In the Vineyard: March 18, 2019

In the Vineyard :: March 18, 2019 :: Volume 19, Issue 5

News from National

For Lent: Pray These Stations of the Cross

Students at the Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Boston wrote Stations of the Cross in 2002. On Good Friday that year, the stations were prayed by more than 400 people in Boston’s Cathedral. In solidarity with victims of abuse worldwide, especially by ministers of the church, we offer them for your prayerful consideration.

These prayers are suitable for use throughout the year, either in their entirety or as individual prayers when opening or closing a regional or affiliate VOTF gathering. To find these Stations of the Cross, click here. (Used with permission from the Weston Jesuit School of Theology [now part of Boston College]).

Register Early! Two for One Sale Ends Soon

Voice of the Faithful’s Annual Meeting is scheduled for October 19, 2019, at the Boston Marriott Newton. You get a special deal if you register early: $125 for TWO tickets.

Click here to register — Two-for-one offer is good through March 22 …(link is external)

Our special return guest speaker will be the Honorable Anne M. Burke, Illinois Supreme Court Justice, who last spoke to us during our 10th Anniversary Conference in 2012. She served as only the second chair of the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ National Review Board, charged with auditing dioceses’ adherence to child protection guidelines set down in the 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. Much has happened since then, and we look forward to hearing whether she sees much progress–especially after the February synod.

Abuse Crisis in Polish Catholic Church

In other world news, the Polish Catholic Church released a study showing that more than 600 children were abused by Poland’s clergy over a 28 year period. A New York Times article on the study, which was conducted under the auspices of the Episcopal Conference of Poland, included this statements by the Conference President, Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki: “What is the point of dealing with this problem in the Catholic Church if that problem persists in other groups of the society? … We are narrowing down the issue of children’s suffering to sexual abuse, instead of looking at the bigger picture that includes sex tourism, slavery, organ trade and others.”

Are American Catholics Staying in the Church?

The steady pace of revelations about clergy sex abuse and bishop coverups, combined with the slow and lackluster response of the Catholic hierarchy, is eating away at the Church. A recent poll in the Washington Post shows an increase in the number of American Catholics considering leaving the Church.

How Are Catholic Parents Explaining the Abuse Crisis to Their Children?

A story in the Atlantic Magazine asks “What are Catholic Parents to do?” To see how some families are handling the current spate of revelations about sex abuse and the coverups, read the full story.

Listen and Be Inspired

GodPods, by Boston College’s Church in the 21stCentury, are a series of podcasts that feature inspiring stories of the places we find God. Finding God in beauty, loss and mercy – each episode focuses on a way people around you find God – listen here.


Cardinal George Pell of Australia sentenced to six years in prison
“George Pell, an Australian cardinal who was the Vatican’s chief financial officer and an adviser to Pope Francis, was sentenced to six years in prison on Wednesday (Mar. 13), for molesting two boys after Sunday Mass in 1996. The cardinal was convicted on five counts in December, making him the most senior Catholic official — and the first bishop — to be found guilty in a criminal court for sexually abusing minors, according to, which tracks cases of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy.” By Livia Albeck-Ripka and Damien Cave, The New York Times

Vatican to open own investigation into accusations against Pell
“The Vatican is opening its own investigation into accusations against Cardinal George Pell, who was found guilty of sexual abuse of minors in his native Australia, a spokesman said on Wednesday (Feb. 27). The move means that Pell, who maintains his innocence and plans to appeal the verdict, could be dismissed from the priesthood if the Vatican’s doctrinal department also finds him guilty.” By Philip Pullella, Reuters

Swiss bishops, religious orders strengthen abuse reporting mandate
“Just a few days after the Vatican summit on child protection and clerical sexual abuse, the bishops’ conference and major religious superiors of Switzerland adopted new guidelines, which include mandatory reporting of all allegations to the police. Previously, the bishops said in a statement, when adults reported having been abused, church officials were required to inform them that they could file a civil lawsuit and that they could decide whether a report was filed with the police.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

Cardinal Barbarin sentenced to six months suspended sentence
“A French court on Thursday (Mar. 7) convicted a French cardinal for failing to report to authorities allegations of sexual abuse of minors by a priest. The Lyon court handed Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon, a six-month suspended prison sentence for not reporting the cases in the period between July 2014 and June 2015. The 68-year old cardinal was not present in the Lyon court to hear his conviction. His lawyer, Jean-Felix Luciani, said he will appeal.” By Vatican News

The sex-abuse crisis and ordinary lay Catholics
“Toward the end of February 2019, Pope Francis met in Rome with about 124 church leaders, focusing on the sex-abuse crisis in the Roman Catholic Church. The purpose of this long-awaited summit was to provide a teaching moment to the hierarchy that addressed the scarring pain of the victims, to hear testimony from some survivors, to review the church’s obligations to act against abuser priests and bishops and to pray, seeking forgiveness for the church’s horrible failures.” Commentary in Coastal Point by Jeannie Bennett Fleming, member of Coastal Delmarva VOTF

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

Letters to the Editor

Thank you for a very informative newsletter. One point I especially appreciated is your response to the often invoked comment when the church raises money that nothing comes from the pews. As you write, all of a parish’s and a diocese’s assets ultimately trace back to donations.


I wrote a letter to Jerome E. Listecki, Archbishop of Milwaukee, expressing my concerns about the mishandling of sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults. And now, nuns. I received a form letter from the archdiocese; that it was a form letter is of no concern to me, but stating he is reporting all abuse he determines credible is infuriating. When I worked with neglected and abused children, I was to report all cases of abuse to legal authorities. I didn’t decide which ones were credible, and neither should the bishops.

I am disgusted with the Catholic Church and their obfuscating techniques for hiding their crimes. I no longer send money to an organization that uses it as hush money and protection of clergy. Money is what they readily understand. All the billions spent could have been avoided in 1985 if they had then acted in a responsible manner. I said 1985, but this abuse has been going on for centuries. All it took was one couple to say they had enough of these crimes and reported it to authorities who were willing to take action.

I am thankful to Fr. Thomas Doyle, OP, for his steadfast support of victims. I can only guess at what he has had to endure for speaking out.

L. M.


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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