Please send comments and inquiries to

“The very fact that our ancestors in the faith found the need to include four versions of the same life embodies our faith’s testament to the collective wisdom of the faithful, of the wisdom found in a variety of views, of the wisdom of the divergent and collective. What an amazing solace this should be to each of us. God reveals God’s self to us in all of history, in all of our current lives lived.” Susan Troy,Voice, July 2002

Four years ago this month, on July 20, VOTF made its “stage debut” at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, MA. On that bright, clear Saturday, one of our speakers, Prof. Tom Groome of Boston College, asked rhetorically, “What do you MEAN ‘change the Church’?!” VOTF continues to work toward meaningful reforms in our Church; as ever, we welcome thoughts on your own vision for “changing the Church” – write to

In this Issue:

How will we ever “change the Church”? VOTF chose a path at our leadership convocation in July 2005 – to move the Church toward accountability now. See where the campaign is at (50 affiliates already!) and consider all the tools available for your own involvement, including the newest addition: Campaign Resources Detailing Legislation throughout the US: State by State Guide for Statute of Limitations on Sexual Abuse (PDF); Recent Statute of Limitations Legislative Activity (PDF); and Delaying Statute of Limitations until discovery (PDF).

ANOTHER WAY to help our Church is to SAVE THESE DATES: October 19-21, 2007 for VOTF's third national convention. Details will follow on our web site and in this publication. Meanwhile, mark your 2007 calendar! [Catching up? The first VOTF convention on July 20, 2002 was titled “Response of the Faithful”; to read more about that day (and access tapes of various speakers and panels at the 2002 convention and the 2005 convocation), go to the VOTF website and click on VOTF conferences on the left-side navigation bar. The pull-down menu will do the rest.]

Be informed: A recent e-conversation among VOTF members resurrected some valuable information from the VOTF Structural Change Working Group. Did you know that until 1983 there was no stipulation that a cardinal had to be ordained? See what else you might be missing – visit the SCWG page on our website; NEW! Protecting Our Children is part of our Accountability Campaign. Visit’s new database of accused priests. Visitors to the site can view by name, diocese and state.

Be involved: National SNAP’s annual conference July 21-23 will feature voices of some of the most long-serving and ardent of survivor supporters: Jason Berry, Tom Doyle, Paul Baier, Tom Gumbleton, Richard Sipe and keynoter Marci Hamilton. VOTF secretary Gaile Pohlhaus is attending with VOTF president Mary Pat Fox who will address the gathering. For more details, click here.

National VOTF approved new by-laws on June 12, 2006, click here (PDF Format); VOTF National Representative Council (NRC) June 2-4, 2006 Chicago meeting minutes are posted here, including an SOL (statutes of limitations) report delivered by Frank Douglas, Region 13.

DIOCESE/State Watch: When the diocese of Santa Rosa, CA dawdled long enough over the case of admitted child abuser Fr. Ochoa so that he fled the state, Catholics again asked the same question raised in Chicago over Cardinal George’s failure to protect children from an accused priest, What will it take? VOTF North Bay responded in a letter to which you can add your name; protecting children is a little closer to reality in the St. Petersburg, FL diocese; Burlington, VT diocese seeks a judge’s recusal in upcoming abuse trial; the New York Times coverage of Fr. Fay’s life as a pastor in the Bridgeport, CT diocese is a portrait of negligence; Toledo, OH parishioners suing their diocese for control of parish assets; VOTF Greater Cincinnati will meet July 19 with Bishop Pilarczyk; update from Brooklyn, NY on the VOTF trip to the state legislature in Albany.

What do you think? A long way to go, no easy solutions and the threat of bankruptcy – that’s what Milwaukee Catholics heard from Archbishop Dolan. Catholic Online reports that the archbishop is worried about the outcome of pending decisions on 10 child sex abuse civil suits in California. The question of justice for so many lives ruined is being pitted against the risk of bankruptcy in some parishes. Independent of the cost to parishes and dioceses of righting such horrific wrongs, financial mismanagement and/or secrecy in parishes and dioceses has long threatened Church operations (the case of Fr. Fay, Darien, CT – updated in Diocese/State Watch – is only one example). Thoughts? Write to

Book Notes: An overview of The Democracy of God: An American Catholicism by Robert Willis; Commentary: What Commitment Looks Like– on Boston Area VOTF and Understanding ‘Accountability in Santa Rosa, CA” – Carolyn Disco; Letter to the editor – a comment on Gaile Pohlhaus’s experience in Los Angeles (see the June 22 Vineyard for “Banging a Drum in LA”): SITE-Seeing, Etc.: Boston College on the cutting edge – again – with a graduate program in Church management, NCR comment on USCCB’s approval of liturgy changes, and much more.

QUOTE for our time: “As you stand in the valley, take a good look. A mountain is about to rise beneath your feet.” A monk writing to VOTF in 2002 and published in our first hardcopy publication Voice, July 2002

Next issue of In the Vineyard: July 27.


In the Vineyard
July 13, 2006
Volume 5, Issue 13
Printer Friendly Version (PDF)

Page One

Diocese/State Watch

SITE-Seeing, Etc.

Letter to the Editor -
a comment on Gaile Pohlhaus’s experience in Los Angeles


Book Notes: An overview of The Democracy of God: An American Catholicism by Robert Willis

Structural Change Working Group

Voice of Renewal/Lay Education

Prayerful Voice

Goal 2 - Priest Support




Contact Us 



For an overview of press coverage of VOTF, click here.
©Voice of the Faithful 2006.All Rights Reserved