In the Vineyard: April 21, 2017

In the Vineyard :: April 21, 2017 :: Volume 17, Issue 7

News from National

Safeguard the Vulnerable

Voice of the Faithful’s Bill Casey, who facilitates our Broken Vessels™ Healing Circles, will join a panel of experts to talk about how to keep our most vulnerable treasures, our children, safe from clerical predators. Click here for more information.

“The safety of today’s and tomorrow’s children and the compassionate response to victims by the Church’s leaders will be uniformly assured only when the system that allowed this nightmare to happen has been fundamentally changed and replaced with a way of life that truly IS the People of God. This is happening now and will continue to happen because those whom this institution has harmed so deeply are making it happen.”
Fr. Thomas P. Doyle

The presentation takes place, Saturday, May 6, 2017, 10a.m. – 3 p.m., at the Greenbelt Community Center (15 Crescent Road, Greenbelt, Maryland). Planned speakers, in addition to Bill, include Fr. Thomas P. Doyle, J.C.D., C.A.D.C.; Becky Ianni, SNAP Virginia; David Lorenz, SNAP Maryland/DC; and Clyde Cristofferson, attorney and NOVA member.

This collaborative event is being sponsored by CALL TO ACTION MARYLAND, COMMUNITAS, NOVA, PAX, Voice of the Faithful, and Catholic Community of Greenbelt.

Protect Our Children

What if you thought a child was being abused? What should you do?

  • Call the cops!
  • Call the child-welfare agency in your area, or use your state’s toll-free number to report the abuse.
  • If you think the abuser is a cleric, report it to the diocesan office — after you have called the cops. The USCCB web site has a list of victim-assistance coordinators in each diocese. If your diocese is not listed, ask them why not.

For more information, visit Voice of the Faithful’s Child Protection webpage.

SNAP in the Crosshairs (Part II)

Guest article by Thomas P. Doyle, J.C.D., C.A.D.C.​

For Part I of this essay, go to this page.

As soon as the media announced that the two leaders of SNAP had resigned and that a former employee had filed a lawsuit, the usual suspects came out of the woodwork to hammer SNAP, Barbara Blaine, David Clohessy and several others who have been connected with SNAP in one way or another. The information they broadcast about SNAP and its problems all came from the complaint that initiated the lawsuit. No one has any “inside information.”

A complaint in a lawsuit is exactly that: a list of things with which the plaintiff took issue. The purpose of the legal process is to determine whether these complaints are true.

The complaint about SNAP and its central leadership tries to give the impression that the entire organization is somehow corrupt and working against sex abuse victims. Nothing could be further from reality. Nor is the national leadership the totality of SNAP, and vice versa. Thus, while the lawsuit names SNAP, the fact is that it’s really about less than a handful of members.

Most of the news stories triggered by the lawsuit have not vilified SNAP or its leaders. The exceptions come primarily from two notorious sources: David Pierre and Bill Donohue. Both of these individuals consistently deny the scope of clerical sex abuse and attribute the actions of survivors and their supporters to anti-Catholic sentiments instead of to a thirst for justice.

Pierre operates a web site called the Media Report, which I have read only once or twice and was singularly unenlightened each time.

Donohue has complained for years that SNAP promotes anti-Catholicism, and he endorses the baseless claim made in the lawsuit that SNAP leaders have a “pathological hatred of the Catholic Church.”

It’s a silly accusation. Yes, of course a lot of sex abuse survivors and those who support them are highly critical of the institutional church—and of bishops in particular. It’s a natural response to being abused and then having to endure the lying, cover ups, demonization, and manipulation by their trusted shepherds. Whether Donohue likes it or not, sexual molestation of innumerable minor boys and girls by Catholic clerics is a reality. No amount of spin or bombastic raving or charges of anti-Catholicism can make it go away. (The other reality is that the number of false accusations is miniscule.)

The ultimate anti-Catholic behavior, in my view, is the lying, cover up, demonization, and manipulation of victims by the bishops. Indeed, the prime cause of scandal, anger and “Catholic bashing” has not been the sex abuse itself but the behavior of the hierarchy world-wide.

Bishops who have secretly transferred sex abusers from parish to parish, protected them, and then lied about it not only deserve severe criticism, but also, according to the Church’s own law enacted last May by Pope Francis, dismissal from office. Why? Because tolerating, protecting, and enabling the molestation of children violates teachings that come from the core of the Church’s belief system: the Gospels of Jesus Christ.

Vilifying the victims of the Church’s ministers and attacking those who support them as “anti-Catholic” may generate headlines, but it cannot erase those basic truths. Catholic clergy abused children for decades (centuries); the bishops covered it up; and the Church still has not fully come to terms with that massive failure.

Contrary to the wishful thinking of many in Church leadership, it is not “over.” Victims of clergy abuse are still coming forward. In numerous other countries, the victims are organizing and standing up to the institutional Church just as they did in the U.S. Victims no longer will cower in the shadows. That era ended almost 40 years ago.

The forces who demand honesty, accountability, and transparency will continue hacking away at the False-Church façade so that the real thing, the “People of God,” can emerge to its rightful place.

A final thought about the lawsuit. A number of people who have read the complaint seem to believe there’s something fishy about it. One wonders if the real purpose has nothing to do with justice or whistleblowing but, like some of the other lawsuits aimed at SNAP, aims to use the legal process to force SNAP out of business.


Highlighting issues we face working together to Keep the Faith, Change the Church


It was an honor to know you, Joe Crowley
“No one taught me more about the incalculable damage of sexual abuse, and the surprising resiliency of the human spirit, than Joe Crowley. I met Joe in the fall of 2001, when my Spotlight Team colleagues and I were searching for people who had been molested by Catholic priests. Through a network of lawyers and advocates, I contacted Joe, then 42. He was smart, funny, and articulate, but also nervous, insecure, and still trying to recover emotionally from what had happened to him decades earlier.” By Sacha Pfeiffer, The Boston Globe

Atlanta archbishop says clericalism continues to hinder sex abuse reforms
“Archbishop Wilton Gregory, who led the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops during the tumultuous years when the wide scope of the clergy sexual abuse scandal was brought to light, said in a new interview that clericalism is still hampering efforts to address the issue, even at the highest levels of the church. ‘I would say there is a resistance to do the hard thing,’ the Atlanta archbishop told NPR affiliate WABE in a March interview broadcast on April 10.” By Michael O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review

Pope makes appointments amid criticism of sex abuse response
“Pope Francis on Tuesday (Apr. 4) named a new official to oversee the Vatican office that processes clerical sex abuse cases amid mounting criticism over a years-long backlog of cases and Francis’ handling of the problem. The promotion of Monsignor John Kennedy to head of the discipline section of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith was the second abuse-related appointment in recent days. Francis named the Rev. Hans Zollner, one of the Catholic Church’s top experts on fighting abuse and protecting children, as an adviser to the Vatican’s office for clergy on Saturday (Apr. 1).” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in The Washington Post

Child sex abuse: Catholic bishops ‘must meet Pope Francis to push for urgent change
“Australia’s bishops must lead an urgent delegation to Pope Francis seeking changes to some of the church’s most fundamental views on women, celibacy, governance and the handling of child sex cases, according to Australia’s peak Catholic reform group in a call to arms to Catholics across the country. In an open letter sent to all parishes, Catholics for Renewal has urged bishops and archbishops not to “defer to the Holy See”, or wait for the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, before acting on serious issues identified by the commission that contributed to the child sexual abuse crisis.” By Joanne McCarthy, The Sydney Morning Herald

German bishops divided on diaconate for women
“A German theologian-bishop has called for the ordination of woman deacons, saying it is more important than relaxing mandatory celibacy or ordaining married men of proven virtue (viri probati) to the priesthood. ‘Women should be ordained deacons. It is a sign of the times,’ said Bishop Gebhard Fürst of Rottenburg-Stuttgart. He told a 27 March gathering of the German Catholic Women’s Association the time had come for women deacons. The association, which has been demanding the move for over twenty years, was marking its 100th anniversary.” By Christa Pongratz-Lippitt, La Croix International

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

Pope Francis and Women

Despite his stated intention of including and promoting women, the Pope has caused quite a stir by some of his remarks concerning women and their role in the Catholic Church. In an article in Commonweal, “Francis’s Words About Women,” author Rita Ferrone examines what Pope Francis has said and what we should, or should not, read into it.

New Bishops for Davenport and San Diego dioceses

The Vatican recently announced the appointment of Msgr. Thomas Robert Zinkula as the new leader of the Davenport diocese in Iowa and Fr. John P. Dolan as a new auxiliary bishop for San Diego.

In a statement, outgoing Davenport Bishop Martin J. Amos – who is retiring after having reached the normal age limit of 75 – said he welcomes the appointment of Msgr. Zinkula with “joy and great pleasure.”

He described the appointment as an answer to the prayer the diocese has been reciting for the past four months, requesting “a pastor who will please you by his holiness and will show us your watchful care.”

Born April 19, 1957, in Mount Vernon, Iowa, Zinkula has a hefty and diverse academic background. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics, Economics and Business from Cornell College in 1979 and then a Law degree from the University of Iowa in 1983. Zinkula worked for several years as a civil lawyer before entering the seminary, where he studied at the Theological College of The Catholic University of America in Washington and then obtained a licentiate in Canon Law from St. Paul University in Ottawa, Canada, in 1998.

Zinkula was ordained a priest on May 26, 1990, for the Archdiocese of Dubuque and served as Parochial Vicar of Saint Columbkille Parish from 1990 to 1993 and Saint Joseph the Worker Parish from 1993 to 1996. The bishop-elect then served as pastor of Saint Joseph Parish in Rickardsville, as administrator of the parishes of Saint Francis of Assisi in Balltown and Saints Peter and Paul in Sherill from 1998 to 2002, and Holy Ghost Parish and Holy Trinity Parish in Dubuque until 2011. In addition, he served as a judge for the archdiocesan tribunal from 1998-2000 and as Judicial Vicar for the diocese until 2010. Zinkula also served as Rector of the Saint Pius X seminary in Dubuque in 2014. He received the title of “Monsignor” from Benedict XVI in 2012.

As for San Diego’s new auxiliary, bishop-elect John Dolan was born June 8, 1962, in the diocese he will serve. He completed his studies in philosophy at the Saint Francis Seminary and the University of San Diego in 1985. His theological studies, however, were done at the Saint Patrick Seminary in Menlo Park and completed in 1989.

Fr. Dolan was ordained a priest for the San Diego Diocese on July 1, 1989, and afterward served as Parochial Vicar for the parishes of Saint Michael in San Diego and Santa Sophia in Spring Valley.

In 1992, he was named Director of Priestly Vocations, a position he held for two years. In 1996, he was named pastor of Saint Mary Star of the Sea parish in Oceanside. He then served as pastor for several other parishes around the diocese until his 2016 appointment as Episcopal Vicar for Clergy and pastor of Saint John Parish in San Diego. In addition to English, Dolan also speaks Spanish.


Meeting the Jesus of History and the Christ of Faith

St. Cecilia Parish (18 Belvedere St., Boston, MA) hosts An Evening with James Martin, SJ, Monday April 24 at 7:30 pm in the Parish Hall. For information on other programs at the parish, check out their What’s New web page.

Isaac Hecker and the Journey of Catholic America

On Tuesday, May 9, the Paulist Center (5 Park St., Boston, MA) hosts the Boston premier of the film Isaac Hecker and The Journey of Catholic America. In the 1840’s, a young man from an up-and-coming New York family began having mystical experiences that were far beyond his own ability to explain. Covering the major crises of Isaac Hecker’s life, the film examines the tensions in Europe during the 1800s as they affected the larger Catholic Church and also looks at how the Second Vatican Council, convened a century after Hecker lived, addressed many of the questions Hecker raised during his life.

Join the film’s producer, Fr. Tom Gibbons, CSP, and other Paulist Fathers to learn how the mystical experiences of a young man propelled his faith journey. Seeking spiritual answers led him into the company of the major intellectuals of his time, to conversion to Catholicism, and ultimately to establishing a new order of priests compatible with contemporary American culture. Discussion and Q&A will follow the film.

Light refreshments will be served. A donation of $10 would be gratefully accepted. For more information, call 617-742-4460 or log onto

Saint Susanna’s Adult Faith Formation, Dedham, MA

Presentations run from 7:00 to 9:00 PM at the Parish Hall, 262 Needham Street, Dedham. There is no pre-registration requirement, there is no fee, and the refreshments are free. Free Will Offerings are gratefully accepted to cover the costs of the program.

May 1, 8, and 15, 2017 – Father Steve’s Book Group: Father Steve Josoma has selected the book to be read and discussed at these sessions in May. He has chosen The Book of Joy by the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu in conjunction with Douglas Abrams. A discussion group format is used for these three sessions, with small groups. Those who choose to join us should read the first section of the book, entitled “Day One,” before the first session.

Letter to the Editor

Thanks so much for the C. M. Williams satire [last issue of Vineyard], which should appear on the front page of the diocesan paper for Rhode Island. (I hope a copy has been sent to the chancery?)

I’ve never thought very charitable thoughts about Tobin, especially since his little dust-up with Patrick Kennedy when Patrick was still in Congress.

Lord save us from so many narrow-minded clerics who seem never to really “get” the message of the gospel!

P. McSweeney

Questions, Comments?

Please send them to Siobhan Carroll, Vineyard Editor, at (link sends e-mail). Unless otherwise indicated, I will assume comments can be published as Letters to the Editor.

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