In the Vineyard: November 20, 2015

News from National

VOTF picks up where “Spotlight” movie ends
Shortly after events in the just released feature film “Spotlight” end, VOTF was born out of the anger and frustration of faithful Catholics at what had happened in their Church: the clergy sexual abuse of children and its cover-up. Determined to remain faithful, but to address the wrongs, VOTF supported abuse survivors and worked to reform Church structures that enabled the scandal.

As Boston Globe Spotlight investigative team member Sacha Pfeiffer said on ABC’s “The View,” “Certainly some Catholics felt that they couldn’t go back to the church. Others tried to change it from within. There’s a group called Voice of the Faithful. They decided to do that.”

Read the rest of our statement

C21 at Boston College features VOTF member Bill Casey
Church of the 21st Century is including a presentation by Bill Casey, former chair of the VOTF board and current co-chair for the Restorative Justice project, in its year-long theme of stories about faith. If you are in the Boston/New England area, it’s an excellent chance to hear how we use storytelling in a restorative justice setting as part of a path towards healing for anyone affected by the clergy sex abuse scandal.

The event is free but you should register ahead of time as soon as possible. Light refreshments are available after the presentation.

December 3, 2015 / Lecture
Presenter: William Casey, Director of Restorative Justice Program for the Northern Virginia Mediation Service
Location/Time: Gasson Hall 100, 5:30 p.m.
Click here for the registration form: Storytelling for Healing

Walk with us this Advent
We are repeating our popular Advent calendar of reflections, prayers, and Scripture readings for 2015.

Beginning November 29, and continuing every day throughout Advent, you will receive an email with a link. Clicking the link will open the “window” on our online Advent calendar for that day. Each window will show a reflection and a selection of readings from the liturgical calendar for that day to help you focus on preparing to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Spend this time with us reflecting on what Advent and the daily liturgical readings mean to each of us and on the type of Church that Jesus would want to call His. Meditate and pray for the healing and renewal of the Church that we love so much. Actively await the Nativity of Christ.



This week’s poll
Help us measure how often parishes provide updates on their current finances. Here’s the poll question—just click and choose Yes or No:
Does your parish print a weekly or monthly financial update either online or in the parish bulletin? (For example, expenses vs revenue or budget amounts vs actual.)
Click here to answer.

Last Poll’s Results
poll results

Financial Accountability Update
By Mike Ryan

Reading the news item you will find below this video doesn’t convey the full impact you will receive as you watch the less-than-2-minute video above the written story. Even though the video is preceded by a short ad, your patience will be rewarded by witnessing a Sunday collection theft committed before your very eyes. I guarantee you will be left with no doubt about the absolute need to positively secure each and every collection concurrent with the ushers’ consolidation of the collections into a single container.

Anyone who dismisses this as being a rare occurrence is only kidding themselves. Sadly, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the majority of diocesan bishops, archbishops and cardinals fall into that category.

Learn more about diocesan finances
After 2002, many dioceses made significant progress in reporting their finances to the lay faithful who provide that support. For example, it is no longer considered acceptable in many parts of the country for the bishop to take financial gifts from faithful members of the diocese without some level of accountability even though bishops still hold all legislative, executive, and judicial authority within a diocese.

In places where professional diocesan financial reports are provided, it is no longer possible for the leadership of a diocese to pay huge legal settlements or provide large sums of money for legal fees without the faithful of the diocese being alerted to the ways in which their contributions are used.

But progress has varied greatly across the United States. Here are tools that can help you obtain greater transparency and accountability in your diocese.

To see the presentation from the 2015 Assembly, click here Diocesan Finances Analysis: What Can We Learn? with Notes.

*** Need tips on reading a diocesan financial statement? Click here. ***


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


Chilean bishop says he knew nothing of priest’s sex abuse
“A bishop in Chile says he had no knowledge of the sexual abuses committed by the country’s most infamous pedophile priest. Bishop Juan Barros also said Friday (Nov. 13) that he didn’t help the Rev. Fernando Karadima get a trip to France.” By Associated Press on
Chilean court asks Vatican for records in abuse case, By Buenos Aires Herald

Catholicism can and must change, Francis forcefully tells Italian church gathering
“Pope Francis has strongly outlined a new, comprehensive vision for the future of the Catholic Church, forcefully telling an emblematic meeting of the entire Italian church community here that our times require a deeply merciful Catholicism that is unafraid of change … Francis said Catholics must realize: ‘We are not living an era of change but a change of era.’” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter
Pope Francis says Catholics must be open to change, By Ines San Martin,

‘Spotlight’ review roundup: did critics like the film, which focuses on Catholic Church’s Sex abuse scandal
“Rachel McAdams, Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo tackle some pretty controversial subject matter in their latest movie, ‘Spotlight,’ which is already getting some Oscar buzz. Spotlight hit select theaters last week and has a wider release on Nov. 20. Check out what five critics said about the movie.” By Corinne Heller,

Why the new Vatican leaks scandal is different
“It has been an unusually turbulent week in Rome (Nov. 6). The Vatican’s gendarmes arrested two members of Pope Francis’s economic-reform committee … for allegedly leaking documents to two Italian journalists.” By Alexander Stille, The New Yorker
Pope Francis says leaks won’t deter him from reform agenda, By Rosie Scammell, Religion News Service
Vatican places two Italian journalists under investigation in leaks probe, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

Four ways to misread a pope and a papacy
“By ascribing singular gifts of a pope to the papacy itself, we set ourselves up for disappointment. Today is one of my favorite days on the Church calendar. It’s the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica (Nov. 9)—the Church that serves as the pope’s cathedral. Together with the papal feast day we celebrate in February, the Chair of Peter, the day serves to correct four common misunderstandings about the papacy.” Tom Hoopes,

USCCB Fall 2015
Here is a link to National Catholic Reporter’s coverage of the USCCB’s 2015 fall general assembly in Baltimore, Nov. 16-19.

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


Paulist Center (Boston MA) Advent Retreat
Looking for a way to prayerfully prepare your heart for Christmas? Take a pause from the business of the season with an Advent Twilight Retreat. Led by Paulist Seminarian Ryan Casey, CSP, the retreat evening will focus on the images of longing, waiting, and hoping for God’s desires in our personal lives, for humanity and the universe God has created.

December 8, 2015, 5:45 pm to 8 pm
in the Paulist Center Auditorium

Light refreshments provided before the start of the retreat
Suggested $10.00 donation is appreciated
Please sign up by contacting the Paulist Center at or call (617) 742-4460. Questions? Contact Ryan Casey, CSP at

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.