forward submissions to In the Vineyard to firstname.lastname@example.org.
you attended a lecture, event or talk on a subject of interest
to VOTF? Do you have information other readers might find helpful?
Please consider sending a brief commentary to share.
Support Events and News
On the Manchester, NH Solidarity March, January 26
THE LONGEST LINE - Reported by Bill Fallon
are used to waiting in long lines - at Mass for Communion, at
Confirmations, funerals, etc. On a cold Sunday morning in late
January outside St. Joseph's Cathedral in Manchester, New Hampshire,
a group of 83 Catholics waited single file in the longest line
of all. They waited to step up to the podium, hold high a poster
picture of a victim taken at the age of abuse, and announce the
brief caption - "Jamie, abused from age 10 to 14," "Patricia,
abused at age 11," "My son, Andrew, abused and raped by Paul Shanley,"
"Suicide victim #1." For more than half an hour the posters were
read, as the silent crowd of about 200 people, herded behind police
barriers, listened respectfully as the mournful strains of Barber's
Adagio played endlessly.
the last poster bearer had finished, the crowd joined them in
a silent single file march around the cathedral block, more than
completely encircling it. A few short speeches by leaders of survivors
groups ended the moving two-hour Solidarity March program, and
the crowd dispersed to all parts of New England. They'll long
remember the biting cold, the graciousness of the Episcopal Church
across the street in letting marchers use their facilities when
the cathedral authorities refused such a request (and guarded
the doors), and the absence of the focus of it all, Bishop John
almost ten years Bishop McCormack was a central figure in the
Boston Archdiocese practice of shuffling abuser priests from parish
to parish. The crowd came to demand his resignation, and will
likely come again and again. Each time, as new victim revelations
continue, the long line will grow longer.
our Maine Affiliate
Reported by Stephen Sheehan
at Most Holy Trinity Parish in Saco, ME on January 22, 2003
Speaker: Fr. William Clark, SJ
Subject: The Role of the Laity in the Catholic Church in the 21st
Contact: Paul Kendrick, VOTF Maine
fact of the clergy sexual abuse crisis has deeply compromised
the ability of the Church to take a firm moral stand. The underlying
causes of the crisis must be addressed and remedied before the
Gospel message can be heard.
laity can no longer adopt a passive role. We must now assume the
role bestowed by our baptism as sharing in Christ's threefold
role as prophet, priest and king.
Church is a sacrament. Its mission is to point out the Kingdom
of God and to make it happen. The authority of the laity to participate
fully is not dependent on the hierarchy, on Canon Law or on the
traditions of the Church but derives from God through our baptism.
In Lumen Gentium, these rights and responsibilities are noted
in the first section of the document, before the roles of the
hierarchy and the religious.
Church is a mystery, not an institution. It is manifested as a
relationship with God. This can only be properly understood when
seen from within. Members enter this relationship through baptism.
of the Faithful (VOTF) has a right to exist. This right
is clear in Canons 208 - 231. We have the right to associate and
to meet to discuss our concerns and a right, sometimes a duty
to make our concerns known to the hierarchy in fulfillment of
our priestly role.
must be a broad-based organization with modest but firm goals,
initially focused at the local level in order to build a stronger,
larger group, similar to the church in the first two centuries.
that are used against us:
attitude is directed against the desire of the laity to dialogue
with the hierarchy;
of use of Church property is directed against our desire to
work within the Church;
of meetings employs exhausting negative energy and is directed
against our right to meet and organize;
and false characterization as dissenters is directed against
our stated mission and goals;
about vagueness are directed against our methodology for growth
response to these tactics:
assault is divisive. We need to listen and not combat arrogance
- We need
to open dialogue, but this cannot happen when one party is
cowed into submission;
- We need
to stand firm in our rights and duties, but always listen;
continual education of the laity in the Catechism, Vatican
II documents, the Bible, and Canon Law, using all reference
materials at our disposal;
- We need
to demonstrate our holiness, be more conspicuous as practicing
what we preach;
- We need
to be watchdogs at the parish level to insure that laity participation
remains constant and that we do not regress;
- We need
to do more outreach to young people, minorities and those
who are disadvantaged/disaffected.
and VOTF, Naples, FL
Reported by Richard Caldarone
Thursday, January 23, about 250 Catholics from Naples, FL attended
a Mass concelebrated by priests and deacons from five Catholic
churches located in Naples and neighboring Bonita Springs. The
principal celebrant was Fr. Jack Donahue of St. John the Evangelist
church in North Naples who gave the homily. Fr. Donahue said that
the sex abuse crisis has seriously injured the institutional church
and caused a crisis of confidence. He referred to the victims
as his spiritual children. He also expressed compassion for his
brother priests who had victimized those most vulnerable in our
church. He described them as part of our broken human family.
He also talked about the effect the scandal has had upon the honorable
and chaste priests who now are often looked upon with distrust
said that he welcomed more participation in parish affairs from
finance to hiring of church employees, but said that this involvement
may not be easy going since many priests have been used to running
their parishes in their own way for many years. Fr Donahue stated
that the church has weathered worse times and that "through our
pain, we are forming and giving birth to a renewed church." Fr.
Glockin, the pastor of St. John's, said that he welcomed the parishioners'
involvement and that it's "the people's church".
the Mass, Peg Clark, founder of the local VOTF group, introduced
the board of directors of the Southwest Florida Chapter of VOTF.
She felt that the many retirees in the area had the time and energy
available to work for a stronger church and that they could offer
to volunteer in local charities and to participate in the recovery
of the church. She said "Maybe God gathered us here in Southwest
Florida for this unique purpose."
to the mass, the ushers greeted those who came and distributed
a folder stating the purpose of VOTF and information for those
who might wish to become involved.
following letter came to the In the Vineyard mailbox from
a priest in California. It is a special grace to know of Fr. Tureman's
want to thank you for your newsletter and the amazing work you
are doing to help heal our shattered institution. As a priest,
this has been the most painful time I have ever experienced, both
professionally and personally. As I hear the revelations coming
out of Boston and other areas, I keep wondering how much more
shock can I take. Just when we have seen the worst, there is more.
This crisis has undermined the good work that the vast majority
of my fellow priests do.
have never seen a crisis that has hurt so many good people both
within and outside of the institution. I was pleased when VOTF
and the local clergy in Boston finally demanded Cardinal Law's
resignation. Your work and witness have given me hope that out
of this will come a better day. But I do believe that Cardinal
Law is only the tip of the iceberg. Hopefully, this will translate
as the first step in a serious reform of the entire institution.
This may be the only action that might restore any credibility
to our Church.
prayers and support are with you and VOTF. I know you will keep
those of us trying to share God's hope and love in your prayers
as well. Keep up the good work and we will walk in solidarity
with you by doing the best job we can do, here in our parishes.
in our Savior
Fr. Tom Tureman, SDS
"If you are concerned about female victims and the Edwards/Foster
case, please take a moment to look at www.parcc.org, where you
will find a letter written by Susan Gallagher -- a survivor herself,
a teacher, and a close analyst of the crisis -- assessing the
Globe's coverage of these two issues and providing extensive backup.
of you may feel it is wrong to criticize a newspaper that has
been such an advantage to the movement, or that it is a strategic
mistake to do so. I can see the force of those arguments, but
for me, the neglect of female victims and the implications of
the Edwards/Foster case are too serious to be ignored. Many of
you are not in the Boston area, but I think the issues are important
for you, too."
"As pastor at Our Lady Help of Christian's in Concord Massachusetts,
Fr. Austin Fleming has been outspoken about the church crisis
in parish listening sessions, in dozens of homilies and letters,
in the Boston Priests Forum, and in his support of Voice of the
Faithful. Fr. Fleming will be the Guest Speaker at the Concord
MA Area VOTF Parish Voice Meeting on Wednesday, February 12th
at 7:30 PM. All are welcome to attend."
Wednesday February 12th
Time: 7:30 PM
Location: Concord Massachusetts. The meeting will be held in the
parish hall of Our Lady Help of Christians Church, located on
Church Street between Main Street (route 62) and Commonwealth
avenue, just up the hill from the West Concord MBTA station, one
mile Southwest of the corner of Route 2 and Route 62.
Leadership Council Report - covering the 1/23 Council
Groups - ongoing progress reports on goal-related work
at Large - members covering key events in Naples, FL and Manchester,
Voices Everywhere! - updates from affiliates coast-to-coast
from Members - members share information about resources supportive
of female victims of abuse and an upcoming talk by Fr. Austin
Fleming in Concord, MA.
Post's Speaking Schedule