In the Vineyard: August 30, 2017

In the Vineyard :: August 30, 2017 :: Volume 17, Issue 15

News from National

Ineffectiveness of Papal Abuse CommissionProvides Example of Need to Reform

Pope Francis’ Commission for the Protection of Minors is considering restructuring when present members’ terms expire next month, and survivors likely will not have a place at the table. They may comprise a separate advisory panel to the Commission.

Voice of the Faithful believes this is a mistake that would lessen the impact survivors have on helping to redress the clergy sexual abuse scandal and would denigrate the importance of their counsel.

Of the two original survivor members of the Commission, Peter Saunders has been sidelined and Marie Collins resigned. The Commission’s ineffectiveness was a factor in both cases.

While recently citing some successes in educating Church leaders about the catastrophic results of child abuse, Commission member Krysten Winter-Green believes the Commission’s ineffectiveness stems in large part from insufficient resources and the slow and inefficient way the Vatican works, which echoes some of Collins’ comments upon her resignation.

Voice of the Faithful has worked long and hard to educate the laity to the need for reform of Church structures to better promote accountability, transparency, and broad and effective lay input into Church issues. There seems no more effective example of the need for reform than the inability of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors to accomplish its goals with the Vatican bureaucratic cards stacked against it.

FYI: Two weeks ago, the USCCB asked all pastors to speak on racism in their Sunday homilies. The Association of U.S. Catholic Priests (AUSCP) in their latest newsletter shared the words spoken by Fr. James Dallen on Aug. 27, during a Mass where an Anointing of the Sick was part of the liturgy. We thought you might like to read his homily.

A Letter to the Pope

Dennis A. Grohman, a VOTF member from Pomona NJ, sent the following letter to Pope Francis. Mr. Grohman shares his letter in this column. He expressed similar thoughts in a Letter to the Editor published this past spring in Inside the Vatican.

Dear Holy Father,

I am writing to you as a lifelong Catholic who is devoted to our Church but deeply concerned about its future. Your papacy has inspired me and other Roman Catholics around the world, and it has infused us with hope for a rejuvenated church that looks more like the one that Jesus imagined.

As an introduction, I am 76 years old and have been married just shy of a half-century. I attended parochial school, where I was an altar boy, followed by a high school run by the Society of Friends. I graduated from Villanova University, which was founded by the order of St. Augustine, and then spent one year in a seminary.

Given your extraordinary faith and leadership, I implore you to lead the Church on a spiritual journey that takes us back to the earliest days following the Resurrection. Despite its later composition, the material presented in Luke/Acts of the Apostles, long before the term “Christian” was coined, presents us with a picture when the followers of Jesus, including the Apostles, were still going to the synagogue. This was a time, as you know better than I, before the issues of low and high Christology surfaced.

Continue reading …

Pope Francis Prays for Those Facing Natural Disasters

This week Pope Francis shared his prayers to Mary and how we should entrust her with the anguishes and pains of people who suffer from natural disasters and other hardships.

The US bishops announced a national collection to aid hurricane victims and Cardinal Daniel DiNardo said, “May God, the Lord of mercy and compassion, protect all who are still in danger and bring to safety those who are missing,”


Papal abuse commission considers restructuring, survivors may lose direct role
“Pope Francis’ commission on clergy sexual abuse is considering whether to restructure itself so that it no longer includes the direct participation of abuse survivors. It is evaluating the possibility of creating instead a separate advisory panel of individuals who have been abused by clergy. A member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors revealed the group’s consideration of the idea in an NCR interview Aug. 14, saying that one of the commission’s work groups has been tasked with weighing the pros and cons of such a change.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Catholic Church unlikely to change, abuse review head Elizabeth Proust says
“The senior Australian businesswoman appointed to supervise the Catholic Church’s response to the sexual abuse crisis says she is ‘pessimistic’ about the Church’s willingness to reform. Elizabeth Proust, the head of the Church’s own Truth, Justice and Healing Council, fears the institution will emerge from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse only ‘partially cleansed and unreconstructed.’” By Andrew West, ABC News Australia

Australian panel would punish priests who fail to report abuse confessions
“Priests who fail to tell police about suspected child sexual abuse should face criminal charges, even when they learn of abuse during a confidential religious confession, Australia’s most powerful investigative authority recommended on Monday (Aug. 14). Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse — the nation’s highest form of inquiry — recommended that all states and territories in Australia introduce legislation that would make it a criminal offense for people to fail to report child sexual abuse in an institutional setting. Clergy who find out about sexual abuse during a religious confession would not be exempt from the law.” By Kristen Gelineau, Associated Press, in The Boston Globe

Australia archbishop rejects sex-abuse exception to the secrecy of Confession, By Jacqueline Williams, The New York Times

Sex abuse and the seal of the confessional, By Kieran Tapsell, Commentary in National Catholic Reporter

Responding to priests, Vatican investigates Indonesian bishop
“The Vatican has appointed an apostolic visitor to investigate claims by Indonesian priests that their bishop had a mistress and misappropriated church funds. Bishop Antonius Subianto Bunyamin of Bandung, Indonesia, told August 8 that the Vatican had asked him to look into the accusations against Bishop Hubertus Leteng of Ruteng, Indonesia.” By Catholic News Service on

Pope invokes ‘magisterial authority’ to declare liturgy changes ‘irreversible’
“Although acknowledging that more than fifty years after the Second Vatican Council there are still tensions and unfinished business in terms of implementing its vision for the liturgy, Pope Francis in a session with Italian liturgists on Thursday (Aug. 24) nevertheless invoked his ‘magisterial authority’ to declare, ‘The liturgical reform is irreversible.’” By Ines San Martin,

Pope Francis says with magisterial authority: the Vatican II liturgical reform is ‘irreversible,By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review

Five reasons Pope Francis embraces the Vatican II liturgy, By John Baldovin, America: The Jesuit Review

Pope Francis’ comments on the liturgy need to be heard by traditionalists and reformers alike, By Gregory Hillis, America: The Jesuit Review

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


Women in the Diaconate

OASIS – Spring of the Holy Spirit, Inc. is hosting this day-long examination of Women in the Diaconate on Saturday, November 11, 2017, in Naples FL. Here’s the schedule and desription:

Enlighten your understanding of the historical, present and future role of deacons, both women and men. Be an informed person of faith. Share in the discussion.

Morning Session: 10:00 – 12:00 History and Theology Keynote: Deacon William Ditewig, Ph.D. Moderator: Sr. Gloria Marie Jones, O.P. Panelists: Rev. Gerard (Jerry) Austin, O.P., S.T.D. Barry Univ., Carolyn Johnson, Ed.D.

Afternoon Session: 2:00 – 4:00 Witness and Advocacy Panelists: Deacon Gretchen Peske, RN., Deacon John Monahan, JD., Deborah Rose-Milavec, Executive Director, FutureChurch.

Site: Holiday Inn Express, Naples, FL
Registration Required – Limited Seating
Fee: $40.00

Go to the Oasis web site for additional information.


Announcing our third annual VOTFNJ family picnic! This year the party is in September at the Padovano’s in Morris Plains. Bring yourselves, your spouses, your partners, your significant others, your children, and your grandchildren! Bring a favorite cold food and beverage to share and an outside chair if you have one.


WHEN: Saturday, September 23, 2017

From 2 PM till…
(If the weather doesn’t cooperate, a cancellation notice will be emailed the day before, or that morning.)

WHERE: 9 Millstone Dr., Morris Plains, NJ

Please RSVP by August 23 to

Celebratory Blessings!

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.