Please send comments and inquiries to

“Our church needs you and needs the kind of pressures you can bring to bear to help bring about change…" Bishop Thomas Gumbleton speaking to Voice of the Faithful at Holy Trinity, Washington DC.

The talk delivered by VOTF Priest of Integrity Award recipient Bishop Thomas Gumbleton at the VOTF at Holy Trinity gathering echoes the lessons of the past five years.Full story at National Catholic Reporter (subscription required). 

DIOCESE/State Watch:
Maryland supporters of Senate Bill 575 fought the good fight against the considerable efforts of the Maryland Catholic Conference and lost. If passed, the bill would have provided for a window of 1 year for all victims to apply for civil damages, with a cap of $250,000. A VOTF supporter said that justice for victims was the primary objective but such a law would also “be a deterrent to future acts of abuse because organizations like the Church will know they will be held financially accountable for protecting abusive priests.”

New York NY: VOTF New York issued a call to Cardinal Egan to reconsider parish closings and to engage in open dialogue. Read the full text of the letter.


Los Angeles CA: This week’s story in the Los Angeles Times raises another question about truth-telling in the LA archdiocese. “Documents newly filed in the Caffoe civil case provide the first glimpse into confidential priest files that Mahony sought for four years to keep sealed in the midst of a sexual abuse scandal that engulfed the archdiocese. He eventually took the secrecy fight to the U.S. Supreme Court.” Read more.

San Diego CA: “An attorney for the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego said last week that the diocese's recent bankruptcy filing will not scuttle longtime plans to build a Catholic high school in North County.” Read more.

Follow-up to Davenport IO bankruptcy filing: The Des Moines Register reports: “A federal bankruptcy judge set a July 16 deadline for people to file claims of sexual abuse by priests against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport. The diocese, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last fall, is selling some of its property to settle the claims.” Read more.

New Hampshire: The Concord Monitor reports that the Attorney General will release the annual audit of the Manchester diocese next month. The story notes that new allegations were made during the past audit year. Read more.

Washington DC: The Washington Post reports: “The D.C. Council would abolish the statute of limitations for filing criminal and civil cases that involve sexual abuse against children under a bill proposed yesterday by council member Marion Barry.” Read more.

Sean O’Conaill of VOTF Ireland reports that the affiliate has sent a message “to the Irish state inquiry into clerical child sexual abuse in the archdiocese of Dublin. This is due to report in October.” The text of the VOTF Ireland message refers to the role played by clericalism in the origins and mishandling of abuse, and the likely roles of clericalism in weakening child protection measures and in preventing healing. The full text is available the VOTF Ireland website.

NATIONAL/International News

See the National Representative Council update on recent proposals; the VOTF Board of Trustees reports a change in leadership.

The VOTF National Office Search: Job descriptions for the positions of Executive Director, Comptroller and Office Manager are here.

Of VOTF National interest: “Five years after revelations of widespread sex abuse and cover-up rocked the Catholic Church, Austin Bishop Gregory Aymond will report on the church's progress and challenges Tuesday at Georgetown University in Washington. Aymond leads the Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and has become known for his progressive approach to weeding out problem priests, observers say.” Read more. VOTF representatives attended the talk and will provide a report in the next Vineyard.

SITE-Seeing, Etc.

A priest is “Notified”: Fr. Jon Sobrino’s writings (Fr. Sobrino is the well-known advocate in Latin America of liberation theology) are under scrutiny by the Vatican.

Speaking of the lay voice, here’s an opportunity at Boston College on Sat. March 24: “Blasphemy, Free Speech and Journalistic Ethics” will be held on campus (Higgins Hall, Room 300). Additional information can be found on the BC website.

  • Also at BC, the IREPM (Institute of Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry) program is ready for Spring ‘07. Read more.

Joan Chittister says, “When it's about women, you've gone too far” in a National Catholic Reporter Conversation Café commentary.

If you're in the neighborhood or if you know someone in the Washington DC area, SNAP Philadelphia has something for everyone to do on April 14. "Join over 1,000 others at the 4th Annual International Race to Stop the Silence: Stop Child Sexual Abuse 10K Race, 2.25 mile Walk (so you don’t have to be in tip-top shape to show your support and help raise funds), and 1K Kids' Fun Run (after the Race and Walk) at 8:00 am Saturday, April 14, 2007 in West Potomac Park, Washington DC." For information, write to

A mini-review from VOTF secretary Gaile Pohlhaus: The Rights of Catholics in the Church by James Coriden is a new release from Paulist Press (2007). “Like Gaul it is divided into three parts: An Overview, The Rights of Catholics in the Church, and Limitations On and Defense of Rights in the Church. There is an index, suggested further readings, and it is about 145 pages in length. While it makes for an excellent reference tool, its true value lies in its clarity, case studies, and explanations. This book should be must reading for all involved in Church renewal.”

According to VOTF member, author Jason Berry believes that “American Catholics who want the Vatican to adopt reforms won’t be effective until they find an ear in Rome, says an investigative writer whose books about clergy sexual abuse were a factor in Pope Benedict XVI’s removal last May of the founder of the Legion of Christ.” Read more.

Lent Reflection – from VOTF members Stan and Eileen Doherty

QUOTE for our time: “On Jesuit college and university campuses, the anniversaries remind us of the men and women who tried to be voices for the voiceless and power for the powerless. We are reminded of what a twelve-year-old girl said at the funeral of the Jesuits and their co-workers: ‘Don't cry for them; imitate them.’” On the 1989 murder of six Jesuits, among whom the recently “notified” Fr. Jon Sorbino worked. Read more.

In the Vineyard
March 22, 2007
Volume 6, Issue 6
Printer Friendly Version (PDF)

Page One

NRC Update

VOTF Board of Trustees

Lent Reflection – from VOTF members Stan and Eileen Doherty

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.

VOTF relies solely on the contributions of people like you to support its work.

©Voice of the Faithful 2007.All Rights Reserved