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“To reach out in forgiveness does not exclude, in fact it must be accompanied by, holding people accountable and struggling to make that happen.” Bishop Gumbleton in a talk delivered during the VOTF Mid-Michigan Healing Service on April 2


In this Issue:

In a decisive nod to victims of clergy sexual abuse, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal by the archbishop of Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger Mahony, and two unnamed priests who wanted to block a subpoena for internal church records. See DIOCESE/State Watch for more;

BREAKING News: As Cardinal (then Archbishop) O'Malley promised months ago, the Archdiocese of Boston has responded (April 19) to calls for financial transparency in the Archdiocese. Click here for the Financial Transparency Report for fiscal years 2004/2005. The Archdiocese press release is available here. Read the VOTF Boston press release on our web site. notes that the Chicago archdiocese published an incomplete list of clergy accused of sexually abusing a minor. Calling it a “heartless information gap,” the organization provided a list of 28 additional names; two conservative Catholic organizations have joined in the call for Cardinal George’s resignation. See more in DIOCESE/State Watch;

Dr. Patricia Ewers, chair of the USCCB National Review Board, spoke at the April 4 VOTF SW Florida meeting. She was no happier with compliance audits than others concerned about protecting children. See Commentary for recap and comments from VOTF members – “NRB Chair Speaks with VOTF”;

From calls for a cardinal’s resignation to quiet witness, Good Friday vigils marked the Easter Triduum for many; see VOTF Louisville, KY Commentary – “Good Friday Vigil: Bearing Witness”;

Fr. Tom Doyle says, “The clergy sex abuse phenomenon has changed the way Catholics communicate with bishops. Accustomed to always controlling every situation, the bishops have reluctantly learned that this is no longer the case.” See more in Commentary;

VOTF update Read “Chicago, VOTF and Next Steps” in Commentary.

DIOCESE/State Watch
Los Angeles, CA: The April 18 Boston Globe reported (excerpt): “The Supreme Court yesterday cleared the way for prosecutors to obtain sex-abuse records from the Catholic Church, a decision that could affect hundreds of cases in which priests have been accused of molesting children. In the child molestation case, the court turned down an appeal by the archbishop of Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger Mahony, and two unnamed priests who wanted to block a subpoena for internal church records. The order lets stand a state-court ruling that allows the Los Angeles County district attorney to obtain pastoral counseling records that could reveal the priests' confessions and any psychological treatment.” The full story is here . For additional coverage:

Joliet, IL: Only two weeks ago, Bishop Imesch of the Joliet diocese won broad support from survivors and reform advocates for his decision to post on the diocesan web site the names of diocesan priests against whom credible accusations of sexual abuse with a minor had been made. Last week, a Chicago newspaper reported that during a Holy Week Mass, Bishop Imesch touted a priest who had only recently been accused of abusing a minor. One person in the congregation stood up and objected. Go to the Herald News online.

Chicago, IL: “Boston-based said Monday that the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago had published an incomplete list of clergy accused of sexually abusing minors and offered a roster with 28 additional names. The alternative list released by includes 13 religious order priests, one deacon, three extern clergy, four priests accused posthumously, three priests accused of sexual misconduct with adults and one resigned priest for whom an allegation was never substantiated by the church.” Read More. Also, visit

  • From Medill News Service/Northwestern University: “Two conservative Roman Catholic groups joined their liberal counterparts on Wednesday in calling for Cardinal Francis George to resign. Michael Tario of the Ad Hoc Committee for the Prevention of Clergy Sex Abuse, and Paul Picchietti of the Roman Catholic Faithful lambasted George as being unresponsive to parishioners' concerns about sexual misconduct by priests.”

VOTF Long Island, NY reminder: The Diocesan Finance Council petition drive will be conducted on the weekends of April 29/30 and May 6/7. Read the petition at

Philadelphia, PA: The Philadelphia Inquirer notes, “Three more Catholic priests who sexually abused boys have been removed from the clergy, including one said to have molested ‘countless children’ for years, bringing to 17 the number of Archdiocese of Philadelphia priests defrocked in the church sex scandal.” For the full story, click here.

Ireland: The Irish Independent reports that the Minister for Children, Brian Lenihan, has appointed Dr. Helen Buckley, a Trinity College academic, to monitor implementation of the Catholic Church's new child protection guidelines in the Republic. Dr Helen Buckley was a member of the inquiry into the diocese of Ferns which highlighted over 100 allegations of child sex abuse by 21 priests from 1962 to 2002. Dr. Buckley’s charge is to review and assess how adequately the bishops are operating the new child protection procedures contained in “Our Children, Our Church.”

Voice of Renewal/ Lay Education Working Group: The Voice of Renewal/ Lay Education Working Group is featuring an annotated bibliography of some of the many interesting books available to awaken and nourish our VOTF mission. To check out Virtual Study Groups, Faith Sharing Models, Educational Resources, and Book Summaries, go to (underscore between VOTF and VOR) to have access to all of these materials and more. Let us know what you think at

Working with Prayerful Voice in Maine: The Northern York County VOTF will hold our Annual Prayer Service in Support of Victims and their families on Tuesday, April 25th at Most Holy Trinity Church on Main St. Saco at 7 p.m. The Portland affiliate and the Maine Council will support us in this special endeavor and will encourage other Catholic groups to attend. Our goal is to increase participation by all who hope and pray for healing and renewal. Contact has been made with Jara Goodrich, Principal Harpist, Portland Symphony Orchestra, and she has agreed to accompany the liturgy with us. An invitation has been extended to the Knights of Columbus to also participate in whatever manner they deem appropriate. A planning committee will be convened to design the format and to choose the most meaningful liturgy. If you would like to help in this regard, please e-mail me at

SURVIVOR Community News
VOTF Winchester Area: Thanks to the generosity of two talented artists in our group (Harvey Cote and Francis Baratta), we are selling note cards to benefit clergy abuse survivors. The cards cost $10 for a package of 8, containing two cards each of four different designs by our artists. All proceeds will benefit survivors. The cards are blank inside, and contain the VOTF web address on the back. To preview the cards and order, visit our web-site at and print and mail the order form with your payment. Please contact Bob Morris at with any problems or questions. Thank you for your support!

A Call for Vigilance: USA Today posted the following on April 12: “The Catholic Church is having early success in fighting proposals in state legislatures that would permit people claiming they were sexually abused as children to sue priests and other church officials long after the alleged offenses occurred. Measures proposed in nine states would suspend statutes of limitation and allow lawsuits to be filed regardless of when an alleged offense took place. The proposals are patterned on a 2003 California law that allowed a one-year window for suits to be filed there without regard to the statute of limitations.”

  • “No common profile among priest abusers found” according to the NRB and noted in National Catholic Reporter, April 14; also, referencing Manchester, NH, see “Deficiencies found in diocese’s child protection policies” in the same issue. The April 6 issue of In the Vineyard also provides coverage of the Manchester, NH situation.

Sunday, APRIL 23: Eugene Kennedy address “The World, the Flesh and the Catholic Church” at Trinity High School, Newton, MA. See details at

Saturday, APRIL 29: VOTF Bridgeport, CT and Fairfield University to co-sponsor Fr. Richard McBrien talk on “The Election of Bishops: Return to Tradition” at Fairfield University. Go to for details.

Sunday, APRIL 30: Boston College is marking the 50th anniversary of American Catholics and the Intellectual Life by historian Msgr. John Tracy Ellis. A forum will focus on “State of Mind: The Intellectual Life of American Catholics.” Go to the Events calendar at for details.

Letters to the Editor (write to The separation of institution and faith question in the last Vineyard sparked some thoughtful responses; the April 10 issue of America magazine offers an interesting perspective on “New Standards for Pastoral Care” and notes some surprising implications for all of us, including bishops.

QUOTE for our time:
Thanks to Anne Southwood, VOTF Boston, for this Henri Nouwen find on “The Authority of Compassion”:

Mostly we think of people with great authority as higher up, far away, hard to reach. But spiritual authority comes from compassion and emerges from deep inner solidarity with those who are "subject" to authority.

The one who is fully like us, who deeply understands our joys and pains or hopes and desires, and who is willing and able to walk with us, that is the one to whom we gladly give authority and whose "subjects" we are willing to be.

It is the compassionate authority that empowers, encourages, calls forth hidden gifts, and enables great things to happen. True spiritual authorities are located in the point of an upside-down triangle, supporting and holding into the light everyone they offer their leadership to.

In the Vineyard
April 20, 2006
Volume 5, Issue 8
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