Major Donation Goes to Women’s Initiative
Our Voices in Action Women’s Initiative, under the Universal Church Reform platform, has received $5,000 from a donor who does so in memory of Katherine (Katie) Enos, a young woman who died tragically on June 30.
In the donor's words, “Katie was such a joyful spirit, full of life and energy, wise beyond her 14 years on this earth. A gifted writer of stories and songs, she left so much to the world in her few short years among us. In Katie’s memory, I want to make this gift to Voice of the Faithful for the further exploration of the place and roles of women in the Catholic Church.”
Back to school advice on protecting children
As schools across the nation are starting up, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has posted on their web site the "ABCs of child protection"---messages children will hear in the safe environment programs. VOTF's Protecting Our Children (POC) Working Group urges us all to support the nine messages the USCCB lists.
But Patricia T. Gomez, Ph.D., who has worked with other members of POC for more than five years on child-safety programs, says the introductory paragraph for the list poses problems. It says the program "gives children the skills necessary to protect themselves." The program may empower children to say no, Pat says, but to suggest that this training helps a child prevent abuse is misleading.
"Results from studies conducted by noted researcher Dr. David Finklehor indicate that children who attend abuse prevention training are no less likely to be abused than children who have not been trained," she notes. "But children are indeed more likely to report any abuse if they have received this training. Children alone cannot prevent the abuse just because they have been trained in personal safety; open and trusting communication with parents and caregivers is also essential, as well as a vigilant community."
As our children and grandchildren head back to school, we should remember that we also need to ensure that adults are trained in abuse awareness, that school staff and volunteers undergo background checks, and that parish and diocesan Codes of Conduct should be signed each year.
Talk Show Interviews of Survivors Now Available
Early this summer, we posted news about the cable TV show “Coming Out of the Shadows of Sexual Abuse.” In the program, Bill Casey, a leader of the Child Protection/Survivor Support Team for Voices in Action and a VOTF trustee, interviewed three survivors of sexual abuse for Laurel Cable TV Network. The show is available for airing on other television stations, and you may obtain DVDs from the show for use at affiliate meetings or other venues (to request one, email or write the VOTF Office: email@example.com or Survivor DVD, P.O. Box 423, Newton MA 02464).
Now you also can view the show right here on the VOTF web site: http://votf.org/14775.
Emily and Rosemary Fund
In case you missed it, the deadline for grant applications from the Emily and Rosemary fund is October 10, 2010.
The Emily and Rosemary Fund for Women in the Church is a grants program initiated with a $75,000 donation from Lynette Petruska of St. Louis MO. Grants from the fund will help women who face financial hardship after losing their jobs in the Church as a result of injustice or discrimination. Grants also may be awarded to women who are working to bring about justice and equality in the Church.
“Gender biases become more apparent each day in the Roman Catholic Church,” Ms. Petruska says. Women who report sexual misconduct may be especially at risk. “I want Catholics who see, suffer, or suspect sexual misconduct in the Church to speak out and make the Church safer for everyone, and I want other women who do this to know that they are not alone.”
You can read the details here. The first round of grants opened Aug. 10.
The Fund is designed so that additional contributions can be made simply by marking “Emily & Rosemary Fund” on the check or in the online donation comment box.
Looking for inspiration? Wondering if anything will ever change? Visit VOTF’s Prophetic Voices site and read what men and women, priests and laity are saying. You may be inspired... Here’s just a sample:
“And then there is the sexual abuse crisis. This challenges our Catholic faith – and perhaps causes us to lose it. Many of us who are bishops, as leaders in the church, often have been blind, ignorant, and clearly wrong in this crisis. At times we have focused more on the perceived needs of the institutional church than on the needs of the victims. For this we apologize. I pray that out of this crisis, the church will become better. The church is not the priests and the bishops. The church is the people. And most of all the church is Jesus Christ.” – Bishop Francis A. Quinn, bishop emeritus of San Francisco, US Catholic, August 2010
Accused of covering up sexual abuse, Irish Cardinal to travel with Pope to England
Disease and disaster might challenge our belief in God, but despite all that, we must keep the faith. Inspiring words from Bishop Francis A. Quinn
Cardinal George under fire from pews and pulpit
Lay involvement is different throughout the Catholic church
Update on Voices in Action
What’s happening in the Women’s Initiative group?
At a critical time in the 2,010-year history of the Catholic Church, a new coalition of women and men have joined together to form the “Women’s Initiative.” We want our voices heard as we help to reform and transform our church to meet the needs of the 21st century. We want women—and all the baptized—to be empowered in the future Catholic Church.
Voice of the Faithful has provided the platform for Universal Church Reform (UCR). As a part of UCR, the Women’s Initiative will empower its members to provide the energy, ideas, imagination and steadfast commitment to bringing structural change to our church, inclusive of all people--where practicing one’s Catholic faith can be positively lived and publicly proclaimed.
Save the date!
Tri State VOTF Conference
Saturday, October 30, 2010
“BREAKING the TIME BARRIER:
A 21st Century Laity Demands Relevance from a Medieval Hierarchy”
For more details go to VOTF-LI.org
The Unrealized Goals of Vatican II
Adult Education and Faith Formation Program Sponsored by the Voice of the Faithful North Shore-Seacoast and Lynn Affiliates in Collaboration with the Department of Theology, Boston College
The first of the program series for 2010-2011 starts on Sunday, Sept. 12, 2010, at St. Rose of Lima in Topsfield, Massachusetts from 7:00 – 9: 00 P. M. The theme of the Programs is I Hope You Dance: Vatican II Achievements and a Work in Progress
Sr. Maureen Sullivan, O.P., Ph.D. Associate Professor, Theology Dept. St. Anselm College, Manchester, NH
For more details http://votf.org/vineyard/Sept9_2010/dance.html
Celebrate the Women's Ordination Conference's 35th Anniversary
Making It Happen in Our Lifetime
Featuring the Chicago Premiere of the Film
Pink Smoke Over the Vatican
a documentary about the women's ordination movement
Saturday, September 18, 2010
6 p.m. Film
7:30 p.m. Dinner Buffet and Silent/Live Auction
Tickets - $60
Irish American Heritage Center
4626 North Knox Avenue, Chicago
For more information, please contact the WOC office at 202-675-1006
New Jersey Regional Listening Assembly
October 2, 1010
Share thoughts in preparation for National ACC meeting next year in Detroit.
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Anthony Padovano on “The Wisdom and Experience of the People of God: "The laity are entitled, and indeed sometimes duty-bound, to express their opinion on matters which concern the good of the church"...Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium, November 21, 1964)
For more information http://votf.org/vineyard/Sept9_2010/nj.html
Clergy Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church
Reflections 1984-2010 (first in a series)
By Tom Doyle
Part I: Defining the Context
Before looking at the saga of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy in the Catholic Church it is first absolutely essential to define the context, i.e., what precisely it is all about. The story is set in the Roman Catholic Church, the largest and oldest religious denomination in the world. The major participants have ranged from relatively unknown children from the anonymous fringes of the Church to bishops and even the popes. The issues that have caused controversy, debate and animosity have run the gamut from dogma, moral theology and governing style to media bias, social deference and personal worth. Anger, emotion and convoluted politics have often simmered just below the surface, dominating the issue at many levels. Name calling, personal attacks, slander and deceit have been common and more often than not have caused the focus to shift from the fundamental issue to personal agendas. Woven through it all from start to finish have been power and money.
Letters to the Editor
Reading J. Lambkin’s letter about her children and her comment “I grow more doubtful about keeping with this church” should spur us to greater action regarding reforming the laity. While I applaud the work and efforts made by VOTF toward achieving the 10 steps, I fear all of it will be temporary unless step number 7 is greatly expanded.
Let me say first I understand it is VOTF’s commitment to work within the Roman church system. I also understand that the laity has a right to speak and assemble to have their voices heard according to canon law. The problem is the laity has no power and has no plan to get any power.
The goal of empowering the laity must go far beyond simply “being heard” for any lasting and effective reform. There is no power in simply being heard if the hierarchy is completely free to ignore whatever the laity has to say. As it stands now the hierarchy is free to do just about anything it wants. It even violates what little rights the laity has in canon law. In truth the laity only has the power to decide if they will go to mass, and the power to decide if they are going to contribute to the collection. Everything else is not the laity’s power to decide. Whatever else the laity may want to do is totally up to the discretion of the pastor. The pastor is completely free to spend the laity’s money on anything he wants over the laity’s objections.
The laity’s money (20-30%) that is required to be sent to the bishop from the collection is spent at the total discretion of the bishop. The laity has no power to decide how their own money is spent. According to canon law parish councils are not required, and finance councils have no power because canon law stipulates that they are only advisory. They only give the appearance that the laity has a voice because they are only rubber stamps. They have no power.
What is worse is they create the deception that they have importance.
Canon law is written by the hierarchy to ensue that the hierarchy has all the power and all the control. Canon law is written for church government of the hierarchy, by the hierarchy and for the hierarchy. The laity has had no power to determine anything in canon law. It has been called the law of the church, but that is deceptive because it is not the law of the whole church. The truth is that canon law is only the law of the hierarchy.
Until this is recognized and changed by the laity, empowering the laity will have no substance. It will be like the Dallas Charter which is not mandatory, has no standing in canon law, and which the bishop is free to ignore anytime he wants.
I say all of this to implore VOTF to develop an education campaign to reform the laity so that the laity will organize itself for democratic power and real structural change at their own initiation. I believe that only by doing this can the laity ensure that the other 9 steps will have any permanence. All reforms are reforms of the power of governance. This should not have to be the job of J. Lambkin’s children.
Please send them to Siobhan Carroll, Vineyard Editor at Vineyard@votf.org. Unless otherwise indicated, I will assume comments can be published as Letters to the Editor.