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"We urge other parishes to consider this new model of Spirit-driven dialogue… We expect Archdiocesan leadership to hear us today and to provide channels for lasting communication and genuine collaboration. Today, we raise our voices to claim our place at the table. We are the Church…" Voice of the Faithful statement at the Archdiocesan Convocation held by Cardinal Law in Boston MA on March 9, 2002


Five years ago tomorrow, VOTF made its archdiocesan "debut" at the Boston archdiocesan convocation called by Cardinal Law. Read the VOTF statement of March 9, 2002.

Bishop Thomas Gumbleton was awarded a VOTF Priest of Integrity Award in Washington DC at an event hosted by VOTF at Holy Trinity. VOTF president Mary Pat Fox presented the award – read Mary Pat’s remarks here.

Most VOTF regions have received the Priest Support Working Group proposal; read the proposal text at NRC Update. (Do you know what VOTF region your state is in and your representative? If not, click here.)

VOTF issued a press release on the San Diego archdiocese’s decision to file for bankruptcy.

The VOTF Protecting Our Children working group has distributed the "Protection of Children National Parish Survey" to at least one parish in each of the 194 dioceses and eparchies in the United States. Click here to take the survey.

SAVE the Date for the VOTF 2007 Convention – The theme: Discipleship in Action. The date: October 19-20, 2007. The location: Rhode Island Convention Center, Providence RI. Decisions on workshops/panels, speakers, keynoters, etc. are nearing finalization. Shortly, the VOTF website will have a convention-dedicated page that will keep all of us “on the same page” as details and plans emerge. See the Convention Team’s “heads up” message in this issue at VOTF Convention 2007. NOTE: Even our far-flung National Representative Council will be meeting that weekend in Providence, providing attendees with another opportunity to see “discipleship in action.”

DIOCESE/State Watch:

San Diego CA: Attorney Marci Hamilton asks just what is so complicated about accountability. “On Sunday, February 18, Roman Catholic Bishop Robert Brom distributed leaflets to the San Diego faithful in the pews. In the leaflets, he tried to make the case that the San Diego Diocese could be forced into Chapter 11 bankruptcy because of the 143 consolidated clergy abuse cases against the diocese for the hierarchy’s role in the cover up of child abuse. . The leaflets tried to cloud the simple issue that the plaintiffs’ suits really raise – whether the Diocese and its hierarchy will take responsibility for their wrongs to children.” For the full text, click here. Also note the following:

  • editorial noted, “… it is not cynical but painfully honest to assume that the bankruptcy warning is more of a legal and public relations tactic than anything else.”
  • reports: “After four years of legal wrangling in the clergy-abuse scandal, attorneys for Bishop Robert Brom filed for Chapter 11 protection last night, making San Diego the largest Roman Catholic diocese in the nation to declare bankruptcy.”
  • - Calif. Diocese Plans Bankruptcy Filing
  • Read the VOTF statement.
  • See Dr. Mary Gail Frawley-O’Dea’s take on the San Diego filing here. In part, O’Dea said, “Bishop Brom's bankruptcy does not seem to fit the pastoral bill.”

Additional diocesan/state news from Cleveland OH; Chicago IL; Bridgeport CT and Louisville KY is inside at DIOCESE/State Watch.

AFFILIATE Highlight: Cleveland OH where William Clark, SJ and VOTF Cleveland OH talked about the authority of the local parish. Fr. Clark’s book A Voice of Their Own: The Authority of the Local Parish was published in 2005 and is available at

SITE-Seeing, Etc.

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Need a break? A film to remember is coming to the Boston Area: “Into Great Silence” will open at the Kendall Square Cinema, Cambridge MA on March 16. The film is set in the French Alps at the Grande Chartreuse, considered one of the world’s most ascetic monasteries. “In 1984, German filmmaker Philip Gröning wrote to the Carthusian order for permission to make a documentary about them. They said they would get back to him. Sixteen years later, they were ready. Gröning, sans crew or artificial lighting, lived in the monks’ quarters for six months—filming their daily prayers, tasks, rituals and rare outdoor excursions…. More meditation than documentary, it’s a rare, transformative theatrical experience for all.” The New York Times reviewer A. O. Scott said, “I hesitate, given the early date and the project’s modesty, to call ‘Into Great Silence’ one of the best films of the year. I prefer to think of it as the antidote to all of the others.” To read more about the film, watch the trailer, and check show times, go to and For group sale information, contact Howie Sandler at 617-621-1202.

For an overview of US parishes struggling with embezzlement and other financial challenges, Frank Douglas (VOTF representative, Region 8) suggests a visit to Joe McMahon’s website.

Sharon Daly received the 2006 U.S. Catholic Award for Furthering the Cause of Women in the Church. The former Vice President of Social Policy for Catholic Charities USA and previous director of domestic social policy for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) received the 2006 U.S. Catholic Award for Furthering the Cause of Women on February 13, 2007 during the USCCB Social Ministry Gathering in Washington. Read more.

Protecting Our Children – the tragedy of Roman Catholic sexual abuse of children by clergy has had the good effect of consciousness-raising among non-Catholic denominations. SNAP is looking at the Southern Baptist record. See (NC) site

The Advocate (CT) reports on how one parish regards young females: “Although most area Catholic churches follow the modern practice of using altar girls, a Norwalk parish recently reverted to a traditional boys-only policy and started a program for girls teaching them to sew, cook and arrange flowers for the altar.” For this February 2007 story, click here.

QUOTE for our time: “Cozzens’s work raises valid questions about mandatory celibacy’s impact on the people of God and those of whom it is required. It is better to respond to the questions for the good of the church than to run from them at the church’s peril.” America magazine review of Fr. Donald Cozzens’ book Freeing Celibacy

In the Vineyard
March 8, 2007
Volume 6, Issue 5
Printer Friendly Version (PDF)

Page One

NRC Update

Diocese/State Watch


Convocation (2005) Implementation Team (CIT)

Lenten Actions – a reflection on conscience: “How to Tell Right from Wrong? – Just Follow Your Conscience. Is It Really That Simple?” - NRC member Susan Vogt, Region 5


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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