In the Vineyard: July 31, 2018

In the Vineyard :: July 31, 2018 :: Volume 18, Issue 14

News from National

VOTF Statement on Accountability for Bishops

As the Catholic clergy abuse scandal reaches a new level of intensity, particularly with Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s (credibly accused) and Archbishop Philip Wilson’s (convicted) resignations, Voice of the Faithful welcomes not only these actions, but also what they and other recent events mean for accountability and transparency in the future.

These two events follow a period that included in only a few months:

  • Pope Francis’ removal of three Chilean bishops, allegations of cover-up being brought against two Chilean cardinals and an archbishop and an investigation of the entire Chilean Church;
  • sentencing of a former Vatican diplomat to five years in prison for possession and distribution of child pornography;
  • removal from office of the archbishop of Guam following “certain accusations” of abuse;
  • a cardinal in Australia standing trial for covering up abuse;
  • the Archdiocese of Mexico City partnering with the Survivors Network for Those Abused by Priests on child protection efforts;
  • some Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis parishes helping to pay settlements to clergy abuse survivors; and
  • the pending release by mid-August of a grand jury investigation of abuse in six Pennsylvania dioceses.

A critical mass seems to have been reached whereby the horror of the abuse has reached the hierarchy and forced increased accountability, while additional investigations and survivors’ stories are shining light into formerly secret abuse. The potential for a new level of transparency going forward is promising.

Voice of the Faithful and all who work for the Church can only hope.

Don’t Forget!

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

Register now and don’t miss the opportunity to learn from three dynamic speakers:

  • Marie Collins, a forceful voice for clergy abuse survivors, a lay member of Pope Francis’ initial Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, and counselor to bishops’ conferences worldwide on best practices for protecting children from abuse;
  • Prof. Massimo Faggioli, Ph.D., a professor of theology and religious studies at Villanova, an internationally known theologian, expert on Vatican II and Pope Francis’ leadership, prolific writer and sought-after speaker. He will address us on Vatican II’s legacy for the laity, offering his view on what it means to be a lay person in today’s Church; and
  • Fr. William Clark, S.J., S.T.D., who will talk about lay leadership in our Church. Fr. Clark specializes in systematic theology, particularly ecclesiology. His work is about grounding lay leadership in a theology of the people, according to the teachings of Vatican II.

Register for the conference at this link to take advantage of the Early Bird Special reduced price of $85/person (Full-price registration will be $125 per person at a later date). Students — please note the low-cost $25-per-person student registration. You may also download this registration form and mail your registration to VOTF.

Follow-up on AUSCP Assembly

If you are interested in hearing the presentations from the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests Assembly last month in Albuquerque NM, here are links to the videos on their web site. (For our coverage of the meeting, see our last VIneyard issue.)

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


Chile’s two cardinals become focus of clerical abuse investigation
“Pope’s Francis’s recent about-face on Chile’s clerical sexual abuse crisis, pivoting from strongly defending a bishop accused of cover-up to ordering investigations and summoning bishops to Rome to read them the riot act, appears to have been read as a green light to investigate by Chile’s civilian authorities, who in recent months have conducted multiple raids in several dioceses looking for evidence.”By Inés San Martin,

Chile announces wide probe into Catholic Church sex abuse, By Associated Press on

U.S. Catholic Church’s former public face on sex abuse faces decades of misconduct allegations
“One of the most recognized faces of the American Catholic Church was removed from the public ministry last month, making Cardinal Theodore McCarrick the highest ranking Catholic official in the nation to be removed for sexual abuse of a minor. Now the New York Times reports that McCarrick touched young adult seminarians. John Yang learns more from Rev. James Martin of America magazine.” By Judy Woodruff and John Yang, PBSNewsHour

Sex abuse allegations against U.S. cardinal could test pope’s resolve, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, in The Boston Globe

Top Cardinal demands Vatican get tough with bishops on sex abuse, By Philip Pullella, Reuters

Catholic priests raise five main objections against grand jury report
“The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Tuesday (Jul. 17) is expected to release the latest salvo in a last-ditch effort to amend what is expected to be a blistering report on the Catholic Church statewide. The court is slated to release the response of state Attorney General Josh Shapiro to efforts by at least two dozen priests seeking to revise the report from the 40th Statewide Grand Jury. The priests, current and former, whose names have been redacted from the report, have petitioned the court seeking to revise or block the release of the forthcoming 800-plus page report.” By Ivey DeJesus,

Judge rules to make public prosecutor’s argument for unsealing church abuse grand jury report, By Melissa Klaric, The Sharon, Penn., Herald, on

Sexual abuse is the story, but grand jury process is the issue in Pennsylvania Supreme Court, By Charles Thompson,

Bishop warns that grand jury report on priest sex abuse, is graphic, sobering, By Ivey DeJesus,

Vatican expert: to fight sex abuse, the Catholic Church must invest in women
“One of the church’s experts on protecting children from abuse says that while today ‘there is much more awareness about the issue,’ the church has to invest more resources and include more women, especially where the church is growing fastest. ‘What is still lacking is an understanding that the protection of minors and the justice done to victims is a priority within the church,’ Hans Zollner, S.J., who heads the Centre for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, told America on Thursday (Jul. 19). He added that some bishops and other church leaders sometimes see combating sexual abuse as ‘one topic among others’ and have not grasped that ‘this has to be a priority for the church.’” By Michael O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review

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

Australian Bishop Convicted of Sex Abuse Cover-UpOffers Resignation; Pope Francis Accepts

Pope Francis on Monday (July 30) accepted the resignation of Australian Archbishop Philip Wilson, the most senior Catholic Church leader to be convicted in a criminal court of concealing sexual abuse, the Vatican said. As reported by Chico Harlan of The Washington Post, “it is the second time in three days that the Argentine pontiff has accepted a major resignation stemming from sexual abuse, part of a global reckoning for a church that has long been reluctant to discipline those at its highest echelons.”

National Catholic Reporter also covered the resignation.

Vatican’s Ex-Auditor General Exonerated

Ex-Auditor General of Vatican Finances open to return to position after olive-branch from Curia

Approximately one year after being ordered to resign and then accused of “financial irregularities,” Vatican ex-auditor Libero Milone received a letter saying all criminal investigations against him are closed. The admission did not surprise Milone, the first auditor named to that position at the Vatican. What did surprise him was the initial charge–because he was the man helping uncover the many fianncial problems, diversions, and possible frauds and embezzlements in Vatican departments.

Claire Giangravè, in Crux Catholic Media, summarizes the tumultuous year in Milone’s life.

Video: Pope Francis on Throwing Away Food

Pope Francis urges us to the consider the hungry before we throw away food: “I think of people who are hungry, and of how much left-over food we throw away … Never throw away left over food. It is reused or given to one who could eat it.” Watch the Pope’s message, here.

Questions, Comments?

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