In the Vineyard: December 11, 2017

In the Vineyard :: December 11, 2017 :: Volume 17, Issue 21

News from National

VOTF in the News

Peter Feuerherd in his “Field Hospital” series for the National Catholic Reporter focused on our study of diocesan financial transparency. Our report, “Measuring and Ranking Diocesan Online Financial Transparency,” examined the information 177 dioceses provide the faithful about their financial activities.

“Parishioners in Sacramento can find out where their donations go with the click of a button on the diocesan website,” Feuerherd noted. “Those in the Diocese of Camden, which covers southern New Jersey, will have a more difficult time.”

If you haven’t already checked out our report, we encourage you to do so now, and see where your diocese ranks in comparison to others. If you are in one of the lower-scoring dioceses, ask why. You may be the extra push your bishop needs to report transparently on where your dollars go. It’s already had some effect in Camden NJ, as reported by NCR: “Michael Walsh, Diocese of Camden spokesman, said that the diocese will implement changes in response to the Voice of the Faithful study.”

VOTF will repeat the transparency study next year to track changes in the rankings, and, thanks to the assistance of a donor, we will begin examining financial accountability (the companion piece to transparency) as well as governance measurements for the dioceses.

Voice of the Faithful is indebted to the Financial Working Group who researched and then prepared the report: Margaret Roylance (chair), Sandra Guynn, Michael Ryan, David Castaldi, Joe Finn, Mary Pat Fox, Anne Southwood, and Donna Doucette.

Pope Francis’ December Prayer Intention

Pope Francis began the month of November reminding us of the wisdom of our grandparents. A people that does not take care of grandparents, that does not treat them well has no future! Watch the video. And visit your grandparents!

In Memoriam

VOTF received word last month of the passing of Kris Ward, an early member and former Vice President of Voice of the Faithful. Kris was dedicated to supporting survivors and she started the Dayton OH affiliate. In the words of Jim Post, a founding member and first President of VOTF: “I remember her passion for helping survivors and her extensive knowledge of church leaders and behaviors. She was a great contributor to VOTF and her passing is a loss to all who care about social justice for survivors.” Friends and family organized a memorial service for Dec. 9 in Dayton.

Join Us for Advent Reflections

Every day during Advent we send out an email with a link to the day’s reflection. Clicking on the link opens the “window” on our online Advent calendar for that day. Each day includes a reflection, a crèche image (sent in by members), and links to readings from a daily liturgical calendar to help you prepare for Jesus’ birth.

For example, here’s the reflection for Dec. 8, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. If you are not getting the daily reflections, just add your email to our list: click here.

Spend time with us reflecting on what Advent means to each of us and on the type of Church Jesus would want to call His.

Christmas Shopping on Amazon?

Consider starting your Christmas shopping from the VOTF link. You’ll find it on the right-hand side of any VOTF web page. Just click to Amazon from that link and your purchases will result in a small donation to VOTF.

Or – can’t think of what to give? How about shopping at the VOTF store? We have books and DVDs plus pins and mugs , bookmarks and bags (logo products).

It’s Our Early Christmas Gift to You!

And it’s valid all through January! Two-for-one registration at a reduced price for Voice of the Faithful’s 2018 Conference: Progress & Promise. Join us to discuss how to raise our Spirit-led voices for the good of our Church. Register at this link before Jan. 31 to get two-for-one registration at the early-bird reduced rate of $85.

Speakers include Marie Collins, a welcome return guest who is a forceful voice for clergy abuse survivors, an initial lay member of Pope Francis’ Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, and counselor to bishops’ conferences worldwide on best practices for protecting children from abuse.

Date: Oct. 6, 2018
Time: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: Providence Marriott Downtown

The early bird registration is $85 per person (full-price registraton will be $125/person) but if you register before January 31, 2018, you can secure TWO registrations for $85.

Click here to register.

You also can make your hotel room reservation now at a reduced rate by using this link to go to Marriott’s Voice of the Faithful reservations page. VOTF’s 2018 Conference takes place at one of the most popular times of the year in New England — Columbus Day Weekend — so book your hotel room now.

Changing the Words to the Lord’s Prayer?

No stranger to controversy, Pope Francis is stirring the pot once again. In an interview on Italian TV, the Pope Francis remarked that that the current language of the Our Father prayer “is not a good translation.” In English and similarly in Italian, the prayer asks God to “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” But, says Francis, it’s not the Lord that tempts.

“It is not He that pushes me into temptation and then sees how I fall,” Francis said in Italian. “A father does not do this. A father quickly helps those who are provoked into Satan’s temptation.”

Read the story on NPR.


Catholic Archbishop to be tried for protecting pedophile priest has Alzheimer’s
“Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson was given a ‘working diagnosis’ of Alzheimer’s disease two weeks before he was due to face court for failing to report child sexual abuse allegations to police, the Newcastle Herald reports. The diagnosis was made only weeks after Archbishop Wilson had a fall requiring stitches to a head wound in an Adelaide emergency department, which led to a cardiologist’s appointment and emergency surgery last week to have a pacemaker fitted.” By

Hartford Archdiocese given poor grade for financial transparency
“A watchdog group has rated the Archdiocese of Hartford as one of the worst in the country for how much financial information it posts online in a just-released nationwide study of the Catholic Church. The study, done by the international watchdog group Voice of the Faithful, said the archdiocese in Hartford did not do things that should be routine, like posting audited financial statements and information on the weekly collections that are a key source of church revenue.” By Ken Byron, Hartford Courant

Parish roundup: follow the money, By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

VOTF study reveals wide disparity in online financial transparency of U.S. Roman Catholic dioceses, By Voice of the Faithful

Brooklyn diocese names eight priests who sexually abused children
“Over the past 25 years, a university professor named Jaime Lara built an illustrious career in the academic world of sacred art history … On Thursday (Nov. 8), the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn revealed that 25 years ago, Mr. Lara, then known as the Rev. James Lara, was laicized by the Vatican for sexually abusing children.” By Sharon Otterman, The New York Times

Responding to sexual abuse will take years – and it should
“The flood of revelations about sexual harassment and assault, whether in Washington or Hollywood, is unlikely to stop anytime soon. The walls of denial built up by position and self-protective ignorance have been breached. If the tragic revelations of the Catholic Church’s sex abuse crisis are any guide, the process of reckoning with problems that have been avoided for decades will itself take decades.” By Editorial Board at America: The Jesuit Review

Vatican beefs up oversight of diplomats after two sex probes
“Pope Francis has beefed up the Vatican’s oversight of its diplomatic corps after two recent cases of alleged sexual misconduct and other instances of its ambassadors going off-message from the pope. The Vatican said Tuesday (Nov. 21) that Francis had created a new section in the secretariat of state to coordinate the selection, training and service of its diplomats. It said the change will enable the head of the diplomatic office to make more frequent visits to embassies and better coordinate with the Vatican’s secretary of state, and its interior and foreign ministers.” By Associated Press in Daily Herald

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

Looking for a Way to Slow Downand Prepare for Christmas?

This Advent, America Media has launched a new podcast featuring audio versions of their daily scripture reflections from Elizabeth Kirkland Cahill. If you subscribe to the podcast, you can have this resource delivered automatically to your phone or tablet.

For Apple devices (iOS) visit:…

For Android devices add this feed to your podcast player:

You can also listen (and read) each reflection on their website:

It’s a great way to pray and prepare yourself for Christmas. Enjoy.

Final Results from Mass Translation Survey

Earlier this year, Pope Francis established new rules for Mass translations, saying that national

Earlier this year, Pope Francis established new rules for Mass translations, saying that national bishops’ conferences are responsible for converting Latin Mass prayers into the “vernacular.” We asked what you thought of the directive: Do you welcome the opportunity for U.S. bishops to determine translations of prayers said during Mass? By an overwhelming number (94.4%), you said “yes.”


Adult Education at St. Susanna (Dedham MA)

The following events take place 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 costs.

December 11 — The Role of Saint Paul (part 2), with Professor Nathaniel DesRosiers

Prof Nathaniel DesRosiers will walk with us the path of Saint Paul at the very beginnings of Christianity, even before the Gospels were written. There will be audience participation and interaction. DesRosiers is Associate Professor in Religious Studies at Stonehill College in Easton, where he teaches courses in Classics, New Testament, and Early Christianity, and a Visiting Professor at Brown University. His research focuses on the issues of conflict and competition in the ancient world and the social and intellectual developments that helped to create and shape the religious movements and texts of antiquity.

January 15 — Women in the Diaconate: Prophetic Voices

Susan Collamati, a Religion Teacher at Bishop Feehan High School with thirty years’ experience, and her spouse, Professor Ernest Collamati of the Theology Department at Regis College, will speak on this compelling topic. Is the Roman Catholic Church actually considering the ordination of women? What else is in store for the women of our ever-changing Church? They will address the issue of women in the Church, past, present and future. Individually and as a couple.

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.