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NATIONAL News and Notes

Your invitation has arrived! Our VOTF “Disciples in Action” Convention 2007, October 19-21 in Providence RI is unfolding and our Convention-dedicated page is ready for its close-up! VOTF president Mary Pat Fox says, “‘Disciples in Action’ will be a time of sharing, collaborating, and celebrating as we move forward engaged in action to rebuild our Church.”

  • See your invitation here.
  • Please start thinking about the priests and lay people whose ministries you value. National VOTF is gathering nominations for the 2007 Catherine of Siena Distinguished Lay Person Award and the 2007 Priest of Integrity Award. Both awards will be presented at the convention. Some background, templates, criteria and contact information for these awards are on the 2007 Convention page.
  • Watch for upcoming details on workshops, keynote speakers and everything else you will need to be a “disciple in action.”

REMINDER: SNAP’s annual convention, Washington DC, July 20-22. For details, click here.

Long Island NY Regional Conference June 14, 2007: “Electing Bishops – How the Catholic Church Should Choose Its Leaders” with Joseph O’Callaghan of VOTF Bridgeport CT (Joe’s new book is now available in book stores, at, and at Look for Electing our Bishops: How the Catholic Church Should Choose its Leaders. Joe is past president of VOTF Bridgeport CT, professor emeritus of Medieval History at Fordham University, former Director of the Center for Medieval Studies at Fordham, and past president of the American Catholic Historical Association. For additional information about the conference, click here.

Worth Noting:
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). Read more.

VOTF Campaign for Accountability: The Campaign that grew out of the 2005 Indianapolis leadership convocation continues to work its way toward greater protection for children in state legislatures; and financial accountability in our parishes and dioceses. Be sure to check in on updates and new actions planned around this two-part Accountability initiative.

Congratulations to Fr. Tom Doyle, A.W.R. Sipe and Patrick J. Wall! Sex, Priests and Secret Codes has won first prize, the Gold Award, from the Independent Publishers Book Awards. The winners of the 11th Annual IPPY Awards (Independent Publishers Book Awards) competed against 3,378 titles of national and regional entries combined. Silver and Bronze awards went to Searching for Mary Magdalene by Jane Lahr (Welcome Books) and A Republic of Mind and Spirit, by Catherine L. Albanese (Yale University Press).

AND congratulations to VOTF secretary Gaile Pohlhaus! Dr. Gaile Pohlhaus received the Presidential Award for Service from the College Theology Society. Dr. Anne Clifford of Duquesne University presented the award at the annual convention held at the University of Dayton. Dr. Pohlhaus has been an active member of the society over the past three decades. Among her contributions were helping to establish the Women's Caucus, establishing a convention session on marriage, and designing and administrating the pre-convention teaching workshops for over ten years.

EDITOR’s note: For the first time in five years, I am tearing myself away from this “vineyard” for the months of July and August. In the Vineyard will be covered by VOTF National vice president Sally Vance-Trembath, alongside our long-serving web consultant Eileen Powers. Following the June 28 issue of the Vineyard and until September, please direct your inquiries, comments, and concerns to Sally at I wish all of our readers a summer rich in community and reflection (my own Summer ’07 ambition!) and I wish Sally the same rewarding experience I have known from editing these pages. Peggie Thorp

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

DIOCESE/State Watch: See updates on the Darien CT parish experience with the high-living Fr. Fay; Boston Archdiocese administrative offices moving to suburbs (see VOTF Boston press statement here); VOTF Bridgeport CT contribution makes news; VOTF St. Louis supports new archdiocesan wellness program for priests; Los Angeles CA judge notes misrepresentation by Cardinal Mahoney; VOTF Greater Hartford and Farmington Valley met recently with their bishop; good-news update from Delaware.

Rockville Centre NY diocese found negligent: “A jury found the nation’s sixth-largest Roman Catholic diocese and a church parish negligent yesterday in a case involving a youth minister who repeatedly raped and sodomized teenagers in his care.” See Associated Press coverage and New York Times coverage is available. Also see

Cleveland OH: “Fourteen Catholic priests accused of sexually abusing minors remain in administrative limbo more than five years after some of them were suspended by the Cleveland Catholic Diocese.” See the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

  • Also in Ohio, the Enquirer notes, “Victim advocates blasted the Archdiocese of Cincinnati on Monday for failing to notify parishioners about a national ‘clergy alert’ involving two priests accused of abusing children.” Read more.
  • Note VOTF Ohio members’ published letters under SITE-Seeing, Etc.

SITE-Seeing, Etc.
VOTF Council Representative Bob Schwiderski found a link for Prevent Child Abuse America and a cost analysis on their web site.

A broad coalition of Catholic Church justice organizations has completed a Report Card initiative on the status of women in the Catholic Church. The report card indicates more than one A. Read more.

Another faith’s response to sexual abuse in their community has drawn considerable attention and praise. To read the letter written to Baltimore’s Orthodox Community on April 11 from the Vaad Harabbonim, the Rabbinical Council of Greater Baltimore, click here. The letter appeared in the Baltimore Jewish Times.

The Catholic Book Club newsletter, part of America magazine, is an e-announcement that recommends a book a month. To sign up, click here.

A recent poll finds many Catholics unaware of church steps to prevent abuse. Read more.

An excerpt from a letter written by Tom O’Brien of VOTF SW Florida is worth reading in full.

  • VOTF members (W. Litzler of St. Christopher’s and L. Shenk of Cleveland/Akron) had letters published on with regard to due process for priests and victims of clergy sexual abuse. Read more.

Thinking Fall? Boston College is: See where you might fit in this summer or Fall.


In the Vineyard
June 7, 2007
Volume 6, Issue 11
Printer Friendly Version (PDF)

Page One


DIOCESE/State Watch


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

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