“The restoration to the clergy and people of their baptismal right to elect their own bishops is a necessary step toward re-membering our dis-membered Church (as Francine Cardman so eloquently put it). By taking that step we will be helping to make the Body of Christ healthy, whole and entire once again.” From Joe O’Callaghan’s “Reflection on the Body of Christ” in this issue

VOTF at Work in the World

VOTF reacts to grand jury finding of responsibility in abuse suit against the Philadelphia Archdiocese. Read More.

We hope you can join us on Sunday, October 23 for a Boston College Church in the 21st Century symposium: “Voice of the Faithful: Findings from a Study of a Social Movement within the Catholic Church” with lead researchers William D'Antonio and Anthony Pogorelc, Catholic University of America, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., Robsham Theater. For more information, please visit the web site or call 617 552-0470.

Be sure to check www.bc.edu/church21 for ongoing opportunities and to request your free copy of Resources, a service of the C21 Center and now the second largest Catholic publication in the United States.

The mother of a survivor of clergy sexual abuse addressed the quarterly meeting of an Archdiocesan Pastoral Council in Ohio. She is a member of the VOTF Dayton, OH affiliate. Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk is the Archbishop of Cincinnati and attends all meetings. At this meeting, the Auxiliary Bishop was present as well as the Council’s chairperson Judge Michael Merz, a member of the National Review Board. Read “In a Mother’s Words: Watch Your Language” under Commentary.

Selective Silence Under Fire: Rockville Center, NY, VOTF Long Island challenges the silence around their archdiocese’s finances.

LI VOTF is also trying to right another wrong. "A former official in the Catholic diocese on Long Island who was barred from priestly duties after being accused of molesting boys is prominently listed on the pastoral staff of a Great Neck, N.Y., parish.” The story appeared in the Sept. 17 issue of the New York Times.

Silence is not an option at Our Lady Help of Christians in Newton, MA. “Our Lady’s” is a documentary about how one Newton, MA parish found their voice in the aftermath of revelations of sexual abuse by clergy. The film was shown last night at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and is part of the Boston Film Festival Oct 6-10. For ticket information click here.

Survivors and survivor advocates around the US are struggling against silence as bishops refuse to release names of priests who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of children ; on this subject, the Catholic League’s William Donohue responds to VOTF member Paul Kendrick. See Letters to the Editor.

Long-time survivor advocate, VOTF supporter and author of Vows of Silence Jason Berry analyzes the sound of silence around Archbishop Levada in the current issue of San Francisco magazine. The US Justice Department has asked a Texas court to dismiss a lawsuit naming Pope Benedict XVI, click here.

The Vatican is launching an investigation into the presence of gay men in seminaries and Fr. Himes of Boston College wonders when the bishops will break their silence in their own chanceries. See the September 16, 2005 National Catholic Reporter editorial and article, Boston Globe and Catholic News Service coverage:

VOTF National and VOTF Boston continue to work on passage of Senate Bill 1074, An Act Relative to Charities, sponsored by MA State Sen. Marian Walsh. The affiliate is now focusing on the bill’s move from committee to full Senate. To offer or receive some help and/or ideas in this effort, please contact John Moynihan at jmoynihan@votf.org. Outside of MA? Remember: The actions taken in Boston with regard to working with your state legislature are emerging as a model for any affiliate in the US.

Parish leadership is changing faster than any single parish can appreciate. A newly released study confirms that in the past ten years, the number of parishes led by lay people – inclusive of lay religious – has doubled. Six out of ten parish coordinators are women and about half of all coordinators preach. See the current issue of National Catholic Reporter and for an overview of the state of lay ministry, click here.

  • The VOTF Falmouth, MA event “The Parish of Tomorrow” couldn’t happen at a better time. VOTF member Anne Southwood reports in Affiliate Highlights. For additional coverage, click here.
  • School closings in several cities across the country – among them Chicago, New York City (Brooklyn), Detroit, Cleveland, St. Louis and Boston – spark a resolve to “plan for the future.” See America magazine Aug.29-Sept. 5 issue and Catholic News Service.
  • In June, Boston College held a 3-day conference of priests & scholars. Boston College magazine recaps the proceedings, which covered a wide range of topics, including the priestly "cultic" model vs. the servant model, the moral right to associate, priest and parish burnout, etc.

National Representative Council welcomes the newly elected representative from Region 12 (WA, OR, ID, MT, AK) Linda L. Mains. Read the NRC Update under Council Notes. Identify your Council representative.


Justice Anne Burke, the keynote speaker at the VOTF Indianapolis Convocation in July, has been named by U.S. Catholic Magazine as the recipient of the 2005 U.S. Catholic Award “for furthering the cause of women in the church.” The magazine has been published for 70 years by the Claretian Missionaries. The award will be presented in Chicago, IL on Oct. 3. Watch upcoming issues of U.S. Catholic.

Northern New Jersey affiliate of VOTF participated with several other reform-minded groups in a forum entitled “Other Voices” that drew close to 150 participants. Theresa Padovano, co-facilitator of the affiliate speaking for VOTF, based her talk on the decrees of Vatican II, which called for a Church featuring a “collegiate (structure), openness and inclusiveness. Are we seeing this happen?” she asked. For more on this gathering, click here.

Site-Seeing Reminder: The “Abuse Tracker” is a service provided by National Catholic Reporter. It provides news of abuse reports all over the world with links to the relevant media coverage. Also, check in at bishop-accountability.org for updates on bishop accountability; SNAP is focusing their survivor support efforts on victims of hurricane Katrina as well as the recent total loss by fire of the home of an Ohio SNAP leader.

Letter to the Editor - In the last issue, we invited readers to comment on the place of the laity in choosing speakers in their parishes. Several dioceses in the US require permission from the bishop prior to issuing the invitation. Two responses captured the many received on this subject. Also, an exchange between VOTF member Paul Kendrick and Catholic League president William Donohue. Click here.


  • USCCB meeting, Washington, DC November 14-17. The agenda will be posted the week before the meeting at www.usccb.org. See the August 25 Vineyard for link to NCR “gleanings” of the upcoming meeting. Also note, the VOTF Representative Council will also be meeting November 12-13 in Washington, DC.

  • To add your upcoming event to the VOTF calendar, just go to the web site at www.votf.org, click on PV calendar in the right-hand column and follow the directions. To see what’s going in any affiliate in a given week, click here.

What Do You Think?

If you’ve read the recommended coverage on parish leadership, inclusive of the statistics on current lay ministries as well as the VOTF Falmouth, MA discussion recap, what above all other points made (or not made) strikes you? Write to pthorp.ed@votf.org.

Next issue of In the Vineyard: October 6. Please send comments and/or inquiries to pthorp.ed@votf.org

In the Vineyard
September 22, 2005
Volume 4, Issue 12
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Page One

VOTF Affiliate Highlights

Commentary and more: “In a Mother’s Words: Watch Your Language” – Ginny Hoehne

“Why Women Choose To Stay” A Boston College Church in the 21st Century panel discussion

“Reflection on the Body of Christ” - Joe O’Callaghan, Fordham University professor emeritus

A poem from the time of Katrina: “Sea Change”: reprinted with permission, 2005 © by Denise Roy

National Representative Council NOTES




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

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