In the Vineyard: July 17, 2019

In the Vineyard :: July 17, 2019 :: Volume 19, Issue 13

News from National

VOTF 2019 Conference: Creating a Just Church

Register now for Spring/Summer Special Registration of 2-for-$200

Voice of the Faithful 2019 Conference
Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Boston Marriott Newton, Newton, Massachusetts

$125 / person (includes lunch)

Click here to register …(link is external)

Click here to see an agenda …

The 50-Year Secret

This week, WJLA, ABC7 News will air the documentary, The 50-Year Secret. The documentary is the story of Arlington Diocesan priest, Father Reinecke, an abuser priest, who many years ago took his own life when confronted by someone whom he had abused as a child. The documentary is a series of stories told by people close to him: a former priest, a survivor of Reinecke’s abuse, and a witness to Reinecke’s grooming tactics and abuse. The latter, Kelley Arnold, is the keeper of The 50-Year Secret. The documentary will air at 6 p.m. on July 18. To watch a trailer of the documentary, click here. WJLA is a Washington D.C. metro-area channel but broadcasts both locally by cable and digitally online.

Volunteer Needed/Work Anywhere

Voice of the Faithful needs a little online help. We try to make sure every document and publication we create for VOTF is listed in at least two places: the web page for the related program, and the Documents page–because visitors to the web site looking for a particular document on, say, survivor support or child protection, may find it more easily in an overall listing.

That’s the purpose behind our Media/Documents page. Unfortunately, sometimes we forget to post a document, or we fall way behind in the postings and then forget to go back.

That’s why we need your help. We’re looking for a volunteer who can crawl (virtually) through our web site and make sure every document cited in our web pages also can be found on the Documents page. You don’t need to make any web changes yourself—we just need to know which ones are missing so we can fix the page.

We’d like to finish it by the end of summer, so there is no pressing deadline on this. But anything you can do to help would be greatly appreciated.

If you can help, or if you would like more information, please email

The University of San Diego Looks at Women in the Church

The University of San Diego recently launched an initiative focusing on defining the role of women in the Church. The initiative will include the voices of youth, men and women laity in an intergenerational dialogue. About forty people attended the first meeting, representing faculty, university leadership and San Diego faith community leaders. While the initial cohort will be focused on San Diego, The University seeks to create a model easily replicated in other dioceses and encourage universities to act as facilitators of conversations in bringing people together for meaningful dialogue that leads to substantive, positive change. The first event is planned for early November.

If you are interested in learning more about the initiative or would like to attend one of the meetings, please click on the following link –

And don’t forget to check out our BridgeDialogues format, which is another way to encourage conversations. (If you would like the Clericalism package templates for The BridgeDialogues, you can find those here.)

Rhode Island Joins a Long Sad List

Rhode Island recently joined an ignominious list: a list of states and countries that have released a list of “credibly accused” priests. The list contained of 50 names includes 19 priests and deacons who are still alive, although nearly all have been removed from ministry. One priest resigned. The list also includes 25 dead priests and six others, including religious order priests.

Rhode Island is one of the most heavily Catholic states in the country. Bishop Thomas Tobin, in a letter accompanying the list, calls its release “a difficult but necessary moment” in the history of the church.

“The publication of this list is an expression of the transparency we want to encourage, and the accountability we need to accept,” he wrote. Many Catholics question what took Tobin so long to release the list. Bishop Tobin was recently in the news for his statements urging Catholics not to participate or support in any Pride celebrations that were happening. Tobin is a conservative bishop who has said that he was aware of incidents of sexual abuse reported to church officials while working in Pennsylvania, but that it wasn’t his job to deal with them. He was auxiliary bishop of Pittsburgh from 1992 until 1996. A Pennsylvania grand jury report last year detailed decades of abuse and cover-up in six dioceses, including the Pittsburgh diocese.

One year ago, Bishop Tobin called for an investigation of Pope Francis amid allegations that the pope covered up for an American ex-cardinal accused of sexual misconduct.

A Voice from Ireland

A long-time VOTF member in Ireland, Sean O’Conaill, recently reported in the Irish News what he sees as the ongoing problems in the Church there. His report covers the priesthood of the baptized, failure to include women as equals, clerical abuse of children, seminary formation and a host of other needs on which Irish bishops and Irish priests, he reports, are too often and too long silent.


Why the ‘Metropolitan Plan’ doesn’t work
“The now-glaring weakness of the USCCB’s 2002 Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People was that it made no provision for dealing with bishops who engage in sexual misconduct. In the wake of the scandal surrounding Theodore McCarrick, who had escaped the consequences of his abuses for decades, the American bishops realized this gap had to be closed … As if by an act of divine providence, however, the first trial run of a metropolitan-centered strategy to contain abusive bishops has provided a spectacular public demonstration of how this plan can fail.” By Rita Ferrone, Commonweal

‘Maverick’ Catholic nun banned from speaking to Australian church over progressive views
“Sister Joan Chittester, a powerful voice for female empowerment within the Catholic church, claimed her invitation to speak at a conference in Melbourne next year has been withdrawn. Sister Joan Chittester has advocated on behalf of peace, human rights, women’s issues, and the renewal of the Catholic Church for over 40 years. Chittester was set to visit Australia to speak at The National Catholic Education Conference next year, but claims she was recently told the invite had been rescinded.” By Simone Amelia Jordan,

Before I take on clericalism, I will say: ‘I love being a priest’
“James Carroll argues in a recent issue of The Atlantic that the priesthood needs to be abolished before the church can be reformed. Garry Wills, in his 2013 book Why Priests?, says that priests are a self-perpetuating clique and a medieval power grab, contrary to the equality of all believers … I wouldn’t go that far. But after nearly four decades as first a seminarian and then a priest, I do think the priesthood needs reform — fundamental reform. We don’t need window dressing. We don’t need just some changes in policy and procedure. We need to change the whole culture of the priesthood and episcopacy. If we don’t, we will continue to decline and ultimately collapse in our own irrelevance and scandal.” By Fr. Peter Daly, National Catholic Reporter

Purging silence: Vatican expands abuse prevention to lay movements
“Millions of Catholics live their faith through their association with lay movements and Catholic groups, but some also have lost their faith when they were sexually abused in those groups and felt they had nowhere to turn. While much of the Church’s recent focus has been on clerical sexual abuse and the accountability of diocesan bishops, the Vatican is making child protection a priority for new movements and lay associations, too.” By Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service, on

Altoona-Johnstown Diocese appeals court ruling
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona–Johnstown has challenged the ruling in a case that – if upheld – could significantly expand the ability of alleged childhood victims of clergy sexual abuse to file civil claims against the church. In December 2017, Blair County Judge Jolene Kopriva dismissed a case brought by Renée Rice against the diocese, then-retired (now deceased) Bishop Joseph Adamec, the estate of deceased Bishop James Hogan and the Rev. Charles Bodziak because the abuse she alleged Bodziak committed, from 1975 or 1976 through 1981 when they were both at St. Leo’s Church in Altoona, was past the commonwealth’s statute of limitations.” However, an appeals court overturned that ruling: “…If a jury finds a confidential relationship existed that resulted in fraudulent concealment of information, then defendants cannot gain rulings in their favor based upon the statute of limitations expiring.” It is the latter ruling the diocese is appealing. By Dave Sutor, The Tribune-Democrat

New York Archdiocese sues 32 insurance companies for breach of contract in sex abuse cases
“The New York Archdiocese has filed a lawsuit against 32 of its insurers for not paying claims of abuse victims. The archdiocese—which covers New York, Bronx, and Richmond counties along Westchester, Rockland and other Hudson Valley counties—filed suit in New York Supreme Court on behalf of other religious organizations, schools, hospitals and other institutions which might be impacted by the case.” By Frank Esposito, Rockland/Winchester Journal News

Can laypeople lead a parish? Look to Louisville for a thriving example
“In his recent book Worship as Community Drama, sociologist Pierre Hegy described an unusual Catholic parishwhose identity he hid under the name Church of the Resurrection. When the book was published earlier this year and we read the chapter titled ‘A Lay-Run Parish: Consensus Without a Central Authority,’ we could tell that it was about us. I asked Hegy about possibly revealing the facts behind the chapter. He replied that sociological protocols had to be followed in the book, but these would not apply to an article in a newspaper. OK, here goes.” By Joseph Martos, National Catholic Reporter

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

Pope Francis and the Good Samaritan

At Mass this Sunday, Pope Francis encouraged Catholics to think first about their own hardness of heart, not the sins of others.

“If you go down the street and see a homeless man lying there and you pass by without looking at him, or you think: ‘Eh, the effect of wine. He’s a drunk,’ do not ask yourself if that man is drunk, ask yourself if your heart has hardened, if your heart has become ice,” the pope said.

The true “face of love,” he continued, is “mercy towards a human life in need. This is how one becomes a true disciple of Jesus.”

In his Sunday Angelus address, Pope Francis reflected on the parable of the Good Samaritan, which he called “one of the most beautiful parables of the Gospel.”

“This parable has become paradigmatic of the Christian life. It has become the model of how a Christian must act,” he said.

According to Pope Francis, the parable shows that having compassion is key. “If you do not feel pity before a needy person, if your heart is not moved, then something is wrong,” he warned. “Be careful.”

Quoting the Gospel of Luke, Francis said: “‘Be merciful, as your Father is merciful.’ God, our Father, is merciful, because he has compassion; he is capable of having this compassion, of approaching our pain, our sin, our vices, our miseries.”

Watch his homily here.


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

Reminder: Please notify if you change your email address.

© Voice of the Faithful 2019. All Rights Reserved.