“We are not freeing a Church, but raising up a Church.” Sr. Marie LaBollita, SCH, at a panel discussion on “Our Voices – In Community and in the Ecclesial Church”

VOTF at Work in the World

(Please note that many of the online publications require registering before viewing the articles mentioned.)

Ireland’s Ferns Report Leads the International News in Sunday’s New York Times: Noting BishopAccountability.org for its documentation of the full report, the article reported Irish Catholics’ outrage over newly disclosed details of clergy sexual abuse and its handling by Church leaders; it also quoted Paul Baier of BishopAccountability.org: "It is showing what a lot of us know, that this is a worldwide problem."

  • VOTF posted the Ferns Report within days of its release, thanks to VOTF Ireland correspondent Sean O’Conaill. The Irish Times reported: “Minister for Justice Michael McDowell said he would introduce amendments to the current Criminal Justice Bill to reflect one of the key recommendations in the report, advising that a law on ‘reckless endangerment’ should be considered. The law, which is in place in the state of Massachusetts in the US, would make it a criminal offence for professionals to fail to take action to protect children if they become aware of a potential risk from sexual or physical abuse.” Read More.
  • For the NYT story, click here.
  • Fr Tom Doyle O.P. will address VOTF supporters and other interested Catholics on the current crisis in the Church in the Tower Hotel, Butcher Street, Derry on Sunday 4th December at 3.00 p.m. Watch the VOTF web site for coverage.

BREAKING NEWS in Boston: Click here. See how it’s done and read why VOTF Boston is the Energizer battery at the Mass. State House: Opposition from Church officials to State Sen. Marian Walsh legislation (requiring financial disclosure from religious institutions) included misleading some parishioners – but not enough to keep the Senate from passing it on Nov. 9. See the recent chronology of “A Forced March – On the Road to Accountability” in Commentary. (Also, see VOTF Cleveland, OH report on their Senate Bill 17)

  • The ousted pastor of Our Lady Help of Christians will not be re-instated, but Our Lady’s Friends, and even the new pastor Fr. Coyne, have “miles to go before they sleep.” Go to Our Lady's Friends web site for updates and see Chuck Colbert’s column in NCR.

USCCB meeting: While bishops have more on their plates than the ongoing sexual abuse crisis, their USCCB November meeting agenda was more remarkable for its omissions than for the concerns identified. The text of USCCB president Bishop Skylstad’s opening remarks on Mon. 11/14 are available at the USCCB web site. While the bishop’s statement is a warm paean to priests and their ministry, it will strike many as hurtful that the word “survivor” appears nowhere, nor the juxtaposition of “bishop” and “accountability.” AP coverage is available here.

  • See VOTF press release “Bishops Fail to Address Biggest Crisis in US Church History”; “After midday Tuesday, the bishops will enter closed-door sessions for another day or two, making this the bishops' most secretive November session since they decided to open up their gatherings in 1972.” see Boston Globe AP coverage.
  • The Vatican statement on homosexuality in seminaries is expected on Nov. 29. By some accounts, the news will not be good for many priests of integrity. Read More. Also, for the longer article, click here. The seminary visitation document designed for a study of priestly formation in US seminaries is available in full at bishop-accountability.org under Instrumentum Laboris.

Meanwhile, the VOTF National Representative Council was meeting next door to the USCCB - in Arlington, VA. (NRC) met Nov. 11-13 and identified national action items. See Report from NRC. Also, see the NRC opening reflection at “Praying Together” in Commentary; VOTF officer elections to take place in late February – see details in VOTF Officer Election News.

Message to Affiliates – If your affiliate has its own web site, please include on your home page a link to In the Vineyard. The Vineyard, now published bi-monthly, is our best communication vehicle at this time – thanks in large measure to you. The Vineyard is a service provided by the National office for all members and site visitors. Let’s be sure it’s used! Questions? Please contact pthorp.ed@votf.org.

MORE Affiliate News:

Philadelphia Archdiocese says it is moving forward, following the release of documents on clergy sexual abuse that have left area Catholics reeling. The “crisis of credibility” was also noted in National Catholic Reporter, 10/28. For links to the full grand jury report and other coverage and VOTF initiatives in Phila., go to VOTF Greater Philadelphia at www.votfgp.org.

  • VOTF president Jim Post said, "If there's a choice to be made, does the cardinal err on the side of protecting innocent children? At the end of the day, that's the ultimate test that matters to the public.” For full story, click here.

Dan Bartley of VOTF Long Island, NY: “In Nassau County, NY a 30-year incumbent (Nassau county DA) was defeated by a virtually unknown challenger. Newsday has tied this shocking defeat to the incumbent’s handling of the sexual abuse crisis on Long Island.” Follow VOTF Long Island actions at www.votf-li.org; Fred McGunagle of VOTF Cleveland, OH reports on progress with Senate Bill 17. See Commentary for “My wife and I didn’t know my son had been raped until 2002. Bishop Pilla knew in 1981.”

Banning as policy continues: VOTF Maryland has been meeting on Church property for over two years – working energetically toward support for survivors and priests of integrity as well as supporting the need for greater accountability in the Church. One member testified a year ago at the Maryland State House on behalf of extending the civil statute of limitations on reporting sex abuse. Last week, this same affiliate was advised that it will no longer be able to meet on church property. See Commentary: “Banning – Challenge to Truth.”

Be sure to check bishop-accountability.org for the most complete documentation anywhere of the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church.

Survivors support survivors. VOTF Survivor Support working group leader Steve Sheehan joined the survivor support organization The Healing Alliance for a remarkable service mission to Managua, Nicaragua: survivors reaching out to survivors and victims of another scourge in our time – horrific poverty. Steve’s journal “As Good As It Gets” is on our web site.

  • CHRISTMAS CARDS available again through VOTF Winchester. The proceeds from these member-designed, original-art cards are used entirely for survivor support. Contact Bob Morris at rmorrisvotf@aol.com.

Reflections from Women Religious – Not for the first time in VOTF, women religious are speaking out. As laity, their perspectives are unique, evidenced at a recent presentation on how women religious use their voices both in their communities and in the ecclesial Church. See Commentary – “A Church-Raising”

Priest of Integrity: National Catholic Reporter and VOTF agree on "Fr. Mac." Read more.


Hans Kung visits the US: The recent, much-publicized, long and warm meeting with Pope Benedict XVI seemed to enlarge “the table of communion.” See coverage of Hans Kung’s visit this week as he received the Association for Rights of Catholics in the Church inaugural “Rights of Catholics Award.”

VOTF Australia is struggling with the same issues Catholics face elsewhere. You can receive the monthly VOTF Australia newsletter by visiting their web site at www.votfaustralia.org.

HEADS UP! “Vatican Education Official Warns Dissenting Catholic Colleges May Lose 'Catholic' Status” – Read this story.*

QUOTE for our time: “If the Holy Spirit truly guides the Church, it is our responsibility to stand at the point God has placed us within the church and proclaim from the honest depths of our souls, ‘This is how I see God!’ and respect each vision as equally valid. If the whole church entered into such respect-filled dialogue, surely the Kingdom of God would be manifest upon the earth.” National Catholic Reporter, Nov. 4, 2005 – opinion-page column by Peg Helminski

*A word about this site: The Lifesite site is affiliated with Interim Publishing and is also closely associated with Campaign Life Coalition (CLC), both organizations being headquartered in Toronto, Canada. LifeSite networks regularly with leaders and other organizations around the world. Interim Publishing, founded in 1983, produces The Interim, Canada's national life and family newspaper nd other publications related to life and family issues. Campaign Life Coalition, founded in 1978, has been one of the first pro-life organizations to emphasize the international dimension of attacks on life and family. Along with a couple of other groups it pioneered pro-life lobbying at United Nations conferences. CLC president, Jim Hughes, is currently also vice-president of the International Right to Life Federation.

The next issue of In the Vineyard is Thurs., Dec. 1. Copy deadline to pthorp.ed@votf.org is Mon. Nov., 28.

In the Vineyard
November 17, 2005
Volume 4, Issue 16
Printer Friendly Version

Page One

VOTF Officer Election News


VOTF member and youth minister Katie LeBlanc put her faith to work in New Orleans. See “In the Mud – Jesus, too”

“A Church-Raising” – discussion with women religious

“Forced March – On the Road to Accountability” VOTF Boston Council

“My wife and I didn’t know my son had been raped until 2002. Bishop Pilla knew in 1981.” – a parent’s words, reported by Fred McGunagle, VOTF Cleveland, OH


“Thanksgiving – Again and Again” – editorial

“Praying Together” – opening reflection at NRC meeting, November 2005



Contact Us 



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


©Voice of the Faithful 2005.All Rights Reserved