In the Vineyard: September 15, 2017

In the Vineyard :: September 15, 2017 :: Volume 17, Issue 16

News from National

Authority for Liturgical Translations Passesto Local Bishops

Pope Francis has decentralized authority over how the texts used in the Catholic Church’s liturgies are translated from Latin into local languages, moving most responsibility for the matter from the Vatican to national bishops’ conferences.

“A comparison of the Italian text of the prior and new versions of the canon makes the change clear. Where the Italian says the Vatican was tasked before with ‘authorizing’ all liturgical translations, it is now asked simply to ‘review‘ translations made by the bishops’ conferences.” (National Catholic Reporter)

America magazine has a good summary of how the current translation had been imposed in 2010 on all English-speaking countries by the Vatican, thus overriding the 1998 translation approved by a two-thirds majority in each of those national bishops’ conferences. You also may be interested in the compendium we posted of comments about the current translation when it was first imposed.

Making a Difference

“People who talk about difference-makers typically think of doctors and nurses bringing medical care to needy populations, compelling preachers or politicians, inventors, organization founders, or perhaps inspiring teachers.

“I think of Bev Spencer,” says VOTF Executive Director Donna B. Doucette.

For more than 15 years, Bev has made a difference for VOTF. A tall, energetic volunteer, she breezes down the hallway most weekdays at Voice of the Faithful’s national office, while providing essential work that keeps the organization running. She ensures our database is secure, tracks our donations, coordinates our donation volunteers, picks up our mail, plays detective on the internet when we need an all-important address or background information, and so much more, all while smiling through every day—and baking cookies on holidays.

Bev learned about VOTF while on the Sacred Heart Parish Council in Newton Centre and saw VOTF in action at the Boston Archdiocese’s 2002 spring convocation, shortly after the organization was formed. Later that summer, she volunteered for registration data entry during VOTF’s first convention. This led to her helping in the office with donations.

Bev says one reason she likes volunteering is the flexibility. “When I want to travel, for example, I can just say, “I’m gone.” But while on the job, she’s intense. “I’m big for jumping in and working on things as they are getting organized, and VOTF clearly needed a lot of help,” she says. “It’s extremely impressive that they pulled that convention off, that they drew thousands of people from all over the country with no real formal way of doing so. To me, that spoke to the concern, the outrage of people because of clergy sexual abuse.”

She was so focused on the tasks at hand, Bev says, that she did not consider the big picture of Church reform much at the time, but “I think there is a great deal to reform in the Church, and there has to be an organization like VOTF.”

Bev is pragmatic about VOTF’s success with Church reform, but appears even more committed now than when she started 15 years ago.

“I don’t expect to live to see the changes in the Church we’re working for here,” she says, “but if you sit still, nothing will ever happen. I know I’ll be here for as long at VOTF is.”

Bev will be “here” for VOTF, but she and her husband Dave are physically relocating to Maryland, to be near their daughter’s family (especially the grandchildren!). She will continue to update addresses for the database, play detective for errant names and addresses, and pursue any other task she can using a computer and an Internet connection. But we will miss her in-office presence, and those sometimes exasperating/sometimes exhilarating recaps of Red Sox games! We are thrilled she will be a car ride away from her extended family instead of a plane ride, but as her extended work family we will miss her every day.

“One thing is clear, though.” Donna says, “Bev can’t help but make a difference.”

USCCB Asks for Prayers for Hurricane Victims and Refugees

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has been busy this week. On September 12, they released a statement encouraging people to pray and support those affected by the devastating hurricanes.

“At this time of initial recovery, we mourn the loss of life, homes and other property, and the harm to the natural environment, and we pray for all those affected and in need of assistance. We also pray for the safety of, and in thanksgiving for, the first responders who are risking their lives at this very moment in care for their neighbors, especially those who are elderly, sick, homeless, or otherwise already in need of special assistance.

“We share Pope Francis’s trust that the Catholic faithful here in the United States will respond to the needs presented by these disasters with a ‘vast outpouring of solidarity and mutual aid in the best traditions of the nation.’ We encourage the faithful to respond generously with prayers, financial support, and for those who have the opportunity, the volunteering of time and talents in support of those in need.”

To read the entire statement and see what you can do to help, click here.

The USCCB also released a statement condemning the plan to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in six months. Asking for mercy, the bishops said “In this moment of moral decision, we look to Pope Francis, who in his address to Congress stated: ‘We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome. Let us remember the Golden Rule: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ (Mt 7:12). To this end, we believe that deporting exemplary young people who were brought here as children and who know only the United States as their home – or failing to do all we can to help refugees and their families, who are often driven to exile by war and extreme exploitation – is not in our interests as a moral and generous people. Our country has the right and responsibility to regulate its border. We ask that it be done humanely.” To read the entire statement, click here.

Interested in the Number of Priests and Parishes Worldwide?

Futurechurch recently released an interactive report on the numbers of priests and parishes worldwide. Also included are data on women religious and priestless parishes. The data are easy to access. Simply pick the area of the world you are interested in from a dropdown menu, and you will see how many Catholics in each country, and how many bishops and deacons and women religious. The comparisons between the U.S. and other countries is interesting to examine.


Editorial: Retain abuse survivors or risk irrelevancy
“It is distressing to learn that the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors may be restructured so that survivors of sexual abuse by clergy may have no direct voice in that body. The commission has helped the church make great strides in addressing this global issue, but it is in danger of becoming irrelevant. Signs of trouble with the commission began to surface in 2016, a year after its inception, when one of two abuse survivors on the commission, Peter Saunders, was suspended. The trouble became acute when the sole remaining survivor on the commission, Marie Collins, resigned earlier this year.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

Francis decentralizes most authority for liturgical translations to local bishops
“Pope Francis has decentralized authority over how the texts used in the Catholic Church’s liturgies are translated from Latin into local languages, moving most responsibility for the matter from the Vatican to national bishops’ conferences. In a motu proprio issued Sept. 9, the pontiff says he is making a change to the church’s Code of Canon Law so that the Second Vatican Council’s call to make the liturgy more understandable to people is ‘more clearly reaffirmed and put into practice.’ The motu proprio, given the title Magnum Principium, modifies two clauses of Canon 838. The rewritten clauses say simply that the Vatican is to ‘recognize’ adaptations of Latin liturgical texts approved by national bishops’ conferences.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Australian Catholic Church falls short on safeguards for children, study finds
“A study that examines child sexual abuse worldwide in the Roman Catholic Church has found that the Australian church has done less to safeguard children in its care than its counterparts in similar countries have. The report, released on Wednesday by the Center for Global Research at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, also found that the church’s requirement that priests be celibate was a major risk factor for abuse. And it said that the possibility of abuse in Catholic residential institutions, like orphanages, should be getting more attention, especially in developing countries.” By Jacqueline Williams, The New York Times

Living with echo of clergy abuse (Part 1 of 3)
“For a more than a decade, Catholic priest Donald Grecco sexually abused children in Niagara. On Thursday (Sept. 7), he will be sentenced for the abuse of three boys in the 1970s and 80s. This three part series is the story of one of his victims.” By Grant LaFleche, The St. Catherine’s Standard

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

Letter to the Editor

On the August 30 Voices column:

I just read Dennis Grohman’s letter to Pope Francis, and I would have relished adding a P.S.: “Me too!”

I thank Mr Grohman for expressing powerfully and respectfully the thoughts and concerns so many of us share, the love we have for our faith, the everlasting hope we have in Jesus Christ, and the confidence we have in His Vicar, Pope Francis.

And I thank VOTF for publishing the letter I wish I had written.

J. Randles
Hendersonville, NC

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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