send comments and inquiries to email@example.com.
dialogue, we shoot each other.” Hans Kung,
officer election dates for 2006-8:
Feb. 1 web site posting of nominees and candidates’ statements
Feb. 7-22 electronic voting (see Election
Committee letter for details)
Feb. 28 election results posted
All registered VOTF members are invited to participate
in the election. Not registered? Click
VOTF at Work in the World
(Please note that many
of the online publications require registering before
viewing the articles mentioned.)
notes the fourth anniversary of the Boston Globe’s story
on Fr. John Geoghan published on January 6, 2002.
VOTF vice president Kris Ward wrote a prayer
News items: Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, 75, of
Detroit, Michigan, is the first U.S. bishop to disclose
that he was a victim of clergy sexual abuse. He is
also the first to endorse proposals in Ohio, Pennsylvania,
New York and other states to follow California's
example and open a one-year window for victims to
file lawsuits over sexual abuse, no matter how long
ago it took place, according to the Washington
Post. also see VOTF
Press Release: and Bishop Gumbleton's testimony.
VOTF Atlanta, Georgia – Betty
Clermont advises that Archbishop Wilton Gregory has
given permission to VOTF-Atlanta to meet on Church
property making this the second diocese to lift a
ban on VOTF meeting on Church property (Brooklyn,
NY was the first); also, note below a recent development
in the diocese of Camden, NJ.
Bob Kaintz of VOTF St. Louis reports on the
Christmas Eve Mass celebrated at St. Stanislaus Kostka
Church by an excommunicated priest. (See
Commentary – “Into the Light”.)
The Archdiocese of St. Louis, Missouri continues
to roil over the excommunication of a priest and
six board members of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church.
The Christmas Eve Mass celebrated by the new pastor
drew so many parishioners and supporters that another
parish building was needed to accommodate the nearly
2000 attendees. VOTF suggests you visit the following
sites for additional perspectives and greater understanding
of the issues that brought so much controversy to
Catholics in St. Louis.
- ARCC – James
Coriden, JCD, Academic Dean Emeritus at Washington
Theological Union, prepared for ARCC “The
Canonical Doctrine of Reception,” which
is a timely consideration of community as St.
situation, along with Our Lady Help of Christians
in Newton, Mass. and parish closings
continue to distort “communio.”
Louis archdiocesan web site provides text of
press releases, inclusive of the Jan.
6, 2006 “Decree of Suppression of St.
Stanislaus Kostka Parish”; Also
Burke’s Feb. 11, 2005 message regarding
the St. Louis
Dispatch for a chronology of the St.
story; and check your local library for perhaps
the best coverage of this story by Suzanne
the Dec. 20 issue of the Wall Street Journal;
some members of VOTF were interested in sending
a donation or message to St. Stan’s.
The postal address is St. Stanislaus Kostka
Church, P.O. Box
31667, St. Louis, MO 63131. Their web
on Our Lady Help of Christians, Newton, Mass. – Both
the parish pastoral and finance councils have published
their findings after studying the details of the
archdiocesan handling of Fr. Walter Cuenin’s
forced resignation. According to the reports,
in sum, the archdiocese had no grounds to
Cuenin. Go to www.ourladysfriends.com for
details or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sharon Harrington, VOTF Weymouth, Mass. in
Commentary – “Parish
Closings: The Right Way”
thaw in Boston? Archbishop Sean O’Malley
provided priests for Christmas services in
at least three
of six vigiling parishes; the archdiocese is
engaged in a new round of discussions with
of vigiling parishes. Read
VOTF Boston and elsewhere have taken no winter
break. Advocacy Day at the Boston, MA State
House on Jan. 10 to support legislation that will
protect children drew 300 to a rally, which was followed
by a press conference comprised of medical experts
who verified the particular dilemma for abuse victims
when faced with various statutes of limitation. To
keep up with Boston VOTF activities, email Dorothy
Kennedy for their one-page, twice-monthly newsletter
Also, a public forum site has been set up to post
the opinions of key players in moving these various
bills toward Mass. law. Go to www.thepeoplesforumonline.com and
let us know what you think at email@example.com.
- The Boston
Archdiocese has extended a financial settlement
proposal to a second wave of victims of sexual
abuse by clergy members, offering far smaller monetary
awards than the first settlement in 2003 and establishing
a more rigorous burden of proof for accusers. Read
- The Boston
Globe reported: “A bankruptcy
judge ruled [12/30] that the Archdiocese of Portland,
not its parishes, owns church assets, dealing
a major blow to its efforts to protect church
from lawsuits filed by alleged victims of
priest sex abuse. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Elizabeth
in a pair of opinions, ruled that church
property and real estate is under the control
of the archdiocese,
not its individual parishes, as attorneys
for the archdiocese had argued.”
wanted assurance on Abp. Levada’s deposition
scheduled for Jan. 9, 2006 to determine how
diocese handled priest sex abuse allegations
during his tenure there (1986–1995)
before transferring to the San Francisco diocese.
now heads the Congregation for the Doctrine
of the Faith in Rome. Read
more; for more on the same story, go to the Washington
Philadelphia, VOTF members and supporters gathered
at Cardinal Rigali’s chancery office in lieu
of a response to their 70-days old request to meet
with the Cardinal. See Dick Taylor’s “Epiphany
Vigil” in Commentary.
it” in one diocese – Springfield, Mass. The
diocese of Springfield, Mass. is among the many that
need to close parishes. Learning from the Boston,
Mass. debacle around the same decision, the Springfield
diocese is reaching out to its faith communities.
The Boston Globe reported, “Springfield church
officials are seeking input from parishioners and
lay Catholic leaders, as well as from those outside
the church, as they decide how to reorganize the
diocese. They are holding a Web chat to get the input
of parishioners from throughout the diocese, which
sprawls across the entire western part of the state.
And they are going to take their time when it comes
to shutting down parishes.” In the article,
VOTF Springfield spokesperson John Bowen was encouraged
saying, “I think they’ve learned from
Boston’s mistakes.” The article noted
that diocese plans will include a two-hour “online
chat, during which Catholics can question the Rev.
John Bonzagni, the official in charge of the reorganization.”
- And seeming to
get it in another diocese: Bishop Galante of the Camden,
NJ diocese has a new vision for the
laity in that diocese. According to the Inquirer
Penn.), the bishop said, “his ‘vision
for the future’ involves lay Catholics assuming
a more vigorous role in guiding their parishes.” Stay
tuned! For the full story, click
Fr. Tom Doyle says, “No religion or church offers anything to its members
or to civil society that can possibly justify any degree of deferential treatment
for the sexual, emotional and spiritual devastation of the young and the vulnerable.” See
Tom Doyle’s message in Commentary – “It’s Still About
In Ohio, SNAP has advised that the Judiciary Committee
hearing on SB 17 scheduled for the 12th of January
has been postponed. (The bill would extend the civil
statutes of limitation for victims of child sexual
abuse and create a window to allow for those who
previously couldn't bring a claim to have their day
in court. The bill passed unanimously in the Ohio
State Senate last year.)
and survivor supporters gathered in community
on Saturday in Dorchester, Mass. to share pizza and fellowship.
BishopAccountability.org, Speak Truth to Power, Coalition
to Reform Sex Abuse Laws, and People of Conscience were
among those who gathered. The Boston Globe reported, “While
group members were critical of the church, they said
that the friendships they made over the past four years
have been strong. ‘There are people who want to
change the law, change the practices of the bishop, but
we realize we need to change people's consciences . .
. by exposing the truth,’ Kellen [People of Conscience]
Convocation Implementation Team Progress Report
REMEMBER the July Convocation and the nine ideas
that were generated for prospective action in 2006?
Over the past few months, the Convocation
Implementation Team (CIT) has been receiving input from affiliates
around the country on the draft action plan for
Financial Accountability and the template for Legislative
Action. The plan reflects considerable grassroots
input and is broad-based with action recommendations
for the confident as well as the faint of heart.
All input is expected by January 13th. The CIT
will meet the weekend of January 21-22 to finalize
text for distribution to the National Representative
Council and officers for a final review. The CIT
anticipates releasing these documents in late January-early
Catholic Reporter: How fine
is the line between “manifestation
of conscience” and protecting children? NCR reports
on a remarkable consideration of confidentiality (or
is it?) in an abuse case.
The Jan 2-9 issue of America magazine includes
an excellent look at historicity in the Bible,
written by Richard Clifford, Weston Jesuit School of
Theology. The current issue includes an editorial that
is “singing our song” – “In the
Vineyard.” While it is not about this publication,
it is nevertheless about all of us. “The call to ‘lay
ecclesial ministry’ is a unique call within the
church, distinct from the more common ‘lay ministry’ that
all Catholics are to perform in the secular world, and
different from the volunteer work that many generous
Catholics offer the church. As the bishops note, this
ministry is clearly a ‘sign of the Holy Spirit’s
movement.’ That the hierarchy is taking this call
seriously, particularly during a time when collaborative
ministry between the ordained and the laity has become
indispensable in many parishes, schools, hospitals and
retreat houses, is a sign of health in the church.”
What inquiring minds might like to know about this
change of ecclesiastic heart is this – Is the “sign
of the Holy Spirit’s movement” recognized
among women and men alike? What do you think?
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Proposal: “A THINKING Church!” Response: “Not
in my back yard.” Read
the good news about Hans
Kung’s visit to Phoenix, AZ and Bishop Olmsted’s
difficulty with the thousands-fold gathering, which was
part of an interfaith outreach by Jesuit Alumni of Arizona
to promote what Kung has represented all of his life – a
thinking Church. .
Kung leads the Foundation for Global Ethics in his hometown
of Tubingen, Germany. The foundation works to identify
the commonalities in all religions and proposes using
them to foster peace.
The Arizona Republic covered the controversy over Kung’s
visit noting that Bishop Olmsted refused to permit an
ad for the event in diocesan newspapers and church bulletins.
He also refused the distribution of free admission tickets
offered to seniors in Catholic high schools.
Kung’s comments on “Declaration
of the Religions for a Global Ethic,” endorsed by the Parliament
of the World’s Religions in 1993.
Next issue of In the Vineyard: January 26