Please send comments and inquiries to

“As we sought ways to care for the victims of sexual abuse and for priests in ministry, we came of age as adult Catholics and are taking our responsibility in seeking the changes needed for the healing of the Church.” Marie Doyle of VOTF Winchester MA, on the occasion of VOTF Winchester’s fifth anniversary. See Affiliate Highlight.


VOTF “Disciples in Action” 2007 Convention update from Sally Vance-Trembath.

VOTF Leadership Statement of Identity - Introductory remarks follow; read the full statement.

VOTF's Board of Trustees, Officers and most National Representative Council members recently adopted a statement to guide strategy and decision-making in the context of VOTF's experience since it was founded in 2002 and in light of the Church environment today and moving forward. The Statement of Identity reaffirms and clarifies VOTF's mission and three overarching goals. It provides a common foundation for developing strategic direction and for gaining consensus around the content and priority of proposals submitted for consideration and action. The statement reflects a balance of VOTF's three goals, it is grounded in the sexual abuse crisis, and it is reflective of VOTF's Catholic identity. It also replaces the Statement of Beliefs found on the VOTF website under the link Who We Are. The leadership team envisions this statement as a key framework in exercising leadership responsibilities in a productive, effective and collaborative fashion as we confront the challenges ahead.

VOTF National applauds VOTF Winchester MA on their fifth anniversary! If you have ever asked or been asked, “Why VOTF?” – here’s your answer. [As VOTF National marks its fifth anniversary, we invite all affiliates to share their own anniversary reflections. Send to]

REMINDER: SNAP National Convention July 20-21 in Washington DC. Get details at

DIOCESE/State Watch: Additional diocese/state watch updates – VOTF Greater Cincinnati conference a great success; diocese of San Diego CA confronting parish ownership; Spokane WA diocese trying to block access to records; a New York parish is suing the diocese; Norwich CT editorial encourages the diocese to welcome VOTF.

Manchester NH: The Union Leader notes: “In its second court-mandated audit of the diocese, the state cited a lack of ‘acceptance or commitment’ on the part of church leaders. Attorney General Kelly Ayotte said progress has been made, but she remains concerned about the ‘tone at the top,’ particularly in regard to the Rev. Edward Arsenault, who heads the diocese's efforts to prevent and report sexual abuse.” Read more.

Carolyn Disco chair of VOTF NH Survivor Support wrote an op-ed that appears on the Voice from the Desert blog. Disco says, in part: “The diocese is refusing to participate in two more annual state audits and the matter will likely end in court. The Agreement called for five ‘annual’ audits through 2007, but the diocese delayed release of the first state audit until March 2006 by objecting (unsuccessfully) in court to audits that evaluated effectiveness over a checklist compliance with policies and procedures. The state then reduced its request to four audits.”

Read SNAP’s statement.

YOU can help toward a win for protecting children throughout the US. Learn more about the Coalition to pass the Child Victims Act in Delaware. As VOTF Representative and Minnesota SNAP director Bob Schwiderski said just before SB 29 was to be taken up by the House: “The most striking message from this bill is direct response to the civil justice rights of victims of sexual abuse – not a message about criminal law, the ‘Worst of the Worst,’ or a focus on bad people --- this bill focuses on victims.” Bill Synopsis: This Bill would repeal the statute of limitations in civil suits relating to child sexual abuse cases and provide a two-year “window” in which victims can bring a civil action in cases previously barred by the current statute.

Recent coverage details the politics, the people and the promise of bringing many voices to bear on this important legislative effort. The legislature is on recess until June 5 and supporters are readying for what Senator Karen Peterson calls “the next round.” Read more.

The Omaha, Nebraska diocese is trying to regain the “fiscal faith” of its constituents. “Tamper-proof bank bags for collection proceeds, frequent audits of parish books and online accounting wired to Omaha Archdiocese headquarters are … among the most recent of several measures the archdiocese has ordered in an effort to tighten financial controls in parishes and other Catholic institutions.” See the Omaha World-Herald.

SITE-Seeing, Etc.

  • Book recommendation from Fr. Tom Doyle: THE POWER AND THE GLORY: INSIDE THE DARK HEART OF JOHN PAUL II'S VATICAN by David Yallop. Carroll and Graf Publishers, New York, 2007. 530 pages.
  • “Deliver Us from Evil” is now available for sale on DVD at Boston Globe coverage is at the Voice from the Desert web site.
  • National Catholic Reporter’s Rome correspondent John Allen provides his own take on Pope Benedict XVI’s book Jesus of Nazareth. Much of what Allen notes is evident in the Pope’s recent remarks during his visit to Latin America. For Allen’s April 27 column, click here. [Allen has posted daily accounts of the Pope’s Brazil visits May 9-13 to São Paolo and Aparecida, in conjunction with the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean (CELAM). Read Allen's daily reports at his Daily News and Updates column on]
  • An opportunity to listen will be noted in the VOTF Boston Area newsletter: An upcoming Corpus conference will be held in Providence RI on June 22-24. Corpus, the national organization in support of an inclusive Catholic priesthood, will hold its conference "Prophecies, Dreams and Visions: Keeping Hope Alive.” Those interested in attending may register online at or email
  • Most observers know by now that the abuse of children by Roman Catholic clergy is not only an American problem. From its beginning, VOTF recognized that the behavior leading to these crimes is part of a systemic breakdown. Numbers speak more clearly, at times. See a recent ABCNews note about Dublin, Ireland.
  • Dan Sullivan of VOTF Bridgeport CT found a web site of Detroit MI priests speaking out. Their aptly titled site is “Elephants in the Living Room." See the group’s mission statement in QUOTE for our time, below.

QUOTE for our time:
“We are an organization of priests of the Archdiocese of Detroit, strongly supported by participating laity, who seek renewal of the Church of Detroit. We do this by offering opportunities for education and creating an open forum for discussion and dialog that will lead to developing and advocating more collegial solutions to the challenges we face. We firmly believe these efforts will contribute to a greater solidarity among priests and a renewed Church of Detroit.” Mission statement of Elephants in the Living Room.

The next issue of In the Vineyard: June 7.

In the Vineyard
May 17, 2007
Volume 6, Issue 10
Printer Friendly Version (PDF)

Page One

CONVENTION 2007 Update

VOTF Leadership Statement of Identity

Affiliate Highlight

DIOCESE/State Watch


Structural Change Working Group

Voice of Renewal/Lay Education

Prayerful Voice

Goal 2 - Priest Support

Protecting Our Children



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

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