could not watch with me one hour?” Mt 26:40
Section – preparing
for February 27 National Review Board release
of the John Jay
College of Criminal
Justice “Study of the Nature and Scope of Sexual
Abuse by Catholic Clergy in the United States.” VOTF
Officers Jim Post, Kris Ward,
Sr. Betsy Conway and Ann Carroll share their
perspectives on the importance of the upcoming
2/27 study release. Read
Community – A survivor gives thanks; Jim
Post’s “takes” from the successful “Fireside Chat”
that featured SNAP’s David Clohessy, the Linkup’s
Sue Archibald, author Jason Berry, survivor advocate
Fr. Tom Doyle and psychotherapist and author Richard
Sipe; The Lighthouse lives! See
minutes - 193 parish affiliates, including
those in British Columbia, New Zealand and Tasmania.
What else is new? Read more.
to Editor – One writer argues for lay persistence
and another for financial accountability; another
observes, “… the Reformation started just because
indulgences were being sold. This is much worse.”
Working Groups – Prayerful Voice looks ahead
to a postponed Spirituality conference; Voice of Renewal
is setting up a listserv; Structural Change Working
Group invites you to its parish pastoral council survey.
Etc. – Jim Post speaking coast to coast;
this month’s Best Practices choice
goes to “Putting Muscle into Parish Councils” in Hingham,
MA; author David France to speak in Winchester on
News – Chair of Parish Voices Mary Ann Keyes
reports on travel; Saanich Peninsula VOTF loses a
member; Cleveland, OH VOTF newsletter VOTF Perspectives
makes its debut.
- Another bishop resigns in the wake of abuse accusations
- Bishop Dupre of Springfield, MA. Watch the VOTF
Web site for developing news
with Church leadership to effect structural change
– VOTF Washington, DC offers an impressive chronology
(Voices, Voices Everywhere!)
“We have urgent questions about whether the bishops,
whose actions horrify us even more than those of the
pederasts, will be held accountable in any credible
way.” Read “Task for the Next Church Council” by Fr.
Raymond G. Helmick, S.J., reprinted with permission.
The article appeared in Human Development Magazine,
September 29, 2003 Vol. 189 no. 9. What Do You Think?
of the Month – a survivor’s “Benediction”
a speaker at your affiliate? Check out David France,
author of Our Fathers – The Secret Life of the
Catholic Church in an Age of Scandal. His book
tour itinerary is available through former VOTF
secretary Mike Emerton at email@example.com.
Excerpts from David’s book are on the SNAP web site.
you attended the VOTF convention in 2002,
you will remember Francine Cardman, theology
at Weston Jesuit School of Theology. Her message,
“Pay Attention to How You Listen” resonates still.
Francine spoke at the Paulist Center, Boston, MA
Feb. 10. This time, Francine took on “Participation,
Power and the People of God: Becoming The Church.
Watch the next VOTF quarterly for a re-cap
some VOTF buttons and/or bumper stickers?
It’s a great way to use your voice. Call the graphic
artists who designed our logo - the Healys can be
reached at 508-866-5931.
the epi-center, Boston, MA is facing a troubling
number of parish closings as are and will
many dioceses throughout the country. The “VOTF
Statement on Parish Closings in the Boston Archdiocese” and
Closings and Diocesan Finances Financial Implications:
A Boston Overview” make thoughtful reading for
and white ribbons are catching on. The
survivor-generated idea to mark the courage of
survivors has spread from
Alabama to New Hampshire. Supporters are asked to
wear them during Lent and on Easter. Ribbons
online at thefirstsiteonline.com.
receive the winter VOTF quarterly Voice please
call the office at 617-558-5252 or contact your
To contact an affiliate in your area, just go
Parish Voice, identify your state by region,
click appropriately and you're there.
send comments and inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org
deadline for the March 2004 issue is Monday, March
postal address is VOTF, Box 423, Newton Upper
Falls, MA 02464-0002
of the Faithful, VOTF, "Keep the Faith, Change the Church,"
Voice of Compassion, VOTF logo(s), Parish Voice, and
Prayerful Voice are trademarks of Voice of the Faithful,
of the Faithful is a 501(c) 3 tax-exempt organization.
Volume 3, Issue 2
Printer Friendly Version
of the Faithful began in January 2002 with a question asked
all over the world – how could this happen? How could our
children have been victimized for decades by priests and knowing
bishops? Where were we?
to address these questions and arrive at answers we can live
with makes up VOTF’s goals and work.
the USCCB produced a “Charter for the Protection of Children
and Young People" and “Essential Norms for Diocesan/Eparchial
Policies Dealing with Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors
by Priests or Deacons” was one welcome response to what befell
the Roman Catholic Church in 2002. That the Audit summary
on the implementation of the Charter indicates near total
compliance with the bishops’ own criteria might also be hopeful.
But if we pay attention to SNAP, The Linkup and SurvivorsFirst.org,
we have a clearer understanding of what’s missing in self-grading.
As one survivor put it, “Putting something in place that you
said you were going to put in place doesn’t tell me what you’re
going to do with it, how you’re going to treat it.” And another,
“What happens to the guilty – offenders are being ‘handled’
but when do the bishops answer for what they did?”
It isn’t lost on many observers that the criteria for the
USCCB scrutiny were determined by the very people who covered
up the abuse of children for decades – bishops. One look at
www.bishopaccountability.org will delineate more clearly just
what survivors are talking about.
the most painful moment in this crisis will arrive on February
27 when the USCCB National Review Board releases the John
Jay College of Criminal Justice “Study of the Nature and Scope
of Sexual Abuse by Catholic Clergy in the United States.”
American Catholics will see the glaring truth reduced to numbers.
It is the beginning of addressing where we go from here. And
it is the beginning of knowing precisely where we are. Catholics
cannot afford to ask again – Where were we? The driving vision
of VOTF is to ensure that our Church will never again hurt
a child and that the laity will be key players in that assurance.
How else might we hope to arrive at a commitment to “communio,”
as USCCB president Bishop Wilton Gregory has said? To lay
people, genuine communion begins with openness and depends
on accountability. We believe this case has been made and
will be reinforced on February 27.
readers will be making a case for their own voice; we’d like
to hear from you. We invite your comments and/or questions
on the study’s findings as you digest them. We encourage dialogue
in your parishes and we promise a comprehensive consideration
of the study’s message for Catholics in forthcoming issues
of In the Vineyard as well as on our Web site at www.votf.org.
In this issue, we offer a special section of background information
and perspectives worth considering.
you need a jump-start? As a pre-Lenten exercise, consider
Jesus’ question, above, and ask yourself with us – Where was
I? Know how many fellow Catholics were right beside you. And
know, as VOTF president Jim Post has said repeatedly in the
past two years, “It doesn’t have to be this way.”
Peggie L. Thorp, Ed.