In the Vineyard: December 5, 2014

In the Vineyard :: December 5, 2014 :: Volume 14, Issue 23

News From National

Come to the Stable this Advent with Voice of the Faithful
Join Voice of the Faithful, as we make our Advent journey to the stable where Christ was born. We are reprising and updating our popular Advent calendar reflections for 2014.

Each day during Advent, you can “open a window” on our virtual Advent calendar. Each window will show a reflection and a selection from the readings from the liturgical calendar for that day to help you focus on preparing for the birth of Jesus.

If VOTF has your email address, you will receive an email each day during Advent with a link to open the day’s window. If you do not receive emails from VOTF, click here and use the links to click through the calendar.

Spend this time with us reflecting on the type of Church that Jesus would want to call His. Meditate and pray for the healing and renewal of the Church that we love so much—and consider the programs and activities on VOTF’s 2014 Project Scorecard as potential sources of reform.

Come. Let us journey to the stable together. And when we arrive, may we renew our faith as we continue to renew our Church.

Inching Toward Accountability?
The Catholic Church seems to be inching closer to holding bishops accountable for involvement in covering up clergy sexual abuse. In an interview on CBS News “60 Minutes,” Cardinal Sean O’Malley said that Pope Francis is aware the Bishop Finn situation must be addressed, and soon. Cardinal O’Malley is the head of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Children and a member of Pope Francis’ council of cardinal advisors.

Bishop Finn is the leader of the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese who was found guilty of improperly handling the sexual misconduct of a priest convicted of producing child pornography.Click here to read a post-interview story on, which includes a link to the “60 Minutes” segment. For a link to Cardinal O’Malley’s own follow-up response, see the Focus section (below).

A First Step?
VOTF has for several years urged U.S. bishops to request aPastoral Provision for ordaining married Catholic men the same way a similar provision allows the ordination of converted Protestant ministers. In November came word that a Brazilian bishop did just that in April. Bishop Erwin Krautler, prelate of Xingu, met with Pope Francis to report that his diocese, with only 27 priests and more than 800 congregations, needs help.

Krautler and Cardinal Claudio Hummes, a friend of Pope Francis, also have presented the idea of ordaining married community elders to Brazil’s National Conference of Bishops, which is now in the process of forming a commission to delve deeper into the matter. See additional note and link in the Focus section (below).

Help VOTF and Do Your Christmas Shopping at the Same
Thinking of starting your Christmas shopping? Want to do it online? If so, please consider going to VOTF’s website and following the link to A small percentage of each sale will go to support VOTF (although you will not pay any higher price). An easy way to help VOTF!

Affiliate News from Mid-Michigan VOTF
Submitted by Harry Grether
Recently the Mid-Michigan Voice of The Faithful offered a presentation titled “Francis, Who Is He Really?” by Judith Thompson, an adjunct professor at our local Saginaw Valley State University. With the cooperation of our local pastors, a full-page flyer was included in many of our parish bulletins.

More than 80 people attended the event. Judith’s in-depth lecture was a well-documented look at how the person of Pope Francis was shaped by his family, church, education, and culture; and how the historical events of that time impacted his actions and decisions.

A question and answer period opened the door for some very frank, interesting discussions and an opportunity for us to share more about the purpose of our Voice of the Faithful group. Our VOTF members were very pleased with how well this event was received by so many. We consider it another small but significant, positive step on this journey we are on together.


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

Top Vatican prosecutor failed to report abuser
“A prominent American Jesuit recently named by Pope Francis to prosecute priests accused of sexually abusing minors under church law was himself one of several Catholic officials whoallowed a notorious abusive priest to remain in ministry for years after learning of his long history of sexual abuses, legal documents show.” By Michael Rezendes, The Boston Globe
Pope’s Vatican watchdog on abuse: Wrong priest for the job, Editorial by The Boston Globe
Vatican prosecutor did not report abusive priest, By The Associated Press on
Top U.S. Jesuit defends Vatican sex prosecutor, By Nicole Winfield, The Associated Press
Dominican Republic says Vatican to handle landmark sex abuse case
“The Dominican Republic on Monday, December 1, announced it cannot prosecute a former papal envoy suspected of child sex crimes because treaty obligations give the Vatican full jurisdiction. The Vatican is preparing for a landmark trial against the 66-year-old (Jozef Wesolowski, for Polish archbishop), who was stripped of his job in June after a Church tribunal found he had abused minors during his 2008-13 stint as the Holy See’s ambassador to the Dominican Republic.” By Agence France-Presse on
Brazilian bishop urges ordination of married community elders as priest shortage grows
“The largest Roman Catholic geographical district in Brazil, located deep in the Amazon along the Xingu River, has more than 800 Catholic congregations but only 27 priests. Bishop Erwin Krautler, prelate of Xingu (pronounced Shin-goo), has argued that the situation calls for drastic measures.” By Benjamin Soloway, Religion News Service
Reflections on my ’60 Minutes’ interview
“Last Sunday evening (Nov. 16) I was privileged to be featured on the CBS television program ‘60 Minutes,’ … From the beginning of the process, I was aware that the questions would not be about the weather and the Red Sox. The program’s interviews include difficult questions that are often on many people’s minds.” By Cardinal Sean O’Malley, The Boston Pilot
O’Malley expands, reflects on ’60 Minutes’ interview, By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter
On the fifth anniversary of publication of Murphy report, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin reflects
“The fifth anniversary of the publication of the Murphy Report on the management, by both Church and State organizations, of allegations of the sexual abuse of children by priests working in the Archdiocese of Dublin, brings back to me the horror of the revelations that the report contains.” Commentary in The Irish Times
Three priests and layman charged in Spanish sexual abuse case
“Spanish magistrates have charged four people, including three Catholic priests, with sex offences following a child abuse investigation instigated by Pope Francis. The priests, along with a lay person, were arrested on Monday (Nov. 22) as part of an investigation in Granada, southern Spain, and have been released from custody.” By Sarah White and Raquel Castillo, Reuters

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


NJ VOTF Hosts An Advent Discussion of the Book:
Ask the Beasts: Darwin and the God of Love
By Dr. Elizabeth A. Johnson, C.S.J.
“Elizabeth Johnson shows that Darwinian theory of evolution need not stand against a religious belief in God. Instead she provides a theology of creation that not only integrates an understanding of evolution with a belief in the presence of God’s love and grace in the world, but also encourages us to take up our common responsibility for the earth, its environment, and all its living creatures.” Francis Schussler Fiorenza, Stillman Professor of Roman Catholic Theological Studies, Harvard Divinity School

Sunday, December 7, 2014 Discussion: 2:30 PM Bernice Anglin, Facilitator; St. Mark Lutheran Church, 100 Harter Road, Morristown NJ. (Note that a liturgy follows at 4:30 pm.) the Family Synod
On December 9 at 8 pm (Eastern Time), FutureChurch will host a teleconference with National Catholic Reporter Analyst Thomas Reese on the 2014 Synod: the midterm document, the final document, and what to expect as we move toward the 2015 synod.

Register Now button

Book Review

In a recent article in America Magazine, Father James Martin, S.J., recommended three books he thought would be of interest to those in the “second half of life.” The first, Sacred Fire, by Ronald Rolheiser, O.M.I., focuses on “Christian maturity.” The second is Falling Upwards: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life, by Richard Rohr, O.F.M.; and the third is The Gift of Years: Growing Old Gracefully, by Joan Chittister, O.S.B. To read Father James’ review

If you read any of these books, please send in a review toSiobhan Carroll (Vineyard editor)!

Questions, Comments?

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

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