Please send comments and inquiries to

“When Frank DeMonico became a delegate to the first synod of the Diocese of Metuchen, he soon realized this was not the church he grew up in.” See DIOCESE/State Watch for the Metuchen synod story reported in the Home News Tribune

NATIONAL/International News
VOTF issued a press release on Jan. 29 protesting the dismissal from his parish of Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, outspoken supporter of clergy sexual abuse victims and survivors. The Bishop was also banned from speaking on church property in the dioceses of Tucson and Phoenix AZ. For the Arizona story, go to; the Arizona Star website; and Arizona Daily News. VOTF Tucson AZ letter to the editor published in the Tucson Citizen.

VOTF to award Bishop Gumbleton a VOTF Priest of Integrity Award. See National News Update.

See VOTF National News for an update on the Executive Director Search process.

Looking for the VOTF Bylaws? Go to "Officers, Trustees and Incorp. Documents" and then choose "Bylaws.”

Also, in this issue:
World Synod of Bishops 2008 (this page) is just getting started.

Eyes on New York NY: New Yorkers look to Boston for advice on parish closings; VOTF NY working with parishes; also, see “Report from New York” by Francis Piderit of VOTF NY

Diocese/State Watch: VOTF Delmarva DE is making legislative progress; Is the Los Angeles CA archdiocese parish closing approach an improvement over others? Many think so; Davenport IO archdiocese extending for four years the reporting to civil authorities of clergy sexual abuse allegations; Bridgeport CT still reeling from a second episode of “questionable” parish financial management, but parishioners seem willing to “move on” (also, see VOTF Bridgeport CT Dan Sullivan’s take in Commentary); Metuchen NJ had their own synod and the whole diocese participated; in Commentary, see a follow-up report from St. Louis MO where “a priest was removed from his diocese in Yakima WA and reassigned to St Louis, after allegations of impropriety.”

SITE-Seeing, Etc.: links to Lenten reflections, women in the Bible, SNAP, a pilgrimage to Rome, David Gibson and more.

The October 2008 World Synod of Bishops “The Word of God in the Life and the Mission of the Church" called by Pope Benedict XVI, may be an opportunity for laity to be heard via their diocesan leadership. For a brief overview of this and past synods, click here. Note: “At their next meeting, the members of the Synod council will begin preparations for the October 2008 meeting. The first major task is to compose the lineamenta: the preliminary document sketching the main lines of discussion for the meeting. The lineamenta is then circulated among the world's bishops for comments and suggestions, and the Synod council then prepares the instrumentum laboris that is the working document for the Synod discussions.” Catholic News Service noted that “Pope Benedict met Jan. 25 with the synod's preparatory council at the end of a meeting to draft an outline that will be sent to bishops' conferences around the world for comment”.

For an idea of past Synods, click here.

  • Read how one diocesan synod evolved in DIOCESE/State Watch (Metuchen NJ).
  • As various organizations consider the upcoming Synod in 2008, it is instructive to consider some of the feedback from the 2005 Synod. FutureChurch provides thoughtful commentary in “Reports from the Synod”.

SITE-Seeing, Etc.

Lenten reflections: Benetvision offers “In New Wineskins – Prayer, Fasting, Alsmgiving and Saints” for your Lenten journey; these are readings prepared by Joan Chittister and Robert Ellsberg for Ash Wednesday (Feb. 21) through Easter. Order online at or call 814-459-5994.

The January 26 issue of Commonweal magazine may be worth a trip to your library if you are not a current subscriber. Paul Lakeland writes a spirited defense of Roger Haight, dismissed by the Vatican in 2005 from his position at Weston Jesuit School of Theology; a review of Lisa Sowle Cahill’s book Theological Bioethics (Georgetown University Press). Lisa is a professor of theology at Boston College.

Sign up for the 2007 National SNAP conference, July 20-22, in Washington, DC.

The Boston Globe, lauded for its exposure and coverage of the clergy sexual abuse tragedy in the Catholic Church, looked to the unsung heroes of the story as it unfolded and continues to unfold – the . See “Legal Legacy” .

On the Wall Street Journal online site, David Gibson (author of The Rule of Benedict) wrote “Keeping an eye on the collection plate”.

Exploring the Roots of our Faith: A pilgrimage to Rome - June 3rd to 10th 2007 - Sign up NOW!
While time may stop in the Eternal City, time is running out for those interested in going on a once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage to Rome. There, we will have the opportunity to know the Church at its center and to share our hopes and dreams for its future … all the while enjoying all that Rome has to offer including its wonderful cafes and loving people. Read more.

“Changing the structure of the Church” (VOTF goal #3) means different things to different populations. Grade-school Catholic education has been in trouble for decades but the Boston archdiocese may have hit on a new collaborative model for hope. Read the Boston Globe of Jan. 30.

An excellent introductory text on “Women in the Bible and the Lectionary” by Ruth Fox, OSB, is on the CTA website.

QUOTE for our time: “When Cardinal Bernard Law resigned for not telling the truth about pedophile priests, Rome gave him a promotion, a position on five of the curial congregations of the church, St. Mary Major, one of the four principal churches in Rome, and a luxurious Roman apartment. On the other hand, this bishop, Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, told the truth, even about his having been abused by a priest himself when he was a young seminarian. Most of all, he took the position that it is the obligation of bishops to bring transparency, accountability and justice to the plight of sex abuse victims, whatever the financial ramifications for the church itself….the question looms large for all of us: What is going on in a church that stamps out the light?” Sr. Joan Chittister, National Catholic Reporter column “From Where I Stand” of February 1, 2007.


In the Vineyard
February 8, 2007
Volume 6, Issue 3
Printer Friendly Version (PDF)

Page One

National News Update

Diocese/State Watch

Theologian’s Corner:
“Scandal and Conscience” – Sally Vance-Trembath, VOTF vice president

“Something Special Happened Here” – Vince Grenough, VOTF Louisville KY

Report from New York” – Francis Piderit, VOTF NY on the “state of the diocese” with regard to parish closings

“’Getting it’ in the Bridgeport CT diocese” – Dan Sullivan, VOTF Bridgeport


Structural Change Working Group

Voice of Renewal/Lay Education

Prayerful Voice

Goal 2 - Priest Support



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