In the Vineyard: January 26, 2017

In the Vineyard :: January 26, 2017 :: Volume 17, Issue 2

News from National

Vatican Child Protection Website

The Vatican in December launched a new website to more easily disseminate information about its efforts to protect children from clerical sexual abuse.

This is the first time that information about these Vatican resources has been gathered together in one place, including contact information for the members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. The commission was established in 2013 and is led by Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston. Information about guidelines and templates, education, policies in various national conferences are gathered under a Resources tab.

Project coordinator Emer McCarthy was quoted on CNN as saying the commission members “want people to know that they are doing their level best to carry out the commission of the Holy Father.”

Click here to view the new website …

A Life of Faith

By Margaret Roylance,
Vice President, Board of Trustees

At Voice of the Faithful we hear many inspiring stories about people who have lived their lives in ways that really make a difference. Sometimes I think of them as profiles in faithfulness. I have been privileged this last month to hear one of those stories, about Marillyn Frances Craig.

Marillyn, a native of Lakeland FL, began her career as a public school teacher but then attended George Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee, to obtain a Master’s in Library Science. Degree in hand, in 1968 she joined the staff at Vanderbilt University as a reference librarian.

There, she found her calling at the Jean and Alexander Heard Library, and worked at Vanderbilt until her retirement in 1997. Also in 1997, she received the first annual Mary Jane Werthan Award in recognition of her work developing a women’s studies bibliography at Vanderbilt.

Marillyn also worked to make a difference as a Catholic. She was a member of The Cathedral of the Incarnation in Nashville and a very active volunteer at Catholic Charities in Nashville. She joined VOTF in 2004, supporting our mission and goals by regular donations and responding when we reached out to our members for a specific need like running an ad in the New York Times to call for accountability of Catholic bishops who had covered up clerical sexual abuse.

She was a woman who loved our church and threw her heart into its good works, but she was willing to call for change when she believed it was needed.

Marillyn Craig made a difference in many ways, but one of them did not become known until after she passed away last July. She remembered VOTF in her will. A woman of modest lifestyle, as her story makes clear, Marilynn had used her time and treasure to support the causes she held dear in life and to carry on her will after she was gone.

She granted VOTF what is called a residual bequest, designating a percentage of her estate’s value to VOTF after all her bills are paid and other outright bequests are distributed.

That bequest, from this modest, faithful Catholic woman, will provide support for months of work here at VOTF: helping us keep and strengthen our faith while moving our church toward greater justice and openness.

Let us all remember Marillyn in our prayers of gratitude for her life and good works, and consider exercising our will power as she did!

Role of Women: Priority for Irish Bishops in Vatican Talks

A report extracted from Catholic News Agency information

The Irish bishops have completed their first ad limina visit to Rome in 10 years – a period marked by a rapid increase in secularism in Ireland, the legalization of same-sex marriage their, and the country’s tragic clerical sex abuse crisis.

Despite the many challenges the Irish bishops face, one topic stood out and was mentioned in every meeting they had with different Vatican departments: the role women in the Church today.

“I would say I don’t think there was any congregation that we didn’t mention it,” Bishop Brendan Leahy of Limerick told CNA Jan. 20.

He called the attention currently being given to women and their role “one of the signs of the times.”

The Holy Spirit “is saying something,” Leahy said, adding that while exactly what the Holy Spirit wants is “the big question for us all,” one area that keeps coming up is engaging women more in decision-making processes.

Ad limina visits typically serve as a time of rest and prayer for bishops during which they meet with the Pope and have the opportunity to visit each of the Vatican departments. Read the full story here.

Voices in Naples FL

It seems like 2017 will be a year where voices will spring up everywhere. One group that recently caught our attention is OASIS–Spring of the Holy Spirit, Inc., a group located in Naples, Florida.

Oasis will be hosting a “Women in the Diaconate” seminar on Saturday, November 11, 2017, at the Naples Bay Resort in Florida. The forum will present the historical and theological ministerial role of deacons in Christianity. The possible restoration of women to this ministry in the Catholic Church is the added dimension to be explored.

Deacon William T. Ditewig, Ph.D. will be the keynote speaker. Dr. Ditewig spent five years at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops serving as the Executive Director of the Secretariat for the Diaconate. was Professor of Theology and Director of Graduate Programs in Theology at Saint Leo University near Tampa FL, and recently was appointed to the senior diocesan staff of the Diocese of Monterey CA while also serving as an adjunct Professor of Theology at Santa Clara University. He has written 10 books and co-authored “Women Deacons – Past, Present, Future” with Dr. Phyllis Zagano and Dr. Gary Macy.

For more information go to


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


Joliet priest says diocese failed to follow protocol to protect children
“Standing before parishioners in his historic Joliet church, the Rev. Peter Jankowski said years of internal conflict had brought him to this difficult moment. In an emotional homily, the parish priest publicly blew the whistle on his diocese for alleged past failures that he said put children at potential risk.” By Christy Gutowski, Chicago Tribune

Vatican prosecuting financial crimes for first time, watchdog agency president says
“The head of the Vatican’s financial watchdog agency has revealed that the city-state began pursuing prosecutions against people accused of financial crimes for the first time in 2016, in what may be seen as a breakthrough for Pope Francis’ continuing reforms. In an NCR interview Jan. 10, the president of the Vatican’s Financial Intelligence Authority said the first prosecutions had begun without public announcement in 2016 and would continue at a faster pace in 2017.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

In sign of resolve, Pope taps O’Malley for Vatican office handling abuse cases
“Boston’s Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, who sits on the council of cardinal advisers who help Pope Francis in the reform of the Roman Curia, and who leads the Commission for the Protection of Minors, was appointed on Saturday (Jan. 14) to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in what some will see as a sign of resolve in the fight against clerical sexual abuse.” By Ines San Martin,

O’Malley is named to Vatican office that reviews abuse cases, By Felicia Gans, The Boston Globe
Cardinal hopes to build collaboration between CDF, child protection commission, By Antonio Enrique, The Pilot

Should we forgo married priests until we can have women priests?
“It seems that married priests are on the horizon in the Catholic Church. Word is that an experiment will soon take place in Brazil to address the severe shortage of priests in that country. We know, of course, that married priests are already active even in the United States … As is to be expected, things will go slowly.” By Pat Perriello, National Catholic Reporter

Role of women a priority for Irish bishops during Vatican talks
“The role women in the Church today stood front and center of the ad limina visits, where many Irish prelates gathered in Rome to meet with the pope. Bishop Brendan Leahy said that the Holy Spirit is ‘saying something’ to us about the future of women in the Church and in our society.” By Elise Harris, Catholic News Agency, on

Four cardinals challenging pope are harming the church
“The head of the Vatican’s doctrinal office has expressed disagreement with four cardinals who issued an open letter to Pope Francis questioning the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, saying the document is fully in line with church teaching. Cardinal Gerhard Müller, who leads the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has also said he was ‘astonished’ that the cardinals would choose to make such a challenge to the pontiff publicly.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

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


Saint Susanna Adult Faith Formation has several programs coming up in the near future. These presentations 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. Come and See!

February 6, 2017 – The Evolution of God, with Professor Mary Joan Leith. By popular demand Professor Leith returns to discuss the way our understanding of God has grown over many centuries and how this is reflected in the Scriptures. Why does God seem almost blood-thirsty in one book of the Bible and kind and loving in the next book? Her mention of that in a prior appearance at Saint Susanna led to a plea on our part that she return and explain that all to us. The Chair of Religious Studies at Stonehill College, she is one of our favorite speakers, and she never fails to delight and inform.

Feb. 13, 2017 – Heresy in the Twenty-first Century – Still with Us After All These Years – Presented by Tim Sullivan “I know I’m a heretic and I’m pretty sure you are, too.” Over the years, what separated orthodoxy (“right faith”) from “heresy” was at times as minuscule as an “Iota” (a single small Greek letter). If the message of our Sacred Texts seems so simple, why and how did controversies creep in and what has been the legacy of these controversies? Were there some significant early misunderstandings that follow us to this day and color how our Faith’s message is being received? Tim is the Coordinator of the Tuesday evening Sacred Scripture and Catholic Studies program here at Saint Susanna Parish, the sister program to Adult Faith Formation’s Monday evening program.

Boston College’s Church in the 21st Century

Homeboy Industries and the Ennobilizing Formation of Conscience: Being Reached by the Widow, Orphan and Stranger
February 7, 2017
Lecture by Fr. Greg Boyle, S.J., Founder and Director of Homeboy Industries
Location & Time: Robsham Theater, 5:00 p.m.
Sponsor: The School of Theology and Ministry, The Office of the President, Institute for Liberal Arts, Theology Department, and The C21 Center

For more information click here.

Other programs on the slate for C21:

Leadership Through Conscience, Service, and Relatioships, a magazine launch scheduled for January 31 in the Murray Function Room, Yawkey Center, 7:00 p.m. Michael Sacco, Director of the Center for Student Formation, will speak. The event is sponsored by The C21 Center, The Center for Student Formation, and the BC Theology Department.

The Present and Future of an Ibero-American Theology in Times of Globalization, Interculturality, and Exclusion scheduled for February 8. The “conversation” features presenters Jon Sobrino, S.J., Professor, Faculty of Philosophy and Theology of San Miguel and Gustavo Gutierrez, O.P., Professor of Theology, Notre Dame, with Thomas Groome, Director of The C21 Center, as moderator. The event will be held in the Robsham Theater, 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. It’s sponsored by The School of Theology and Ministry, The Office of the President, Institute for Liberal Arts, Theology Department, and The C21 Center.

January Prayer from Pope Francis

In his monthly prayer video, Pope Francis asks us to pray for Christian unity to help those in need.

Letters to the Editor

Following is a letter from a VOTF member to Pope Francis:

Querido Papa Francisco,

I hope the New Year finds you well. You have been an inspiration to the world, and your influence has been seen in unexpected places. You bring light to the dark places of our times.

If I were in Rome, I would love to call you up and invite you out to a pizzeria. We could take our time, in this daydream, to share thoughts on your favorite movie, Babette’s Feast, on Caravaggio, on life in Buenos Aires . . . Then I would say:

About women in the priesthood, you have said, “That door is closed.” Doors can be opened, and you are the one who can do it.

You have cited the decision made by Pope John Paul II, but that was his decision at that time.

Women today are leaders and servants of God, as you are a leader and a servant of the servants of God.

We can imagine that St. Teresa of Avila would have made a marvelous pope, if she had had the opportunity and a more congenial time than that of the Inquisition, with her administrative abilities, fearlessness, and sense of humor. You can hear her frustration in one of her letters when she lamented, “Isn’t anybody going to do anything about this little saint?” about St. John of the Cross languishing in prison.

Papa Francisco, you often speak of women as mothers. Imagine our motherly gifts and compassion in the confessional, in counseling troubled parishioners. Imagine also our practicality in running a parish, and our faith and insight giving light in our homilies. Imagine women facilitating dialogue with their fellow priests who are men, and who of course may also have motherly compassion, practicality, faith and insight, and how much richer the Church would become with men and women together working in the priesthood.

Women are ready to serve in the priesthood. Let our light shine before all. “The light shines on in darkness, a darkness that did not overcome it” (John 1:4).

Annette Joseph

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.

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