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"When every bishop in every diocese cooperates in bringing about a genuinely just resolution of every charge of sexual abuse, I believe we will once more be perceived as credible moral teachers. Thus, what is good for the victims will likewise be good for the Church.” Bishop Thomas Gumbleton

In this Issue:

VOTF National News Update: Meet our newly expanded Board of Trustees; and NRC has newly elected representatives in Regions 7 (IL, IN, WI) and 4 (DC, DE, MD, VA). Also, note:

  • Our Campaign for Accountability Fall Action plans are coming together with a menu of choices for affiliates that includes gathering signatures for our upcoming accountability petition; conducting a forum with local politicians about the reform of sexual abuse laws in collaboration with other child advocacy groups; holding a state-of-the-diocese meeting with a report card rating the bishop’s progress; and a rosary invitation with meditations that focus on survivors. The petition and rosary meditation will soon be available on the national web site. We also encourage you to get more involved with these campaign action plans by contacting your local affiliate.
  • VOTF president Mary Pat Fox will join a panel including Frank Butler of FADICA, Russell Shaw from Opus Dei and others at Catholic University, Washington, DC during a two-day conference “The Catholic Church in America” Sept. 20-21. For details, click here. Religious News Service also noted the conference.

Diocese/State Watch: Documents that were “lost” are now “found” in Burlington, VT abuse case; another loss for Bridgeport, CT as a much-loved priest leaves the priesthood after helping to uncover the truth behind an embezzling pastor in Darien, CT; VOTF Long Island has sent a letter to all the priests in their Rockville Center, NY diocese – advancing their case for a representative finance council. The affiliate’s petition for such a council has 7000 signatures; Santa Rosa, CA Bishop Daniel Walsh may be facing criminal charges in the handling of an admitted abuser priest who fled the state during a delay by the archdiocese in reporting him to civil authorities; the Milwaukee, WI archdiocese has agreed to settle sexual abuse claims that involved 10 victims in California and a priest the archdiocese had transferred there; in San Diego, CA, attorneys for the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego have asked a judge to order those claiming sexual abuse by clergy to reveal their identities in public court documents; VOTF Affiliate highlight: VOTF affiliates have found countless ways over the past nearly five years to support our priests – VOTF Winona, MN has added another. The affiliate organized a gathering of all present and past parish pastors; and two more priests, one in Florida and the other in Massachusetts, receive deserved appreciation from parishioners and friends. See “Acknowledging Our Pastors”; please let us know about your own pastor’s good work. Write to

Survivor Community News: Sue Archibald, for four years the director of the Healing Alliance, announced “The time has come for me to pass the torch to a new leader.” Read Sue’s farewell letter and meet the new executive director Jonia Mariechild.

  • The need for Statutes of Limitations reforms on the sexual abuse of children is glaring, again, this time in Wisconsin. The Milwaukee Channel News reported: “A state appeals court ruling on Tuesday said that four alleged victims of decades-old sexual abuse by Milwaukee priests can't sue the archdiocese because the statute of limitations has expired.” Read more. But the archdiocese settled other cases with abuse victims in California. See Diocese/State Watch for more.

Book Review: Anne Southwood (VOTF Boston, MA) reviews Seeking Wholeness: Women Dealing with Abuse of Power in the Catholic Church by Marie Evans Bouclin, Liturgical Press, Order of Saint Benedict; Collegeville, MN, 2006.

Something to think about: The Los Angeles, CA diocesan publication The Tidings recently published an article from Crisis magazine written by Denver, Colorado’s diocesan chancellor Francis X. Maier, “Shakedown: Ripped off in the name of justice”. NRC member Frank Douglas, VOTF AZ, rebuts Maier’s argument in graphic terms; see Commentary – “Clearing Some Smoke: Church Officials vs. Victims”.

Something else to think about: Catholic News Service reports that US bishops “adopted the fifth edition of a [new priestly formation program] by a nearly unanimous vote, 231-3, at their June 2005 meeting in Chicago.” The text of the new program is available at Click on “Program for Priestly Formation”. Several correspondents have asked when the bishops, in light of their handling of clergy sexual abuse of children inclusive of recent events in Chicago, IL and Santa Rosa, CA, will issue guidelines for their own formation. What do you think? Let us know at

[Note to readers of In the Vineyard, Aug. 27 issue: Some readers were not able to find Daniel Maguire’s essay “The Church IS a Democracy” on the home page of The particular link is here. We apologize for any inconvenience.]

SITE-Seeing, Etc. has a new web site and arguably the most extensive documentation of the Roman Catholic Church abuse crisis worldwide; their weekly newsletter the Monitor is brief, current and free. Of particular note for Vineyard readers at this time is comprehensive coverage of the Santa Rosa, CA case involving Fr. Xavier Ochoa (see more in Diocese/State Watch). A subscription to the Monitor is only a click away – just visit the new home page at and click on “Subscribe to our Monitor e-newsletter”.

Frank Douglas (VOTF AZ) notes that financial vulnerabilities on the parish level are well considered by Michael Ryan at his website. “Michael W. Ryan is a retired federal law enforcement official experienced in the conduct of financial audits and security investigations. Following his retirement, Ryan became interested in church security and developed comprehensive procedures which, when properly implemented and monitored, virtually guarantee that every dollar placed in the collection basket or plate on Saturday evening or Sunday morning is, in fact, deposited in the parish bank account. Those procedures and more can be downloaded free of charge at his website.”

It’s not too late to sign up for Boston College’s online course opportunities such as “Women Envisioning Church”.

Commonweal magazine will host a special event in Chicago, IL on Thurs. Oct. 12. Andrew Greeley will speak on “Loyal In Spite of It All: The Laity and the Future of the Church” followed by a Q&A session with Paul Baumann, editor of Commonweal . For details, click here. The current issue of Commonweal features a subject of interest among many Catholics, “Young Catholics & Their Faith – Is Being Spiritual Enough?”.

The August 24 article on the Tom Roeser blog “Anne Burke out-maneuvers bishops” is worth reading, as is the Aug. 31 entry on Burke. These were part of a series produced for The Wanderer, a national Catholic newspaper in the United States. Burke, the former interim chair of the USCCB National Review Board, was the inaugural recipient of the VOTF Catherine of Siena Lay Person Award presented at the 2005 VOTF Convocation in Indianapolis.

Want a sense of VOTF’s global community? It only takes a minute to visit VOTF Australia.

QUOTE for our time. The following prayer has been attributed to Mother Teresa (but is also associated with St. Therese of Lisieux). It has been making the rounds among parents of school children as families ready themselves for a new academic year.

May today there be peace within. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content knowing you are a child of God. Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.

In the Vineyard
September 7, 2006
Volume 5, Issue 16
Printer Friendly Version (PDF)

Page One

Diocese/State Watch

Book Review

VOTF National News Update


VOTF – Voice of the Faithful;
USCCB – United States
Conference of Catholic Bishops;
NRB – National Review Board (appointed by the USCCB);
FADICA – Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities;
NRC – National Representative Council (elected by VOTF members in 14 US regions).

Structural Change Working Group

Voice of Renewal/Lay Education

Prayerful Voice

Goal 2 - Priest Support




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