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“He had loved his own in this world, and would show his love for them to the end.” John 13: 1. Voice of the Faithful wishes you renewed hope and lasting joy in Easter’s promise. Click here to read Easter letter from VOTF president Mary Pat Fox.

NATIONAL News and Updates

VOTF welcomes five new affiliates: St. James VOTF in Kansas, Ohio; St. Thomas More VOTF Bowling Green, Ohio; Mahoning Valley VOTF in Youngstown, Ohio; East Grand Rapids VOTF in Grand Rapids, Michigan; Eastern Iowa VOTF in Davenport, Michigan.

National Representative Council (NRC) Update: See text of recently passed resolutions on support for survivors; on a white paper to consider church finances and accountability; and on effective church management systems. The report also includes the voting tally. A proposal calling for ecclesial review of mandatory celibacy for priests is also posted; a vote is expected next week.

Report to Board of Trustees from Council summarizes Council election results throughout the U.S. Click here to identify your representative on the NRC.

Voice of the Faithful has been blessed from Day #1 with the committed, energetic and gifted voices of many Catholics. Frank Murray, who died recently after a short battle with leukemia, was one of them. Frank served VOTF as NRC representative from Region 7 (WI, IL, IN). See “Remembering Frank Murray from Ron Dubois.

From National Catholic Reporter: “The chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People told a Georgetown University audience March 20 that he opposes establishing a searchable Internet-based registry containing the names of clergy facing credible accusations of sexual abuse.” Read more.

DIOCESE/State Watch

AFFILIATE Highlights:

VOTF Long Island NY will host a Faith Convention on Saturday April 14. For details, click here.

VOTF Bridgeport CT and the chair of Catholic Studies at Fairfield University will present “Follow the Money: Financial Accountability in the Catholic Church” on Saturday April 28. For information, click here; VOTF Bridgeport CT was also the host recently of a talk by Sr. Theresa Kane on a vision of Church in the 21st Century (see Commentary); the affiliate also has another means of communicating with other diocesan Catholics in “Our Voice.” Check it out on their website.

VOTF Greater Cincinnati will host “A Gathering for Justice” with Fr. Tom Doyle, Richard Sipe and Patrick Wall, co-authors of Sex, Priests and Secret Codes. The conference will be held at Xavier University in Cincinnati. For additional information, click here or call 513-231-5271 or email at

Good News for the protection of children in San Diego CA?: The diocese has released the names of over three dozen “credibly accused priests” inclusive of their church service records as far back as 1928. See the San Diego Union-Tribune. Also, “Officials from the Catholic Diocese of San Diego say they have named the priests accused of sexually molesting minors in San Diego, but critics are saying that the church's list is missing almost as many priests as it named.” Read more.

No question about Good News in Idaho: SNAP Great Plains Michigan applauded a new Idaho law that extends the statute of limitations for reporting sexual abuse. For details, click here. More good news for protecting children in Springfield MA: “In a legal setback for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, the Massachusetts Appeals Court has upheld a lower court ruling requiring the diocese to turn over thousands of pages of documents from sexual abuse claims to its insurance companies. In an 11-page ruling, Justice Fernande R.V. Duffly ordered church officials to turn over most of the 7,000 pages of documents at the center of a two-year legal skirmish.” See the Republican.

Bad news for survivors in Chicago IL: Speaking of the Catholic Church-led lobby effort against an extension of the state’s statute of limitations on reporting incidents of sexual abuse, ABC 7/Chicago said, “It is a lobbying effort led by the Catholic Church that would prefer to handle years-old cases of priest sex abuse internally with counseling, guidance and sometimes settlement payments.” For the full story, click here.

SITE-Seeing, Etc.

The so-called “doctrine of mental reservation” has been receiving media attention, particularly in a recent item in the Los Angeles Times – subscribers (free) can read the article. However, according to a Los Angeles diocesan newsletter comment, the principle of mental reservation is not doctrine and has been used improperly by the media. Read more.

US Catholic magazine: Author of The Holy Longing and former philosophy professor Fr. Ronald Rolheiser, O.M.I. discusses polarity among Catholics. Fr. Rolheiser now serves as president of the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio. Read more.

The unfolding tragedy of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church has placed a spotlight on clergy of other denominations. One such indication was noted in a recent Colorado newspaper article. Read more.

A lay synod movement has held its first lay congress. Read about the experience of one Texas parish.

National Public Radio has excellent coverage of the recent FutureChurch pilgrimage to Rome’s archaeological sites of early women leaders. Read more. Also on NPR are links to NPR stories about Mary of Magdala and the FutureChurch 2006 Rome Pilgrimage.

The February 2007 post-synodal exhortation “Sacramentum Caritatis” from Pope Benedict XVI is at the Vatican's website. See an overview from Catholic News Service.

Thank you to Mike Nicholas, VOTF Australia, for identifying an excellent article that considers two kinds of church men – Bernard Haring and Joseph Ratzinger. The item appears in the Canadian publication Social Edge.

Note: The recent bankruptcy filing by the Diocese of San Diego is the fifth U.S. diocese (and the largest) to file bankruptcy after Portland, Ore., Spokane, Wash., Tucson, Ariz. and Davenport, Iowa.

The Catholic Common Ground Initiative newsletter "Initiative Report" is posted on the National Pastoral Life Center website. It includes a summary by Dean Hoge of two findings noted in his new book American Catholics Today: New Realities of Their Faith and Their Church. The findings he notes are about generational differences among Catholics and what laity see as the main problems in the Church. Dean Hoge is professor of sociology emeritus at The Catholic University of America. Click here for the full text of the talk. Then subscribe to the quarterly eight-page newsletter by sending your name and postal mail address to

Delaware Online reports:“ Navy Cmdr. Kenneth J. Whitwell took the stand Thursday in U.S. District Court and told a panel of six jurors what no Delaware jury has heard before: He told them how he was sexually abused by a Catholic priest as a student at Archmere Academy.” Survivors and survivor support advocates believe Whitwell’s testimony will encourage other survivors to come forward. Read the full story. is a new site worth a visit. Go to and let us know what you think at

QUOTE for our time: "As women we have heard the powerful message of our church addressing the dignity and reverence of all persons. As women we have pondered these words. Our contemplation leads us to state that the church in its struggle to be faithful to its call for reverence and dignity for all persons must respond by providing the possibility of women as persons being included in all ministries of the church." Sr. Theresa Kane speaking to Pope John Paul II in October 1979 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York City. See Commentary for more.

In the Vineyard
April 5, 2007
Volume 6, Issue 7
Printer Friendly Version (PDF)

Page One

Report to Board of Trustees from Council

“Remembering Frank Murray from Ron DuBois

Easter letter from VOTF president Mary Pat Fox

Agency, Community and Spirituality” – Sr. Theresa Kane at VOTF Bridgeport CT

“Confession: The Making of a Sacrament” – Gaile Pohlhaus

Structural Change Working Group

Voice of Renewal/Lay Education

Prayerful Voice

Goal 2 - Priest Support

Protecting Our Children



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For an overview of press coverage of VOTF, click here.

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©Voice of the Faithful 2007.All Rights Reserved