In the Vineyard: June 13, 2022


In the Vineyard :: June 13 2022 :: Volume 22, Issue 11

National News

A Prayer for God’s World

Grant us, O God,
A vision of your world as your love would have it:
A world where the weak are protected,
and none go hungry or poor.

A world where the riches of creation are honored and shared,
so everyone might enjoy them.

A world where different races, cultures, and creeds
live in peace and harmony, with equal regard.

A world where peace is built with justice,
and justice is guided by love.

Grant us the inspiration and courage, O God,
to go forth with willing hearts, minds, and bodies
to build such a world, through Christ Jesus.

And may the God of Hope fill us with every comfort and joy in believing.
May the peace of Christ abound in our hearts and minds,
and may the Holy Spirit gift and guide us, now and forever.

In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen

Looking for a Children’s Book?

In her new children’s book, What’s a Deacon, author Irene Kelly explains the role of Deacon in the Catholic Church. “Ten-year-old Beth asks her parents about the new deacon in the parish. They explain the diaconate and she is surprised. She quickly finds out that her classmates do not know what a deacon is or what a deacon does. She and her and her friend Carol ask their CCD teacher, who explains what a deacon is today and helps them to begin to think about the future. Beth’s story can encourage young people in the Church to dream about the diaconate. This lovely story is a starting point for vocational discussions with family and teachers. For lower elementary (reading level M/L).

IRENE M. KELLY, RSHM is a Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary who has had a long career as an elementary school educator in the United States and Europe. She has worked with immigrant families at the RSHM Life Center, Sleepy Hollow, New York, and is currently engaged in volunteer ministry at the Beach Catholic Outreach in Long Island, New York.

For more details click here

Synod News: What Comes Next?

The conclusion of listening sessions, diocesan reports, continental reports, and the bishops’ October 2023 meeting in Rome for the Synod on Synodality does not mark the end of the synodal process itself. Synodality is to be the way of the Church for the 21st century and, one hopes, beyond. The return to a renewed form of our earliest ways of being Christian and earliest forms of governance must continue.

What will that mean for the lay faithful? How do we embrace and enhance the process of synodality? Boston College is offering a three-week online course this summer that “invites us to generate processes of conversion and reform of relationships, communicative dynamics, and structures in the Church.” The course provides some fundamental aspects of discernment and formation to build a synodal Church.

You can review the preparatory videos for the course, “Common discernment and decision making in a Synodal Church” on the BC website. The course uses input from theologians in Latin America and Germany, where synodality already has become part of the fabric of the Catholic Church, involving in communal discernment all the faithful: laity, clergy, and hierarchy.  

The course begins July 4 and you must register to participate, although you can review the introductory videos on the same site where you find the registration link. Here’s the outline for the three weeks:

  • Introductory Lectures to the program
  • Week 1 offers some criteria that will help to assess and deepen the theology and practice of communal discernment and the building of ecclesial consensus. 
  • Week 2 focuses on the elaboration and decision making in the Church. One of the great challenges for a new institutional model. 
  • Week 3 and final weeks offers reflections on leadership and governance in the Church, and how many of the changes in the Church in the third millennium depend on this.

Note also that the course comes from BC’s Formacion Continua Online initiative to provide continuing education in both Spanish and English.

Archdiocese of Santa Fe Settles Sex Abuse Claims for $121.5 Million

In a settlement totaling $121.5 million, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe in New Mexico will compensate approximately 375 survivors of sexual abuse. The settlement ranks among the top five most expensive payouts by the Catholic Church in the United States. This settlement, if approved, will also constitute one of the largest diocese contributions to a bankruptcy settlement in U.S. history. Approximately 30 dioceses and Catholic orders in the U.S. have filed for bankruptcy, according to watchdog website

Prior to disbursement, the abuse survivors must approve the settlement, $75 million of which is funded by the archdiocese with its constituent parishes, other Catholic entities, and five different insurers that will fund the remainder. The settlement money does not include legal costs or other expenses of the bankruptcy case and will only fund compensation of the victims.

Dan Fasy, a lawyer representing 111 of the victims, said, “I am happy to see there is some sense of closure for the survivors. There is no amount of money that can take away the pain and trauma that the survivors have endured, but I am glad that they now have an opportunity to begin considering whether the settlement makes sense.”

The chairman the creditors committee that negotiated the agreement on behalf of the surviving victims, Charles Paez, said, “The tenacity and courage of New Mexico survivors empowered us to reach a recommended settlement that addresses the needs of the survivors on a timely basis.”

In addition to compensating the victims, the archdiocese will host prayer services and meetings with survivors and develop an archive of information documenting the abuse as part of the terms of the settlement. The archived information will be public. Archbishop John Wester said in a statement that “The Church takes very seriously its responsibility to see the survivors of sexual abuse are justly compensated for the suffering they have endured. It is our hope that this settlement is the next step in the healing process of those who have been harmed.” He went on to say that it was his “sincere hope that all parties will see the wisdom of the settlement and help bring the bankruptcy case to a conclusion for the good of the survivors of sexual abuse, the good of the Church, and Catholics throughout the archdiocese.” The archdiocese includes 93 parishes and 226 active missions. 

Approximately 74 priests have been credibly accused of sexually assaulting children while assigned to parishes and schools by the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. The archdiocese began the process of filing for bankruptcy in 2018, and this settlement news comes one month after the Diocese of Camden, NJ agreed to pay $87.5 million to hundreds of victims of sexual abuse. In 2018, they began the process by filing for reorganization to cope with a surge in claims of sexual abuse, and have previously paid approximately $52 million in out-of-court settlements to victims. Some of the claims included in this settlement are decades old. 

For more information, please see here and here

To read more about VOTF’s position on child protection, please see here.

For survivor support resources, please see here.

Francis’ Choices of Cardinals Follow His Consistent Messaging

Pope Francis recently announced the latest group of newly appointed cardinals. Sixteen of the 21 new cardinals are under the age of 80, making them eligible to vote for the next pope, whenever that conclave may occur. Overall, the 16 new electors share Pope Francis’ broadly progressive vision. Also, many are from lesser known locales rather than the more well-known archdioceses traditionally led by cardinals. This follows Francis’ tradition of centering in the margins and bringing those on the periphery to the center.

It also means that his choices tend to be from the more liberal bishops, particularly in the choice of American cardinal. Rather than, for example, Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, California, Pope Francis offered the position to Robert McElroy of San Diego, who is considered to be one of the most steadfast liberals in the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Gomez is perceived as more conservative. This pattern emerges in many other choices, with bishops of smaller dioceses being selected rather than the more obvious choices of archbishops in major metropolises. He selected Bishop Peter Okpaleke of Ekwulobia, Nigeria, rather than Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of the national capital, Abuja, and Bishop Oscar Cantoni of Como over Archbishop Mario Delpini of Milan, Italy.     

Some believe that this bodes well for a “continuity” vote in the next conclave, meaning the next pope will likely share similar values with Pope Francis. Specifically, Francis will have named 83 of the 132 cardinals eligible to vote at the next consistory in August, just short of the 87 cardinals required for a two-thirds vote, should all of the 132 electors participate in a conclave.

However, in terms of the next pope, the future is unclear. There is no obvious choice for the next pope among this group of newly appointed cardinals, and the conclave that elected Francis was populated by John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Many of Francis’ selections are also relatively unknown to the global church, which follows with his policy of bringing outsiders to the center. 

Among Francis’ notable choices is Archbishop Anthony Poola, a Dalit from Hyderabad, India, who says that his elevation “is good news for Dalit Catholics and for the entire church in India. I believe it will bring the encouragement of Pope Francis to many.”  Dalits have faced widespread discrimination and were formally called “untouchables” in India, being below the traditional Indian caste system. Bishop Poola said, “To some extent, this decision will help heal the wound for those who feel we have been marginalized within the church,” referring to the ongoing controversy over bishop appointments elsewhere in India. Poola explained that his appointment was an example of how the Pope “always looks towards the peripheries, towards the poorest of the poor. I say this for myself, as I am not worthy, but also for the region where I am at, as it is among the poorest in India, but also the one with the largest concentration of Catholics.”

Of his new appointees, Pope Francis said, “Let us pray that they will help me in my mission as Bishop of Rome for the good of all God’s people.”

For more information, please see hereherehere, and here. For VOTF’s position on clericalism, please see here


AP-NORC pool details rift between lay Catholics and bishops
The stances of many conservative Catholic bishops in the U.S. are not shared by a majority of lay Catholics. Most of them say abortion should be legal, favor greater inclusion of LGBT people, and oppose the denial of Communion for pro-choice politicians, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The poll, conducted in mid-May, shows a clear gap between the prevalent views of American Catholics, and some recent high-profile actions taken by the church’s leaders.” By David Cray, Associated Press, on

U.S. cardinal urges Italian bishops to track, share information about abuse
“As Italian bishops debated how to respond to calls for a nationwide investigation into clerical sexual abuse and the way accusations have been handled, U.S. Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley of Boston, president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, encouraged them to move forward. ‘You have a unique opportunity to develop an honest and nondefensive dialogue with all those involved, at the national and local levels, who are willing to undertake a constructive process of review, of reform and of reconciliation,’ the cardinal said in a video message played May 25 at the spring meeting of the Italian bishops’ conference.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, National Catholic Reporter

RIP Catholic News Service – gone too soon and when we needed you most
“The U.S. Catholic bishops are killing off Catholic News Service, one of their most successful national programs. Founded in 1921, CNS is the AP of Catholic news, providing copy to Catholic publications across the country and around the world. In a 2021 meeting with CNS reporters in Rome, Pope Francis told them that ‘over these past hundred years, Catholic News Service has provided an invaluable contribution to the English-speaking world through its coverage of the church’s mission of proclaiming the gospel and witnessing to the love of God revealed in Jesus Christ.’” By Thomas Reese, Relgion News Service

Pope Francis to create 21 new cardinals
“Pope Francis will create 21 new cardinals at the next Consistory, which will take place on Saturday, 27 August. The announcement was made by the Holy Father himself after he recited the Regina Caeli with the faithful gathered in Saint Peter’s Square on Sunday, 29 May. ‘On Monday 29 and Tuesday 30 August, a meeting will be held of all the Cardinals to reflect on the new Apostolic Constitution Praedicate Evangelium, and on Saturday 27 August, I will hold a Consistory for the creation of new cardinals.’” By L’Osservatore Romano

Survivors praised for 20 years of exposing Catholic abuse scandals
“More than 20 years since the Boston Globe’s Spotlight investigative team exposed the scope of Catholic clergy sexual abuse and institutional cover-up in the Archdiocese of Boston, attorney Mitchell Garabedian said abuse survivors are still teaching the church ‘how to be moral.’ ‘None of this could be done without your strength,’ Garabedian said during a June 4 conference in Quincy, sponsored by several nonprofits that advocate for abuse survivors and accountability in the church.” By Brian Fraga, National Catholic Reporter

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World Meeting on Families

As we approach the World Meeting of Families, to be held at the end of June, Pope Francis focuses on the importance of families in his monthly intention:


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