"Hope has two lovely daughters: anger and courage. Anger at what's wrong; courage to set it right." St. Augustine’s adage as quoted by Richard Taylor in this issue’s Book Review

This issue of In the Vineyard begins our fourth year of e-gathering and using our voices on behalf of our Church. Our Vineyard archives hold 1000 pages of your words and your work; published monthly since October 2002, this newsletter is now a bi-monthly. Thank you for keeping up this vital conversation! We look forward with ever-increasing hope to continuing what we started in 2002.

VOTF at Work in the World

Ireland’s Ferns Inquiry report stuns many – An eerie uniformity prevails in the recently released text of the first Irish government inquiry into clergy sexual abuse of children. Remove the place names surrounding events in the Diocese of Ferns and one could be reading about any American Catholic scenario of sexual abuse by clergy and corrective efforts that fall well short of genuine concern for children.

  • The VOTF web site has links to the Executive Summary, as well as the full report; also on the VOTF web site, VOTF Ireland coordinator Sean O’Conaill explains the history of Ireland’s Stewardship Trust. “Although it was set up in 1996, most Catholics were unaware of the Stewardship Trust fund until 2003. In Feb 2003 the Irish Times reported that most Catholic dioceses in Ireland had taken out insurance in 1987 against liability for clerical child sexual abuse, and that the Stewardship Trust fund had emerged out of the collapse of that insurance cover in 1996.”

Making the case for vigilance: An astounding chronology of events about a Worcester, MA priest is finally publicized. Thanks are due VOTF Worcester’s Daniel Dick, who has been doggedly pursuing the story of a Worcester diocese priest apprehended for alleged lewd conduct while in Las Vegas a year ago. All relevant data have finally made it to the public eye – and Bishop McManus. See Vigilance at Work

  • SNAP is pulling out all the stops in Ohio as Senate Bill 17 approaches a hearing on November 10. Their work is a model for affiliates everywhere. See Vigilance At Work

Score 1 for Chicago Archdiocese – NRC rep from Region 13 Frank Douglas points to the Archdiocese of Chicago for a positive step toward financial accountability. The Archdiocese has established a financial misconduct hotline administered by a third party. For details, go to Archdiocese web site.

Witness in Washington – Both the USCCB and VOTF National will be present in and around Washington, DC this month. The VOTF National Representative Council (do you know who your representative is? Click here.) will be holding their second meeting (after hundreds of e-hours since their last meeting in July); and VOTF’s executive director Ray Joyce and interim communications manager John Moynihan will be available alongside VOTF regional representatives, SNAP and others for witness at the USCCB annual Fall meeting Nov. 14-17. See what to expect under VOTF Witness in Washington, DC.

  • Bishops to consider lay ecclesial roles (that’s most of VOTF, according to the recently released VOTF Study) during November meeting. Read more.
  • For an overview of the meeting’s agenda, click here.

The October 23 presentation by the Boston College Church in the 21st Century Center, “Voice of the Faithful: Findings from a Study of a Social Movement within the Catholic Church,” drew 400 attendees to a four-hour symposium with three pairs of academic analysts from four colleges and universities, as well as the research team of Drs. D’Antonio and Pogorelc.

Let us know what you think at pthorp.ed@votf.org

VOTF national officer elections to be held in late winter. See Report from VOTF Board of Trustees.

VOTF continues to “go out from here,” as Christ asked of His followers. (Please note that many of the online publications require registering before viewing the articles mentioned.)

  • Update from Ohio on Senate Bill 17 in Affiliate Updates; also, SNAP is promoting a November 9 event sponsored by the Ohio Coalition on Sexual Assault, SNAP and VOTF in support of SB 17 (see Vigilance at Work). Meanwhile, all six area dioceses are lobbying against its passage.
  • A public forum was organized in Philadelphia to address concerns and actions around a grand jury’s scathing conclusions about the Philadelphia archdiocese’s handling of sexual abusers – go to www.votfgp.org for coverage. In addition: The Philladelphia Daily News (subscription required) and The PhillyBurbs.com offer additional coverage.
  • In the 10/28 issue of NCR, Maureen Paul Turlish, a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur and a member of Voice of the Faithful, wrote of the crisis of confidence in the Philadelphia archdiocese. Also, read, “Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham has responded to attacks on her credibility by calling on the Philadelphia archdiocese to release 45,000 pages of secret church records that document sexual abuse of hundreds of children.”
  • Boston parishioners continue to develop and act on steps to address the forced resignation of their pastor – go to Ourladysfriends.org; Abp. O’Malley promises transparency and full disclosure of diocesan finances; Remember the RCAB Parish Reconfiguration Oversight Fund? VOTF Board of Trustees Chair David Castaldi, appointed by Archbishop O’Malley to direct this effort, provides an update. See RCAB News.
  • Whose church is this, anyway? The “jury is out” in Oregon. Read more.
  • Archdiocese of Hartford, CT will pay $22 million in abuse case settlement. Click here.

Los Angeles: From a National Catholic Reporter (NCR) editorial: “With the release Oct. 12 of a 155-page report describing decades of sexual abuse by clergy in the Los Angeles archdiocese, there now exists compelling and preponderant evidence that at least three living cardinals of the Catholic church in the United States have been complicit in what any reasonable observer would term criminal activity.”

Survivor Support: Get a jump start on your Christmas Cards AND support survivors. VOTF Winchester Area is back with VOTF Christmas cards, designed by their own members. All proceeds benefit abuse survivors. You can view the cards, and print out an order form by visiting their web site. For more information, contact Bob Morris at rmorrisvotf@aol.com.

  • Prolific author of books and articles, the one-time Roman Catholic priest A. W. Richard Sipe has important reading for survivors, their families and friends, and all who support the survivor community. Read “UNSPEAKABLE DAMAGE, The Effects of Clergy Sexual Abuse” at www.richardsipe.com.

BOOK Watch:
Interview with VOTF Phila. member Richard Taylor, author of a forthcoming book Love in Action. Dick’s book is available in manuscript form for $10 sent with your mailing address to Richard Taylor, 609 East Allens La., Phila., PA 19119. Dick is distributing his text in this way to get feedback prior to seeking a publisher in 2006.

Review of The Priesthood of the Faithful – Key to a Living Church by Fr. Paul J. Philibert. If there is such a thing as a “feel good” book at this time of crisis in our Church, Fr. Philibert has written it.

Site-Seeing – This sentence jumped off the page when visiting a new find by VOTF member Sr. Betsy Conway – “Staying with powerlessness in the face of societal or ecclesial impasse is not an easy task. Our Western minds want to move toward fixing it; getting the strategy right; bringing closure to the problem as quickly as possible. But engaging impasse invites us to stay with it.” Engaging impasse? Click here.

Letters to the Editor: We could fill at least a dozen pages with letters of support, prayer and gratitude from correspondents on the priests’ messages published in the last issue of In the Vineyard. We include only a few with thanks to all. Please send your comments and/or inquiries to pthorp.ed@votf.org.

QUOTE for our time: “The faith is strong in the ranks of the priests and parishioners in our Church; a serious problem continues in its upper echelons.” Msgr. Harry J. Byrne, Bronx, NY, commenting in a letter to the editor following the release of Los Angeles documents on clergy sexual abuse in that diocese.

NEXT issue of In the Vineyard: November 17.


In the Vineyard
November 3, 2005
Volume 4, Issue 15
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Page One

VOTF Affiliate Highlights

Interview with VOTF Phila. member Richard Taylor, author of a forthcoming book Love in Action

Review of The Priesthood of the Faithful – Key to a Living Church by Fr. Paul J. Philibert.

Report from VOTF Board of Trustees



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

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