In the Vineyard: November 13, 2017

In the Vineyard :: November 13, 2017 :: Volume 17, Issue 20

News from National

VOTF Study Reveals Wide Disparity in Online Financial Transparency of U.S. Roman Catholic Dioceses

VOTF recently released the results of a study that reveals a wide disparity in online financial transparency for U.S. Roman Catholic dioceses. The study was conducted by the Finance Working Group of Voice of the Faithful®.

The Working Group’s review of all 177 U.S. diocesan websites shows a level of openness well below what could be reasonably expected of an organization anywhere near the size of the U.S. Catholic Church. Overall scores ranged from 59 to 10 out of a possible 60. You can read the full report here and the press release announcing its results here. (VOTF sent copies of the report to all U.S. bishops, the papal nuncio, and other officials.)

The study did not attempt to discover why wide discrepancies in scores exist, but the degree of financial transparency does not seem to correlate to size, amount of financial resources, geography or relative importance. For example, the nation’s largest diocese, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, scored 45. The Archdiocese of New York, the U.S.’ second largest diocese, scored 27. The Diocese of Yakima, Washington, with only about 70,000 Catholics, scored 55. The Archdiocese of Baltimore, the site of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ upcoming fall assembly, scored 55, while the Archdiocese of Washington, where the U.S.C.C.B.’s headquarters is, scored 31.

Look up your diocese’s score in the report, and use the tools available from our Financial Accountability page to assess the information your diocese posts. If you’re in a diocese that doesn’t offer an audited financial statement or detail its parish security practices, ask why!

We’d Like Your Crèche Photos!

We are bringing back our popular online calendar this Advent, and we want to use your crèche photos. You might think this is too early to be asking for your photos, but we have to set up the calendar online, so the earlier, the better.

During Advent, members will receive an email each day with a link to a web page featuring scripture, prayers, reflections, and photos of crèches that have been sent to us, plus some interesting stories about how those crèches came to be.

Click here to see a page from last year’s Advent calendar …

Click here for more information about how you can participate …

Inside a Healing Circle: A Presentation Promising a Path Toward Healing from Clergy Sexual Abuse

Voice of the Faithful® is committed to helping to heal the wounds of clergy sexual abuse for anyone harmed by the scandal. Our program for accomplishing this uses a model of Restorative Justice called Broken Vessel™ Healing Circles, and on Nov. 7, 2017, two of the program’s dedicated facilitators presented “Inside a Healing Circle” at The Paulist Center in Boston to a group of interested individuals.

Bill Casey (left in photo), a former VOTF Trustee and Restorative Justice expert, and Jayne O’Donnell, also a former VOTF Trustee as well as former VOTF Development Director, explained to the group how Broken Vessel™ Healing Circles offer a path toward healing.

Jayne and Bill expounded on the necessity of healing so as to move on from the scandal; on how the Church has not provided for such healing; and on how damage from the scandal ripples out from survivors to families, to faith communities, and to the entire Church.

Bill introduced the broken vessel used as a centerpiece in all Broken Vessel™ Healing Circles, and explained the crack in its side by using a quote from singer/songwriter and novelist Leonard Cohen’s Anthem: “There is a crack, there is a crack in everything, that is how the light gets in.”

Though the clergy sexual abuse scandal has torn open implacable wounds, which are symbolized by the crack in the Healing Circle vessel, the deep speaking and deep listening during these totally confidential experiences can “provide a sense of trust rarely felt when baring pain,” as one participant said.

“I have come to realize that I have experienced hurt on different levels as a result of the abuse crisis,” said another participant. “The Circle gave me the ability to share another layer of harm, and I healed a bit more.”

Such comments underscore how Broken Vessel™ Healing Circles are valuable for anyone who has been harmed.

Please help VOTF spread the word about the efficacy of Broken Vessel™ Healing Circles by hosting or helping us find opportunities for Jayne and Bill to present “Inside a Healing Circle” in your local parish or community. To learn more about the presentation, please email or call 781-559-3360.

Pope Francis: Lift Up Your Hearts – Not Your Phones!

Pope Francis talks about how much he dislikes seeing mobile phones during Mass and tells people (even priests!) – Lift up your hearts! Not your phones!


Study reveals wide disparity in online financial transparency of U.S. Roman Catholic dioceses
“A recently completed study reveals a wide disparity in online financial transparency for U.S. Roman Catholic dioceses. The study was conducted by the Finance Working Group of Voice of the Faithful®, a movement of Catholics concerned, among other things, with helping to ensure that the hierarchy uses the Church’s financial resources accountably and transparently.” By Voice of the Faithful

On MarketWatch

Ex-bishops’ doctrine chief says darkness coming to light under Francis
“Capuchin Father Thomas Weinandy, a former chief of staff for the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine and a current member of the Vatican’s International Theological Commission, has written Pope Francis to say the pontiff is causing ‘chronic confusion,’ appointing bishops who ‘scandalize’ the faithful, and prompting ordinary Catholics to ‘lose confidence in their supreme shepherd.’” By Staff

After critical letter to pope, theologian resigns as consultant to U.S. bishops, By Staff

U.S. cardinal asserts unity with pope after former doctrine chief questions Francis, By Dennis Coday, National Catholic Reporter

U.S. bishops consultant on doctrine resigns after criticizing Pope Francis, By Kevin Clarke, America: The Jesuit Review

Hypocrisy marks DiNardo’s inadequate response to Weinandy, By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

Pope Francis appoints two laywomen to key positions in Roman curia
“Pope Francis has appointed two Italian women as under-secretaries in the Vatican Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life, which is headed by Cardinal Kevin Farrell. The Vatican announced this today (Nov. 7) and gave the names and professional profiles of both women: Professor Gabriella Gambino and Dr. Linda Ghisoni. They now become the third ranking officials in the department and are further evidence of Pope Francis’ determination to assign important positions in the Roman Curia to women.” By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review

Stolen Childhoods
“Decades later, the damage from one Philadelphia predator priest still torments a generation of victims: Like (Jim) Cunningham (who committed suicide), each (Cunnigham’s friends) had been a student in the same Northeast Philadelphia parish school, St. Cecilia’s, in the 1980s when the Rev. James Brzyski turned their community into a stalking ground. Brzyski (BRISH-kee) had sexually assaulted possibly more than 100 boys during stints at St. Cecilia’s and a prior parish, St. John the Evangelist in Lower Makefield, a grand jury later asserted, but like so many abusers had eluded prosecution.” By Maria Panaritis, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Pedophile priest’s tale cries for day in court for long-ago victims, Editorial in Philadelphia Enquirer

Media coverage of church sex abuse scandal is unbalanced, By Archbishop Charles Chaput, The Philadelphia Inquirer

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


Annual Lecture “Enemy of Christian Discipleship” by Dan Horan, OFM

Sunday, November 19, 7:15pm in the Library, Paulist Center, 5 Park Street, Boston, MA 02108

Nearly every one of Jesus’s post-Resurrection appearances includes the exhortation for his disciples to “Be Not Afraid!” And yet, we live in a world in which fear is a constant threat to Christian discipleship, to our becoming instruments of God’s peace, love, and justice in the world. This presentation looks at how to respond to a culture that promotes fear of the “other,” especially those who are different in race, gender, religion, nationality, or language of birth. Drawing on the Gospels as well as wisdom figures including Pope Francis, Thomas Merton, Dorothy Day, and Óscar Romero, we will examine how to embrace trust in God and discipleship amid a culture of fear and violence. Refreshments will be served.

Daniel P. Horan, OFM, is a Franciscan friar, Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, and the author of several books including the award-winning The Franciscan Heart of Thomas Merton (2014), God is Not Fair and Other Reasons for Gratitude (2016), and Daybreaks: Daily Reflections for Advent and Christmas (2017). His next book, due out Spring 2018, is titled All God’s Creatures: A Theology of Creation.

For more information, email

Book Corner

The Christian longing to share anguish, fear, gratitude, and awe has found expression in many forms of prayer, beginning in Scripture and the practices and words of Jesus. Over the centuries many fruitful approaches to prayer have taken hold, but often there is a certain unease about what is right or what is best. In this welcome and welcoming book, Fr. James Martin eases these concerns with thoughtful, practical encouragement about prayer in all of its forms. In All Seasons, For All Reasons is drawn from “Teach Us to Pray,” Fr. Martin’s very popular monthly column in Give Us This Day.

James Martin is a Jesuit priest, editor at large of America, a Consultor to the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communication and author of many books, including Jesus: A Pilgrimage, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, and Seven Last Words.

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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