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"My being proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit finds joy in God my savior." Mary’s Canticle, Luke 1: 46-47.
of the Faithful wishes our readers Christmas
blessings. May our world know a true communion
of peace for our families and loved ones.
NEWS Alert: Catholic
News Service reports that the
Vatican has confirmed Nebraska bishop Bruskewitz’s
excommunication of Lincoln, Nebraska members
of the Catholic reform organization Call to Action
NATIONAL News: National
Representative Council Nov. ’06 meeting
recap under National News Update; also, for
those who might have missed
seeing the May 2006 resolutions VOTF passed,
Our Children Working Group Update: A year in preparation, the VOTF Protection of
Children National Parish Survey is soon to be
sent to at least one parish in each of the 194
dioceses and eparchies in the United States.
Your participation is needed.
annual and monthly financial statements are
posted on our website along with a summary
of our annual budget in an effort to model the
transparency we request of our church leaders.
Los Angeles, CA – The
diocese will pay $60 million to settle 45 clergy
abuse lawsuits, out of about 500 pending; FT.
Worth, TX – The Star-Telegram reports
on recently released Fort Worth diocesan files
reveal Bishop Joseph Delaney “and other
church leaders sometimes intentionally misled
the public, their congregations and the priests’ accusers”; Barnstable,
MA – The sad story of a retired
priest and a small fortune of embezzled parish
funds emerged last week, highlighting again the
need for parishioners’ vigilance and stewardship
of parish finances; and more from Cleveland,
OH, Pennsylvania and Bridgeport, CT.
SW Florida and VOTF Twin Cities, Michigan.
tragic day in Chicago: The
violent deaths of three workers in the Citigroup
on Friday, Dec. 8 has left many reeling, including
VOTF Chicago. One of those killed was VOTF Chicago
leader Michael McKenna. See Janet
message in “Remembering Michael McKenna”.
Review: Anne Southwood reviews Living
Vatican II, The 21st Council for the 21st
Century by Gerald O’Collins, SJ, Paulist Press,
Apostles to Bishops: The Development of the Episcopacy
in the Early Church by Francis Sullivan, Newman
Press, 2001. This highly readable, succinct overview
early Church’s challenges and growth sheds
considerable light on current issues in our Church.
Leadeth Me by Fr. Walter Ciszek, Ignatius
Press, 1995. Ciszek’s memorable testament to faith
and survival over 23 years in Soviet prisons and their
labor camps in Siberia was published in 1973. Since his
death in 1984, efforts have been under way to name him
a saint. Even without sainthood, Ciszek remains a contemporary
VOTF Ohio’s Jack Rakosky whose background is an
interdisciplinary doctorate in psychology and sociology
reviews Mark Chaves’ Congregations in America (2004),
at the VOTF Cleveland website.
Jack says the good news from this first random sample
study of congregations is that even very small congregations
of fewer than a hundred regular participants are very
vibrant. Interestingly and sadly, the clergy shortage
among Protestant congregations is even greater than
among Catholic congregations.
November 24, 2006 National Catholic Reporter editorial
repeated a concern for the Church,
which they originally
wrote a year ago: “We are watching the disintegration
of a once-great national church, the largest denomination
in the United States, into regional groupings bent on
avoiding the spotlight and the big issues.” Subscribers
can access NCR’s updated assessment in “Not
bad for melodrama”.
Pictures announced the long promised DVD release of
its Award winning feature length
of God.” This full-length ”Director’s
Cut” version of the film – as seen at film
festivals and other screenings across the country – is
now available for purchase by credit card directly from
the “Hand of God” film website. Go to the “Buy
the DVD” page where you can utilize Google.
For residents of Boston’s North Shore, the DVD
can also be purchased at CinemaSalem – the site
of several sold-out screenings of the film. Other stores
may be supplying the DVD in the coming months.
of God also premieres on PBS’ Frontline
on January 16th at 9:00pm. For more details click here.
Radio interview with VOTF president Mary Pat
Fox and VOTF secretary Gaile Pohlhaus during the USCCB
meeting in November is at provokeradio.com.
Murray, VOTF representative (WI, IL, IN), reminded
us recently of Vatican II’s
reference to dialogue between laity and Church officials in the Dogmatic Constitution
on the Church (Lumen Gentium), Ch. IV: The entire
text is available at the Vatican's website.
the spiritual shepherds recognize and promote the dignity
as well as the responsibility
of the laity
in the Church. Let them willingly employ their prudent
advice. Let them confidently assign duties to them in
the service of the Church, allowing them freedom and
room for action. Further, let them encourage lay people
so that they may undertake tasks on their own initiative.
Attentively in Christ, let them consider with fatherly
love the projects, suggestions and desires proposed by
the laity. However, let the shepherds respectfully acknowledge
that just freedom which belongs to everyone in this earthly
great many wonderful things are to be hoped for from
this familiar dialogue between the
laity and their spiritual
leaders: in the laity a strengthened sense of personal
responsibility; a renewed enthusiasm; a more ready application
of their talents to the projects of their spiritual leaders.
The latter, on the other hand, aided by the experience
of the laity, can more clearly and more incisively come
to decisions regarding both spiritual and temporal matters.
In this way, the whole Church, strengthened by each one
of its members, may more effectively fulfill its mission
for the life of the world.”
1993, Fr. Tom Doyle wrote “Clergy
Sexual Abuse: The First Decade”. VOTF Long
Island has posted Tom’s assessment on their
website. According to Tom, all the Catholic publications to
which it was submitted rejected it. “One editor
told me it was too ‘passionate’ and ‘explosive.’ Another
informed me that it was too sensationalistic and that
it exaggerated the problem and still another advised
me to cease trying for publication and discard it because
it was overly critical of bishops and presented a highly
distorted and subjective view of a problem that was
no longer urgent.”
for our time:
“As you embrace the new beginning of Advent, know that you are safe, ever
in God’s care. And soon Jesus, the fulfillment of God’s promise,
will come bringing justice and peace to the Earth. May we be vigilant, standing
with intention and purpose in readiness to welcome our Savior! Proclaim the good
news among the nations: Our God will come to save us.” From the St. Jude
League of the Claretians website.