In the Vineyard: December 20, 2016

In the Vineyard :: December 20, 2016 :: Volume 16, Issue 23

News from National

Message from VOTF President, Mary Pat Fox

Every year at this time we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. For most of us it is new and joyously familiar each and every time … a time we look forward to with child-like anticipation.

It’s also a time to pause and be thankful for all of our blessings. Each and every one of you who support VOTF with your prayers, hard work, and treasure are among the blessings I hold most dear.

Wishing you all of the blessings of Christmas,

Mary Pat Fox

If you are following our Advent Reflections, below is the image you will see for Christmas Eve. It’s from Gloria Slagle of Two Rivers, Alaska. Gloria made the the main figures of the crèche and her children gave the other figures to her as gifts. The stable itself was her mother’s and so is “pretty special.”

Last Minute Christmas Shopping with VOTF

Help us continue our work!

As you do your Christmas shopping, please start at VOTF’s website! Anything you purchase via by following a link to their site from VOTF’s link means a small donation to VOTF. We get that donation on books, DVDs, CDs, electronic equipment, apparel, toys and much more, even gift certificates.

Happy shopping!

Affiliate News

God’s Word, Many Voices

God’s Word, Many Voices uses contributions from lay men and women as well as priests and deacons to provide reflections on Scripture and associated resources. Members of the faithful of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester put together the website so that a diversity of viewpoints and experiences may inform and inspire the reader’s reflections.

The group also invites site visitors to sign a petition advocating for well-informed and inspired lay preaching at Mass. The petition is in the form of a letter to Pope Francis.


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


Sharing stories of sexual abuse ‘helps to heal the hurt’
“‘Having the horror heard helps to heal the hurt.’ My stepmother, Dot, shared her wonderfully alliterative mantra with me years ago as we pondered the benefits of a person going to a counselor when stuck in pain … Dot’s mantra shows how she understands people getting over the pains of life. They need to be heard. If someone is willing to listen to the horrors that befall us, it feels like we are not alone. We can bear it and even find meaning in it. As St. Paul wrote to the Galatians, ‘Bear one another’s burdens and so you will fulfill the law of Christ.’ I believe this is one of the keys to understanding and healing the sexual abuse wounds in the church.” By Paul F. Morrissey, National Catholic Reporter

Vatican launches website to address child sex abuse scandals
“The Vatican has launched a new website detailing its efforts to protect children from sexual abuse by clergy. It’s the first time the Vatican is publishing the documents and resources in one place, including an email and phone number to contact its commission for the protection of minors.” By Delia Gallagher, CNN

Dolan program opens gates to dozens of clergy abuse claims
“It took 30 years for a former student to be ready to report he’d been sexually abused by a respected Roman Catholic priest on high school trips. But it didn’t take long to realize the priest wouldn’t be held accountable in court … Instead, he’s looking to a new compensation process set up by the Archdiocese of New York … Yet victims’ advocates are wary …” By Jennifer Pelitz, Associated Press, in Providence Journal

Argentina prosecutor: Priests abused at least 22 children
“At least 22 children were sexually abused by two priests at a school for youths with hearing disabilities in Argentina, an investigating prosecutor said Monday (Dec. 5). Police arrested 82-year old priest Nicola Corradi, 55-year-old priest Horacio Corbacho, and three other men last week. They are accused of sexual and physical child abuse at the Antonio Provolo Institute in northwestern Mendoza province. Authorities say the alleged victims are now in their 20s.” By Almudena Calatrava, Associated Press

Pope says idea on remarried Catholics has backing
“Pope Francis says the majority of the world’s bishops back his suggestion that civilly remarried Catholics can receive Communion, adding fuel to the debate that has riled some conservative Catholics. In an interview Wednesday with the Belgian Catholic weekly Tertio, Francis said his 2016 document ‘The Joy of Love’ — which contains the suggestion — was the fruit of two meetings of bishops over two years.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in The Boston Globe

Pope: Clericalism distances the people from the Church
“The spirit of clericalism is an evil that is present in the Church today, Pope Francis said, and the victim of this spirit is the people, who feel discarded and abused. That was the Pope’s message in the homily at the morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta.” By Vatican Radio on

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

Pope Francis Turns 80

“If we see age as a time to give joy and wisdom, we live again,” says Pope Francis in this uplifting video on how he spent his 80th birthday.

Criticism of Pope Francis rooted in misunderstandingof Vatican II (3-part series)

Editor’s note: Below is part one of a three-part series discussing the theologies of the papacies of Pope Francis and Pope Paul VI. You will find links to the other two parts of the series from National Catholic Reporter below.

“The opposition to Pope Francis is unprecedented. There have been disagreements in the life of the church before: How could there not be? And, in recent times, we have even seen some cardinals voice disappointment or even disagreement with directives coming from Rome. For example, Belgian Cardinal Leo Joseph Suenens was not shy in voicing his concern about the manner in which the first synods of bishops after the Second Vatican Council were conducted. But claiming an apostolic exhortation is not magisterial? Publishing detailed challenges to the pope’s teaching? This is uncharted territory.

“I believe that the opposition to Francis is rooted in a flawed understanding of the post-conciliar era and, more specifically, where we are in the process of receiving the council. Francis, just last month, in an interview with Italian daily Avvenire, noted that it takes about 100 years to fully receive a council, and he is right. Some people thought that process was completed, and that they had mastered all the riddles of the Catholic faith in the post-conciliar age. They are very upset that their assumptions and some of their conclusions have been challenged.

“Last week marked the 51st anniversary of the close of Vatican II. In the past four years, we marked the opening of the council, commemorated the promulgation of key conciliar texts, held conferences to explore the meaning of the documents, and appropriately so, because Vatican II remains the most determinative event in the life of the Catholic church in our living memory.”

By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

Click here (link is external) to read the rest of this first article in Winters’ three-part series.

Click here (link is external) to read the second article in this series, “Pope Paul VI’s greatness lies in his church leadership after Vatican II.”

Click here (link is external) to read the third article in this series, “Different popes, different personalities — and underlying continuity.”


The Gospel of John, with Professor Nathaniel DesRosiers is a two-week presentation scheduled for January 9 and 16, 2017, at St. Susanna’s in Needham MA. Prof. DesRosiers will talk about why the Gospel of John is so different from the other three (Synoptic) gospels. His presentations include audience participation and interaction, and those who have attended his previous talks for Saint Susanna Adult Formation greatly enjoyed them.

DesRosiers is Associate Professor in Religious Studies at Stonehill College in Easton, where he teaches courses in Classics, New Testament, and Early Christianity, and he is a Visiting Professor at Brown University. He received a Master’s degree from Harvard University in 1998 and a Ph.D. from Brown University in 2007. 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.

These presentations will 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 our program.

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.

© Voice of the Faithful 2016. All Rights Reserved.