Please send comments and inquiries to

“If the unfinished business of the sexual abuse crisis in Roman Catholicism had to be expressed in one word, a theologian and a canon lawyer agreed today, it would be ‘accountability.’” From National Catholic Reporter coverage of Catholic Theological Society of America meeting.


Good news in Delaware: A landmark win for protecting children in Delaware arrived as the state senate passed SB 29 unanimously. See DIOCESE/State Watch below.

Survivor Community Notes: It’s not too late to attend/support SNAP’s annual convention. Go to for details. [Also, see what a few seconds and a few clicks can do for survivors – Ohio SNAP leader and VOTF member Claudia Vercellotti shares an idea in Survivor Community News in this issue.]

SAVE THE DATE: The 2007 VOTF convention, “Disciples in Action,” October 19-21 in Providence RI. Watch the July issues of In the Vineyard for program, speakers and registration information.

Read the recent VOTF letter to US bishops and the Summer/Fall action plans from the 2005 Convocation Implementation Team.

VOTF president Mary Pat Fox’s statement to membership on the Sunday June 24 New York Times coverage of the VOTF call for ecclesial review of mandatory celibacy. [Subscribers can access the NYT text here; the text is also available here.

What can VOTF learn from the Catholic Worker Movement? See VOTF Cleveland Jack Rakosky’s Book Review in this issue.

  • Want a jump start on summer reading AND a short course on the Catholic intellectual tradition? You can do no better than the excellent current issue of Resources – the Boston College Church in the 21st Century Center’s publication. See more in Summer Reading suggestions.

Literally, VOTF was “at the table” on June 9 for the Fordham University conference on “Leadership in the U.S. Catholic Church”. Voice of the Faithful was the only reform group represented on the dais with two places on the agenda: VOTF president Mary Pat Fox participated in a panel on the clergy sex abuse crisis alongside the researchers conducting the “Causes and Context” study; David O’Brien, VOTF Trustee and Loyola Professor of Roman Catholic Studies at the College of the Holy Cross, was a panelist on “New Movements”. Click here to read Mary Pat’s talk; also read another take on the conference from Fr. Paul Berube, “Discoveries in the Bronx,” in Commentary.

DIOCESE/State Watch

Good news in Delaware: A landmark win for protecting children in Delaware arrived as the state senate passed SB 29 unanimously. See the joint VOTF Delaware and National statement and the details of this success story at

  • Also note the VOTF resolution for the “reform of laws to strengthen the protection of children from sexual abuse” at the VOTF web site; NRC Representative Bob Schwiderski adds, “The VOTF affiliates in Minnesota also have a legislative initiative for protecting our children in support of HF 1239 and SF 1096 addressing sexual abuse recovery and prevention.”
  • As reported in an earlier issue, the USCCB National Review Board has a new chair: "Judge Michael R. Merz, of Dayton, Ohio, has been named chair of the National Review Board (NRB) by Bishop William S. Skylstad, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Merz's appointment became effective June 1. He succeeds Patricia O'Donnell Ewers, Ph.D. as chair. He was named an NRB member in 2004. For details click here.

DIOCESE/State Watch inside: Portland OR archdiocesan release of previously unavailable documents relating to clergy abuse of children; abuse charges against a New Jersey priest cleared by the Vatican; the Los Angeles diocese ordered to release documents; the Cleveland OH diocese ordered by a federal judge to release documents; VOTF Long Island NY saddened by allegations against a priest whose support was singular and valued in the Rockville Centre diocese; a retired Vermont priest testifies to the longtime diocesan policy of protecting pedophile priests from prosecution and protecting itself from lawsuits; VOTF Chicagoland press release on principal’s termination.

Reminder: The Vineyard will be covered for the months of July and August by VOTF vice-president Sally Vance-Trembath. Until September, please send your comments, inquiries and concerns to Sally at Happy Summer ’07 to all! PLT

For subscribers to National Catholic Reporter: The Catholic Theological Society of America (CTSA) has picked up their own drive for financial accountability among our bishops but its outgoing president warns against CTSA’s public criticism of Vatican and bishops John Allen provides comprehensive coverage of the CTSA meeting.

Thought-provoking commentary in Newsweek magazine by Marcus Borg: " Without questioning, faith is idolatrous. Just as patriotism without questioning risks becoming idolatrous nationalism, so faith without questioning risks becoming idolatrous religion. To explain: when faith is defined as unquestioning acceptance of 'tenets or traditions,' whether drawn from the Bible or doctrine or both, then the object of faith is no longer God, but the tenets and traditions themselves. Something other than God has been given an absolute status - which is what makes it idolatrous."

Book Review - Cleveland VOTF’s Jack Rakosky reviews Mark and Louise Zwick’s book The Catholic Worker Movement: Intellectual and Spiritual Origins Paulist Press, New York/Mahwah, New Jersey, 2005.

QUOTE for our time: “Tradition is the record of a community’s conversation over time about its meaning and direction. A living tradition is a tradition that can raise questions about itself.” Margaret Steinfels, as noted in Resources, Spring 2007.

In the Vineyard
June 28, 2007
Volume 6, Issue 12
Printer Friendly Version (PDF)

Page One

VOTF president Mary Pat Fox’s Letter to Members on the Sunday June 24 New York Times coverage of VOTF.

Survivor Community News

DIOCESE/State Watch



Book Review

Summer Reading Suggestions

Office Note: Looking for meaningful volunteer work? The VOTF National office can help! We have a menu of opportunities. Please call Millie Seaborn at 617-558-5252 or email at

Structural Change Working Group

Voice of Renewal/Lay Education

Prayerful Voice

Goal 2 - Priest Support

Protecting Our Children



Contact Us 



For an overview of press coverage of VOTF, click here.

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