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“If we work together, pray and stand together, we can create a new heaven and ease life for each other.” Franciscan Sr. Thea Bowman, 1937-90 from

IMPORTANT notice from the VOTF website manager: Voice of the Faithful’s web site has temporarily moved from to Please make a note of it in your bookmarks. All VOTF email addresses have also changed from to For example is now In the Vineyard correspondents should write to We apologize for any inconvenience.

PRIORITY News in this issue:

Better NEWS from the USCCB: Proposals to conduct compliance audits of U.S. dioceses and eparchies with the U.S. bishops' Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People are being sought by the National Review Board of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. See more in National/International News.

Breaking News: May 18, National Catholic Reporter: "Vatican restricts ministry of Legionaries priest founder: Move seen as confirmation of sex abuse allegations against Maciel" - Read John Allen's story.

VOTF Pentecost Action represents the official public launch of the VOTF Campaign for Accountability – there is a place for everyone. Click here for details.

The road to dialogue between parishioners and diocesan leadership is often unpaved but the road in Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri would be hard to beat for difficulty. Read how one bishop reversed one parish in one week. See National Catholic Reporter, May 8, “Extreme Makeover: The Diocese.” Let us know what you think at

VOTF Chicago and Cardinal George held their first meeting, as scheduled, on May 12. See Diocese/State Watch for Chicago Update.

The statewide Diocese of Burlington, VT fearing the costs of 19 priest misconduct lawsuits against it, just placed its 128 local parishes in charitable trusts. See more in Diocese/State Watch.

As reported in an earlier Vineyard, twenty-two Long Island, NY priests have offered to pay for a mediator to settle a long-running dispute between Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, N.Y., and the Long Island Voice of the Faithful. For a National Catholic Reporter update, click here.

VOTF No. VA offered its own progress report (“audit”) to Bishop Loverde on the Arlington diocese’s Charter compliance. Go to Diocese/State Watch.

Parish closings: See what VOTF New York City, NY is planning for May 20 – their Parish Encounter II program may be just what your parish needs. Go to Diocese/State Watch.

Ohio is a case study in trying to advance legislatively the protection of children. Marci Hamilton, the Paul R. Verkuil Chair in Public Law at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University, weighs in with her column, reprinted with permission. See Commentary – “Lessons from Ohio”.

Changing the rules to get closer to justice for survivors was the subject of two recent commentaries in America magazine and the Long Island Catholic. VOTF members in CA and NY addressed each, respectively. See Commentary for Robert Rowden and Tom Myles’ responses.

Fr. Tom Doyle’s paper on dialogue with bishops – conclusion. See Commentary – “Dialogue with Bishops”; the VOTF Bridgeport conference at Fairfield University is the subject of a May 19 NCR column “Speaker calls for return to election of bishops”. Subscribers can read the full text here.

Check this issue’s Site-Seeing, Etc. (Vatican astronomer, CARA study, and film alert). Check Diocese/State Watch for news in No. VA, IL, NJ, VT, CA, NY and CO.

NATIONAL/International News

The VOTF National Representative Council will be meeting in Chicago, June 2-4. See the NRC Update and resolutions being considered – Click here. Watch the next Vineyard and the web site for voting results.(Do you know who your representative is? Click here.)

Proposals to conduct compliance audits of U.S. dioceses and eparchies with the U.S. bishops' Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People are being sought by the National Review Board of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Details are available at their website. Of special note in the Request for Proposals is this statement: “In particular, future audits will be expected to assess not only the extent to which dioceses and eparchies have established policies, procedures, and programs in accord with the Charter, but also the effectiveness of the administration of these policies, procedures, and programs. The audit must also determine the accuracy of the data provided to the auditors. Additionally, as guidelines and measurements of effectiveness are developed over the next few years, they are to be incorporated into future audits.”

  • See VOTF Ohio Kris Ward’s “take” on the above (Commentary) and let us know what you think at
  • Also, see for a May 9 posting: “Holy See OKs Revised Norms in Sex-Abuse”.
  • Bishops are on the move. Archbishop McCarrick (Washington, DC) and Archbishop Imesch (Joliet, IL) have resigned. See details.
  • A media advisory from the USCCB on their upcoming June meeting in Los Angeles, CA has been posted here. VOTF will again bear witness at the bishops’ gathering; watch future issues of the Vineyard for details.

On July 21-23, Jersey City, New Jersey will host the 2006 conference of SNAP. For more information about the conference, visit their website, Many survivors need financial assistance to attend this conference. If you would like to contribute some funding or sponsor an attendee, contact SNAP.

  • The Winchester Area VOTF is selling blank note cards designed by two of its members to benefit survivors of clergy sexual abuse. Cards are $10 for a package of 8 (2 each of four different designs). To view cards and print order form, visit

VOTF Ireland has had a number of “hits” as of the Vineyard announcement of its new website. A recent Limerick story warrants reading for the question it raises about a bishop’s possible conflict of interest between the administrative and the pastoral requirements of his job. Read more.

Calling all affiliates with web sites: Add a link to In the Vineyard on your home page.

Fr. Tom Doyle gave an electrifying VOTF-sponsored talk in Tucson on March 4th. Entitled "What the Clergy Abuse Phenomenon Is Trying to Tell Us," a professional video specialist captured the talk on DVD disk. Tom’s presentation was a truly memorable event, and your copy will be of interest to a wide variety of fellow Catholics.

For your personal DVD, please send your name, mailing address, e-mail address, and a check or money order for $25 payable to Frank Douglas to Terry Carden, VOTF-Tucson, 6451 N Lazulite Pl, Tucson, AZ 85750.

All proceeds go toward production of the DVDs and expenses related to Tom's visit to Tucson; 50% of any profits will be donated to SNAP.

SITE-Seeing, Etc.

FILM Alert from film maker Barbara Rick: “IN GOOD CONSCIENCE: Sister Jeannine Gramick's Journey of Faith” tells the story of an American nun's battle with the Vatican to follow her conscience regarding her lifelong, compassionate ministry to gay and lesbian Catholics. Many VOTF members have seen and appreciated the film around the world. “IN GOOD CONSCIENCE” opens at Real Art Ways Cinema in Hartford, CT on May 19th. More information is available on their website. Folks can purchase the limited edition DVD on the site as well. Tickets for the Hartford showings are available here.

Did you know that the Vatican has its own astronomer? He is Brother Guy Consolmagno who works in a Vatican observatory in Arizona and is curator of the Vatican meteorite collection in Italy. Learn more here. According to the Guardian Unlimited, “For the past 13 years, he [Consolmagno] has held one of the most secure and prestigious posts in the planetary sciences, as one of the Pope's 12 personal astronomers, dividing his time between the Vatican's observatory at the papal summer palace at Castel Gandolfo in Italy and a giant telescope in Tucson, Arizona.”

The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University has published “Catholic Reactions to News of Sexual Abuse Cases Involving Catholic Clergy”. To read the report (PDF), click here and let us know your thoughts at Note the following from the paper’s conclusion:

"The CARA polls provide little evidence that Catholics have exited the Church in significant numbers as a result of the sexual abuse scandal. The proportion of the U.S. population identifying as Catholic has remained constant. Additionally, the CARA polls show little change in Mass attendance. There is some evidence of ‘voice’ (i.e., expression of discontent) among Catholics. In the CARA polls, sizeable numbers of Catholics are critical of Church leaders and their handling of the issue of sex abuse in the Catholic Church. One manifestation of this is the organized reform and protest groups that have formed (e.g., Voice of the Faithful).” Let us know what you think at

QUOTE for our time: Cynthia Vrooman from Sonoma, Calif. sent the following quote from Karl Rahner in his book I Remember: An Autobiographical Interview. If you have a favorite VOTF-apt quote, please send to

“I believe that you have to make a few distinctions. The pope is the highest representative of the Church and, if you like, of Catholic Christianity with respect to certain juridical, ecclesial structures. But I maintain that the most humble, the most loving (to put it in this old-fashioned way), the most holy, the most apparently obscure person in the Church, and not the pope, is at the top of the hierarchy, the real hierarchy for which the Church is only a means...the highest representative within the social fabric is not necessarily the highest representative of the real reason for which the Church exists. She is there so that God may be worshiped, praised, and loved, and so that people might love one another and be selfless, and for that the saints are the real representatives. Innocent III was pope, but Francis of Assisi was the highest in the only hierarchy that ultimately counts”

In the Vineyard
May 18, 2006
Volume 5, Issue 10
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