In the Vineyard: October 4, 2019

In the Vineyard :: October 4, 2019 :: Volume 19, Issue 18

News from National

Join Us!

Catch up with old friends and meet new ones at VOTF’s 2019 Conference: Creating a Just Church. Recent revelations have us all wondering how we can help create a more just Church. Join your peers at VOTF’s 2019 conference and find out how you can help.

Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Boston Marriott Newton, Newton, Massachusetts

$125 / Person (includes a buffet lunch with New England clam chowder, fresh vegetables, maple glazed grilled chicken, fresh New England lobster rolls, and more …)
Even the food will be divine!

Click here to register …

Click here to see an agenda …

Click here to reserve your discounted hotel room

About Women Deacons …

Phyllis Zagano, Ph.D., a leading theologian and scholar well-known for her research and publications about women deacons, will speak about women deacons October 17 via a Zoom Webinar. And you are invited!

The event takes place at 7:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada), Oct. 17, 2019. You must register in advance: After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

You also can join the effort to reinstate a female diaconate in the Church by 1for writing to your bishop in advance of their ad limina visits. You can find a letter calling for the ordination of married men at the same web site. Don’t be shy! Let your bishop know what you think.

Pope Addresses Clericalism and a Critic Objects

Pope Francis discussed a familiar enemy in a meeting with Jesuits in Mozambique earlier this September: clericalism. “Clericalism has a direct consequence in rigidity,” said His Holiness. “Have you never seen young priests all stiff in black cassocks and hats in the shape of the planet Saturn on their heads? Behind all the rigid clericalism there are serious problems.”

Of course, not all agree with Francis’ estimation of clericalism as a problem. John Hirschauer of the conservative journal The National Review suggested that “as a bona fide ecclesial phenomenon, clericalism is almost nonexistent in the institutional church of 2019…Those Catholics who still go to Mass – and their numbers are waning ­– are far more likely to unduly disrespect the clergy than pay it unnecessary reverence.” To support this claim, Hirschauer cites “overwhelming approval of contraception and abortion by the Catholic “faithful” and “dismal levels of weekly liturgical participation.” Neither of these facts seem particularly relevant to clericalism or Pope Francis’ discussion of it.

The first major issue one encounters with Hirschauer’s argument is that the problems of the “anti-clericalism” that Hirschauer laments seem specific to U.S. Catholics, who make up only a fraction of the global Catholic population. Not only does this American-centric view of the Church misrepresent the diversity and shape of global Catholicism, it also ignores the fact that Pope Francis was talking to a group of Mozambiquan Jesuits, and not to Americans at all. The example Pope Francis uses to discuss clericalism? A Latin American one, a region where, as in Africa, the Catholic culture is more conservative, and, as Francis notes, clergy tend to enjoy far more deference than they do in the United States.

Second, clericalism is not, as Hirschauer seems to suggest, a problem primarily for the laity. Certainly Pope Francis was not referring to it as such in his remarks to the Jesuits. He was discussing a disposition among the clergy towards rigidity and a disproportionate focus on sexual morality that leads to “hypocrisy” and arrogance.

An attack on clericalism is not an attack on the clergy. It is an attack on a toxic culture within the clergy, a culture which discourages accountability and encourages prelates to close ranks rather than confront abuses among their own.

Hirschauer is correct that the ultimate responsibility for sex abuse in the Catholic Church “lies with the abusive priests and their enablers” but detaching it from the issue of clericalism severely limits our understanding of the conditions that permitted sex abuse to become so widespread. Clericalism is the culture that enables the enablers. Until it is treated as such, we are condemned to a narrow, incomplete explanation of the greatest scandal of modern Church history, and we are handicapped in our ability to address it.

You can find the full transcript of Francis’ remarks here.

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


A Rhode Island church was told it hired an accused child molester: It kept him on for two decades
“When the Rev. Barry Gamache arrived at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in early 1997, it had been a dozen years since a former longtime parish priest was hauled away for sexually abusing teenage boys … And when the new priest needed someone to handle the church’s finances, he found a parishioner who was eager to help: David E. Barboza. A Globe investigation this summer revealed that Barboza had been accused of sexual misconduct with three boys in the 1970s and 1980s. Gamache said he was ‘surprised and hurt’ by those revelations. Two other men have subsequently reported to the State Police that they were also victims, and still others have made similar allegations to the Globe.” By Amanda Milkovits, The Boston Globe

Revealed: How pedophile priests in Victoria worked together to share vicitms
“Some of the Catholic church’s worst pedophile priests shared victims, passed on details of vulnerable children considered easy targets and worked together to conceal their crimes as part of informal networks of sexual abuse hidden in Australian seminaries, schools and parishes. An investigation by The Age has identified for the first time that many priests involved in historical sexual abuse of children did not simply act as individuals but formed clusters, or pedophile rings, throughout Victoria, from the western district to the Gippsland region and in suburban Melbourne.” By Farrah Tomazin, Chris VedeLago and Debbie Cuthertson

Safeguarding must be imbedded into Church life across the globe
“The 11th Ordinary Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors concludes in Rome … According to a press release issued at the conclusion of the Assembly, there is a continuing need for the culture and mission of Safeguarding to be systemically embedded into the life of the Church across the globe. In this regard, the Pontifical Commission is engaged in three specific Working Groups: Working with Survivors, Formation and Education, and Safeguarding Guidelines and Norms.” By Vatican News

Cardinal George Pell to appeal to high court over child sexual abuse conviction
“Lawyers for Cardinal George Pell have lodged a special leave application with the high court to try to appeal his historical sex abuse convictions, which will be his final avenue to have his conviction overturn. The high court on Tuesday (Sept. 17) confirmed it had received the application through its Melbourne registry. The lodging of the appeal does not mean the high court will agree to hear the case.” By Melissa Davey, The Guardian

Abuse crisis, leadership failure having impact on church giving
“The Catholic Church in the United States has spent a staggering amount of money – close to $4 billion in the past 20 years – to investigate, adjudicate and prevent clergy sex abuse, and to compensate victims for the harm they’ve suffered. And as those expenses have prompted dioceses to lay off staff, sell property and liquidate some assets, there is growing evidence that more Catholics across the country are deciding not to contribute to their bishops’ diocesan appeals because of the scandals.” By Brian Fraga, Catholic News Service,

Bishop’s secret list of accused priests leaves him besieged
“Bishop Richard J. Malone kept a secret black binder in a closet with a list of Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse. He was recorded in a conversation expressing more concern about his own reputation than about removing a priest whom he called dangerous and a ‘sick puppy.’ And some of the bishop’s own clergy are circulating a letter of no-confidence in him.” By Sharon Otterman, The New York Times

‘Seduction’ of children did little harm, said Catholic gatekeeper
“The psychologist who worked with the Catholic church for three decades to screen candidates for the priesthood once characterized child abuse as ‘seduction’ that would do little lasting harm to its victims. Ronald Conway, the Melbourne Archdiocese’s “consulting psychologist for religious vocations” tested applicants to the Corpus Christi seminary from 1969 to at least 2001, during which time 16 child abusers graduated as priests. Mr. Conway himself was later accused of historical sexual misconduct by former patients of his private practice, though never charged or convicted.” By Chris Vedelago, Farrah Tomazin and Debbie Cuthertson

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

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The St. Louis Jesuits Final Performance

You may have heard that the St Louis Jesuits gave their final performance last week. You can read more about them here. Their music is wonderful – take a listen here.


Hope in a Time of Turmoil: Julian of Norwich’s Revelations

St. Susanna’s in Dedham MA is opening its program season with a discussion of Julian of Norwich with Julie Butters and Joanne Parnell Mongeon, OCDS.

Monday evening, October 21, 2019
7:00 to 9:00 PM
Saint Susanna Parish Hall, 262 Needham Street, Dedham

Today, we have life coaches. In the fou14th century, there was Julian. For the people of Norwich, England, the anchoress and mystic was the person to turn to for answers and advice. In a period of social, economic, and political upheaval, Julian found hope and consolation. She shared that message with her visitors and through her seminal work, Revelations of Divine Love. Our program will present a brief history of Julian and the mystical visions that sparked the Revelations. After a dramatic reading adapted from Julian’s writings, we will discuss how this extraordinary woman can still help Christians find hope and healing today.

Dr. Joanne Parnell Mongeon is a Secular Carmelite, writer and English professor. She wrote Chatting with Mother Mary (Twenty-Third Publications), Teresa of Avila: A Journal and Nantucket Anchoress (, and Of Water and Spirit: An RCIA Confirmation Process (Benziger Pub. Co.).

Julie Butters is a writer and performer based in Salem, Mass. She wrote Pocket Prayers for Young Professionals (Twenty-Third Publications) under the name Julie Rattey, and is the former managing editor of Catholic Digest magazine. Julie has performed with troupes including the Hyperion Shakespeare Company at Harvard University.

There will be a refreshments break. There are no fees, there is no charge for refreshments, and there is no pre-registration requirement. Free Will offerings are gratefully accepted to cover our costs.


Pope Francis, the Catholic Church, and the Current Global Disruption

New Jersey VOTF is sponsoring a presentation by Dr. Massimo Faggioli about the relations of global disruptions and tensions within the Cstholic Church.

Sunday, October 27, 2019,
3:30 p.m.
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 100 Harter Rd., Morristown, NJ

The present discussions about the tensions within the Catholic Church have to do with a series of global disruptions which take different shapes in the Catholic Church: politics and (church) politics; church and institutions; church and gender/sexuality. Dr. Faggioli will address the relations between these different disruptions and the role of pope Francis.

Dr. Massimo Faggioli, a married lay Roman Catholic, is full professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at Villanova University. He worked in the “John XXIII Foundation for Religious Studies” in Bologna between 1996 and 2008. He was co-chair of the study group “Vatican II Studies” for the American Academy of Religion between 2012 and 2017. He has a column in La Croix International, and is contributing writer for Commonweal magazine. His books and articles have been published in nine languages. His most recent books include A Council for the Global Church. Receiving Vatican II in History (Fortress, 2015); The Rising Laity. Ecclesial Movements since Vatican II (Paulist, 2016); Catholicism and Citizenship: Political Cultures of the Church in the Twenty-First Century (Liturgical Press 2017).


A Conversation with James Carroll

Saint Cecilia Parish is pleased to present “A Conversation with James Carroll” who will be with us to discuss his article from the June 2019 issue of The Atlantic, “Abolish the Priesthood.”

Monday, Oct. 9, 2019
6:30 p.m. (the church will open at 5:30 p.m.)
Saint Cecilia Church, 18 Belvidere St., Boston

In this cover story, American author, historian, and journalist James Carroll calls for abolishing the priesthood. Carroll’s provocative thesis maintains that to save the Church, Catholics must detach themselves from the clerical hierarchy and take the faith back into their own hands. This conversation with James Carroll is sure to be a thought-provoking and engaging evening.

James Carroll is the author of twelve novels and eight works of nonfiction, including his National Book Award winning memoir, An American Requiem; Constantine’s Sword: The Church and the Jews, and, most recently, The Cloister.

This event is free and open to the public.

The church and restrooms are accessible by elevator.

For more information, please contact Saint Cecilia Church.


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