In the Vineyard: September 1, 2018

In the Vineyard :: September 1, 2018 :: Volume 18, Issue 16

News from National

What Can We Do NOW? Consider This Idea from Georgia

Parishioners at St. Thomas Aquinas parish in Alpharetta GA asked that question after Mass last week. As John Dearie and other parishioners shared morning coffee, they began asking how they could express their profound feelings of grief, sadness, anger–all the many feelings Catholics have experienced in this latest round of belated revelations about sex abuse and coverups.

Their answers, said John, who is a long-time VOTF member, included working on steps VOTF has recommended (see next story). But they wanted to do something more immediate and visible. “We came up with something we think others might consider as well,” John told us in a phone call. “It’s very simple and inexpensive. Anyone can do it. We call it the black armband campaign.”

John and other parisioners at St. Thomas Aquinas will be wearing black armbands when they attend Mass in coming weeks, as a way to call the bishops to accountability.

We think it’s an excellent idea. Some of us may not live in cities where protests are staged, or we find ourselves past the age of marches. But anyone can wear an armband.

Consider gathering a group in your parish to wear black armbands to Mass. Alert your pastor that it’s a message for the bishop; it would give him a good opening to convey his own feelings as well. If others ask about the armbands, use the opportunity to talk about the steps needed to protect children in the future, to end the web of secrecy and coverup, and to address clericalism and other systemic problems in the Church. Maybe they will join you in wearing black until we see positive change.

You Can Do a Lot!

With the present heightened scrutiny of Catholic clergy sexual abuse and coverup, we have received many calls at the VOTF office asking us what can be done. No baptized Catholic need ever feel helpless in the face of this ongoing scandal that has wounded so deeply the entire body of Christ. Our brief advice is this:

  • Visit VOTF’s website and look under the PROGRAMS menu button at the top of the homepage. You will find a wealth of information and activities there — everything from combating clericalism, to using Broken Vessel™ Healing circles, to saying prayers to help you through this crisis. After all, we have been at this so long that even bishops now use words like accountability that we made popular.
  • Register for Voice of the Faithful’s 2018 Conference: Progress & Promise being held Oct. 6. In addition to hearing speakers and gathering with like-minded Catholics, you will be among the first to learn the findings of VOTF’s 2018 review of online diocesan financial transparency.
  • Read “Ten Steps Toward Reforming the Catholic Church.”
  • Call us at (781) 559-3360 or email us at

Keep the Faith, Change the Church

Don’t forget to “Like” and “Follow” us on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter.

P.S. In addition to the suggestion for wearing black armbands (first story above), you may be interested in activities planned for Sept. 8 and 9, under the umbrella campaign CatholicToo. Some of the platform demands extend well beyond VOTF’s mission and goals, but the call for accountability is the same.

Join Other Catholics in Providence

The grand jury report about the horrific clergy sexual abuse of children in six Pennsylvania dioceses and revelations about abuse by a cardinal of the Church, Theodore McCarrick, which caused him to set aside his red hat, have stoked the flames of Catholic anger around the world. Now is the time to gather with like-minded Catholics and raise you voice to “Keep the Faith, Change the Church.” Register now for Voice of the Faithful’s 2018 Conference: Progress & Promise.

Time is running short. The conference is Oct. 6.

And you know you don’t want to miss hering what Marie Collins has to say … or Prof. Massimo Faggioli and Fr. Bill Clark! With Q&A and lunch-hour table discussions too.

How Deep and How Wide?

The recent publication of the Pennsylvania Report has many of us wondering how much more is there yet to be revealed? When will it be done or will it ever be over? Ed Cahon of the York Daily Record compiled a list of states and what they are doing about investigating the Catholic Church.

The Weaponization of the Abuse Crisis

Father James Martin addressed the results of Archbishop Viganò’s broadside against Pope Francis in his latest post on social media. Noting that the charges made by Viganò were being disproved “by the hour,” Father Martin writes about the “weaponization of the abuse crisis using the suffering of children and young people to bring down Francis, to increase division among the faithful and to advance their own ecclesial agenda.

“All this darkness caused great pain, confusion and anger among the faithful, and among clergy and religious, and distracted us from the real work, which needs to be taken up again, of preventing abuse.

“Together, united, as one body.”

Read the rest of Father Martin’s post here.

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


We can only move forward when we name the evil of clericalism
“As finger pointing and efforts to blame individuals or groups for the massive crisis in the church today continues, and many church leaders, experts, those claiming to be theologians and justifiably angry and indignant Catholics diagnose the current tragic state of affairs in the church, theories abound. In some misinformed minds, the current abuse crisis is caused by obligatory celibacy for priests in the Latin Rite, homosexual members of the clergy and episcopacy … etc., yet there is one glaring word that many avoid speaking: the evil of clericalismthat is at the root of the crisis.” By Thomas Rosica, National Catholic Reporter

Pope Francis long knew of cardinal’s abuse and must resign, archbishop says
“On the final day of Pope Francis’ mission to Ireland, as he issued wrenching apologies for clerical sex abuse scandals, a former top Vatican diplomat claimed in a letter published on Sunday (Aug. 25) that the pope himself had joined top Vatican officials in covering up the abuses and called for his resignation … Archbishop (Carlo) Viganò claimed that the Vatican hierarchy was complicit in covering up accusations that Cardinal Theodore McCarrick had sexually abused seminarians and that Pope Francis knew about the abuses by the now-disgraced American prelate years before they became public.” By Jason Horowitz, The New York Times

Francis says Catholic Church ‘abandoned’ children, letting them be abused
“Pope Francis has acknowledged that the Catholic Church ‘did not act in a timely matter’ to protect children from sexually abusive priestsover a period of decades, saying in a new letter to members of the Catholic faith around the world that the church ‘abandoned’ minors to those who would abuse them. ‘With shame and repentance, we acknowledge as an ecclesial community that we were not where we should have been … realizing the magnitude and the gravity of the damage done to so many lives,’ the pontiff says in the letter, released Aug. 20 in response to the Pennsylvania grand jury report.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Victims call for federal investigation of sex abuse in Catholic Church
“Some victims of clergy sex abuse and their supporters are calling on federal and state entities to investigate sex abuse within the Catholic Churchand root out abusers and anyone who has protected them. Members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, and Voice of the Faithful, a Catholic group that provides support to victims of clergy sex abuse, held childhood photos of sex abuse victims at a news conference Aug. 21 outside the headquarters of the USCCB in Washington.” By Rhina Guidos, Catholic News Service

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

Letter to the Editor

As a member and supporter of V.O.T.F. since its origin, I just want to say “THANK YOU” to all those people responsible for standing firm so many years ago and fighting for the church they believed in and not just walking away. Your brave journey and the many affiliate branches in other countries I truly believe is responsible for the expose of sexual abuse in the church. You have reported the truth as difficult as it has been to read, but in the words of my 103-year-old mother shortly before her death –nothing will change in my church until they feel it in their pocket book and until there is a very large broom that sweeps through the church.

I do believe the “Very Large Broom” has arrived and I wish she were here to see it happening. This past month has been a very difficult time for those of us who are still clinging to the church of our faith, but it is only through accountability that things will ever be what God intended his church to be.

Thank you !!!

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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