Focus, December 16, 2010


Voice of the Faithful Focus is an update highlighting issues we face as we work together to Keep the Faith, Change the Church.

Speakers say Catholic laypersons are key
(Dec. 6, 2010) It will be up to laypersons - not just bishops and priests - to revitalize the faith. By David O’Reilly, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Vatican Bank mired in laundering scandal
(Vatican City, Dec. 11, 2010) Vatican Bank is under harsh new scrutiny in $30 million money-laundering case critics say shows bank never shed penchant for secrecy and scandal. By Nicole Winfield and Victor L. Simpson, Associated Press in Bloomberg Online

$30 million is awarded over abuse by priest
(Dec. 2, 2010) Delaware jury awarded $30 million in compensatory damages to man who said he was sexually abused more than 100 times by a Roman Catholic priest in largest such award to single victim. By Laurie Goodstein, New York Times

After child abuse accusations, Catholic priests often simply vanish
(Dec. 4, 2010) Ten years after clergy sex abuse scandal first exploded in the U.S. something glaring is missing in this country. By Michelle Boorstein and William Wan, Washington Post

Dutch panel found 2,000 church abuse claims
(Brussels, Dec. 9, 2010) Battered by sex abuse scandal around the world, Roman Catholic Church is facing new allegations in the Netherlands. By Stephen Castle, New York Times

Newark archbishop shielded at least 4 prients accused of sexual abuse
(Dec. 5, 2010) Priests shielded despite landmark Dallas gathering where Newark Archbishop John Myers helped craft policy intended to cleanse priesthood of pedophiles and restore trust. By Jeff Diamant, Newark Star Ledger

Munich Church hid abuse allegations for decades; German cardinal asks for forgiveness
(Dec. 3, 2010, Munich) Archbishop of Munich and Freising begged forgiveness after report showed more than 250 priests and religion teachers abused children in Pope Benedict XVI’s former diocese. By Andrea M. Jauch and Melissa Eddy, Associated Press in Washington Post.

Survivor stories: 7 lessons from sex abuse crisis
(Dec. 13, 2010) Father Lawrence Murphy’s abuse of nearly 200 deaf boys in the residential school he ran in Wisconsin is a particularly horrific story. By Diane Knight, U.S. Catholic

New abuse reports in 2010 led pope, Vatican to refine polices
(Vatican City, Dec. 7, 2010) New clerical sex abuse revelations in 2010 led Pope Benedict XVI to refine policies. By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

Focus, December 2, 2010


An update highlighting issues we face as we work together to Keep the Faith, Change the Church.
As we approach year’s end, we’re offering more stories than usual to show from a number of different ways how desperately our Church continues to need changes in structure, governance and, most importantly, attitude.
(Scranton, Penn., Dec. 1, 2010) Maryland Jesuit Province seeking information from possible victims abused as minors by one a Jesuit. By Mark Guydish, Education Reporter, The Times Leader, Scranton, Penn.
(Dec. 1, 2010): Pope Benedict XVI and cardinals met Nov. 19 to discuss five issues affecting the global church, including the abuse crisis. From Catholic San Francisco Online
(Vatican City, CNS, Nov. 30, 2010) In his latest book, Pope Benedict XVI said church has "no authority" to ordain women as priests. By Rita Fitch, Catholic News Service
(Nov. 27, 2010) Many of the Catholic clergy jailed in England and Wales remain in the priesthood. From United Kingdom News Website
(Nov. 27, 2010) When Pope Benedict XVI said last week using condoms could be justified in some cases, like preventing AIDS, his remarks caused an uproar. By David Gibson, New York Times Week in Review
This link shows what pope actually said about condoms in “Light of the World: The Pope, The Church and The Signs Of The Times,” from New York Times, Nov. 22, 2010
(Nov. 25, 2010) Former students at the Saint-Alphonse Seminary can sue a priest who they say molested them. From Canadian Broadcasting Company Website
(Nov. 25, 2010) Catholic clergy sex abuse victims are protesting move by local archdiocese to force an alleged victim to pay archdiocese nearly $64,000 in legal costs. By Rose French, Minneapolis Star Tribune
More on Archbishop Dolan election to USCCB president –
By Michael Sean Winters, New Republic, Nov. 26, 2010
By George Marlin, New York Post, Nov. 22, 2010
By Laurie Goodstein, New York Times, Nov. 22, 2010


Focus, November 18, 2010

A brief update on important issues, as we work together to Keep the Faith, Change the Church.

Voice of the Faithful Assesses Archbishop Timothy Dolan’s Election to USCCB
Leaders of Voice of the Faithful consider opportunity for reform initiatives now that Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York has been elected U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops president.
VOTF News Release to media Nov. 17, 2010
More on this story:
New York Daily News comments on Archbishop Timothy Dolan’s election as U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops president
New York prelate to lead bishop’s group
Prelate, Crowd-Pleaser and Defender of Faith
Three keys to reading the Dolan win at the USCCB
Amidst Dolan hubbub, easy to forget bishops are virtually powerless
New York’s Archbishop Dolan likes the front lines ‘with the folks’
Sex abuse, religious freedom on agenda of cardinals' meeting
Pope Benedict XVI has convened a meeting in Rome Nov. 19 of the world's cardinals to discuss a wide range of topics, including clerical sex abuse and religious freedom around the world.
By John Thavis, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter
More on this story:
Cardinals to discuss sex abuse crisis Nov. 19
Vatican government is a 'train wreck': Experts
If you are waiting for the Vatican to make clear, immediate and transparent responses to the ongoing global sexual abuse crisis ... well, don't hold your breath.
In “Faith & Reason” column, USA TODAY
Apostolic visitation on Irish church response to sex abuse begins
The apostolic visitations of four Irish archdioceses, Irish seminaries and religious orders in response to the scandal arising from sexual abuse of minors by clergy officially began Nov. 11.
By Sarah Delaney, Catholic News Service
$83G scam pinned on ex-pastor
A Haverhill priest stole more than $79,000 in cash donated and raised piecemeal and rang up $4,000 in pay-per-view porn charges on his church’s Comcast cable bill, investigators allege.
By Laurel J. Sweet, Boston Herald
San Diego diocese documents released
Nearly 10,000 documents relating to sex abuse by priests in the San Diego diocese, released recently as part of an earlier settlement agreement, provide a picture of how a diocese desperate for priests as the number of Catholics grew took in priests known to have problems with sex abuse.
By Tom Roberts, National Catholic Reporter


Focus - November 4, 2010

Breaking the Time Barrier: A 21st Century Laity Demands Relevance from a Medieval Hierarchy
Vatican II was the first ecumenical council to break away entirely from the juridical model used by the Senate of the Roman Empire. It jettisoned rigid legal categories and focused on being pastoral, practical, personal. This Council changed our lives at almost every level imaginable.
Dr. Anthony Padavano presentation at the Tri-State Voice of the Faithful Conference, Oct. 30, 2010, on

Clergy Abuse Victims Rally at Vatican
In the first such gathering at the heart of the Catholic Church, victims of clerical sex abuse from around the world gathered Sunday (Oct. 31, 2010) night outside the Vatican to demand justice. But police blocked them from bringing their protest under the windows of Pope Benedict XVI.
By Sylvia Poggioli, National Public Radio
Additional reports on this event are here:
Iona on alleged theft by nun: Large part of $800,000 recovered
The Journal News reported today that faculty sources had identified the school's chief financial official, Sister Marie Thornton, as the employee fired last year when the school discovered the decade-long embezzlement.
By Noreen O'Donnel, Aman Ali and Jonathan Bandler, The Journal News
Prosecutors doubt Vatican money-laundering pledges
The Vatican bank has taken steps to satisfy tough EU and international norms on money laundering and terror financing after being confronted with an unprecedented crackdown by Italian prosecutors. In recent weeks the bank has made written and in-person pledges to pass anti-money laundering legislation, report and investigate suspicious transactions, identify customers to law enforcement and create a special compliance authority.
By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press
Internal matters expected to dominate bishops’ public agenda this fall
When the U.S. bishops gather in Baltimore for their 2010 fall general assembly, there will be no blockbuster topics on their public agenda, unlike in past years when clergy sex abuse or the issue of Catholic politicians who support abortion took much of their attention. Instead, the Nov. 15-18 meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops will be devoted primarily to internal matters.
By Nancy Frazier O’Brien, Catholic News Service


Focus - September 30, 2010

Voice of the Faithful Focus – A brief update highlighting issues and successes as we work together to Keep the Faith, Change the Church.

Bishops summoned to Rome…
Ireland’s four archbishops are headed to Rome to discuss the upcoming apostolic visitation to Ireland. The visitation was announced by Pope Benedict last March and is scheduled to begin later in October in the four archdioceses –Armagh, Dublin, Cashel and Emly, and Tuam – as well as at the seminaries of Maynooth and the Irish College in Rome. The visitors will include nine bishops, as well as priests and religious.

Sainthood for Australian nun who exposed clergy abuse…
The founder of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart will be canonized as Australia’s first saint. Sr. Mary MacKillop was excommunicated from the Catholic Church in 1871 after exposing a pedophile Irish priest. She was later reinstated by Bishop Shiel of Adelaide on his deathbed. Sr. MacKillop, who was born in Melbourne to Scottish immigrant parents in 1842 and died in Sydney in 1909, will be canonized in Rome on October 17th.

Other stories we are following…

German bishops set out rules to stop abuse:,,6042767,00.html

Church clears Boston priest of abuse:

Belgium bishops question celibacy:

Another victim comes forward in Chicago:,0,3870001.story

Focus - September 17, 2010

Voice of the Faithful Focus – A brief update highlighting issues and successes as we work together to Keep the Faith, Change the Church.

Priest meeting draws large numbers…
More than 300 priests turned out for the inaugural meeting of the Association of Irish Priests, a gathering that was expected to attract 50-70 Irish priests. Challenging the role of women in the church and the treatment of priests falsely accused of abuse are among the objectives outlined in the meeting. Organizers of the association, which aims to provide a “voice” for clergy, were overwhelmed by the turnout.

Belgium church admits widespread abuse…
Investigators in Belgium say that they have now revealed 475 complaints from victims and that 13 people abused by clergy were known to have committed suicide. Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard responded by promising to engage those who had been abused and said that the scandal in Belgium had caused a “shiver” to run through the church.

Other stories we are following…

Pope addresses sex abuse cases:

Archbishop Martin speaks out about cover up:

Illinois bishop named leader of Seattle archdiocese:

Controversy grows around Papal visit:

Focus - September 2, 2010

Voice of the Faithful Focus – A brief update highlighting issues and successes as we work together to Keep the Faith, Change the Church.

German bishops vow to report abuse…
New guidelines presented by Catholic bishops in Germany are requiring that suspected cases of sexual abuse of minors by clergy be reported to prosecutors. The guidelines were released in response to hundreds of allegations of abuse at the hands of clergy that came to light earlier this year. Under the new rules each diocese would have an intermediary who is not part of the leadership as a first point of contact in a suspected clergy abuse case.

Criticized Irish cardinal to join pope on visit…
Under heavy criticism over his handling of the clergy abuse scandal in Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady has refused to step down from his post. He now also plans to accompany Pope Benedict XVI during his historic visit to Scotland and England. Some speculate that Cardinal Brady’s presence at these events will draw protests.

Other stories we are following…
Belgium church leader kept victim silent:

Iowa diocese facing bankruptcy raises $22 million:

Spokane diocese may sell churches:

Group raises awareness of sex abuse:

Focus - August 26, 2010

Voice of the Faithful Focus – A brief update highlighting issues and successes as we work together to Keep the Faith, Change the Church.

Bishops Question Clerical Culture…
Recently bishops across the globe engaged in some public questioning of the clerical culture and its effects on the Catholic Church. Their remarks included asking whether the ingrained habits characteristic to clerical and hierarchical behavior contributed to the widespread clergy abuse scandal. Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Canberra and Goulburn, Australia, and Bishop Donal McKeown of Down and Connor in Ireland are among those cited in the National Catholic Reporter analysis of the remarks.

Vatican approves Roman missal translation…
Cardinal Francis George, president of the USCCB, announced the approval of the new English-language translation of the Roman Missal. This marks the most sweeping changes to the Catholic mass in 40 years. The use of the missal will begin in dioceses of the United States on the First Sunday of Advent, November 27, 2011. This is to allow pastors and priests enough time to prepare their parishioners.

Other stories we are following…
Former Boston area priests defrocked:

Nashville priest apologizes for remarks:

New bishop installed in Pennsylvania:

Focus - August 13, 2010

Voice of the Faithful Focus – A brief update highlighting issues and successes as we work together to Keep the Faith, Change the Church.

Vatican rejects resignations…
Pope Benedict has rejected the resignations of two Irish bishops who came under heavy pressure to step down in the wake of the government report on clerical sex abuse in the Archdiocese of Dublin. Auxiliary bishops Raymond Field and Eamonn Walsh tendered their resignations back in December after much pressure. Both bishops were in office during the period covered by the Murphy Report, the government investigation of the Dublin Archdiocese.

Tennessee priest in hot water over remarks…
A popular Nashville pastor posted a video last week on his church’s website calling for married priests, among other changes. Upset readers of a conservative Catholic blog have demanded that Bishop David Choby of Nashville discipline Rev. Joseph Burn in regards to his video post. So far he has been asked to remove the video from the church’s website. It is unclear what other kind of discipline will be taken.

Other stories we are following…

Plaintiff drops sex abuse case against Vatican:

VOTF fund established to support “women wronged by Church”:

Duo warns parishioners against sex abuse:


Focus - July 29, 2010

Voice of the Faithful Focus – A brief update highlighting issues and successes as we work together to Keep the Faith, Change the Church.

Priests’ reform movement launched…
Three priests in Ireland are organizing what they hope will become a voice calling for reform within the Catholic Church. Their group, the Association of Catholic Priests, seeks a re-evaluation of Church teachings and an equal place for women in Church. They will hold a meeting in September to gather more support.

Vatican document last straw for women…
Many Catholics have reacted negatively to the Vatican stance that participation in women’s ordination is as grave as and merits punishment similar to that for clergy sex abuse of children. In an analysis in the Irish Times, Mary Condren offers thoughts on how the Vatican has minimized the role of women in the church.

Other stories we are following…
Archbishop Burke’s new job:

German inquiry into top cleric ends with no proof:

St. Louis Catholic schools hit hard in bad economy:

Mother Teresa’s relics on display: