In the Vineyard: August 16, 2017

In the Vineyard :: August 16, 2017 :: Volume 17, Issue 14

News from National

VOTF Member Update: Jack Whelan

By Margaret Roylance, VOTF Trustee

From time to time Voice of the Faithful recognizes one of our long-standing members in a Profile in Faithfulness. The subject of today’s profile is Jack Whelan.

Many in the Boston area remember Jack Whelan from the early days of our founding as a wise and dependable member of VOTF from Lynn. His experience of being drawn to the movement echoes that of others in those tumultuous days. The early meetings and the emerging mission and goals of the fledging group so closely reflected his own sorrow and disappointment in the institutional church and his love for the faith he treasured, that he recalls his participation in the group as being “as natural as breathing.”

Through all the twists and turns of his remarkable life since then, Jack has followed where the Spirit has led him. He is a sustaining member of VOTF and continues to live his faith in the spirit of Vatican II and the VOTF mission and goals.

During high school Jack worked on a dairy farm. He says that experience, along with a desire to teach, led him to the Peace Corps in Colombia. “I thought I would teach animal husbandry but ended up teaching pedagogy to English teachers at the university.”

As with so many who served in the Peace Corps, he made lifelong friends during his time in Colombia. Years later, in 2005, after he had retired from running the bilingual education program in the Lynn public schools, his boss from his Peace Corps days reached out to him and asked that he consider returning to teach in Colombia. Jack answered that call to serve, as he had answered so many over the years.

In Colombia once more, Jack, along with others in the program, visited coffee growers in the region to learn more about the needs and challenges they faced. It was during this visit that he met and began courting his beloved Martha. They have been married 10 years now and live near Mexico City, where Martha is an anesthesiologist and Jack teaches at Northridge, a private Catholic High School which educates children of very wealthy families in the area.

Jack said that the church in Mexico is still focused on these very wealthy families. He finds that the hierarchy in general demonstrates an attitude that education is primarily for the privileged few—the poor have no need even for literacy, and certainly not for higher education. He believes that as a teacher of these privileged young men, he can provide some balance to what they learn and what they do. He strives to share his faith with them, a faith that impels him to action based on the rights and responsibilities of all the baptized.

Jack has also found ways to live out his faith in his local parish. He says that his pastor is a good man, but has no interest in attracting the attention of hierarchy to changes in the religious status quo. For example, the pastor would never countenance the formation of a Parish Pastoral Council. On the other hand, if approached wisely, he is open to letting members of the parish take some initiative to meet recognized needs.

Jack’s parish is nearly 8 kilometers (about 5 miles) long with the parish church located near one end of the boundaries, so it is difficult for some parishioners to attend Mass. This is especially true for elderly members of the community. Jack took the initiative along with others who were concerned by this situation to arrange for Masses to be said at a local park. They provide a large tent and arrive early each Sunday to put up the tent, set up chairs and make sure that everything is prepared for the worshipers and celebrant.

His pastor realized that this situation was beneficial for the community, but when a new bishop was appointed for the diocese, he immediately stopped the practice because it was most unusual; some would even say unorthodox. Fortunately, when the new bishop realized that the majority of people attending Mass in the parish were in fact taking part in the Mass in the park, he relented and allowed the services to continue.

It is heartening to know that lay-led initiatives can gain approval by local church hierarchy even where they may be viewed initially with suspicion. It is reassuring to know that it is possible to reach out to young people who are the future of the church, even in the context of a very conservative private school environment, and to share vision of our church that emerged from the dark days of 2002.

Our movement of the Spirit is still transforming the church across the globe through the work of faithful VOTF members like Jack.

Let us pray that the fruits of our work continue to bless the church now and in the future beyond our current sight.

Pope Has Called Clericalism Evil

Hierarchal humility … Wouldn’t that help eliminate clericalism? Pope Francis has called the clericalism entrenched in the hierarchy evil. VOTF sees it as THE underlying cause of clergy sexual abuse and a major impediment to Church renewal.

We have been raising our voices for Church renewal for 15 years. Now, with increasing momentum, we see others joining our calls for transparency, for accountability, and for pushing back against clericalism — not just here but worldwide.

Read Clericalism: Reality and Concerns and Voice of the Faithful’s Conclusions about the John Jay Report to see the link between clericalism and the sex abuse scandal and to learn more about clericalism and what you can do to combat it.

USCCB Statement on Charlottesville Attack

On August 13, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Bishop Frank Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, issued the following statement to news media:

“As we learn more about the horrible events of yesterday, our prayer turns today, on the Lord’s Day, to the people of Charlottesville who offered a counter example to the hate marching in the streets. Let us unite ourselves in the spirit of hope offered by the clergy, people of faith, and all people of good will who peacefully defended their city and country.

“We stand against the evil of racism, white supremacy and neo-nazism. We stand with our sisters and brothers united in the sacrifice of Jesus, by which love’s victory over every form of evil is assured. At Mass, let us offer a special prayer of gratitude for the brave souls who sought to protect us from the violent ideology displayed yesterday. Let us especially remember those who lost their lives. Let us join their witness and stand against every form of oppression.”


Ex-Catholic bishop of Phoenix accused of sex abuse of boy
“A former bishop who led the Roman Catholic church in metro Phoenix during a worldwide child sexual abuse scandal has been accused of molesting a young boy 35 years ago. Retired Bishop Thomas O’Brien is accused in a lawsuit of sexually abusing the boy on several occasions at parishes in Phoenix and Goodyear from 1977 to 1982. The Diocese of Phoenix says O’Brien denies the allegation.”
By The Associated Press in The New York Times

Lawsuit accuses former Phoenix bishop of sexually abusing boy, By Matt Stevens, The New York Times

Dark cloud of alleged sex abuse continue to follow former Phoenix bishop O’Brien, By Sean Holstege, Phoenix New Times

Canon expert: Vatican protected bishops for centuries
“The ongoing canonical trial of Guam Archbishop Anthony Apuron is significant in that it’s only the second time in centuries a bishop has been put on trial by the church, said Thomas Doyle, a Catholic priest and former board member of the Canon Law Society of America. The last archbishop to undergo a canonical trial — Jozef Wesołowski, who was accused of sexually abusing children in the Dominican Republic — was defrocked in 2014.”
By Steve Limtiaco, Pacific Daily News

German abuse report ‘shocking’ and not the end, Church expert says
“Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, a leading anti-abuse expert and a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, called a report documenting hundreds of cases of physical and sexual abuse at a German boys’ choir ‘shocking,’ and warned that as the taboo lifts in other parts of the world, similar accounts are likely to keep emerging.”
By Ines San Martin,

On abuse: Francis yet to make critical clerical changes
“NCR’s editorial, ‘On Abuse: church has changed but not enough,’ rightly identifies the all-male clerical culture as a critical factor in the sex abuse scandal, but it fails to point to the failure of Pope Francis to change parts of canon law that embody that culture.”
Commentary by Kieran Tapsell, National Catholic Reporter

Bankrupt archdiocese files objections to creditors’ reorganization plan
“The bankrupt Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis says the latest reorganization plan proposed for the church by creditors would strip it of all assets required to pursue the church’s mission. The archdiocese filed its objections to the creditors’ plan Friday (Aug. 4) and urged acceptance of its own $156 million settlement. ‘The committee’s plan isn’t a reorganization plan, it’s an unlawful dismantling of the Catholic Church in the Twin Cities,’ read a joint statement from Tom Abood, chair of the Archdiocesan Finance Council and Brian Short, a member of the Archdiocesan Corporate Board of Directors. ‘The committee’s plan is also simply unworkable from a legal or practical basis.’”
By Martin Moylan, Minnesota Public Radio

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


Saint Susanna Adult Faith Formation: Dedham MA

Unless otherwise specified all events will be held on Monday evenings, from 7:00 to 9:00 PM, at Saint Susanna Parish Hall, 262 Needham Street, Dedham.

There will be a refreshments break. There are no fees, there is no charge for refreshments, and there is no pre-registration requirement.

Free Will offerings are gratefully accepted to cover our costs.

October 16, 2017 – Roland Merullo/Religion and Current Politics. We live in a country divided by partisan politics, in a world torn apart by hatred and war. What if Jesus, alarmed at how the U.S. has lost its compassion for the poor and the immigrants, dismayed at how his teachings have been distorted and used by politicians and religious zealots to turn love into hatred and faith into a call for arms, returns and announces he is running for President?

The notion of Jesus coming to earth and running for President was at the heart of one of Roland Merullo’s novels, American Savior, but it grew out of an idea he’s wrestled with in many of his books: “How is one to behave in this imperfect world?” and “As Christians, what should our response be to the divisiveness and anger in America now?” Roland will discuss these questions in his presentation, and very much looks forward to give-and-take during the question and answer period.

A bit about Roland Merullo – Roland ‘s most recent book is the Delight of Being Ordinary: A Road Trip with the Pope and [the] Dalai Lama. His books range from suspense novels (Fidel’s Last Days, A Russian Requiem, Revere Beach Boulevard, The Return) to love stories (A Little Love Story, The Talk-Funny Girl, Leaving Losapas) to golf and travel books (Golfing with God, Passion for Golf, The Italian Summer, Taking the Kids to Italy) to humorous spiritual road trips (Breakfast with Buddha, Lunch with Buddha, Dinner with Buddha, Golfing with God, American Savior).

Boston College Church in the 21st Century

Race in the American Catholic Imagination: September 11, 2017 | Episcopal Visitor
Presenter: Bishop George Murry, S.J., Archdiocese of Youngstown
Location & Time: The Heights Room, Corcoran Commons, 5:30 p.m.
Sponsors: The C21 Center

International Solidarity in the Age of Pope Francis: October 12, 2017 | Episcopal Visitor
Presenter: Cardinal Maradiaga, Archbishop of Tegucigalpa
Location & Time: TBD, 5:00 p.m.
Sponsor: The C21 Center

For more information, contact The Church in the 21st Century Center at Boston College, Heffernan House, 110 College Road, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467.
Phone: 617-552-0470
Fax: 617-552-9141


Priesthood: From Early Christianity to Today presentation and liturgy with Anthony Padovano
Sunday, September 17, 2017, 3:30 p.m. (followed by Q&A); 4:30 p.m. Liturgy


Homework from Pope Francis

In his first address after his “summer break,” Pope Francis asks each of us to find out the date our Baptism, “ask your mother, your father, your aunt, your uncle” what that date is he says. “That is the date in which we are “contaminated by the light of Christ.” Watch here.

Book Corner

VOTF Member book recommendation, from Kevin Booth: “I just finished Medieval Christianity: A New History by Kevin Madigan. I think the book is well done; it’s more than 1,300 pages. Among many insights, it explains a lot about how the Church got to its present position on women.”

Note: The book is available on Amazon in various formats. If you use our link, a portion of the purchase price will come to VOTF as a donation. Or you can name Voice of the Faithful as your Amazon Smile partner and a portion of all your purchases there will be allocated to VOTF.

Questions, Comments?

Please send them to Siobhan Carroll, Vineyard Editor, at Unless otherwise indicated, I will assume comments can be published as Letters to the Editor.

© Voice of the Faithful 2017. All Rights Reserved.