In the Vineyard: May 13, 2016

In the Vineyard :: May 13, 2016 :: Volume 16, Issue 10

News from National

Women in the Church: Movement on Deacons?
According to published news reports, Pope Francis this week agreed to commission a study on reinstating women deacons. The Pope made his remarks to some 900 heads of female religious orders and congregations who form part of the International Union of Superiors General, or UISG. There is evidence of female deacons in the first centuries of the Church, including one named Phoebe who is cited by St Paul in his letter to the Romans.

Read VOTF’s press statement.

Here is the news from NCR and the report from RNS.
Read more about the history and theology of women deacons by the expert in the field, Phyllis Zagano, in America magazine:…/422/art…/catholic-women-deacons

For additional information on women deacons, look for Phyllis Zagano’s books on Amazon: Holy Saturday: An Argument for the Restoration of the Female Diaconate in the Catholic Church and Women Deacons? Essays with Answers, or Women Deacons: Past, Present, Future written with Gary Macy and William T. Ditewig. (SPECIAL: If you click the Amazon Shop button on our web site, VOTF will receive a percentage of the purchase price.)

Spread the word about VOTF’s Healing Circles!
As you may know, VOTF conducts Restorative Justice Healing Circles under a program called “Broken Vessels.” The Catholic clergy sexual abuse scandal has wounded many individuals, faith communities and the Body of Christ itself. Healing Circles can set those affected by the scandal on a road toward healing or help them along a journey already undertaken. You can read about Broken Vessels at our Healing Circles webpage.

You can also download and print for distribution either of our Healing Circle Brochures. There are two versions of the brochure available—each version carries basically the same information but in a different format.

We urge you to help us spread the word by distributing brochures in your parish or community. Two brochures are available: version “A” and version “B.” Each version carries basically the same information but presented in a different format.

Email or call the office (781-559-3360) to request brochures to distribute in your area. (We will ask you to pay for shipping.)

COR Petition Calling for Church to Treat All People EquallyCatholic Organizations for Renewal (COR) is sponsoring a petition for presentation at the June meeting of the USCCB. The petition calls for changes that will help the Church treat all people equally, especially women and girls who are assigned “subordinate status” simply by gender. You can find the petition on a website dedicated to A Church for Our Daughters.

For more on women’s changing roles, read Women form the vanguard of Pope Francis’ agenda.

Pope Francis’ Prayer Intention for May also focuses on women.

Affiliate News

Great Lobbying Day in Albany

Following is a report from Francis X. Piderit, VOTF NY Leadership Team

Thanks to Mariann Perseo, Peg Sheerer, Joann Vanek, Lillian Walls and all the fellow travelers from CTA NY Metro, Dignity and others who trooped to Albany on Wednesday, May 4th for the second of a two-day lobbying effort by the Catholic Coalition of Conscience for SOL reform.

We definitely were noticed … in my final meeting of the day, a 90-minute marathon with the legislative counsel for Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, she noted that the two-day push for SOL reform was very clearly noticed and had everyone in the Capital talking about the improved prospects for the legislation.

Thanks also to the New York Daily News for continuing coverage of our push for SOL reform. The legislation introduced in both the State Senate and the Assembly has attracted significant new co-sponsors, and we are very encouraged by our progress.

There have been days over the past eight years when this seemed like a fruitless task, but those days are over. The finish line is in sight, and encourages us all to press on toward victory. I never thought I would be proud to say this, but we are becoming more accomplished lobbyists with each successive visit to Albany. The power of the people is growing, bringing reform to Albany, justice to survivors and accountability to our Church.

Special thanks to Nancy Lorence of Call to Action for taking the lead in organizing all the complexities of an exceedingly ambitious effort, and to the cooperation from all our colleagues in CTA and other Catholic reform organizations. We were told that the “Catholic Coalition of Conscience” is an important and much needed voice in the debate, and we are already planning to follow up and capitalize on the many important discussions we had with legislators.

On the morning of Dan Berrigan’s funeral, we say, “Peace.”



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

Church laws may justify calls for French cardinal’s resignation
“The solution to this problem (of not reporting clergy sexual abuse) is for Pope Francis to agree to the demands of two United Nations Committees and the wishes of the Catholic Bishops Conferences of the United States, England and Wales, Ireland and Australia to impose mandatory reporting under canon law irrespective of whether there are civil reporting laws.” By Kieran Tapsell, National Catholic Reporter

Francis rails against child sexual abuse, saying abusers must be ‘severely’ punished
Pope Francis railed against the sexual abuse of children in a weekly address in St. Peter’s Square Sunday, calling any such abuse a ‘tragedy’ and saying the church cannot tolerate the matter and ‘must severely punish the abusers.’” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

End the statute of limitations on child sex abuse
“At 53, Scott Cross had waited more than three decades to talk to anyone about the incident in which, he said, his high school wrestling coach sexually molested him. By the time he shared his story — with family, prosecutors and then to a packed courtroom — his alleged sexual abuser, Dennis Hastert, had escaped prosecution.” Editorial by Chicago Tribune
Kane state’s attorney backs removal of limit on felony sex crime prosecution, By Dan Campana, Aurora Beacon-News
Why do statutes of limitations exist in the first place, By WBEZ-FM Chicago

Catholic Church lifts suspension of priest who sexually abused Minnesota girl
“The Catholic Church has lifted its suspension of Father Joseph Jeyapaul, a priest convicted last year of sexually abusing a childin Minnesota. Jeyapaul is back at his home diocese in Ootacamund, India, but he is banned from ministering in parishes and interacting with children, according to church officials.” By Adrian Glass-Moore,

Hell, hope and healing: a four-part series
“Since 2002, we rightly have been bombarded by stories about sexual abuse in the Catholic church. Many Catholics have felt the church has been singled out as a particularly heinous committer of crimes. There is truth to this, but it is also important to contextualize clergy abuse as a part of the wider phenomenon of serious child maltreatment that is still much too prevalent in this country and in others.” By Mary Gail Frawley-O’Dea, National Catholic Reporter

Altoona-Johnstown abuse changed minds
“Rep. Thomas Caltagirone was disgusted. The veteran Democrat from Reading had been one of the Catholic Church’s staunchest political allies for years, but by March he had hit a breaking point … ‘Enough is enough,’ Caltagirone told his colleagues the day (Attorney General Kathleen) Kane announced charges (against Franciscan order allegedly enabling abuse of scores of children). ‘We need to enact new laws that will send the strongest message possible: If you commit heinous crimes against children, if you cover up for pedophiles, if you lurk in the shadows waiting for time to run out, we are coming for you.’” By Maria Panaritis,

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

Letter to the Editor

Thank you so much for including that lovely poem (in the last issue of the Vineyard). It is a touching reflection on how, as we look back at our lives, at the events which may have made us wonder how a loving God could have allowed us to experience those pains and challenges, that we have been prepared to meet our future challenges by those events, and have learned and grown through them. Trusting in God’s love that we will grow and develop to be his hands and his smiling face in others’ lives, we acquire skills that we are later surprised to find meet a need unanticipated by us, and are grateful to God for the opportunity to do what we are called to do. But Jayne said it so much better than I can! Thanks again for including her lovely words.

S. Lynch

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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