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“I assure you, wherever the good news is proclaimed throughout the world, what she did will be spoken of in memory of her.” Mt. 26:6-13. July 22 was the feast of Mary of Magdala, first witness to the Resurrection. See more in Commentary.

In this Issue:
National/Int’l News:

VOTF president Mary Pat Fox addressed SNAP’s national convention on July 22 and reaffirmed the VOTF commitment to survivors. In addition, see Mary Pat’s comments on VOTF’s time at the SNAP gathering in Commentary - “A Good Day with SNAP”.

The VOTF Campaign for Accountability pages are full of resources for your involvement in your own parish and diocese. Read here and let us know how things are going in your diocese.

  • VOTF’s first national action in our Campaign for Accountability was led by 12 affiliates in eight states (CA, CT, DC, FL, IL, MA, MD, and NY) on Pentecost Sunday. More than 200 VOTF members participated in groups from five to sixty people. Actions included processing to their parishes or cathedrals, wearing red and attending Mass as a group or dispersing among other congregants, singing and /or praying together in the church after Mass, handing out flyers about the campaign to interested parishioners, incorporating elements of the action into a previously planned presentation on laity in the church, and alerting local media with press releases. Two actions received press attention and no group met any resistance. Read two accounts of VOTF on Pentecost Sunday here.

The US Congress has taken a significant step toward the efforts of VOTF and others when the House joined the Senate in passing legislation for a convicted child molester data base. According to a July 26 Associated Press report in the New York Times: “The House passed and sent to President Bush legislation establishing a national Internet database designed to tell law enforcement and community officials where convicted sex offenders live and work.” For the full story, click here.

  • Transparency progress in the Boston Archdiocese was noted recently: “In recognition of the excellence of the Boston Transparency Project, the Leadership Roundtable awarded its inaugural Best Practices Award to the Archdiocese of Boston, MA, for producing the first ever consolidated report of the financial health of that Archdiocese.” Read more in Diocese/State Watch.
  • Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate offers a number of subscriptions to various publications that frequently provide perspectives on issues germane to VOTF’s campaigns. For example, the Spring 2006 issue has an article on the degree of importance that Mass-attending Catholics place on financial accountability. Read More
  • A significant change in Pennsylvania’s abuse laws, recommended by the scathing grand jury report on the Philadelphia archdiocese almost a year ago, has made it as far as the House, but appears to be stalled in committee. For the full story on the Times Leader web site, click here.
  • Office Note: VOTF says good-bye to Aimee. After two years of working with VOTF, Aimee Crevice Harriman will be leaving VOTF in her official capacity as Organizer, Trainer and Convocation Implementation Team member. She has accepted a position with Citizen Schools at Revere Middle School in her new home of Houston, Texas. There, she will be serving as the Campus Director of a dynamic after-school program targeting 100 underprivileged youth. Her last day with VOTF will be July 28th. Aimee led the Many Hearts Many Hands Parish Voice training and was integral in the evolution of the Campaign for Accountability and its implementation as the organization moves toward more coordinated, national actions and provides more tools for local actions to further meet our mission and goals. We thank Aimee for her dedication, creativity and enthusiasm and wish her all the best.

Diocese/State Watch: Bridgeport, CT – Ten years apart, two incidents of large sums of money disappearing from a parish demonstrate an important tale of two parishes; Santa Rosa, CA update – the response to the abuser priest that got away on Bishop Walsh’s watch is not dying down; Spokane, WA – settlement offer in abuse cases reduced by $10 million; Boston, MA SOL reform legislation still “hanging in there”; Toledo, OH parish closings not being taken lightly by parishioners; an update on retired Bishop Dupree (Springfield, MA) who had been out of the public eye since allegations of sexual abuse arose in 2004; Rome, Italy – Associated Press reports that the Vatican showed a $12.4 million surplus in 2005, its best in eight years; Portland, OR – the first US diocese to seek bankruptcy protection from sexual abuse claims, need not liquidate a trust fund to pay those claims.

What happens to a bishop who excommunicates an “uncooperative” parish and its new pastor? For Bishop Burke of St. Louis, MO, it means a seat on the Vatican’s highest court. Read more. The “Whispers in the Loggia” blog suggests that “Burke's appointment to the high court could be seen as a vindication for the canonical strategy he employed in the case of St Louis' St Stanislaus parish. In December, following the refusal of the parish's board of directors to acknowledge the archbishop's right of governance over the Polish ethnic parish, Burke excommunicated the five members of the board, as well as the priest the laypeople had hired to serve the parish.”

COMMENTARY: We are rich in affiliate Best Practices! To “change the Church,” we must know its “story” – This month’s AFFILIATE Best Practice I is part of that story: For the FOURTH consecutive year, VOTF North Shore, Lynn and Seacoast, MA affiliates are collaborating with the Dept. of Theology, Boston College to continue their “Faith Formation Program.” Read more in Commentary – “Affiliate Best Practice: Working With Our Faith”; Best Practice II goes to VOTF St. Joseph’s, Ellsworth, ME as they launch a series of discussions about women in the Church. They will use texts of then-Cardinal Ratzinger and Hans Kung. See more in Commentary – “Women in the Church: Then and Now.” Also in Commentary, the Catholics Speak Out initiative just under way – the Report Card project. Read “Honoring Mary of Magdala”; and VOTF president Mary Pat Fox comments on SNAP’s national convention, held last weekend in New Jersey. See “A Good Day with SNAP”

SAVE THESE DATES for the 2007 VOTF National Convention: October 19-21, 2007. Details in the works!

Letters to editor: responses to Tom Groome’s 2002 question put to VOTF; “What do you MEAN ‘change’ the Church?!”

Book Reviews: Susan Troy, VOTF Boston, MA on A Voice of Their Own: The Authority of the Local Parish by William Clark A. Clark, S.J., Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota; Catherine McKeen, VOTF Long Island, NY on Church Ethics and Its Organizational Context: Learning from the Sex Abuse Scandal in the Catholic Church,edited by Jean M. Bartunek, Mary Ann Hinsdale, and James F. Keenan.

QUOTE for our time: “Human dignity can be realized and protected only in community.” from Economic Justice for All: Pastoral Letter on Catholic Social Teaching and the U.S. Economy, U. S. Catholic Bishops, 1986

The next issue of In the Vineyard will be August 24

In the Vineyard
July 27, 2006
Volume 5, Issue 14
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Page One

Diocese/State Watch

Letters to the Editor -


Structural Change Working Group

Voice of Renewal/Lay Education

Prayerful Voice

Goal 2 - Priest Support




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