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“Rejoice always, never cease praying, render constant thanks; such is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not stifle the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test everything; retain what is good.” 1 Thes 5:16-21

VOTF officer nominations deadline is December 19. As membership has learned recently, our long-serving president Jim Post is not running for another term of office. Jim made his announcement early in order to encourage other leaders in VOTF to come forward. All registered members have a voice in the election process, beginning with the nomination process. You are asked to use the nomination form on the web site, not the email address (which is set up to respond to general inquires). Not registered? Click here.

VOTF at Work in the World
(Please note that many of the online publications require registering before viewing the articles mentioned.)

Jim Post reminds us that December 13 is an anniversary no one in VOTF should forget. On that day in 2002, Boston's Cardinal Law resigned. As Jim says, "That day remains the one day during the past four years when the Vatican did 'get it right.'"

National VOTF action to support all priests of integrity regardless of their sexual orientation sparked nationwide VOTF participation. VOTF Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston and Fall River wore ribbons in the liturgical color of hope – green – to Masses last weekend and at Sunday evening vigils. SUPPORTERS are encouraged to CONTINUE wearing the green ribbons to Masses in visible support of our priests. “If we are to believe the church's own contention that only 4 percent of priests are pedophiles and researchers' assessment that anywhere from one-third to one-half of presently ordained priests are homosexuals, the eligibility of gays for the priesthood is already proven.” Joan Chittister, NCR .

  • A National Catholic Reporter editorial offered eloquent condolences to those in Church leadership who happen to be homosexual. Of the Vatican document, NCR said, “The language, of course, is more the product of ignorance and fear than of enlightenment.”
  • Media coverage of the “green rally” was immediate and broad – from regional to national including the New York Times, the Boston Globe and the Herald News; and various local TV coverage including WCAU in Phila.
  • Fr. Bob Silva, president of the National Federation of Priests’ Council spoke out early on the NFPC web site: “… affirming those priests who understand themselves to have ‘homosexual tendencies’ and who are living a celibate and holy life. The ministry of these priests is an inestimable gift to the Church and of immeasurable value for the People of God.” Read full text.
  • Another front on the battle against sex abuse is emerging. “Not convinced the Vatican’s new criteria banning gay seminarians address root causes of clerical abuse, women who were abused by priests demonstrated Dec. 1 outside chancery offices of the Boston archdiocese.” Read Chuck Colbert’s column in NCR .

Statutes of Limitation discussions are drawing lively and constructive interest. Will civil suits help survivors at the expense of many fine parishes? Will criminal suits effect greater safety for children? In Commentary Fr. Tom Doyle argues for changes in statutes of limitation.

  • Survivors and supporters share thoughts on their recent service mission to Nicaragua. VOTF’s survivor support activist Steve Sheehan wrote of his experience on this trip – his Managua Journal is on our web site along with brief commentary from Sue Archibald, director of The Healing Alliance, Vince Grenough, and Jeannie Wills.
  • Eyes on NJ – “Churches, private schools and other charities that negligently hire employees who sexually abuse children would retroactively lose their immunity against lawsuits under a bill that passed the Senate last night 63-5.” Reported Dec. 13 in the Star Ledger
  • VOTF Long Island, NY has posted on their web site the words of a survivor shared at a recent VOTF St. Hugh’s meeting (Huntington Sta., NY). Coordinator of St. Hugh’s Parish Voice and board member of LI-VOTF George Sheppard noted the power of the presentation.
  • SAVE THE DATE in Boston, MA, Jan. 10 is SOL (Statutes of Limitation) Advocacy Day coordinated by the Massachusetts Coalition to Reform Sex Abuse Laws. Learn more.

Vineyard readers will remember coverage provided in the March 2005 issue of what has been happening to the Catholics of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church in St. Louis, MO, at the hands of their diocesan leadership. “In a defiant challenge to Archbishop Raymond Burke's authority as the leader of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, the board of directors of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church has hired a Roman Catholic priest from the neighboring diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau to be its parish pastor.” This faith community of life-long Catholics had each other and one more priest of integrity to see them through a shattering experience. See St. Louis Today , NewsChannel Five and the Kansas City Star .

  • Did you know? Read Commentary for the Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church (ARCC) reminder to all Catholics of the principle of subsidiarity advocated by Pope John Paul II.

VOTF National Communications - The monthly Communications Discussion Groups have begun with great enthusiasm. We had representatives from VOTF affiliates across the country participating in our initial December sessions. These small discussion groups will deal with meeting promotion, press interviews, national and local topics of interest, etc. It’s a great opportunity to discuss your communications questions and learn some of the “best practices” of other affiliates. VOTF National is providing conference call coverage for these discussions. If you would like to participate, please contact Communications Director, John Moynihan, 617 558 5252. Discussions will be held monthly on Wednesday and Thursday nights and will last about an hour. The next meetings will be Wednesday, January 11 @ 7:00 PM and Thursday, January 12 @ 8:00 PM.

Good news for the thousands who have benefited from Boston College’s Church in the 21st Century Initiative. Director of the C21 Center Tim Muldoon advises that the first C21 volume, Church Ethics and Its Organizational Context: Learning from the Sex Abuse Scandal in the Catholic Church is now available. For a preview, go to the Rowman and Littlefield web site. If your browser cannot access the page, go to and search by title. The book is edited by Bartunek, Hinsdale and Keenan and includes a contribution from VOTF president Jim Post

Site-seeing, Etc.

VOTF vice president Kris Ward has identified some handy e-addresses for those wishing to correspond with our leadership in Rome. Kris notes, “In my conversations in Rome during the time of conclave, I was told that communications are read; some segments of the Church communicate in abundance; notice is taken among Curia aides who have cross-conversations in Curia departments; and of course, aides have conversations with their bosses.”

  • for Cardinal Francis Stafford, the Cardinal Archbishop of Denver before going to the Vatican to head the Pontifical Council on the Laity; he speaks English as do his aides; Archbishop Levada, the new head of Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith can be reached at; Pope Benedict’s address, tended by English speaking aides, is; Kris also notes a new USCCB web site.


  • The USCCB initiated a “Response and Prevention Project” under the Office of Child and Youth Protection. The Executive Summary is on the USCCB web site.
  • America magazine has run several articles reflecting on Vatican II “at 40”; see the Nov. 28 and Dec. 5 issues and in their Dec. 12 issue, see “Best Practices in Church Management.”
  • was among the first calls placed by Philadelphia Deputy DA Gallagher to say that the web site “had been crucial in helping his office get a handle on the crisis in the Church.” This site is crucial for all who care about children. Visit and see for yourself.
  • Keep up with VOTF affiliate Best Practices.

Merry Christmas from the VOTF National Office!

Quote for our time:
“… the experience of the meeting, and of getting to know Tom Doyle, has greatly helped the whistle blowers in this diocese, ending their lonely isolation. Voice of the Faithful has given Derry the realisation that this home diocese of Colmcille of Iona is now firmly part of an international Catholic network bent on restoring compassion and integrity to our Church - and on placing lay people in a leadership role.” Sean O’Conaill speaking of Tom Doyle’s visit to Derry. Read more at

The next issue of In the Vineyard is January 12, 2006. Copy deadline Monday, January 9.

In the Vineyard
December 15, 2005
Volume 4, Issue 18
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