THE DATE- NOVEMBER 13, 2004 - NEW ENGLAND VOTF CONFERENCE
WORCESTER, MA "It's Not History - It's Time For
Renewal" will be the theme of a full-day conference
sponsored by the New England affiliates of Voice of
the Faithful at the Worcester Centrum on Saturday,
November 13, 2004. The conference derives its name
from the words of Bishop Wilton Gregory, President
of the USCCB, who summed up the bishops' response
to the John Jay Report on the clerical abuse scandal
in the Catholic Church in the United States with the
words, "It's history."
selecting this theme, we want to affirm, first,
that the abuse scandal cannot be swept under the
rug, and second, that we must renew and reform the
Church to ensure that the scandal is never repeated,"
said Event Chair Bob Morris of Winchester, MA VOTF,.
speakers for the conference to date include Fr.
Thomas Doyle; Pamela Hayes of the National Review
Board; authors Jason Berry, David Gibson and David
France; former Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor
Tom O'Neill; Professors Paul Lakeland of Fairfield,
David O'Brien and Bill Clark of Holy Cross, Kathleen
Kautzer of Regis College, and Ruth Wallace of George
Washington University; Sue Archibald, President
of The Linkup, and David Clohessey, President of
SNAP; and Fr. Robert Silva, President of the National
Federation of Priests' Councils. A Priest of Integrity
award will be conferred on a New England priest
who has courageously stood up to the power of the
institutional Church on behalf of survivors of clergy
further information, or if you'd like to help out
in any way, contact Bob Morris at firstname.lastname@example.org.
357 Boston parishes, 65 had been slated for closing.
On August 4, that figure increased by 10. Read more
on the VOTF Boston
Parish Closing web page.
of engaging each other, our Winchester affiliate has
had a packed few months and VOTF NJ sent photos! See
UP - Boston College in the 21st Century is about
to sweep us off our feet again. The planned two-year
initiative begins its third year with outstanding
opportunities for those who are able to get to Chestnut
Hill, Mass. (If unable to attend, BC is offering a
free publication covering many of the conferences
presentations.) See some of the September lineup here
in the Vineyard (Events/East) or go
to the BC web
site.; SAVE THE DATE - "Rejoice with Voice" on
October 3. Read
more about our first (and long overdue!) party
for members in Events/East.
sure to visit the USCCB web site at www.usccb.org
and read the recently published Letter to the Bishops
of the Catholic Church on the Collaboration of Men
and Women in the Church and in the World. The
letter opens with these words, ".The Church, expert
in humanity, has a perennial interest in whatever
concerns men and women." What Do You Think?
Write to email@example.com.
of the Faithful, VOTF, "Keep the Faith, Change
Voice of Compassion, VOTF logo(s), Parish Voice, and
Prayerful Voice are trademarks of Voice of the Faithful,
of the Faithful is a 501(c) 3 tax-exempt organization.
Volume 3, Issue 8
Next issue October 12
fast becoming a voice that is expected and a presence that
can be counted on. From speaking out on issues of concern
among all lay Catholics to fortifying the foundational work
of our three goals, our continuing promise has been earned
by ongoing self-education and a great spate of outreach efforts
- these are well documented In the Vineyard and on
our web site. Certainly up front in this drive is the August
15 Mass on Boston Common - the ad for which was accepted
by the Archdiocese of Boston newspaper the Pilot. The
upcoming November VOTF conference in Worcester is another
educational and faith-centered demonstration. Too, our vice
president Ann Carroll is assembling a national Convention
2005 planning team. VOTF is sharing what we hear and building
on what we learn. Together, we are on our way to the formation
of an increasingly engaged Catholic community.
course of advancing all of our voices, the national organization
is working toward a governance structure that models the kind
of collaborative communion implied when we speak of the People
of God. To that end, VOTF vice president Kris Ward is seeking
additional volunteers for our Governance
Committee (see her Message).
the thorniest challenges in any grassroots movement is that
of governance - in our case, how do we model for our Church
a way of being that will ensure our baptismal right and responsibility
to speak and participate in the work of caring for our Church?
(Jim Post offers a picture of the organization as it is today
from the President and a word about where we hope
to go.) In the course of these discussions, we run the risk,
occasionally, of losing sight of our mission to be "a prayerful
voice, attentive to the Spirit." Recently, VOTF member
and consultant Tony Massimini "dropped in" to a flurry of
emails regarding VOTF's emerging organizational structure
with words that brought all of us back to our shared call.
We begin this issue (and close the Vineyard's second
year!) in the spirit of Tony's words below:
I don't have an organizational bone in my body. I operate
in terms of mindsets and visions. That said, I would like
to offer the following for consideration.
II started out with the then-prevailing vision of the Church
as a pyramid in which everything flowed from the top down.
In this vision, God spoke to the pope, who spoke to the bishops,
who spoke to the priests and religious, who spoke to the laity,
who spoke to no one. The Council members set out to change
that vision, and as they did, they knew that it would have
been a theological and spiritual mistake simply to reverse
it and form a bottom-up vision of the Church. Instead, they
worked to do away with either "top-down" or "bottom-up" language.
As a result, they gave us a vision of the Church as a People,
i.e., a Church that at base, is a circle of people who enjoy
full equality of human and baptismal dignity. Within this
circle of spiritual equals, every person is called to be of
service to the others and to the whole, (and to society),
according to the gifts the Spirit has given her or him. All
leadership within the circle is servant-leadership. The Ultimate
Leader of the Church is the humble, crucified Servant, Jesus
Christ, within Whom all of us live, breathe and have our being
(and exercise leadership).
course, VOTF needs an organizational chart with lines going
from one place to the other and all that. My suggestion is
that as this chart is developed, the positions in it are seen
and accepted as roles of service within a circle of equals.
the Vineyard is taking a September break but will be back
in October. In the meanwhile, we continue to encourage our
readers to keep talking, think about "servant leadership"
and what it means to you and, of course, stay in touch with
VOTF by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peggie L. Thorp, Ed.