In the Vineyard :: September 6, 2013 :: Volume 13, Issue 16

News from National

   Update on VOTF 
   Bishop Selection

Stained Glass Window IconAs part of VOTF’s ongoing effort to restore meaningful lay input into the selection of local bishops, Voice of the Faithful is asking Pope Francis to support demonstration models among the various national Councils of Bishops.

In a letter timed for receipt prior to the planned October meeting between the pope and bishops, President Mark Mullaney, on behalf of VOTF's Bishop Selection Committee, sent the request and a revised document to the Vatican last week.

The proposal outlines a mechanism for collecting lay input via projects the national bishop councils could conduct within their own countries. 

Following a demonstration period, the Vatican would draw up new "best practices" for incorporating lay input into the recommendations sent prior to the pope's appointment of new bishops in dioceses. 

Here are those documents:
Letter from VOTF to Pope Francis
Furthering the New Evangelization: Consulting the Laity on Candidates for the Episcopacy

Guest Commentary: What Will We Do?
By Steve Dzida, Chair of the VOTF Orange County affiliate

“So now I tell you, have nothing to do with these men, and let them go.  For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself.  But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them; you may even find yourselves fighting against God.”  So said the Pharisee Gamaliel to the Sanhedrin as they considered what to do with the disciples of Jesus who, inspired by the Holy Spirit, were preaching boldly and openly the good news of Jesus.

Unfortunately for our beloved Church, our Church officials continue to disregard Gamaliel’s sage advice.  Bishop Geoffrey Robinson from Australia toured the U.S. several years ago urging Church officials to investigate the clergy sex abuse scandal thoroughly and courageously no matter where it might lead them.  Judging such a message to be rebellious and dangerous, American bishops refused him permission to speak on Church property across the country.  Bishop Robinson’s powerful message, delivered with humility and faith, resonated with thousands of committed Catholics across the country.  Despite the “heads in the sand” approach of Church officials, Bishop Robinson’s message and the abuse scandal have not just gone away.

 Fast forward to 2013.  Fr. Helmut Schuller of Austria has just completed a cross-country, U.S. tour in which he proclaimed such “radical” notions as (1) the Eucharist is a symbol of inclusion and must not be used as a weapon against the People of God; (2) the Holy Spirit speaks through all the People of God, not just those who have been ordained; and (3) God made both men and women in God’s own image and likeness so we should not prohibit ordination of women.  Fr. Schuller urged all of us to stand up as “Church citizens” and speak our minds to the hierarchy about matters of importance to the life of our Church.  Once again, ignoring the wisdom of Gamaliel, American bishops prohibited Fr. Schuller from appearing on Church property.  Consequently his tour itinerary was marked with appearances at Protestant churches and secular locations.  Judge for yourself, use the link below to learn more about Fr. Schuller's message.

 So what will we do?  We who are citizens of the Church, members of the People of God, baptized and sealed in the Holy Spirit—what will we do?  Let us deliver the message to our pastors and our bishops that we will no longer sit still as they do their best to silence the Spirit’s voice in God’s people.  Let us tell our pastors and our bishops that we expect them to stand up and speak up, as did Bishop Robinson and Fr. Schuller, to call for the structural changes that are necessary to preserve and protect our Church.  Let us tell our pastors and our bishops that the Eucharist is the source and summit of our Church and we will not tolerate their sacrificing and rationing the Eucharist in order to preserve the vestiges of an all-male, celibate priesthood.  Most importantly, let us call on each and every one of us people in the pews to rise up and take our places as the People of God, called by the Spirit, to deliver the good news of the Gospel to our Church officials who have lost their way.

What is VOTF Doing? Read VOTF’s papers on celibacy and clericalism and see what you can do.

On celibacy?
On Clericalism?

For more coverage of the Catholic Tipping Point tour featuring Fr. Helmut Schuller, see our media page

A Request from Bishop Geoffrey Robinson
I have sat and listened to many stories of horrific sexual abuse within the Catholic Church, stories that made me ashamed to be a priest and a Catholic. 

I have listened to people whose lives have been ruined and I have felt a sadness and horror I cannot put into words. I have spent time with people close to suicide and I have watched the moving struggle of others trying to put their lives together again.

As a young teenager I was abused myself and I hope this makes me more sensitive. What's happened within the Church has been nothing short of a catastrophe. Only the annihilation of the causes of this abuse will do, so that this can never happen again.

And there's a real chance right now that we can begin this process. Media attention is focused more than ever before on getting answers. A Royal Commission is underway. And the new Pope has promised to listen more.

That's why I've started a petition on calling on Pope Francis to convene a full council of the church on this issue -- and finally begin an open, transparent process to identify and remove the causes of this abuse.

Will you add your name to my petition?

Almost two decades ago I helped set up some of the Church's first responses to this issue -- and I knew then and know now that this was only the beginning.

I have felt the disapproval of authorities in the Church when I tried speaking out. But they will not be able to simply ignore the message any longer if enough of you join me and stand with victims of abuse and thousands of others.

I still believe in the great beauty of the Church. It's sustained me through the worst of this ugliness. Now I have hope that we can truly confront the horror of this abuse and ensure it never happens again. Please join my petition to Pope Francis demanding a full council of the Church to address sexual abuse.

Thanks for being with me,
Bishop Geoffrey Robinson

Sign Bishop Robinson's Petition


Highlighting issues we face working together to Keep the Faith, Change the Church

Bill to Give Sex-Abuse Victims More Time to Sue Advances on Second Try
A bill that would give some sex-abuse victims more time to file lawsuits has advanced in the California Assembly. SB 131 would lift the statute of limitations for one year to enable some victims of childhood sexual abuse to sue private or nonprofit employers that failed to protect them from known molesters.

Celibacy a Major Factor for Breakaway Catholic Clergy in Africa
Schismatic Roman Catholic priests, who left the church to marry, are now asking for an “African pope” to lead them. The priests say they regret their former church is “allergic” to change. They believe priestly celibacy is neither rooted in the teachings of Jesus nor in the work of his apostles, most of whom were married. And they insist celibacy does not work in an African context.
-- Trouble with Celibacy in the Church in Africa

Cardinal Blocked Abuse Inquiry, Archbishop Says
The former Archbishop of Glasgow has said that Cardinal Keith O’Brien blocked an investigation into the Scottish Catholic Church’s handling of sex abuse in 2012. In a letter to the Tablet, Archbishop Mario Conti wrote: “It was the intention of all but one member of the bishops’ conference to commission an independent examination of the historical cases we had on file in all of our respective dioceses and publish the results.”

New Archbishop to Open Abuse Files
The new Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh is expected to open all the archdiocese’s files on allegations of clerical abuse to a national independent enquiry. Mgr Leo Cushley, who will be installed as Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh next month, is expected to fully endorse plans by the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland dating back to 2011 to examine all Church records for instances of clerical abuse.

National Catholic Reporter Receives $2.3 Million Grant to Cover Religious Sisters
Amid continued controversy over the Catholic identity of U.S. women religious, a National Catholic Reporter has been awarded a multi-million dollar grant to cover religious sisters. Brad Myers, a senior program officer for the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation's Catholic Sisters Initiative, confirmed the three-year, $2.3 million grant to NCR and said the grant is designed to create “what we're calling a ‘global sisters’ net.”

Protecting Children Is Everyone’s Business
“Recently I heard a prominent Catholic Church leader say something very significant and prophetic about the discussions around the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse and in particular into protecting children,” writes Francis Sullivan of the Truth, Justice and Healing Council. “He said too often, during the discussions and debates around child sexual abuse, the children ‘slide in and out of the frame.’”
Read the rest of the issue of Focus by clicking here ...

The Response of Moral Theologians to the Syrian Crisis – Food for Thought

 Thomas J. Reese, SJ, former editor of America, looks at the response of moral theologians to intervention in Syria, at NCR.
What moral theologians say about getting involved in Syria | National Catholic Reporter


Phyllis Zagano to speak at Boston College as part of the C-21 program on Wednesday, October 23rd:  Title:  Women Deacons: Past, Present, Future

6:00pm Cadigan Alumni Center Atrium, Brighton Campus

September 30 – Reporting from the Ground: Building Understanding of the Israel/Palestine Conflict. Speaker: Dr. Alice Rothchild. A joint presentation with Saint Susanna Peace and Justice Committee.

Alice Rothchild is an obstetrician-gynecologist who has worked in the health care reform and women’s movements for many years. Since 1997, she has focused much of her energy on understanding the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict. In 1997, through her involvement in the Boston Workmen’s Circle, a progressive secular Jewish organization, Alice turned much of her non-medical focus to understanding the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and its relationship to US foreign policy and American Jewry. She co-founded and co-chairs Visions of Peace with Justice in Israel/Palestine, now American Jews for a Just Peace – Boston and co-organized the AJJP Health and Human Rights Project.

As usual, the program runs from 7:00 to 9:00 PM, at the parish hall, 262 Needham St., Dedham. There is no pre-registration and no fee, but free-will donations will be gratefully accepted to cover our costs. For directions or more details, visit the Adult Faith Formation page on the parish web site, Come and See!

North Shore-Seacoast VOTF Affiliate
2013-2014 Adult Education
and Faith Formation Program
Reclaiming the Promise of Vatican II
September 15, 2013 – April 6, 2014
Sunday evenings 7:00 – 9:00 P.M.
Includes Lecture, Discussion and Refreshments

Sept. 15, 2013 Thomas H. Groome, Ed. D.
Will There Be Faith? (Immaculate Conception Parish, Newburyport)
 Oct. 20, 2013 Francine Cardman, Ph. D.
Vatican II, Women, and the Church Today (St. Rose of Lima Parish,Topsfield)
Nov. 17, 2013Roberto S. Goizueta, Ph. D.
Reflecting on America as a Single Entity: The Challenge of Catholicism in Latin America (St. Mary Parish, Lynn)
March 23, 2014 Richard R. Gaillardetz, Ph. D.
The Legacy of the Second Vatican Council for the 21st Century (Our Lady of Hope Parish, Ipswich)
April 6, 2014 – Rev. Kenneth R. Himes, O.F.M., Ph. D.
Vatican II and a Biblical Model of the Moral Life (St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, Peabody)

For further information, please contact:
Elaine Nylander, 978 – 887-0882,
Eleanora Paciulan, 978 – 462-4882,
 Mo Donovan, 978 – 518-0133,
Carl Greenler, 781 – 690-1307,

 My Life, My Faith, My Career
Tuesday, October 22 at 7:30 PM 
Kevin Dupont, Lower Church / Concord Center MA

Our Adult Faith Formation structure for this year is called My Life, My Faith, My Career. This series, meant to appeal to adults and older teens, is an attempt to connect the dots between our life stories, our Catholic faith, and our career choices. Largely autobiographical, it is our hope that the speakers we have lined up will allow those who attend to connect the same dots in their own life among life, faith and career. Leading off the series is renowned The Boston Globe sports columnist and Holy Family parishioner Kevin Dupont.

Kevin Dupont, a former staff writer at the Boston Herald American and the New York Times, has been a senior staff writer in the Sports department of The Boston Globe since 1985. His specialty is the National Hockey League. He began his journalism career at the Globe as a copyboy in 1973. His Sunday commentary each week, “On Second Thought,” explores the intersection of sports, sports’ figures and values in the workplace and home. [Editorial Comment: I confess I had never read Kevin’s Sunday column until I came to Holy Family and met Kevin. Now, I read it every Sunday as I read through the Globe before coming over to Holy Family for Sunday masses – Ken]

Course: The Psalms Text: The Book of Psalms by Robert Alter
Taught by Celia Sirois on Tuesdays for 4 weeks, October 29, Nov. 5, 12 & 19 at 7:30 PM, Parish Center Lower Level / West Concord MA
The love and understanding of the Jewish and Christian scriptures is a key element of Christians’ understanding of their faith and the world around them. Professor Celia Sirois, who has taught many courses here, at Saint John’s Seminary and throughout the Archdiocese of Boston for more than 25 years, will lead a four-week course on the Psalms. The Psalms are the prayers of the Jewish community, prayers that Jesus himself prayed at home as well as in the synagogue and temple.

Noted Scripture scholar Celia Sirois has an M.A. from Providence College in Biblical Studies. She has taught courses both in the Hebrew Scriptures [Old Testament] and New Testament through CHRISM, Boston College, Blessed John XXIII Seminary, and Saint John’s Seminary in Brighton through the Master of Arts in Ministry program. She will lead participants in a study of the Book of Psalms using Robert Alter’s translation in The Book of Psalms. Copies of this book are available in local bookstores, including the Concord Book Shop, as well as online. Having a copy of this book before the first class would be very helpful.
This program will be held in West Concord at our Parish Center, 55 Church Street opposite the Harvey Wheeler Senior Center.

Join VOTF NJ for thought-provoking discussion for seekers looking to engage and grow in the Church today.

Keynote Speech By Roger Haight, S.J.; presentations By Area Intentional Eucharistic Communities
Timely and Thoughtful Perspectives 
The keynote speaker is Roger Haight, S.J., a Jesuit of the New York Province and recognized scholar and author. Fr. Haight received his doctorate in theology from the University of Chicago and his S.T.L. from the Jesuit School of Theology at Chicago. He has taught throughout the United States and abroad. 

His attention to fundamental issues in doctrinal theology is reflected in his books on the nature of theology as a discipline, christology, ecclesiology, grace, liberation theology, and spirituality.  He was the recipient of the Alumnus of the Year Award from the Divinity School of the University of Chicago in 2006. He is a past president of the Catholic Theological Society of America. His book Jesus: Symbol of God won the 1999 top prize in theology from the U.S. Catholic Press Association. He is currently a scholar at Union Theological Seminary in New York.

Following his address, representatives from Intentional Eucharistic Communities in northern New Jersey will share stories of their roots, strengths and challenges, structures, ministries and visions for the future.

All are welcome.  There is no admission charge. Goodwill offerings always appreciated.  

A EUCHARISTIC PEOPLE IN A 21ST CENTURY CHURCH, 9 A.M. - 12 noon, Saturday, October 5, 2013, St. Mark Lutheran Church, 100 Harter Road, Morristown NJ.

VOTF Bridgeport (CT) to Meet Sept. 12
Panel Discussion on the State of the Abuse Crisis
More than a decade has passed since reports in The Boston Globe revealed the extent of the Catholic Church’s crisis of sexual abuse and cover-up. How far have we come since?
The Panelists:
Dan Tepfer, reporter for the Connecticut Post, who has covered this story for years
Beth McCabe, co-leader of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) in Connecticut
Tom Kelly, Bridgeport resident and survivor of clerical abuse

7:30 p.m. Thursday, September 12th
First Congregational Church on the Green, Norwalk CT
Use side entrance on Lewis Street.
Contact: K Clement at 203 856-1805

Questions, Comments?

Please send them to Siobhan Carroll, Vineyard Editor, at Unless otherwise indicated, I will assume comments can be published as Letters to the Editor.


Page One


Shop at Amazon, Support VOTF

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





© Voice of the Faithful 2013. All Rights Reserved