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“There's a connection now because the man made eye contact with survivors. You cannot deny that. We are real. We are not a number or a statistic.” Abuse survivor Bernie McDaid commenting on the Pope’s meeting with survivors of clergy sexual abuse at

In This Issue: Whatever actions evolve from the Pope’s visit and his pastoral outreach to survivors, VOTF and SNAP achieved considerable coverage in the media; VOTF National Representative Council has a full agenda for upcoming bi-annual meeting in Philadelphia; VOTF Bridgeport CT will address “Who Owns Our Church?” at their conference this Saturday; more distress in the St. Louis MO archdiocese over St. Stanislaus Kostka parish; FOSIL and VOTF are sharing some common ground in the interest of financial accountability – see Affiliate News; reminders, news items and more in SITE-Seeing, Etc.; happy and secure in your parish? Consider helping a St. Louis KS parish that is neither (SITE-Seeing, Etc.); the Pope has admiring words for making voices heard (See QUOTES for our time); and more.


Pope Benedict’s visit to the U.S. might be remembered as bridge building – between Jews and Christians, between American Catholics and the Vatican, among civil/national warring factions, etc. – but it will be most valued on a personal level by the victims of clergy sexual abuse and their supporters. While VOTF and SNAP called for actions to accompany the much-appreciated and compassionate words of the Pope, the overall hope is that his example of pastoral outreach to victims of clergy sexual abuse will be modeled by hierarchs throughout the Church. Click here for an overview of VOTF press releases and media coverage of the Pope’s visit.

  • According to the New York Times, Cardinal Levada, head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said that, “the Roman Catholic Church is considering changes to the canon laws that govern how the church handles cases of sexual abuse by priests.” Click here for more.

At their April 25-27 bi-annual meeting, the National Representative Council will take up, among several other items, a “Preliminary Report to the National Representative Council (NRC) of Voice of the Faithful (VOTF) from the Ad Hoc Committee (Committee) to Study VOTF Policy Toward the National Review Board (NRB)”. See the report under NRC Notes and watch for the meeting recap in an upcoming Vineyard.

  • The resolution calling for “Church-wide re-examination and reform of the role of women in Church ministry and in the governance of the Church” won the requisite 2/3 vote needed for passage by the National Representative Council. The proposal was co-sponsored by Peggie Thorp, Richard Moriarty and Mary Collingwood. The National Officers also have replied to the NRC’s “request for concurrence” in the resolution. Click here to read the Officers’ statement, the resolution and the vote tally.
Welcome to Catherine Smith, the newly elected representative to the National Council for Region 12 (AK, ID, MT, OR, WA). Also, in Region 2 (NY), two Representatives have been elected for two-year terms. Jean McQuaid has been elected to replace Dan Bartley, and Ed Wilson has been re-elected. 

SURVIVOR Community Notes

There’s no better way to understand the impact of the papal visit on survivors and their supporters than to read SNAP’s coverage at


VOTF Bridgeport CT will hold their semi-annual conference this Saturday, April 26. Click here to read more about “Who Owns Our Church?”

In a similar regard, David Biersmith organized a VOTF Kansas City meeting with Fr. Marek Bozek, pastor of St. Stanislaus Kostka parish in St. Louis MO. Fr. Bozek is the pastor who continues to stand up to Archbishop Burke in the latter’s attempt to wrest control of the parish from its long-established Board. The Vineyard will post a recap of the gathering in an upcoming issue.  

  • For the Archbishop’s perspective on control of the church, click here.

  • For recent Associated Press coverage on Fr. Tom Doyle’s banning from the Archdiocese, click here.

  • For details of St. Stanislaus Board members’ excommunication by Abp. Burke, click here.

Letter to editor: A VOTF correspondent found something missing in the Pew Report (noted in a previous Vineyard).

SITE-Seeing, Etc.

St. James parish in Kansas, Ohio needs all the help it can get. Click here to read about their plight, now in its eleventh hour.

Rowman and Littlefield Publishers has published a blog on the Pope’s visit by VOTF Bridgeport CT Joe O’Callaghan. You can access the blog here. Lest you’ve forgotten, Joe is professor emeritus in the department of history at Fordham University. He is past president of the American Catholic Historical Association and is the author of several books, notably Electing Our Bishops: How the Catholic Church Should Choose Its Leaders; Reconquest and Crusade in Medieval Spain and Alfonso X and the Cantigas de Santa Maria: A Poetic Biography.

Another perspective on the Pope’s visit comes from Jay P. Dolan, professor emeritus of history at the University of Notre Dame and author of In Search of an American Catholicism: A History of Religion and Culture in Tension. Jay is a longstanding VOTF supporter and a contributor to VOTF’s first hard copy quarterly Voice. To read Jay’s comments on some concerns in our Church that were not scheduled for discussion during the papal visit, click here.

It’s getting a lot faster/easier to read the National Catholic Reporter. Their new format has all the issue’s contents headlined right there on the home page and only a click away. Try it here.

Another Boston-born Church-reform effort made front page news in a recent New York Times story. Read about the Council of Parishes here.  

Most Rev Geoffrey James Robinson DD, Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney, Australia, will be making many stops during his U.S. visit, including stops at VOTF affiliate meetings and VOTF co-sponsored gatherings such as those planned by VOTF Boston (see March 27 Vineyard; also, March 6 for initial report) and VOTF New Jersey on May 21. See for additional information.

Jason Berry's new film Vows of Silence, about Legionaries of Christ founder Father Marcial Maciel who won the favor of Pope John Paul II despite years of pedophilia accusations, is now available for purchase on DVD. To visit the film’s website and/or purchase the DVD click here.

DON’T FORGET! SUNDAY - MONDAY, JUNE 8-9: EDWINA GATELY RETREAT.  Edwina will be conducting a retreat on the theme "Why the Church Needs Rebels" at the Evensong by the Sea Ecumenical Retreat & Spirituality Center (HarwichPort, MA).  See web site for details. Please register in advance. 

QUOTES for Our Time:

“Among the countersigns to the Gospel of life found in America and elsewhere is one that causes deep shame: the sexual abuse of minors.  . . .  It is your God-given responsibility as pastors to bind up the wounds caused by every breach of trust, to foster healing, to promote reconciliation and to reach out with loving concern to those so seriously wronged.”  Pope Benedict addressing the U.S. Bishops at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on April 16, 2008. 

“Historically, not only Catholics, but all believers have found here the freedom to worship God in accordance with the dictates of their conscience, while at the same time being accepted as part of a commonwealth in which each individual and group can make its voice heard.” Pope Benedict at the White House Rose Garden, April 16, 2008.

In the Vineyard
April 24, 2008

Volume 7, Issue 8
Printer Friendly Version (PDF)

Page One


Letter to Editor

NRC Notes

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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