“…our Church is at a crossroads. We can let it go down the road of clericalism, repression, and fear, or we can follow the road built on a vision of tolerance, charity, and justice. One is darkness, the other is light.” Jim Post in a recent message to members

VOTF at Work in the World

OCTOBER 23: Boston College’s Church in the 21st Century Center will present a study of Voice of the Faithful by the highly regarded sociologists Dr. William V. D’Antonio and Dr. Anthony J. Pogorelc, both of Catholic University of America. “Voice of the Faithful: Findings from a Study of a Social Movement Within the Catholic Church” was included in what has become a national fixture in the understanding of American Catholicism. The survey is conducted every six years by D’Antonio, Davidson, Hoge and Gautier. An outstanding panel of presenters will look at the findings. See “What to Expect at Boston College on October 23.” Also, see “Site-Seeing” for additional coverage on the full study.

VOTF voices are rising from coast to coast: VOTF Northern California (where the Bay Area has 1 million Catholics) will sponsor a “Day of Discernment” on Oct. 9. The subject is the replacement of Abp. Levada, now in Rome as the new head of the Confraternity for the Doctrine of the Faith. The meeting is going forward regardless that the archbishop left a message for pastors – do not cooperate with Voice of the Faithful. The gathering will take place at St Matthew Catholic Church, 9th Ave and El Camino in San Mateo at 11:30 am, hosted by VOTF Northern California. Read the press release more details.

  • Discernment – tried, true and worth the effort. Read Susan Troy, M.Div. in Commentary
  • VOTF Tucson, AZ issued a press release calling for parishioners to conduct an open and fair election for all members of their new parish board. See Affiliate News
  • LI VOTF has initiated a petition drive for the formation of an elected Diocesan Representative Finance Council. Go to their web site for more details.
  • VOTF goes to Rome via NY affiliate – with nearly 4,000 signatures on a petition protesting the firing of Fr. Tom Reese as editor of America Magazine. The petition collected by VOTF New York was delivered to Archbishop William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in Rome on Wednesday, Sept. 28th.

The Boston Archdiocese hurts again. The Archdiocese of Boston is emerging as a testing ground for many an active Catholic and many a priest. The required resignation of the outspoken, gifted pastor of Our Lady Help of Christians, Newton, MA Fr. Walter Cuenin came without regard for the sitting parish or finance councils who knew of and approved the stipend and car lease for which, ostensibly, the pastor was ousted. An all-night vigil drew hundreds to the church and over 1,000 to a march and rally, including a number of priests speaking out in spite of what many are calling a “climate of fear.” In this issue, see “Goal 2 – Supporting Priests of Integrity.”

VOTF asks, “Is this the Church of the 21st Century”? VOTF president Jim Post looks at recent developments in our Church and asks “Is this the Church of the 21st Century?”

What Do You Think? Cardinal Angelo Scola, the key moderator of the Synod of Bishops, said that the Eucharist was a ‘’gift, not a right or a possession” for Catholics. Click here. Write to pthorp.ed@votf.org.

VOTF National Representative Council will meet at Our Lady Queen of Peace (OLQP), Arlington, VA on November 12-13, 2005. The agenda for this meeting, which is open to all VOTF members, will be posted on the VOTF web site at www.votf.org.

SITE-Seeing –

  • Every six years, a stellar team of sociologists (including co-author of the VOTF study Dr. William D’Antonio) updates their study of Catholic attitudes and commitments. The National Catholic Reporter makes the current study available at “American Catholics from John Paul II to Benedict XVI,” the lead essay by Dr. D’Antonio in a 16-page pullout section of the September 30 issue of NCR. Click here to read. NCR editor Tom Roberts said, “This is the kind of reporting and analysis that I think an independent journal owes the Catholic world.” Several observers and sociologists noted the unique effort of the research team to include the study of the very young VOTF in this highly regarded survey.

    The Catholic attitudes and commitments survey authors are William D’Antonio of Catholic University of America; James Davidson, president-elect of the Association for the Sociology of Religion; Dean Hoge of Catholic University of America; and Mary Gautier of Georgetown University.
  • The Boston Area VOTF Newsletter is published twice monthly. It is a one-page recap of ongoing and upcoming events in the Boston area. If you would like to receive the newsletter, contact Dorothy Kennedy at kendor713@yahoo.com.
  • Log on and learn. Boston College Institute of Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry offers graduate degree courses, continuing education and certificate programs. See their Fall/Spring 2005/6 Calendar and note the IREPM and Church in the 21st Century Oct. 12 lecture to be delivered by Cardinal Avery Dulles “The Faith that the Church Hands On.”
  • The current issue of Initiative Report published quarterly by the National Pastoral Life Center includes: a recap of the Archbishop Weisgerber and VOTF president Jim Post discussion that took place in June of this year as part of the Common Ground Initiative annual lecture; a report from Zena Fox, professor of pastoral theology at Seton Hall University, on the National Conference of Catholic Bishops’ draft document “Lay Ecclesial Ministry: The State of the Questions”; and announcement of the Cardinal Joseph Bernardin Award 2005 to Boston College for the Church in the 21st Century Initiative. For publication information click here.
  • Fr. Robert Hoatson is a well-known, longstanding and ardent advocate for survivors. He is the founding president of Rescue and Recovery International, Inc., a non-profit organization that provides direct financial, legal, social, and spiritual assistance to survivors of clergy sexual abuse. This organization distributed almost $30,000 in their first four months of operation - paying for rents, food, etc. for down and out survivors. Learn more here.

BOOK Watch

If you would like to review for the Vineyard a new, self-published book The Catholic Challenge: A Question of Conscience, please write to pthorp.ed@votf.org and send your mailing address. The author Thomas W. Rezanka was chairman of his Parish Council and Director of Stewardship at his parish. Rezanka argues that this is a time for clergy and laity to accept a unique Catholic challenge.

Coming soon: Review of Fr. Paul Philbert’s important message for laypeople everywhere. His book The Priesthood of the Faithful – Key to a Living Church, 2005, Liturgical Press, strikes a needed note of comfort and hope for Catholics who have yet to regain their footing in our Church since 2002.

LETTERS to the editor – include a success story for a Spanish-speaking congregation. Send your comments and/or inquiries to pthorp.ed@votf.org.

Quote Find of the Month: “That which affects all as individuals must be approved by all.” Roman Catholic Code of Canon Law: Canon 119.3

Correction: “In a Mother’s Words” by Ginny Hoehne (Vineyard 9/22). The following was inadvertently omitted: Thanks to the wisdom of Svea Fraser, Paul Lakeland, Fr. Donald Cozzens, Fr. Tom Doyle, Dr. Francine Cardman, and Kris Ward. Recommended reading: Liberation of the Laity: Paul Lakeland; Faith that Dares to Speak: Fr. Donald Cozzens; and Lay Ministry in the Catholic Church(A Liguori press publication of a symposium including Dr. Francine Cardman)

In the Vineyard
October 6, 2005
Volume 4, Issue 13
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Page One

VOTF Affiliate Highlights



A Prayer of Thanksgiving for Walter - Prayer Vigil, Our Lady Help of Christians, 9/26/05



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