In the Vineyard: January 15, 2018

In the Vineyard :: January 15, 2018 :: Volume 18, Issue 1

News from National

VOTF 2018 Conference: Progress & Promise

Register before Jan. 31 for 2-for-1 offer

With a theme promoting Progress & Promise, Voice of the Faithful’s 2018 Conference will take place Oct. 6 in Providence, Rhode Island.

Attendees will hear VOTF leaders talk about progress in:

  • healing the wounds of clergy sexual abuse;
  • holding dioceses accountable for financial transparency; and
  • developing resources for lay leadership.

A much-anticipated return guest will be Marie Collins, 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.

Click here for more information and links to registration and hotel reservations.

VOTF Featured Prominently in NCR Article on Cardinal Law

VOTF and our Executive Director Donna Doucette were featured prominently in an article examining the life and impact of Cardinal Law. In the article, Doucette and Fr. Thomas Doyle (among others) discuss the impact of Cardinal Law on the Catholic Church. “You cannot place absolute faith and trust in any human,” said Doucette.

Drawing lessons from the life of Cardinal Bernard Law

Pope Celebrates World Day of Migrants and Refugees

At a special Mass on January 14, Pope Francis said that while it is normal to be afraid of the unknown, we can’t let this direct how we respond to newcomers in our midst, who should be treated with respect and generosity.

It’s not easy to put ourselves in another person’s shoes, especially those very different from us, and this can cause us to have doubts and fears, Francis said.

“These fears are legitimate, based on doubts that are fully comprehensible from a human point of view. Having doubts and fears is not a sin.”

“The sin is to allow these fears to determine our responses, to limit our choices, to compromise respect and generosity, to feed hostility and rejection,” he continued. “The sin is to refuse to encounter the other, to encounter the different, to encounter the neighbor, when this is in fact a privileged opportunity to encounter the Lord.”

Read more here.


‘Catastrophic institutional failure’ can be fixed
“The Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse spent five years interviewing over 8,000 survivors, their abusers and personnel from institutions that had covered up the abuse. The Commission found that 61.8 percent of all survivors within religious institutions had been under the care of the Catholic Church. The Commission’s 17 volume Final Report, released on Dec. 15, 2017, made hundreds of recommendations for change in structures, practices and internal laws of institutions.” By Kieran Tapsell, National Catholic Reporter

15 recommendations from the royal commission into child sexual abuse that you should know about, By ABC News Australia

Clergy abuse database releases new names in Chile
“The leading Catholic clergy sexual abuse tracking website has identified nearly 80 priests in Chile that have been publicly accused of sexually abusing minors, releasing their names online just days before Pope Francis is to visit the country. calls the list only a sampling of the number of Chilean priests who have likely committed abuse, saying that unlike in the U.S., the church in Chile has yet to face substantial outside investigation into its handling of sexual misconduct.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Publicly accused priests, brothers, sisters, and deacons in Chile, By

‘The hurt is still there’: clergy abuse survivors, others react to Cardinal Law’s death
“Reaction to the death of Cardinal Bernard Law, the man who came to be the face of the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, has been emotional, particularly for survivors of clergy abuse. Law, who led the Boston archdiocese for 19 years before he stepped down in disgrace over the scandal, died in Rome early Wednesday. He was 86.” By Deborah Becker, WBUR-FM

German church accused of failing to make finances transparent
“The German Church has been accused of failing to make church finances transparent as the German bishops’ conference had promised it would in 2014 after Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst — since referred to as the Bishop of Bling — was suspended by the Vatican for spending more than 31m euros (£26m) on renovating his bishop’s palace. ‘We feel and understand the faithful’s desire to be informed about the dioceses’ assets and about how the money is being spent,’ the German bishops’ conference declared at the time and promised that each diocese would publish its balance sheets by the end of 2016.” By Christa Pongratz-Lippitt, The Tablet

Top five under-appreciated Vatican stories of 2017
“When there’s a surging river of news streaming down the line every day, it’s often tough to separate the important from the ephemeral. Herewith, then, my countdown of the Top Five Under-Appreciated Vatican Stories from the last twelve months, meaning matters whose lasting significance arguably hasn’t yet been fully digested.” By John L. Allen, Jr.,

What’s coming up in the life of the U.S. church in 2018? By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

2017 in Review, By National Catholic Reporter

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

For All the CCD Teachers Out There

Teaching Laudato Si’ — Carmelite Sr. Jane Remson initiated and helped create a 252-page curriculum designed to teach the encyclical Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home to 9th- 12th-graders. The curriculum aims to “lead young people to think critically and protect the Earth.” The curriculum can also be used with adults. Additional information on the curriculum is available at and the Carmelite NGO website,

(Information from an NCR article 1/9/18 by Chris Herlinger, courtesy of a notice from the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests.)


January 15 – Women in the Diaconate: Prophetic Voices

Monday, 7 to 9 pm., at St. Susanna’s Parish Hall, ​262 Needham St., Dedham, MA

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, Ernie and Susie have themselves been prophetic voices of laypeople in the Church, and have given hundreds of talks at parishes and dioceses throughout the United States.

Free refreshments will be provided. There are no fees and there is no pre-registration requirement. Free Will offerings are gratefully accepted to cover costs.


Toward an Ordained Ministry for the 21st Century

NJ VOTF invites you to an open, honest and respectful dialogue concerning the shape and character of the future of ordained ministry in the Catholic Church on Saturday, January 27, 2018, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. (Snow date 2/3/18) at St. Francis Residential Community, 122 Siamond Spring Rd., Denville, NJ 07834.

Panelists are Paul Bumbar, Roger Haight SJ, Jamie Manson, and Dick Rento. There is limited space so please register by Jan. 19. Click here for more information. Download the Registration Flyer here.

Letter to the Editor

Happy New Year greetings.

Unfortunately, 2018 has started with the sad news of Lynn Finn’s passing. Lynn and Joe were among the founders of VOTF in 2002. Lynn was later diagnosed with multiple system atrophy (MSA), a terribly debilitating disease. What should be remembered is her passion for social justice and helping those in need, a commitment she renewed throughout her life.

Lynn will be remembered for many reasons, not least for her early commitment to survivors of clergy sexual abuse. We remember her fondly and extend our sympathy to her husband, Joe, and their entire family.,

Jim and Jeannette Post

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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