Please send comments and inquiries to

“Anger is the beginning of courage.” St. Augustine, Fourth Century
“Charity does really heal. Perfect charity heals perfectly.” Richard Sipe, 2004

Balancing the two thoughts above isn’t easy, but the two have come to rest, it seems, on the fulcrum of justice and accountability. Our July 2005 Indianapolis “assignment” for Accountability Now is nearing its kickoff date; plans for VOTF’s Campaign for Accountability are spelled out by VOTF president Jim Post in Commentary’s “On Our Watch.” Also in Commentary is a re-iteration of VOTF’s support for anonymity protection for survivors following mis-information circulated recently. Read on and please let us know your thoughts at

VOTF Officer ELECTIONS for 2006-8: Voting Feb. 7-22

Q: How many times in your Catholic faith life have you been asked for a vote on a course of action?

A: Never.

NEWS: Not any more. VOTF officer elections are upon us and your vote will determine our future course as a Catholic faith movement committed to the Catholic Church. To vote, you must be a member of VOTF. If you have never registered, you can do so by going to As earlier communicated to members, if you are not sure if the VOTF database has your current email address (e.g., you did not receive the Jan. 6 notice to all members about the elections process), send your email address with your name and full mailing address no later than January 31 to For general Election News and details, go to LETTER. Voting will take place electronically only.

Important Dates:
February 1: VOTF members will receive an email that will provide a link to Election details: the names of all nominees and the nominees on the official ballot, including their personal statements and list of Officer duties.
February 7: VOTF members will receive an email from Campus Vote providing a link to the official ballot and instructions on how to vote.
February 7-22: Members will be able to vote in accordance with the instructions issued by Campus Vote.
February 28: By this date, VOTF will announce the winners of the election.

Anyone who has questions or concerns about the elections process or procedures leading up to and during the voting period can contact affiliate leaders; Executive Director Ray Joyce (617.558.5252) at, or email Bill Casey, chair of the Elections Committee at

Your voices constitute a collective prayer for healing our Church.

*****BREAKING NEWS in the Boston Archdiocese provides a lesson for concerned Catholics everywhere: The long and ardent battle on behalf of Senate Bill 1074, which would move churches toward the same transparency and accountability in place for other charities, is facing strong opposition as the State House of Representatives took up the bill for debate on January 25. See “Anatomy of a Setback: Accountability Denied?”

*****New Vatican document available: Encyclical Letter Deus Caritas Est of The Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI to the Bishops Priests and Deacons Men and Women Religious and All the Lay Faithful on Christian Love. The full text is available here.

PARISH Lessons
On Parish Closings: Appeals Denied by Vatican but Step 2 is in progress: The Associated Press reports “Word that the Vatican had denied the appeals of St. Jeremiah and nine other parishes closed by the Boston Archdiocese didn't discourage the 50 faithful who gathered Saturday night for a regular prayer service at the church in suburban Framingham.” Parishioners said they expected the denial and would now petition the Church’s equivalent of the Supreme Court, the Apostolic Signatura, where “doomed parishes have won reprieves in the past.” The affected parishes are Our Lady of Lourdes in Revere; Infant Jesus-St. Lawrence in Brookline; St. Frances Xavier Cabrini in Scituate; St. James the Great in Wellesley; St. Augustine in South Boston; Star of the Sea in Quincy; Our Lady of Mercy in Belmont; Sacred Heart in Natick; St. Jeremiah in Framingham; and St. Anselm in Sudbury.

On Priest Shortages: Parishioners of St. Andrew the Apostle Church (Worcester, Mass.) learned over the weekend that their pastor is being reassigned and Bishop Robert J. McManus will not send another priest to serve the parish. The story was covered in the 1/12 issue of the Telegram & Gazette at Read VOTF member Dan Dick’s comments in Letters to the Editor. Let us know what you think at


  • As noted in the 1/12 Vineyard and worth repeating: 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. Stan’s situation, along with Our Lady Help of Christians in Newton, Mass., parish closings and priest ousters and re-assignments continue to distort “communio.”
  • REQUIRED READING: “Why Ensuring Accountability for Clergy Sexual Abuse of Children Has Proved So Difficult, Even Though It Remains So Crucial” by Marci A. Hamilton, Paul R. Verkuil Chair in Public Law at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University. Click here. An archive of Hamilton’s columns on the legal aspects of clergy abuse can be found on the FindLaw web site.
  • The USCCB web site has an updated lay ministry page inclusive of a link to “Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord” (pdf) and a lay ministry newsletter.
  • SNAP’s web site is noting a painful repeat of abuse accusations against a much-loved priest in Chicago as reported in the Chicago Sun Times.Note what’s new at Over 7,000 articles about the crisis: January-June 2003, July-December 2003, January-June 2004, July-December 2004, January-June 2005, and July-December 2005.
  • Following Bishop Gumbleton’s recent statement on his own clergy sexual abuse experience, readers inquired as to how they might contact the Bishop. Bishop Gumbleton’s email is; also note the New York Times editorial of Jan. 18, “A Path to Justice,” which noted the Bishop’s lone stand.
  • Denied access to the Vatican’s “Secret Archives”? Those archives are now open and accessible through the Internet. Take a virtual tour of the archives after choosing your language on the Vatican’s web site.
  • You don’t have to LIVE in the Boston area to LEARN in the Boston area. Boston College’s online program of courses is up and running.


  • Again in the lead, the Jan. 20 issue of National Catholic Reporter hones in on the core issues of our time as Catholics. Read their current editorial, “As calendar turns, crisis remains.” The column begins with a quote from the “Bennett Report” on the “Crisis in the Catholic Church in the United States,” February 2004. “The church cannot and should not hide behind its lawyers or the law blindly and in all circumstances.”
  • US Catholic Feb. ’06 “Leading ladies of the early church” is a brief overview of the women who equaled the men in the building of the early Christian community.
  • The Catholic Common Ground Initiative, inaugurated by the late Cardinal Bernardin, publishes through the National Pastoral Life Center (NPLC) an excellent quarterly “Initiative Report” that recaps the work of the Initiative in fostering dialogue. The current issue includes an essay by retired Auxiliary Bishop of Brooklyn, NY and current member of NPLC Board of Directors Joseph M. Sullivan. “Bishops and Laity Need to Talk To One Another.” The message is timeless and worth reading. Go to (pdf) for the full text.
  • St. Anthony Messenger’s February issue features Fr. Donald Cozzens on “How to Build a Better Church.
  • In the Vineyard is published twice monthly. If you’ve missed any of our nearly fifty issues, you can catch up by visiting the Vineyard Archives accessed on our web site. If you or someone you know would like to receive this free service, send your email address to

QUOTE for our time: “Bishop Gumbleton's colleagues shudder at having to pay for the sins of dead priests. But it would be easier to sympathize with their predicament if they had acted more uniformly and assertively to comfort and compensate the abused. More than three years after the American bishops resolved to set things right, that goal has not been met. Many dioceses have been less than enthusiastic in urging the victims to come forward, and some still rebuff such complaints. As Bishop Gumbleton pointed out, the continued existence of many hidden abusers and silent victims demands further action.” New York Times editorial, Jan. 18, 2006.

In the Vineyard
January 26, 2006
Volume 5, Issue 2
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