw Valley. With the support of several local priests, the 200th affiliate of VOTF was chartered and expanded to welcome parishioners from Midland, Bay City, Saginaw and Mt. Pleasant.
Read more ...
Highlighting issues we face working together to Keep the Faith, Change the Church
Francis gives Vatican authority to initiate removal of bishops negligent on sexual abuse
“Pope Francis has signed a new universal law for the global Catholic church specifying that a bishop's negligence in response to clergy sexual abuse can lead to his removal from office. The law also empowers several Vatican dicasteries to investigate such bishops and initiate processes of removal, subject to final papal approval.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter
-- Pope Francis scraps abuse panel for negligent bishops, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in The Washington Post
-- Will the Vatican discipline offending bishops? By The New York Times Editorial Board
-- Editorial: New law for bishops raises many questions, By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff
Church official says Vatican took years to act on abuse charges
“A document obtained by Crux, related to accusations of sexual and other forms of abuse against the founder of a powerful Catholic lay movement in Peru, suggests that the Vatican was informed of the charges as early as May 2011 but essentially took no action for four years. A May 17, 2016, letter addressed to Peru’s bishops by the head of the country’s main ecclesiastical court lists multiple steps taken to inform Rome of allegations against Luis Fernando Figari, founder of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae (SCV) …” By Austen Ivereigh, Cruxnow.com
Trauma can bring hope (Part 3 of “Hell, hope and healing”)
“In the second article of this series, I focused on hope and healing for survivors of sexual abuse. Here, I extend the discussion beyond healing to discuss the possibility, now validated through research, that some trauma survivors actually experience post-traumatic growth. If healing can occur from the truly devastating consequences of adverse childhood experiences -- including sexual abuse by clergy -- can survivors also experience meaningful growth through their confrontation with trauma?” By Mary Gail Frawley-O’Dea, National Catholic Reporter
Pope puts Guam archbishop accused of sex abuse on leave
“Mounting accusations of sexual abuse against the archbishop of Guam have prompted Pope Francis to name a Vatican official to oversee the Catholic Church on the Pacific island territory while the charges are investigated. The decision announced Monday (June 6) to force Archbishop Anthony Sablan Apuron, who has led the Agana Archdiocese for 30 years, to yield his authority, at least temporarily, is the latest sign that Francis is taking tougher steps to tackle the sexual abuse crisis.” By Rosie Scammell, Religion News Service
-- Guam Archbishop says he’s a victim, welcomes Vatican envoy, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, on ABCNews.go.com
Child rape victims flood Brooklyn Bridge
“Hundreds of survivors of childhood sex abuse and their families and friends were joined by advocacy organizations from New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania on June 5th to march across the Brooklyn Bridge to demonstrate broad public support for Assemblywoman Margaret Markey’s Child Victims Act … The bill will eliminate the civil and criminal statute of limitations for child sex abuse crimes. It will also create a one-year civil ‘window’ to get justice for adult survivors of abuse and help expose pedophiles and those who have hidden them.” By Courtney M. Soliday, Huffington Post
Click here to read the rest of this issue of Focus …
Learn more about Laudato Si’
During Laudato Si’ Week, prominent speakers from different backgrounds dialogued about the crisis affecting our common home and reflected on the Pope’s Laudato Si’ message on occasion of its first anniversary. Four webinars covered four key sections of the encyclical document, following the Pope’s “urgent appeal for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet.” If you missed the webinars, you can watch (and listen) to recordings of them here.
Please send them to Siobhan Carroll, Vineyard Editor, at Vineyard@votf.org. Unless otherwise indicated, I will assume comments can be published as Letters to the Editor.