Please send comments and inquiries to

National News

News from the Priest Support Working Group
In a letter to Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Voice of the Faithful (VOTF) urged the bishops in the United States to request a “serious ecclesial review of mandatory celibacy for diocesan priests.” The request stems from a two-year project developed by VOTF’s Priest Support Working Group. The project examines the current state of the priesthood and how the problems faced by priests impact the laity.

John Ryan, chair of the Priest Support group, said the letter went to Cardinal O’Malley as the chair of the Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). The Working Group then sent copies of the letter to the entire committee and to all the U.S. diocesan heads, and then followed up with electronic copies to more than 300 leaders of Catholic organizations and media. “Although other groups, lay and clerical, have made such requests in the past, we believe ours is the first to spell out a more comprehensive rationale for such a review,” John said.

You can read the letter at this site and read the press release here.  

Women in the Church
The Implementation Team for the recently passed NRC Resolution calling for Church-wide Re-examination and Reform of the Role of Women in the Church is working on an implementation document to present to the National Representative Council for their semi-annual meeting in October 2008 in Dayton OH. -- Submitted by P. L. Thorp.

A Prayer Request from the
Prayerful Voice Working Group
Whenever you see a school bus pray for the complete safety of the children (and all others) inside.

Strategy Survey Update
More than 500 members responded to our recent call for input on a strategy and planning survey. We are grateful to each and every one of you. Now begins the huge task of correlating all those responses!

We will report the results to you within a few weeks – and then complete the further task of comparing them with the survey responses we previously received from the Officers, the Board, the National Representative Council, and affiliate leaders.

Affiliate News

Hartford VOTF Demands Resignation of Cardinal George
At its August meeting, the Hartford Regional Voice of the Faithful Affiliate voted to reiterate the position it took in 2006, when it called for Cardinal Francis George to resign from his position as the archbishop of Chicago. According to Joanne Moran, an active member of the Hartford VOTF, “Cardinal George failed to live up to the mandates of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People (a document he helped write) by failing to remove Rev. Daniel McCormack from ministry. After recent court testimony was made public, the members felt that it was absolutely necessary to again ask that Cardinal George remove himself from leadership in Chicago.” Last week, the Hartford Regional Voice of the Faithful sent a letter to Archbishop Sambi asking for Cardinal George’s resignation.

Site Seeing

Politics and the Church
Archbishop John C. Favalora, Archbishop of Miami, recently released a statement on why Catholic priests should not take sides on political candidates. Apparently, a group called the Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative Christian group, is urging Catholic priests to advocate for particular candidates “in light of the truth of the Scripture.”
Here is Favalora’s response.

Changes at the National Catholic Reporter
Joe Feuerherd has been appointed NCR publisher and editor in chief.

Reflections on Lourdes
The following is an excerpt from “An Immense Maternal Presence,” an article by Tina Beattie in the September 13 issue of The Tablet (UK) that includes a metaphor for the relationship between the institution and the faith.

“According to Bernadette, the apparition asked for a church to be built, and today a vast basilica rises above the shrine, visible testimony to the wealth and power of the institutional Church. Yet the spiritual life of Lourdes is focused on the grotto and its surroundings beneath the basilica, and this topography acts as a metaphor for the relationship between the religious institution and the powerful undercurrent of faith that it can never fully control. The rocks around the grotto have been worn smooth by the touch of millions of hands, and there is a sense of something visceral, pagan even, about the way in which Catholic devotions and prayers melt and mingle with the . . . mystery of a God both veiled and revealed in earth, wind and fire, in rocky wildernesses and the untamable persistence of nature in the face of all our civilising and controlling impulses. Surely, an incarnational faith is one which situates itself in such a space of encounter between the sublime and the ridiculous - between the inscrutable majesty of God, and the often foolish muddle of our human devotions.”

You can read the entire article here:


September 25
Elizabeth Johnson, CSJ, will be speaking at the Paulist Center, 5 Park Street, Boston, at 7:00 pm, September 25. She will be speaking on her new book, Quest for the Living God.  Johnson is Distinguished Professor of Theology at Fordham University.  Her writings include She Who Is and Friends of God and Prophets.

September 28
Immaculate Conception, 5 Court St., Newburyport: The Rev. Bruce Morrill speaks at the Faith Formation series of the Voice of the Faithful Northshore Seacoast affiliate Sept. 28, 7 p.m. Morrill is professor at Boston College and author of books dealing with Catholic liturgy and sacraments.

October 26
VOTF Northern California continues its “Signs of the Times” lecture series with a presentation on Sunday October 26, 2008 by Thomas Sheehan from the Religious Studies Department at Stanford University titled “Reclaiming the Spirit of Jesus”.
For further information contact John van Hagan;

Book Corner

Looking for something to read? The VOTF National Office has copies of Jim Muller’s book Keep the Faith, Change the Church, and you can order copies of the book Voices of the Faithful, Loyal Catholics Striving for Change by William D’Antonio and Anthony Pogorelc from the VOTF website. Go to and follow the links.

Book Review
Before Dallas by Nicholas P. Cafardi, 2008 Paulist Press
Review submitted by Anne Southwood

This book is as user friendly as possible, given the scenario of American bishop response to sexual abuse of children. It helps us wade through shoulda, woulda, coulda feelings. The author provides a timeline of related law and actions. . . .

Click here to read the rest of Anne’s review

Questions, Comments?

Please e-mail
Siobhan Carroll
Vineyard Editor

In the Vineyard
September 24, 2008

Volume 7, Issue 17
Printer Friendly Version (PDF)

Page One

News from the Priest Support Working Group

Women in the Church

A Request from the Prayerful Voice Working Group

Hartford VOTF Demands Resignation of Cardinal George

Politics and the Church

Changes at the National Catholic Reporter

Reflections on Lourdes


Book Corner

Prayerful Voice

Survivor Support Working Group

Priest Support Working Group

Structural Change Working Group

Voice of Renewal/Lay Education

Protecting Our Children



Contact Us 



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

VOTF relies solely on the contributions of people like you to support its work.

©Voice of the Faithful 2008. All Rights Reserved