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October 4 is the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, founder of the Franciscan Order and patron saint of animals and the environment. The VOTF Colorado affiliate prayer to St. Francis is in this issue’s Commentary – A Prayer for Our Time. To read St. Francis’ “The Canticle of the Sun” written in the thirteenth century, go to click here

In this Issue:

Meet us in St. Louis? The National Representative Council will meet in St. Louis, MO on Nov. 11-12 with a full agenda. In keeping with past practice, the Council meetings are open to all registered VOTF members. This meeting will be the first convening of newly approved Standing Committees; Mission, Goals and National Impact; Membership Growth; Affiliate Development; Budget; and Elections. Some items on the agenda include ordering of priorities for the Council, follow-up on the Accountability Campaigns, and ongoing discussions, reports, etc. See the next Vineyard (10/19) for the complete agenda.

Planning for the VOTF 2007 Convention is under way so SAVE THESE DATES: October 19-21 at the Rhode Island Convention Center, Providence, RI.

The Campaign for Accountability is into its Fall Action Plans. See where you, your parish and/or your affiliate might fit in; and SIGN the Petition for Accountability. See Affiliate Highlights for VOTF Long Island, NY’s progress report on their Fall Campaign’s legislative activity.

  • Pope Benedict XVI issued a statement on the praying of the rosary. October is the month the Church traditionally dedicates to the rosary and the missions. Click here. Inviting others to say the rosary with meditations that focus on survivors of sexual abuse is among the suggested VOTF Fall actions (PDF) in the Campaign for Accountability.

The Financial Accountability Focus group is taking a closer look at parish finances. The sad stories of parish funds’ mismanagement and theft underscores the need for vigilance in everyone’s interest, including the priests accused.

  • “A priest and former pillar of the Roman Catholic Church in New York experienced an extraordinary downfall yesterday as a judge sentenced him to four years in prison for stealing tens of thousands of dollars from his parish on the affluent Upper East Side.” See the New York Times, Sept. 23
  • A pastor was charged with stealing the “winnings” of fake raffles. Read more.
  • According to the Palm Beach Post, “Two former priests at St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church in Delray Beach have been accused of misappropriating $8.6 million from the church during the past 40 years.” Read more. and the Los Angeles Times. The Miami Herald reported that things may be worse than originally understood. Read more.
  • Parish life is also the focus of an upcoming (Oct. 14) Ohio conference. Speakers will include representatives from VOTF, SNAP, Future Church and United Parishes. For details, click here. See some background details about this conference from VOTF National Representative Council member Kris Ward, who will be the VOTF speaker at the conference (go to Affiliate Highlights ).

The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) recently broadcast a segment “Sex Crimes and the Vatican” that raised again the existence and intent of what had been a secret 1962 Church document Crimen Sollicitationis. Decades later, a related 2001 Vatican document came to light, “Letter Explains New Norms for Vatican Handling of Certain Grave Offenses”. Together the documents raised many questions as to whether or not the Vatican had a standing policy of secrecy when it was advised of clergy sexual abuse. Fr. Tom Doyle’s observations and significant links to original documents, the BBC broadcast and recent media coverage in the Commentary on Crimen Sollicitationis.

SURVIVOR Community News - VOTF member Casey Serra wrote an open letter to the people of Connecticut questioning the whereabouts of a priest credibly accused of sexual abuse – read his letter; also see VOTF Long Island, NY’s recent outreach to survivors; and Fr. Sloun (Sept. 21 Vineyard story) posted a letter on his parish web site – it is reprinted here; the Baptist Standard reports on a request from SNAP. Also, note dates for special screenings of "Deliver Us From Evil" in Boston, New York, Chicago and San Francisco.

Catholic University of America (Washington, DC) panel discussion brought VOTF together with Opus Dei, FADICA and other internationally recognized voices in the Catholic Church. See Catholic News Service. See the full text of VOTF president Mary Pat Fox’s address.

VOTF National has signed on to the FutureChurch call “Do Not Stifle the Spirit: A Call to Preserve Vibrant Parishes in a Time of Fewer Priests”. To read the statement, click here.

VOTF has two new affiliates in Ohio. They are St. James Affiliate, Kansas, Ohio and St. Thomas More Affiliate, Bowling Green, Ohio. Both are in the Diocese of Toledo. Both are welcomed warmly!

Protecting Our Children is not limited to church/school property. Casey Serra wrote an open letter to the people of Connecticut with his concerns. See Survivor Community News.

DIOCESE/State Watch

Boston, MA: It’s the law! Lt. Gov. Kerry Healy signed into law legislation that extends the statute of limitations (SOL) for criminal prosecution of crimes of rape and some crimes of sexual assault from 15 to 27 years. See the September 21 Vineyard for Steve Krueger’s commentary on the how of this four-year struggle and the lessons learned. Also visit here; VOTF Portsmouth, VA applauds their diocesan bishop for placing on the diocesan web site an audited accounting statement; Iowa - all four Roman Catholic bishops have been named in what is being called a “long shot” lawsuit; Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles and Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera of Mexico City were named in a civil lawsuit claiming obstruction of justice, negligence and conspiracy to facilitate the flight of the priest and sexual battery; Los Angeles is close to a $60 million settlement in dozens of abuse cases; the Kentucky Court of Appeals halted the release of abuse victims’ names; VOTF Bridgeport, CT caught the attention of the Associated Press for its commitment to financial responsibility in the Church; AFFILIATE Highlights in Toledo, OH where VOTF will host a “United Parish Conference” in collaboration with FutureChurch, SNAP and United Parishes and Long Island, VOTF shares a progress report on their Fall Campaign for Accountability work.

Book Notes: Gaile Pohlhaus offers a brief consideration of Living Vatican II: The 21st Council for the 21st Century by Gerald O’Collins, S.J.; VOTF Boston, MA member Julie McConville reviews Double Crossed: Uncovering the Catholic Church’s Betrayal of American Nuns by Kenneth A. Briggs.

SITE-Seeing, Etc.

One of the most outspoken opponents of statutes of limitations reforms is the Denver, Colorado archbishop Charles Chaput. The October 9 issue of America magazine published the archbishop’s response (“The False Promise of ‘Window’ Legislation”) to the earlier commentary by SOL reform supporter Marci Hamilton (Sept 25 issue of America). Subscribers can access the Oct. 9 article.

  • Archbishop Chaput was in Harrisburg, PA this week. Note the Philadelphia Inquirer commentary (“One year on, no fix on abuse laws”) by Mariana Sorensen, former Philadelphia prosecutor who worked on the investigation of clergy sex abuse in the diocese. Click here.
    • VOTF secretary Gaile Pohlhaus wrote a letter commenting on Archbishop Chaput’s assessment of Marci Hamilton’s points in the Sept. 25 issue of America. See Commentary – “Response to Archbishop Chaput”.
  • SNAP’s website home page has a short list of the concerns around “windows” legislation and a response to each of those concerns. Click here.

Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good is pleased to announce the release of Voting for the Common Good: A Practical Guide for Conscientious Catholics. The guide is available at their website.

The September issue of U.S. Catholic looks at young Catholics and what is keeping them from Sunday Mass. The reasons are more complicated than many might think. Read more.

U.S. News and World Report asks, “What did the House Republican leadership learn from the priest pedophilia scandal?” Read more.

Don’t Miss: America, Sept 25, “Making the House Ready for the Lord” – a new poem by Mary Oliver

QUOTE for our time: "Who is going to save our Church? Not our bishops, not our priests and religious. It is up to you, the people. You have the minds, the eyes, the ears to save the Church. Your mission is to see that your priests act like priests, your bishops, like bishops, and your religious act like religious." Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, before the Knights of Columbus, June 1972.

In the Vineyard
October 5, 2006
Volume 5, Issue 17
Printer Friendly Version (PDF)

Sign the Petition for Accountability

Page One

Diocese/State Watch

Survivor Community News

Affiliate Highlight


Structural Change Working Group

Voice of Renewal/Lay Education

Prayerful Voice

Goal 2 - Priest Support



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