In the Vineyard: January 29, 2018

In the Vineyard :: January 29, 2018 :: Volume 18, Issue 2

News from National

How YOU Help Us Make a Difference

Your support and the dedicated work of our members, volunteers, and staff help us make important strides in reform. Here’s an update on one example of how you help us make a difference.

The report Voice of the Faithful issued in November that resulted from its study of diocesan online financial transparency has provoked widespread response. Click here to view the full report, “Measuring & Ranking Diocesan Online Financial Transparency.” It was distributed to all U.S. bishops, newspapers and periodicals across the country, as well as through VOTF’s Facebook, Twitter, and Blog feeds, in an email to members, and through advertisements in the National Catholic Reporter and America: The Jesuit Review.

Here are some results:

  • Responses from seven bishops, including an extensive reply from one bishop listing how his diocese further promotes financial transparency
  • 5,647 impressions from our Facebook post and 730 engagements (Likes, Shares, and Clicks); one Facebook post share from the Archdiocese of Baltimore Facebook page that promoted the archdiocese’s high score in the report; one Facebook post share from the National Catholic Reporter page that promoted the NCR story on our report
  • 158 requests to-date for the report from a VOTF survey promoted through, Facebook, Twitter, VOTF Blog, email to members, NCR ad, and America ad.
  • 1,445 total views of our news release, 116 media pickups, and 17 Social Media engagements from media distribution on PRNewswire
  • 2,294 total views to our news release, 255 postings directly to media websites, 71 clicks on the Businesswire website, and 11 Social Media engagements from media distribution on Businesswire
  • A news release that highlighted each arch/diocese’s individual score was distributed to newspapers covering cities where diocesan headquarters are located and resulted in stories in the following newspapers:
    • The Brownsville Herald, Brownsville, Texas (story and editorial mention)
    • Bucks County Courier Times, Levittown, Pennsylvania
    • Hartford Courant, Hartford, Connecticut
    • New Ulm Journal, New Ulm, Minnesota
    • The Intelligencer, Doylestown, Pennsylvania
    • The Monitor, McAllen, Texas
    • Norwich Bulletin, Norwich, Connecticut
    • Waynesboro Record Herald, Waynesboro, Pennsylvania
    • Wellsville Daily Reporter, Wellsville, New York
    • Additional newspaper and online coverage through syndicated columnist for Quincy, Massachusetts, Patriot Ledger
    • Fort Wayne, Indiana, Journal Gazette
  • Mention of the report in National Catholic Reporter’s “Field Hospital” parish-roundup column that reports on parish life in the United States and, after a lengthy interview with a reporter, a standalone story in National Catholic Reporter
  • Media interviews have been conducted with the Hartford Courant (Connecticut), Norwich Bulletin (Connecticut), Jeff City News Tribune (Missouri), and Wichita Eagle (Kansas).

These initial results from VOTF’s study are edifying, and we will continue our follow-up. We also will repeat the diocesan online financial transparency study this spring, with the hope that many dioceses will have taken steps resulting in better scores than the 2017 study.

Don’t Miss the Special Offer!

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

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. Check your emails this week for news on two additional speakers!

Cost per person:
$85/Person Early Bird Special
(Full -price registration will be $125/person)

Register before Jan. 31, 2018, and get two registrations for just $85.

Click here to register.

Date: Oct. 6, 2018

Time: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Where: Providence RI at the Providence Marriott Downtown

Make your hotel 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 time of the year for visitors to New England — Columbus Day weekend — so book your hotel room now. Use this link.

Pope Francis’ Blind Spot on Sexual Abuse

Many were disappointed last week when Pope Francis refused to accept cover- up allegations against Bishop Juan Barros. “I can’t condemn him because I don’t have evidence,” Francis said. “But I’m also convinced that he’s innocent.” In this week’s National Catholic Reporter, Father Tom Reese argues that the Church has no process for handling accusations against bishops for failing to report and deal with bad priests.

Father Reese believes the Vatican needs a department of justice with professional investigators and prosecutors who could deal with sexual abuse and cover-ups, as well as financial corruption, theft and other crimes.

Read his opinion piece here.


Francis’ commitment to abuse survivors in question
“It is hard even to imagine the pain survivors of clergy sexual abuse have had to endure. After being raped or brutalized by people their communities had taught them to see as nearly infallible, many were left silent for decades, ashamed or just unable to speak. When they did come forward, their motives were questioned and their integrity impugned. They were savaged, re-victimized, in court proceedings and public announcements, as bishops, diocesan lawyers and church officers denied their charges … Within the space of four days, Pope Francis twice slandered abuse survivors. On the papal flight from Peru Jan. 21, he again called testimony against Chilean Bishop Juan Barros Madrid ‘calumny.’” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

Call for Pope Francis to meet with abuse survivor Marie Collins during visit to Ireland
“A meeting between Pope Francis and clerical abuse survivor, Marie Collins, must be on the papal agenda when the Pope visits Ireland next August, a Catholic lobby group has said. We Are Church Ireland (WACI), a lobby group seeking to liberalize some of Catholicism’s structures and sexual teachings, said a personal meeting with Collins would show the Pope’s appreciation of her ‘valuable work’ on the Vatican’s Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.” By Sarah MacDonald, The Independent

Let laity lead parishes, priests’ resolution urges U.S. bishops
“Priests are graying, fewer in number, with little relief in sight. That reality was the impetus for a resolution endorsed by the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests, calling upon Catholic bishops in the United States to enlist the aid of lay pastoral workers to administer parishes. Passed by the association at its convention in Atlanta last June, the resolution calls upon the church to allow ‘well prepared pastoral ministers who, working collaboratively with canonical pastors, can know, guide and accompany the faithful on their journey of faith via parish communities.’” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

Proud to be Catholic? An America survey asks women about their lives in the Church
“Catholic women may be part of a Democratic voting wave in 2018. They are ready to welcome women deacons. Many feel their parishes are inclusive of women and welcome divorced and remarried Catholics and non-heterosexual Catholics. But they think the church could do more to welcome unmarried parents, single mothers and people who have lost their spouses … These are just a handful of the findings of the America Survey, commissioned by America Media and conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University in partnership with GfK, a survey firm.” By Mark Gray and Mary Gautier, America: The Jesuit Review

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

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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