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In This Issue: Upcoming papal visit spurs VOTF ad in New York Times AND a free opportunity for you; VOTF tracking of embezzlements in churches indicates ongoing mismanagement; a legislative win for protecting children in Kentucky; a parish success story – voices raised in respect are heard; Jason Berry’s book Vows of Silence is making its documentary debut; good news about young Catholics; and more.


So many generous supporters came forward for a VOTF ad timed to coincide with the papal visit that VOTF was able to purchase full-page space in this week’s (Tues., April 8) New York Times. The drive to raise funds for the ad paid VOTF a bonus demonstrated in a broad range of revitalized interest in Catholics’ determination to be heard by Church leadership (as an example, see Letter to VOTF in this issue). Read the ad and learn more here. Click here to read VOTF’s statement on the ad’s publication.

If you were unable to contribute to the cost of the ad, you can still make your voice heard by signing the VOTF Petition to the Pope and his fellow bishops. The petition specifically notes the historically bypassed voice of the laity. Sign on for transformation in our Church by adding your own voice of the faithful here. And read the VOTF letter from president Dan Bartley that has been sent to the Pope. In a powerful recap of VOTF’s raison d’être, Dan invites the Pope to meet with victims of clergy sexual abuse and hear their stories; lead Catholics toward a morally and financially accountable Church; and embrace the gifts of the laity.

The National Representative Council will meet in Philadelphia PA over the weekend of April 25-27.

Welcome! VOTF welcomes Kevin Mondloch to the VOTF National Representative Council. Kevin was elected by members of Region 7 (WI, IL, IN) to replace Janet Hauter, who resigned to take up her new post as VOTF national vice president.

SURVIVOR Community Notes

The USCCB has assigned to the month of April the focus of “Child Abuse Prevention” so it is timely that Marci Hamilton’s new book will appear later this month. Watch for Justice Denied: What America Must Do to Protect Its Children (Cambridge 2008). The Vineyard will publish a review in a future issue.

Because the USCCB site ( notes that parishes and dioceses throughout the U.S. will mark Child Abuse Prevention month, please let us know how your parish/diocese observes this urgent cause – write to

CROSSES & CANDLES: If you’re in New York City April 18th, there’s a vigil and reading of survivor names at the Lott Gallery. Check out the details here.

DON’T FORGET! SNAP’s 2008 Conference July 11-13 in Chicago. Go to for details.

DIOCESE/State Watch

Click here to read about “significant progress” in protecting children in New Hampshire and a big win in the Kentucky legislature; VOTF St.Petersburg FL works with the diocese; and bishop in Belleville IL replies to priests’ request for his resignation.

SITE-Seeing, Etc.

Readers who applauded Jason Berry’s book Vows of Silence can look forward to the documentary based on the riveting story of Vatican power. As Garry Wills has said, “Some think of the churchly sex scandals as a cluster of passing episodes. But the deeper and continuing scandal is less a matter of sex than of power – the power over human lives that fosters, protects and covers up clerical arrogance.” Initial screenings are as follows: April 3 Milwaukee, preview for Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests at United Methodist Church; April 14 New Orleans International Human Rights Film Festival, Prytania Theatre 7PM; April 22, University of Rhode Island, Kingston RI. 7 PM; April 23, Georgetown University, Washington DC. 7PM; May 2-3, Documenta Madrid Festival, Spain. For more information, visit or call 504-865-1793, 504-329-7522.

Author David Gibson has a new blog at and he is looking for your input. The blog is called “Benedictions” and will run through Pope Benedict’s April 15-20 visit to Washington and New York, which he is covering. You’ll find the “Benedictions” blog here. Also note Beliefnet’s new Pope Page.

As noted in the previous Vineyard, the latest report from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has been published. notes: “This study on the changing religious habits of Americans found that the Catholic Church has experienced the greatest net loss in membership. We asked 34 prominent Catholics from various backgrounds to answer the question, ‘Why Are So Many Leaving the Catholic Church?’” For the responses to this question, click here.

A recent National Catholic Reporter story notes: “Although many young adult Catholics are interested in church ministry they find it difficult to connect their career plans or talents with available ministries, according to a survey released this year. The survey, ‘Young Adult Catholics and Their Future in Ministry,’ was commissioned by the Emerging Models of Pastoral Leadership Project, a joint project involving six national Catholic organizations and funded by the Lilly Endowment Inc. . . More than half of the respondents said the church needs to move faster to empower laypeople in ministry.” Read more.

Boston College magazine includes a feature article on VOTF.

QUOTE for Our Time: “The fact is that women are rising in every religion on earth. Maybe that's really the Divine word we're missing.” Go to Joan Chittister’s column at

In the Vineyard
April 11, 2008

Volume 7, Issue 7
Printer Friendly Version (PDF)

Page One

DIOCESE/State Watch

Letter to VOTF

Prayerful Voice

Survivor Support Working Group

Priest Support Working Group

Structural Change Working Group

Voice of Renewal/Lay Education

Protecting Our Children



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