In the Vineyard: July 31, 2023


In the Vineyard :: June 31, 2023 :: Volume 23, Issue 13

National News

Don’t Forget Us!

Stifling heat and raging thunder storms, the theme for most of the country this summer, do not deter our hard work here at VOTF. The summer months find researchers for the Financial Working Group and the Protection of Children group busy checking diocesan websites for scores on financial transparency and safe environment policies, developing the data needed to produce our annual reports on each. The researchers evaluating how well dioceses adhere to canon law in their Diocesan Finance Councils have completed their work and we are writing the report that will be published along with the others in the fall.

We’re also reading everything available about the Synod on Synodality and working on ways to continue synodal conversations, plus collaborating with Discerning Deacons and AUSCP on additional projects.

Your support is vital as we continue our efforts to build a better Church.

We hope you can find the time, while coping with the heat, to donate to our ongoing work.

Voices on Synodality

The theme of the June Assembly of the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests was “Unity Through Synodality.” Each of the speakers reflected on the overall theme from their perspectives. One speaker, who was sent by Pope Francis to a meeting in Africa, could not attend but recorded an in-depth interview with AUSCP’s Executive Director, Steve Newton. We think you will enjoy watching this interview, with Luis Cardinal Antonio Gokim Tagle, who has served in several dicasteries at the Vatican, currently is Pro-Prefect for the Section of Evangelization of the Dicastery for Evangelization.

You also may enjoy two of the other presentations now available from AUSCP on synodality, one by Prof Massimo Faggioli (with an introduction by our Executive Director Donna B. Doucette) and one by Prof. Brian Flanagan of Marymount University.

Top Stories

U.S. Bishops’ Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection releases annual report
“The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection has released the 2022 Annual Report – Findings and Recommendations on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. The report is based on the audit findings of StoneBridge Business Partners, a specialty consulting firm headquartered in Rochester, New York, which provides forensic, internal, and compliance audit services to leading organizations nationwide.” By USCCB Office of Public Affairs

‘I don’t know who is stopping this’: advocates urge Mass. AG to issue report on clergy sexual abuse
“Twenty years ago this month, the then-attorney general of Massachusetts, Thomas F. Reilly, issued a report on an investigation of child sexual abuse at the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston. ‘The Office of the Attorney General initiated an extensive investigation, which involved prosecutors, State Police, civilian investigators, and the Grand Jury,’ the report read. ‘It is essential to create an official public record of what occurred so that this type of widespread abuse of children might never happen again here or elsewhere.’ In the two decades since, the state’s top prosecutor has not published a report on clergy abuse at the three other dioceses in Massachusetts — Springfield, Fall River or Worcester.” By Nancy Eve Cohen, New England Public Media

Roman Catholic diocese in northern New York announces bankruptcy filing amid sexual abuse lawsuits
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg in northern New York said Monday (Jul. 17) that it was filing for bankruptcy protection as it faces more than 100 lawsuits alleging sexual abuse. The diocese, like others in the state, is dealing with lawsuits dating to when New York temporarily suspended the statute of limitations to give victims of childhood abuse the ability to pursue even decades-old allegations against clergy members, teachers, Boy Scout leaders and others.” By Associated Press

Synod raises hope for long-sought recognition of women in the Catholic Church
“When Pope Francis called two years ago for a worldwide discussion among rank-and-file Catholics about the main challenges and issues facing the church, the question of women’s ministry and leadership echoed loudly in parishes and bishops’ assemblies. The question is resounding more loudly as the summit of bishops and lay Catholics known as the Synod on Synodality, scheduled for October, draws near. Participants and observers alike recognize that any conversation about reforming church hierarchy or promoting lay involvement, Francis’ twin goals for the synod, has to include honest exchanges about the role of women.” By Claire Giangravé, Religion News Service

Click here to read the rest of this issue of Focus …

Movie Corner: Catholicism and Oppenheimer

Have you seen the movie Oppenheimer? Focusing on the development, first production, and use of nuclear weapons, the movie provides an important opportunity to assess such weapons in the light of Catholic social teaching.

John Wester, one of two U.S. archbishops whose dioceses include nuclear weapons facilities, is planning to meet with two bishops in Japan whose dioceses include the sites of the atomic bombings that led to the end of World War II.

In an interview in Crux online magazine, Archbishop Wester discussed his perspective on Oppenheimer and his belief that Oppenheimer’s legacy is complex. He was both a brilliant scientist and the man who set the world on a dangerous path. He noted, however, that he won’t say Oppenheimer shouldn’t have done what he did because someone else would have. Wester won’t condemn him, either, because “Oppenheimer thought he was doing the right thing … and thought he was protecting the country.”

“It’s conflicting, because on the one hand you have to admire his brilliance,” Wester said. “On the other hand, he’s also a tragic figure because what he did led us into the nuclear age, and that’s a tragedy. He ushered something in that could truly destroy everything.”

Have you seen Oppenheimer? What did you think? Send us your thoughts at

To read more click here and here.


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