In the Vineyard: May 20, 2024


In the Vineyard :: May 20, 2024 :: Volume 24, Issue 5

News from National

Voice of the Faithful recently released its second review of diocesan websites to determine the level of dioceses’ adoption of child protection and safe environment policies and procedures. For the “2023 Report: Measuring Abuse Prevention and Safe Environment Programs as Reported Online in Diocesan Policies and Practices,” researchers once again examined the websites of all 177 U.S. dioceses and scored each on the content concerning protection of children. Reviewers used a worksheet with 33 questions in 10 categories, ranging from policy and procedures to contact information for relevant personnel.

Note that the report’s outcome is less than commendable. The average score was 70.5%, a modest improvement over the 2022 result of 67%. VOTF continues to hope that this poor showing results from website communications errors, rather than indicating the true state of affairs. That said, clear documentation and communication of policy, procedures and information is a necessary foundation to
an effective program.

It is worth noting that six of the 7 top scoring dioceses improved over 2022 (the seventh remained the same). Unfortunately, of the bottom ten performers, half had improved while half fell further behind.

A copy of the full report can be found here.

Pope Calls on Priests to Champion Synodality

In a new development for the ongoing Synod on Synodality, Pope Francis delivered a letter to parish priests urging them to become “missionaries of synodality.” This emphasis on inclusivity and collaboration comes after the first session of the global Synod assembly concluded in October 2023.

The Pope’s message highlights the crucial role parish priests play in fostering a more participatory church. Their work can also directly impacts how engaged Catholic communities feel. While the focus on synodality has garnered significant attention, the jury is still out on how effectively these ideas trickle into parish life.

Read more here.

California Conference Centers on Women and the Synod

This month, a gathering called “Women & Synodality: Where Do We Go From Here?” took place at Santa Clara University. The event brought together over a hundred Catholics, including two American women delegates to the Synod on Synodality.

Discussions centered on the experiences of women as ministers, educators, and leaders within the Church. Many attendees also shared their encounters with sexism and a clerical culture that can be exclusionary. The gathering served as a space for open dialogue and a call for a more “listening church.”

This gathering continues the growing emphasis on amplifying women’s voices and perspectives. While the Synod on Synodality itself has included female delegates, and Pope Francis has appointed women to leadership positions within the Vatican, the conference amplified the need for an increase in women’s roles in the Church.

Read more here.

Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup

Washington attorney general says Seattle archdiocese ‘refused to comply’ with sex abuse investigation

Amid a campaign for the governorship, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced on May 9 that he has taken legal action against the Archdiocese of Seattle, alleging that it has “refused to comply” with his investigation into whether the three Washington dioceses used charitable funds to cover up allegations of child sex abuse by clergy. John Lavenburg, Crux

Amid synod process, Catholics continue to call for expanded church roles for women

When Jane Leyden Cavanaugh learned the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis was holding synodal listening sessions in February, she not only marked her calendar, but also volunteered to be a scribe or facilitator.

Cavanaugh was able to share her thoughts about expanding women’s leadership in the church during the two virtual sessions, which attracted more than 200 attendees. Among those listening were Archbishop Bernard Hebda and synod delegate Cynthia Bailey Manns, who works at a Minneapolis parish.

Although the diocesan listening session was a “big tent experience,” with a broad variety of concerns voiced by participants, many were concerned about women’s issues, said Cavanaugh, who is also involved in advocacy for women deacons. Heidi Schlumpf, National Catholic Reporter

Parish priests had a synod meeting with the Vatican. But will they be included in October’s assembly?

Around 200 parish priests met outside Rome last week for an official synod meeting, which the Vatican’s synod secretariat and Dicastery for Clergy set up after some members of the 2023 synod assembly said not enough parish priests had been included. But what is next? Colleen Dulle, America Magazine

Church needs theologians who grapple with modern world, pope says

Because faith in God is not abstract but impacts the way people live and interact with others, theologians must engage with experts in other fields of knowledge as they investigate and explain the Christian faith, Pope Francis wrote.

“Theologians, are like the scouting party sent by Joshua to explore the land of Canaan” in the Book of Numbers; “they are charged with finding the right paths toward the inculturation of the faith,” Francis wrote in a message he handed to members of the International Network of Societies for Catholic Theology May 10. Cindy Wooden, National Catholic Reporter

Pope Francis’s May Prayer Intention – For the Formation of Women and Men Religious and Seminarians

Every vocation is a “diamond in the rough” that needs to be polished, worked, shaped on every side.

A good priest, sister or nun, must above all else be a man, a woman who is formed, shaped by the Lord’s grace, people who are aware of their own limitations, and willing to lead a life of prayer, of dedicated witness to the Gospel.

Beginning in the seminary and the novitiate, their preparation must be developed integrally, in direct contact with the lives of other people. This is essential.

Formation does not end at a certain moment, but continues throughout life, integrating the person intellectually, humanly, affectively, spiritually.

There’s also preparation to live in community – life in community is so enriching, even though it can be difficult at times.

Living together is not the same as living in community.

Let us pray that men and women religious, and seminarians, grow in their own vocational journey through human, pastoral, spiritual and community formation, that leads them to be credible witnesses of the Gospel.

Watch the video here.


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