In the Vineyard: April 27, 2020

In the Vineyard :: April 27, 2020 :: Volume 20, Issue 8

News from National

National Child Abuse Prevention Month: What You Can Do

As a faith community, let us keep vigilant to protect our children as we mourn the abuses that have occurred in our families, neighborhoods and Churches. Recommendations for Child Protection include knowing the warning signs of abuse, reviewing 10 tips for protecting children, and knowing what to do if a child discloses abuse. There are other helpful resources on our Child Protection pages, and many more at the website of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

Following is a prayer to St. Maria Goretti, the Patroness of Abused Children, to honor the little bodies that have endured the pain of abuse, and to those that work to protect the littlest of our congregations.

Dear God,
We ask you to help all those who suffer from abuse. Help them find healing and peace in their life.

May Maria Goretti who was strengthened by Your Grace join with us in prayer for healing of all victims of abuse, particularly those abused as children or young adults.

Grant us your Love that we might reach out to them in Your Name with hope in times of trial.

As Maria prayed for her attacker, grant us the grace to pray for the true conversion of all involved with the abuse, that they might seek Your Mercy through prayer and penance.

Loving God, pour into our hearts and lives your healing Spirit, that the sacredness of every human person might be respected and protected as the precious image of God. Help us to live in the peace which Maria Goretti had found in Christ and in the love of his mother Mary.
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Social Distancing Getting You Down?Connect with Friends on a Women Deacons Study

Tired of staring at your four walls? How about connecting with some friends for video online meetings?

Voice of the Faithful will arrange the chat using a GoToMeeting application that works in any Internet browser. We’ll also arrange for you to receive an e-book, plus study guide, FREE, to use for discussions during a series of four meetings. Just bring yourself and a few friends for these “virtual” get-togethers.

The book is Women Deacons: Past, Present, Future, which includes a chapter on what the future may hold for women’s ordination as deacons by Catholic studies scholar Phyllis Zagano, Ph.D. You’ll receive this book as an e-book from Paulist Press through a generous offer from an anonymous donor. The Study Guide for the book will be available as a free download.

To participate, send you and your friends’ email addresses to Donna B. Doucette ( at Voice of the Faithful. Donna will arrange the downloads, set up the meeting, and send out invitations.

You will need a computer with a webcam and audio to participate. You could participate entirely by phone, but wouldn’t it be more fun to gather for a virtual meeting with friends?

Tell Us About Your Favorite Isolation Resource

Or perhaps an amusing anecdote? By now, we have all tried one or more alternatives to our usual spiritual practices, communal gatherings and Mass attendance. Which one works the best for you, or which one is your favorite? We’d like to know. Or perhaps you have a funny story about the changes to your routines, an unexpected benefit you discovered, a special favor from a neighbor or a stranger. Send an email with your thoughts and we will print a selection in upcoming issues.

Meanwhile, please stay safe out there!

Save the Date!

The place to be on Saturday, Oct. 3, is the Boston Marriott Newton Hotel as Voice of the Faithful returns for its 2020 Conference: Visions of a Just Church. Mark your calendars and join us as we seek visions of what a Church that is just for all the faithful would look like.

Our featured speaker will be Phyllis Zagano, Ph.D., (click here for Dr. Zagano’s bio) an internationally recognized scholar in Catholic studies and women’s roles in the Church and advocate of an ordained women’s diaconate. Author of nearly 20 books, she received Voice of the Faithful’s Catherine of Siena Distinguished Layperson Award during VOTF’s 10th Year Conference in Boston in 2012 and the Issac Hecker Award for Social Justice from the Paulist Center in Boston in 2014. She is a member of the Papal Commission on the Diaconate of Women and senior research associate-in-residence and adjunct professor of religion at Hofstra University.

The cost for attending VOTF’s 2020 Conference is $150, but you can take advantage of a Two-for-$230 offer through Labor Day, Sept. 7.

Register for VOTF 2020 Conference by clicking here …(link is external)

Book your discounted group-rate room at our conference hotel, the Boston Marriott Newton, for only $159 per night …(link is external)

If you prefer to mail us your registration, download this form …

We will be at the same great venue as last year and will offer the same mix of interesting speakers, good food, and evocative conversation, so stay tuned for more information.

Bishop Attempts to Silence Criticismof Clerical Sex Abuse Crisis

Bishop Barry C. Knestout the head of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia managed to silence Father Mark White, a priest of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Martinsville and St. Francis of Assisi in Rocky Mount in 2019, but is now taking even more drastic measures to shut down the conversation.

Father White began a blog in 2008 as a way to reach those who do not attend church services. He wrote about his homilies, God, his pro-life position, and Kobe Bryant, as well as the hierarchy of the Catholic Church and how the Church has addressed the clerical sex abuse crisis. He has been openly critical of his own Diocese of Richmond, as well as of Pope Francis, calling the proceedings against those accused of sexual abuse “opaque.”

Bishop Knestout ordered Father White to remove his blog in November of 2019. Knestout charged that Father White’s writing was divisive and inflammatory, that he ridiculed the Bishop and used language “detrimental to the communion of the Church and the good names of those who serve her.”

Father White took down his blog but was seeking mediation on the subject when the Coronavirus hit. At that point, Father White decided to go back online, publishing several posts he had written in the interim, and has continued blogging as a way to stay in touch with the members of his parish while in-person masses are unable to take place.

In a series of emails in mid-April, Knestout notified both the parishioners and White that White was being reassigned to be chaplain of several area prisons, removing him from his position as pastor at St. Joseph’s in Martinsville and St. Francis of Assisi in Rocky Mount. White and his canon lawyer are contesting the move, saying he has a right to fight this according to the legal norms of the church.

Father White says he plans to be back at the church on Sunday and will remain pastor until the legal proceedings are resolved.

Read Father White’s blog

And Bishop Knestout’s letter

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


Australian cardinal links corruption to child abuse charges
“Cardinal George Pell has linked his fight against corruption in the Vatican with his prosecution in Australia for alleged child sex abuse. Pell was regarded as the third highest-ranking Vatican official in 2018 when he became the world’s most senior Catholic to be convicted of child sex abuse. He served 13 months in prison before Australia’s High Court last week acquitted him for molesting two choirboys in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne while he was archbishop of Australia’s second-largest city in the 1990s.” By Rod McGuirk, Associated Press, on

The end of clericalism
“As the human race joins the rest of the planet in a struggle for survival, the church is also trying to find its footing. Why? Clericalism. For too long — say, 800 to 1,000 years — the sacramental life of the church has been under priestly lock and key. Around the 10th century, the custom of stipends for Masses arose. Suddenly, the spiritual value of men’s prayers gained over the spiritual value of women’s prayers and women’s abbeys and monasteries failed one after another.” By Phyllis Zagano, Ph.D., National Catholic Reporter (Dr. Zagano will be a featured speaker at Voice of the Faithful’s 2020 Conference: Visions of a Just Church, Oct. 3, 2020, Boston Marriott Newton Hotel)

Clericalism and the pandemic
“As any diocesan director of worship knows, there has been much to navigate during this distorting period in human history. At the center of concerns lay the issue of how to deal with the celebration and administration of the sacraments. Yet, in my experience, the greatest difficulties lay not in the necessity of adapting to new norms and restrictions, but rather in the unanticipated reactions from clergy to the suggested adaptations. Little did I realize what sort of maelstrom would erupt as we put into place ideas and recommendations precipitated by the need for social distancing and stay-at-home orders.” By Fr. Jim Sabak, OFM, Pray Tell Blog

Cardinal Pell and the Victorian criminal justice system
“Cardinal George Pell has been acquitted of all charges of child sexual abuse by Australia’s highest court – the High Court of Australia. In criminal cases, they usually sit only a bench of five judges. In Pell’s case, the full bench of seven sat. They knew the world was watching. They often write separate opinions. But in the case of Cardinal Pell they all put their name to one judgment. They unanimously upheld his appeal and in almost record time … Readers need to understand that all is not well with the system of criminal justice in Victoria.” By Fr. Frank Brennan, The Catholic Weekly

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

“Strong in the Face of Tribulation” Available for All

Pope Francis’s homilies are now available for download as part of a collection published online this month intended as support for Catholics in the age of Coronavirus and other challenging times.

The publication is divided into three sections, the first of which is prayers, rituals, and supplications for difficult times. These include blessings for the sick as well as prayers for liberation from evil. The second section focuses on elements fostering spiritual communion with the Church and how to live out a sacramental life while abiding by Coronavirus precautions. It also details forgiveness from sin despite the closure of physical churches and the impossibility of receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Finally, the third section is a compilation of Pope Francis’s words to the community.

Strong in the Face of Tribulation is available in English, Spanish, Italian, and French and is published by the Vatican’s publishing house, Libreria Editrice Vaticana as a PDF. The book has three sections to “help sustain the Church’s sense of communion amid the Coronavirus pandemic.” It will be updated regularly and is available for repeated download to keep up with new additions.

Pope Francis Prays for Us During the Pandemic

This week, Pope Francis celebrated Holy Mass at the Casa Santa Marta praying for the conversion of usurers who are profiting from the difficulties stemming from the pandemic and he asking the faithful to trust in Jesus who prays for us.

In many places, one of the effects of this pandemic is that many families find themselves in need, and they are hungry,” Pope Francis said. He made these remarks prior to beginning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta on Thursday morning. He continued, noting that unfortunately unscrupulous money-lenders are profiting from this situation.

“This is another pandemic, another virus: It’s a social pandemic,” he said.

Many families who are not working and do not have food to put on the table for their children, the Pope continued, are prey to usurers who end up taking the little that they have.

“Let us pray,” the Pope said, “for these families, for their dignity, and let us pray also for the usurers: that the Lord might touch their hearts and convert them”.

Watch Pope Francis here.


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