In the Vineyard: March 27, 2024


In the Vineyard :: March 27, 2024 :: Volume 24, Issue 3

An Easter Blessing from All of Us at Voice of the Faithful

We praise you in this Easter season. Change our lives, change our hearts to be messengers of Easter joy and hope. We make our prayer through Jesus Christ, our risen Lord forever. Amen.

Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup

Gospels Hold Clues for Role of Women, Men in the Church, Panel Says

The Gospels have a lot to contribute to current discussions about the role of women and men in the life of the church, three Italian theologians said during a panel discussion in Rome. While the Gospel writers give different accounts of events with different views of women and men as disciples of Christ, fundamentally the Gospels still present a huge novelty for the culture at the time: that Jesus’ disciples experienced being “a community of equals, where men and women are both disciples and also apostles,” Salesian Sister Linda Pocher said at the discussion in Rome March 18. Read article, here. By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service.

Belgian Bishop Defrocked 14 Years After Admitting to Abusing Nephew

Pope Francis on Thursday defrocked a notorious Belgian bishop who admitted 14 years ago that he sexually abused his nephew but faced no Vatican punishment. The case of Roger Vangheluwe, the emeritus bishop of Brugge, long ago became a symbol of the Catholic Church’s hypocrisy and dysfunction in dealing with cases of abuse. Not only was he allowed to quietly retire after the scandal broke in 2010, but the head of the Belgian church at the time, Cardinal Godfried Danneels, was caught on tape asking one of his victims to keep his abuse secret until the bishop left office. Read article, here. By Nicole Winfield, National Catholic Reporter.

Ahead of Synod Meeting, Priests Have ‘Boots on the Ground’ of Church

One valuable aspect of next month’s synod gathering of parish priests, says American participant Father Joseph Friend, is that parish priests, as the ones who are on the ground with the lay faithful, will get to bring their voices to the highest level of the synod process. “We have boots on the ground and we’re really seeing people on the day to day and responding to their needs the best that we can, and so being on that local level and being a voice to them I think is going to be really awesome and is really needed,” Friend told Crux. Read article here. By John Lavenburg, Crux.

Women Gather at the Vatican to Ask Tough Questions about Leadership in the Catholic Church

In the week leading up to International Women’s Day, Catholic women gathered near the Vatican and online to promote female leadership in the Catholic Church, demanding equality and visibility while urging the institution to set its fears about change aside. Read article here. By Claire Giangravé, Religion News Service for America Magazine.

The Vatican’s Problematic Process to Address Clergy Sex Abuse Cases, Explained

One afternoon in mid-December, Pope Francis had a meeting that wasn’t on his official agenda or otherwise recorded, that underscored the utter dysfunction of the Catholic Church’s response to the global clergy sex abuse scandal. Read article, here. By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press.

Ex-Louisiana Deacon whose Son was Sexually Abused by a Priest is Excommunicated from Church

Louisiana man who resigned as a Roman Catholic deacon after a priest at whose side he served sexually molested his son has been excommunicated from the church by his local diocese, a remarkably harsh punishment that his child’s abuser does not appear to have faced. Read article here. By Ramon Antonio Vargas, The Guardian.

Book Corner

Looking for Something to Read?

For many of us, it is a struggle to reconcile our belief in the rights and values of women, and the treatment of women in the Catholic Church. Author, Julie Hanlon Rubio’s new book asks a question that resonates with many Catholic women today: “Can You Be a Catholic and a Feminist?”  Rubio’s answer is “Yes, but it’s complicated. I want to make sure that people understand that I’m trying to hold together a real recognition of the problem of continued sexism in the Church and a deep respect for Catholic tradition as well as a joy in belonging to this church.”

Read the interview with Rubio, here.

Pope Francis Recognizes the Contributions of Women on International Women’s Day

Earlier this month, on International Women’s Day, Pope Francis thanked women for their contributions to society. During his general audience, Pope Francis thanked the world’s women “for their commitment to building a more humane society” through their ability to see and understand the world “with a creative gaze and tender heart.

In his 10 years as pontiff, Pope Francis has sought to include more women in the work and governance of Vatican commissions and Roman Curia offices.

According to the latest statistics, there has been a significant increase in the number and percentage of female employees the past decade, and the number of women in Vatican leadership positions has also grown.

Today there are 1,165 women working at the Vatican compared to 846 in 2013, making up 23.4% of the total workforce, according to Vatican News March 8. When it comes to roles in the Roman Curia, more than one in four employees is now a woman.

Within the Curia, five women hold the rank of undersecretary, and one has the rank of secretary: Salesian Sister Alessandra Smerilli, whom the pope appointed to the No. 2 position at the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development in 2021. It is the highest post ever held by a woman at the Holy See.

The pope has said he intends to appoint the first female prefect now that it is possible for laypeople, and, therefore, women, to lead dicasteries, according to “Praedicate Evangelium,” the pope’s constitution reforming the Curia.

Watch the Pope’s message here.


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