In the Vineyard: March 17, 2017

In the Vineyard :: March 17, 2017 :: Volume 17, Issue 5

News from National

VOTF on TV: Greater Boston Interview on Married Priests

During a recent interview in the German weekly newspaper Die Zeit, Pope Francis expressed his willingness to entertain the notion of ordaining married men as priests. On Mar. 13, Svea Fraser, a VOTF founder, appeared as a guest on WGBH-TV’s ‘Greater Boston’ to talk about the topic with host Adam Reilly. Click here to watch Svea’s interview.

Speaking of Clericalism

In his book It’s Not Necessarily So: A Senior Priest Separates Faith from Fiction and Makes Sense of Belief, Fr. Richard G. Rento has some observations about clericalism, one of the key factors VOTF identifies as fueling the massive coverups of sex abuse that still wound the faithful. The following quote comes to us courtesy of Fr. Bob Bonnot, a leader of the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests, which will honor Fr. Rento at their annual assembly this year.

We know that clericalism, a caste society, exists in the church when we recall how priests have been regarded as a class apart, a privileged minority, more than merely human, idols of a sort. The current sexual scandals certainly help to restore reality in that regard.

We see clericalism in our memory of the church into the 1960s that allowed its people to say not a single word in the entire Mass until it was over, when the three Hail Marys were recited!

Clericalism rules when intelligent men and women ask their priest, “Father, is it a sin for me to miss Mass because I will be traveling to Asia on the weekend?”

We are a clerical church as long as we have no say in the selection of our leaders.

We are all called to be yeast and salt and light in the real world of human beings; that is how we become the church of Jesus. Each of us—with no exceptions—is gifted in many wonderful, unrepeatable ways. Our task, our joy and fulfillment, is to share as generously as we can.

Fr. Rento’s book is available through Amazon. Don’t forget that if you click from our web site onto Amazon, that marketing behemoth will donate a portion of your purchase price to VOTF. And if you need another incentive: Fr. Rento donates profits from his sales to charities as well.

Anne Southwood, long-time member of VOTF and currently serving as our Treasurer, wrote this remembrance of her friend Maurice (Mo) Donovan, also a long-time VOTF member, who recently passed away.

Value Added

Though an Irishman likes the wind at his back,
Mo moved well in still-wind time, changing tack
With patience for friends in need of his skills.

Volunteer full of foxy encouragement,
Mo was glad to swoop into the task
Asking only courage to expand, go beyond.

Value added was his game. Teacher was his name.

In calls ranging from exegesis of Job to VOTF future
This Rabbi never said no, you can’t or you’re wrong.
He suggested. I invested, argued, gained, moved along.

Value added was his game. Teacher was his name.

Fine family man, Divine Word newsletter editor,
Community many-friended English professor
Defining for us a good and generous long life lived.

Value added was his game. Teacher was his name.

Voice of the Faithful has prepared Lent reflections for the season. You can reach them through the graphic on our web site Home Page, or open the twice-weekly emails sent to members. Each Reflection page offers a reflection, a list of liturgical readings, and links to liturgical readings on the USCCB website. Here is the March 15-18 Reflection.


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


Marie Collins responds to Cardinal Muller’s allegations about abuse commission
“Marie Collins of Ireland is a clergy sexual abuse survivor who resigned March 1 from Pope Francis’ Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, gave an interview shortly following Collins’ resignation.” In the interview Müller sought to downplay not only the resignation but also the criticisms from Commission members who testified in Australia to the royal commision assessing the abuse scandal there. Collins wrote an open letter to Müller in response. By Marie Collins, National Catholic Reporter

Five great achievements of Pope Francis’ first four years
“In four years, (PopeFrancis) has had a profound impact on the church. True, he has not changed the church’s position on birth control, celibacy, women priests and gay marriage, but he has fundamentally changed how we see the church in five ways.” By Thomas Reese, National Catholic Reporter

Editorial: What we celebrate about this pontificate, By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Board

Pope Francis signals openness to ordaining married men in some cases
“Pope Francis this week (Mar. 10) signaled receptiveness to appeals from bishops in the remote and overwhelmed corners of the Roman Catholic Church to combat a deepening shortage of priests by ordaining married men who are already committed to the church. In an interview with a German newspaper, the pope made clear that he was not advocating an end to celibacy for current priests or those aspiring to join the clergy. But his seeming openness about the prospect of ordaining married men in places hardest hit by a dearth of priests was unusually explicit and brought the issue to the forefront.” By Jason Horowitz, The New York Times

Pope Francis discusses ordination of married men in response to priest shortage, By Kevin Clarke, America: The Jesuit Review

Pope Francis signals openness to ordaining married men, By Staff

Svea Fraser, a VOTF founder, is interviewed on WGBH-TV’s ‘Greater Boston’ about Pope Francis’ comments on ordaining married men as priests, By WGBH-TV

Since 2013, Pope Francis has endeavored to shift church culture
“In January, the Vatican office that oversees Catholic priests, sisters and brothers in global religious orders had a plenary session … It was the first time in decades that women had been present at such a meeting, the result of a direct request to Pope Francis … Four years into this pontificate, many of the changes taking place at the upper echelons of the church echo the sisters’ experience: Transformations build slowly as a culture shifts.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Editorial: Clergy culture sustains sex abuse scandal
“The resignation of Marie Collins from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors is a turning point in Pope Francis’ pontificate. It cannot be seen any other way. For all the hope and promise that we find in Francis and his vision for the church, we believe his pontificate teeters on the brink of failure on the issue of sexual abuse by the clergy.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

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

Pope Francis’ March Intention

In Pope Francis’ monthly address he asks that we pray and support persecuted Christians throughout the world.

If you live in metro Boston (and beyond) and subscribe to The Boston Globe, you can help VOTF win advertising space by naming us in the GRANT AD program. When you receive your voucher, please apply it to VOICE OF THE FAITHFUL, INC. (just start typing VOI … and the drop-down selection menu should take you directly to that choice). If you don’t receive the voucher, you can still vote: Just click here and follow the instructions to cast your vote for VOTF.


Boston College’s Church in the 21st Century

Women’s Voices Series: Conscience and the Role of Women Religious into the Future​
March 30, 2017, at 6 pm in The Atrium at Cadigan Alumni Center. This lecture in the ongoing series is by Sr. Teresa Maya, C.C.V.I., President-Elect of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). The event is free and open to the public but please RSVP so they can plan for expected attendance.


The affiliate is hosting a presentation on The Common Good: No One Is Exempt from Participating. Rev. Terrence J. Moran will speak, Sunday, March 26, 3:30 pm at St. Mark Lutheran Church.

The ‘common good” has a long history in Catholic theological reflection. Defined by the Second Vatican Council as embracing “the sum total of all those conditions of social life which enable individuals, families, and organizations to achieve complete and effective fulfillment” (Gaudium et Spes,74), the common good is always named as an essential principle of the Catholic social justice tradition.

Fr. Moran studied moral theology at the Accademia Alfonsiana in Rome and the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium. He has given presentations on theology and spirituality through the United States and in 35 other countries. He is currently the Director of the Office of Peace, Justice and Ecological Integrity of the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, Convent Station, NJ.

Paulist Center Boston MA

A Civil Conversation on Christian Difference: The Reformation at 500 Years
March 25, 3 to 4:30 pm, at the Center, 5 Park St., Boston MA. A conversation among participants from different tradition of Christian faith, led by an Evangelical scholar Rev. Dr. John Armstrong and Fr.Thomas Ryan, CSP (director of Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations for the Paulist Fathers), will explore the real differences among various Christian traditions and our hope for finding common ground in a world of division as well as ask what progress is being made in healing historic divisions.

For more information, call 617-742-3360.

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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