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“I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out....I will rescue them from all the places to which they have been scattered.” Ezekiel 34:11

VOTF at Work in the World
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VOTF National comments on the USCCB’s under funded Causes and Context Study and the seeming “witch hunt” conducted on US seminaries by the Vatican.

  • The USCCB web site has posted the text (PDF) of “Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with Regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in View of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders.”
    and a statement from USCCB (PDF) president Bishop Skylstad.
  • Another perspective on the November 2005 USCCB meeting – Marci Hamilton asks “Has the Catholic Church put the clergy abuse crisis behind them?” Hamilton says, “Not by a long shot.”; also see the lead editorial in the Nov. 25 issue of National Catholic Reporter.
  • Gaile Pohlhaus, national secretary for VOTF, comments on the continuing reference by Church leadership to homosexuals as “objectively disordered.” Read “A Disordered Objective” in Commentary.
  • R. John Kinkel, VOTF Michigan, asks in an open letter to Pope Benedict XVI. See Commentary“Why Isn’t Celibacy Enough?” Reprinted with permission from the Los Angeles Times.
  • A remarkable coalition of Christians and Jews gathered in Philadelphia on 11/27 at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary to protest the leaked Vatican instruction that appears to link the abuse crisis in the Catholic Church to homosexuality. Organizers planned their peaceful protest to coincide with the arrival of the seminary Visitation Team at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. See “Walking the Talk in Philadelphia.”

The USCCB initiated a “Response and Prevention Project” under the Office of Child and Youth Protection. Its findings are on the USCCB web site. What do you think? Write to

Priests of integrity continue to speak out: In Mesa, AZ, a priest resigns in protest against “aggressive anti-gay positions” coming from his bishop and the Vatican. Click here; one priest has found a different way to stay – on his own terms. Read more.

  • A gay priest speaks out. Jesuit priest Fr. Thomas J. O’Brien’s decided to “come out as a gay priest.” Read his statement in Commentary – “A Flawed and Disordered Document”). It was sent to Voice of the Faithful and also appeared in the Detroit Free Press.

National VOTF notes the 25th anniversary of the deaths of Maryknoll Sisters Maura Clarke and Ita Ford, Ursuline Sister Dorothy Kazel and Lay Missioner Jean Donovan at the hands of Salvadoran government troops on December 2, 1980. VOTF Boston has been publicizing a memorial Eucharist on Sunday, December 4 at Boston College, 2 pm, St. Ignatius Church. Let us know how your faith community remembered Maura, Ita, Dorothy, and Jean. Write to

The anniversary of the churchwomen’s deaths will be marked internationally with a four-day commemoration in El Salvador, as well as events in Rome, Washington, DC, Chicago, and at both the Ursuline Sisters’ convent in Cleveland and the Maryknoll headquarters in Ossining, NY.

NEWS from National - VOTF National Representative Council reports that Campaign 2006 is taking shape; VOTF member Bill Casey reports on the filming of “Twist of Faith” during the NRC meeting weekend in Arlington, VA; VOTF officer nominations and elections are fast approaching. See details; VOTF National Office to commence a monthly communications conference call in order to identify and, eventually, media train VOTF spokespeople from around the US. Communications manager John Moynihan provides details for interested members.

VOTF Ohio faces a struggle over SB 17 in the Ohio State House of Representatives. The state Senate unanimously approved this legislation last Spring, extending the statute of limitations to 20 years for victims to file civil charges against their alleged abuser. The bill was originally introduced to require clergy and church officials to report suspected abuse or neglect of a child; it was facing opposition as the House Judiciary Committee hearing approached on Nov. 22. See Kris Ward’s background remarks and update in Commentary“Civil and Not So Civil.” Also, check SNAP’s web site for updates.

  • Bill Litzler of the St. Chris affiliate has arranged for a showing of “Twist of Faith” to run from Dec. 9 to Dec. 15 at the Detroit Theater in Lakewood. Call 216-521-2245. SNAP is a co-sponsor. Visit

VOTF Maine member and mother of a survivor won a settlement out of court in her case against the Portland, Maine archdiocese. Read her statement in Commentary –“ In a Mother’s Words.”

VOTF Boston, MA legislative update: Contrary to expectations, SB 2313 did not make it to the floor on the last day of the House session Nov. 16, 2005. Supporters, however, are calling it “victory delayed” and will focus their energies on the next session. [For some background on this legislative effort, see the Nov. 17 issue of In the Vineyard.]

  • “A federal prosecutor has ended a probe of the protection of sexually abusive priests by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston without seeking indictments of former top officials, including William Murphy, now bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, and Cardinal Bernard Law, who resigned as Boston archbishop almost three years ago.” VOTF Long Island, NY’s Dan Bartley asks, “At what point does Rome become responsible for allowing someone with Bishop Murphy’s background to remain in office?” See full story in Newsday ; and in the Boston Globe, Anne Barrett Doyle of noted, "At the very least, you would think that someone who falsifies information in a federal document to allow a credibly accused priest to get a government job should be moved from a position of authority."
  • Francine Cardman, professor of Church History at Weston Jesuit School of Theology, spoke at a rally organized by Our Lady’s Friends outside Holy Cross Cathedral, Boston – seat of the Boston Archdiocese. Read Francine’s remarks, as well as others who spoke, and see photos of this “very red” rally – go to the Our Lady’s Friends web site.
VOTF Anchorhold in the diocese of Los Angeles, CA has joined a coalition including Stones of Silence and Survivors of Silence. Representatives gathered on Nov. 22 at the Archdiocese office to deliver a letter to Cardinal Roger Mahony. An incident involving survivors being physically bullied outside of a local Catholic Church brought these representatives together asking the Cardinal to direct all Archdiocese Churches to openly decry the recent violence against victims and supporters of clergy sexual abuse. Read more.

Brazil sexual abuse crisis just emerging – See National Catholic Reporter.

Affiliate Alerts - The need for heightened vigilance is evident as news reports of accusations and convictions of priests and others working with young people continue to occupy the nation’s media. See news items from the Joliet, Ill.; Bedford, Mass., and Phoenix, Ariz; do you have your Christmas Cards? Support survivors and greet the season with these original-art cards. Visit the VOTF Winchester web site at or contact Bob Morris at

Affiliates with web sites are invited to place the following link to current issues of In the Vineyard on their home pages -

SITE-Seeing reminders: is internationally recognized as a document resource. Also, check in with SNAP. If you don’t receive National Catholic Reporter, check their on-line news at See for news as it happens in the Vatican. America magazine at and Commonweal at are also valuable resources in our faith community.

QUOTE for our time:
“ Our society is obsessed by sex and the Church should offer a model of a sane but not compulsive acceptance of sexuality. The Catechism of the Council of Trent taught that priests should talk about sex ‘with moderation rather than copiousness.’ We should be more attentive to whom our seminarians may be inclined to hate than whom they love. Racialism, misogyny and homophobia would all be signs that someone could not be a good model of Christ.” As noted by Timothy Radcliffe, OP in The Tablet.

The next issue of In the Vineyard and the final issue for 2005 is Thursday, December 15. Copy deadline Monday, December 12.


In the Vineyard
December 1, 2005
Volume 4, Issue 17
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Page One

NEWS from National


In a Mother’s Words.” – Marie Tupper, VOTF Maine

“A Flawed and Disordered Document” – Fr. Thomas J. O’Brien

“Why Isn’t Celibacy Enough?” – by VOTF member John Kinkel, reprinted with permission from the Los Angeles Times

“Civil and Not So Civil.” - Kris Ward

A Disordered Objective” Gaile Pohlhaus


“Advent Prayer for Children” - Jack Rakosky (Readers might remember Jack’s January 2005 Vineyard Childermas reflection and prayer.)



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