In the Vineyard: December 24, 2017

In the Vineyard :: December 24, 2017 :: Volume 17, Issue 22

News from National

Advent Reflections: Full Calendar

Thank you to all those who helped us prepare the Advent Calendar this year. We enjoyed your creche photos and your stories about them. We are grateful for the thoughtful meditations from our reflection writers: Fr. Bob Bonnot of the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests; Priscilla Deck of Beverly MA; Svea Fraser of Wellesley MA; Patricia Gomez of Tewksbury MA; Dennis Grohman of Pomona NJ; and Margaret Roylance of Newton MA. We owe special thanks to Nick Ingala, Communications Director at VOTF, who put it all together and made sure the daily emails went out with each photo and reflection.

Nick also put together a full calendar with the daily reflections, so you can go back and enjoy any day’s creche and reflection during the year.

Pope Francis’ Christmas ingredients: Joy, Prayer, Gratitude

Last week, on Pope Francis’ 81st birthday, the Pope said, “Saint Paul invites us to prepare for the coming of the Lord by assuming three attitudes: constant joy, persevering prayer and continual thanksgiving,” the Pope said. “Joy, prayer and gratitude are three attitudes that prepare us to live Christmas in an authentic way.

The Pope cited St. Paul’s First Letter to the Thessalonians, “always be happy.”

“That is to say, always remain in joy, even when things do not go according to our desires,” Francis explained. “Anxieties, difficulties and sufferings permeate our lives, and so many times the reality around us seems to be inhospitable and arid, like the desert in which the voice of John the Baptist resounded, as the Gospel of today recalls.”

Read more here.

Statement from Voice of the Faithfulon the Death of Cardinal Bernard Law

We pray for the family and friends of Cardinal Law, whose coverup of clergy sexual abuse was one of the greatest scandals of the Catholic Church. The child sex abuse and coverup, once revealed, pried open many other coverups and failures of the Catholic Church hierarchy. His passing also reminds us that so many of those damaged by the abuse and its coverup have yet to experience healing. We hope, particularly during this season of Advent, that we will see stronger support from the Church for that healing.

Here are notices published elsewhere regarding the death of Cardinal Law:

Boston Pilot(link is external) (diocesan newspaper)

The Boston Globe(link is external) has several stories in addition to the initial report

Column by Kevin Cullen(link is external): “an an enabler of abuse”

Comments by an attorney for survivors(link is external)

Column by Joan Vennochi(link is external)

National Catholic Reporter(link is external)

New York Times

Conservative Donors Shaping Catholic Narrative

This week the National Catholic Reporter released a fascinating report on the increasing trend of conservative Catholic donors who are starting and supporting advocacy groups and think tanks to support and influence a wider culture.

“There are others similarly motivated who are putting their money into advocacy groups and think tanks that aim to influence church institutions and to shape the Catholic narrative for the wider culture. While there is no formal mechanism for tracking the growth of such organizations, NCR first called attention to their proliferation in a report detailing Knights of Columbus spending on conservative communications outlets, political think tanks and advocacy groups. Such activities are quite different from the charitable groups that have traditionally been the recipients of Knights’ funding and that still receive the bulk of the organization’s donations.”

Read the report here.

A Christmas Gift for 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.


Cardinal Bernard Law, who left Boston in wake of clergy abuse scandal, dies at 86
Cardinal Bernard F. Law, whose 19-year tenure as head of the Archdiocese of Boston ended in his resignation after it was revealed he had failed to remove sexually abusive priests from the ministry, setting off a scandal that reached around the world, died Tuesday (Dec. 19). He was 86. The Vatican’s newspaper confirmed his death early Wednesday. Cardinal Law will be buried in Rome, according to a statement from his successor, Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley.” By Mark Feeney, The Boston Globe

‘Changes must be made’: shocking Australian child abuse inquiry ends
Children are still being sexually assaulted in Australian institutions. That was the stark warning of an exhaustive five-year investigation by an Australia Royal Commission into institutional child sex abuse that concluded Thursday (Dec. 14). In a short hearing in Sydney, Hon. Justice Peter McClellan, who has headed the investigation, said the ‘nation thanks the survivors’ who gave testimony about decades of systematic abuse and cover-ups in religious and state institutions such as churches, youth groups, care homes and schools.” By Lucie Morris-Marr, CNN News

Vatican says royal commission findings deserve to ‘be studied seriously,’ By Australian Associated Press is The Guardian

Melbourne’s Catholic archdiocese let pedophile priests free to abuse children
“Culture of secrecy inside Melbourne’s Catholic Archdiocese let pedophile priests free to abuse scores of children, a damning report by the child abuse royal commission has found. Releasing its report into the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne today (Dec. 5) the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was most scathing of former Archbishop Frank Little.” By Shannon Deery, Victoria Herald Sun

Royal Commission finds ‘inexcusable failures’ in Ballarat Catholic Church’s treatment of abuse victims, By Megan Neil and Brendan Wrigley, The Age

Church interests above victims, By

Catastrophic institutional failure’ to protect children, By

Study ranks dioceses’ online financial transparency; Sacramento at top
“Separated by a continent, the dioceses of Sacramento, California, and Camden, New Jersey, are also divided by degrees of financial transparency. Parishioners in Sacramento can find out where their donations go with the click of a button on the diocesan website. Those in the Diocese of Camden, which covers southern New Jersey, will have a more difficult time. That is a takeaway from a study on financial transparency undertaken recently by Voice of the Faithful, a church watchdog group.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

Our View: Financial practices of local diocese need to be refined, Editorial in The Norwich Bulletin

Retreat restores survivors’ spark
“Grief to Grace retreat director Anne Sherston is changing the lives of abuse survivors, writes Emilie Ng in The Catholic Leader. At a Grief to Grace retreat held in Hobart earlier this year, a Catholic priest guided 17 abuse survivors through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. For several days the survivors unpatched hidden wounds caused by traumatic abuse experiences in their childhood or adult life.” By

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

An Interview with Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark

New York Times Reporter Nicholas Kristof sat down with Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark (appointed by Pope Francis) for an interesting interview you can read here.

Here is what the Cardinal had to say about the ordination of women:

Kristof: So will we see women cardinals soon?

Cardinal Tobin: Maybe my theology isn’t sophisticated enough, but I don’t believe that there’s a compelling theological reason why the pope couldn’t name a woman cardinal.

Pope Francis has promised to find a more incisive role for women in the church. There are isolated incidents of women being appointed to fairly influential posts in the Roman Curia. I think it’s got to be more than that.

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.

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