In the Vineyard: September 24, 2016

In the Vineyard :: September 24, 2016 :: Volume 16, Issue 18

News at National

Australian Bishop Survey Builds on VOTF Model
By Jack Doyle

Catholics for Renewal, a lay group of Australian Catholics, has published an Online Survey of the Needs of Dioceses/Archdioceses and Selection of Bishops, acknowledging it is “closely aligned to the one submitted to the Apostolic Nuncio in the US in 2012 by the US group, Voice of the Faithful (VOTF).”

John (Jack) Doyle, Chair of VOTF’s Bishop Initiative, offered suggestions and comments on a draft version of the Australian surveyand was thanked “for your thoughtful and very helpful feedback….” To view the Australian online survey, go to:

The Australian online survey invites comment on the needs of the arch/diocese and on qualities the new bishop should possess. Unlike the VOTF model, however, it does not invite users to recommend particular candidates for bishop. Making use of that opportunity is optional in the VOTF questionnaire.

Read more …

Pope Francis’ Child Protection Panel Takes Another Positive Step

Last week, pundits were again debating the effectiveness of Pope Francis’ Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, as news spread that commission members have been speaking with new bishops and Vatican offices about child protection best practices. Their new initiatives include a training program for bishops and a template to help bishops’ conferences and Catholic associations prevent and deal with abuse.

VOTF believes this action is another step in the slow progress of Francis’ papacy toward dealing with the clergy sexual abuse scandal, while not yet the more-substantial steps needed.
Pope Francis has repeatedly condemned abuse, including bishops who cover up or enable abusers to have continued access to children. He has often slammed clericalism in the Church, which VOTF has long said is a major factor in the scandal.

Read more …

A space for different voices to speak on topics of importance in church reform

By Priscilla Deck, Development Director

“Who do you say that I am?”
We are familiar with Mark 8:29 in which Jesus asks his disciples how they perceive him.

It is a profound question and its exploration is useful to the Voice of the Faithful family as we struggle to understand ourselves and our church in a rapidly changing and challenging world.

Change guru Ron Heifetz identifies three circles of loyalties that help identify us: colleagues, the community, and ancestors. For VOTF, attention to the circle of ancestors is important, for it is within this circle that we were spiritually formed. The crisis within the Church forces an uncomfortable, even painful, choice—abandonment of our ancestor-rooted identity for an as yet undetermined new one, or, alternatively, closing our eyes to the misuse of power and lack of transparency that allows our children to be harmed and our funds to be misdirected.

We often hear from you that “without VOTF, I couldn’t still be a Catholic.” But VOTF cannot shoulder the burden of reform alone. For the sake of the circles of community and colleagues, we are each called to be active laity within our parishes, helping constructively to ensure child protection and financial integrity. Indeed, we are called to action by the circle of ancestral loyalty as well, for the church they intended to pass on to us is not the church we received.

Within each circle, we are pulled in many directions. But in viewing our action—or inaction—within the paradigm of change, it is helpful to look at these ways we related to the world. VOTF will continue to advocate for this change in the Church, but agreeing mentally with our goals is not enough. Advocacy is not about what people think, it’s about what people do.

What would the answer be if you posed this question to your community: Who do you say that I am?

FYI: Dr. Heifetz will address VOTF on October 29, at the Wellesley Club at 1:30. Check the VOTF website for more details.


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

Pope’s sex-abuse panel scores awareness victory in Vatican
“Pope Francis’ sex abuse commission has scored a victory within the Vatican: Members have been invited to address Vatican congregations and a training course for new bishops, suggesting that the Holy See now considers child protection programs to be an important responsibility for church leaders.” By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

Bishop Bede Heather ‘destroyed’ documents: Royal Commission
“The former Catholic Bishop of Parramatta Bede Heather has told a royal commission he destroyed documents relating to potential legal action against a pedophile priest. Bishop Heather told the public inquiry he destroyed documents because he was traumatized by a police search of his office as part of an earlier investigation into sexual abuse by clergy.” By Rachel Browne, The Sydney Morning Herald

Archbishop Hon to Pope Francis: Remove Apuron as head of archdiocese
“Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai has urged Pope Francis to remove Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron as head of the Archdiocese of Agana because of gravely serious allegations of sex abuse of altar boys. ‘I want you to know that I am in Rome to urge the Holy See to remove Archbishop Apuron as archbishop of Agana and to appoint a successor,’ Hon said in his two-page statement.” By Haidee V. Eugenio, Pacific News Daily
Vatican delegate urges Pope Francis to fire Guam archbishop over abuse, By Josephine McKenna, Religion News Service

Council of cardinals continues discussions on selection of Catholic bishops
“The group of cardinals advising Pope Francis on reforming the Catholic church’s central bureaucracy spent time in their latest meeting discussing how Catholic bishops around the world are selected, the Vatican’s main spokesman said Wednesday (Sept. 14). Gregory Burke, the head of the Holy See press office, said the nine-member Council of Cardinals focused particularly on the role the Vatican’s various global ambassadors, known as apostolic nuncios, play in helping select new bishops.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter
Church’s process for choosing bishops again under scrutiny, By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, on

Pennsylvania seeks diocese records in broad sweep
“In compelling Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic dioceses to turn over as much as 70 years’ worth of records on sexually abusive priests, the state Attorney General’s Office is mounting what could be the most wide-ranging criminal investigation ever into the scandal in the United States. And if history is any guide – in particular, the history of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, which was the subject of the initial two-year grand jury investigation that mushroomed into the statewide probe – here are a few things to expect in the coming months or years …” By Peter Smith, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, on

Click here to read the rest of this issue of Focus … Years from 1984: Where Are We Going from Here?
By Thomas P. Doyle, J.C.D., C.A.D.C.
Tom Doyle is a priest, canon lawyer, addictions therapist and long-time supporter of justice and compassion for clergy sex abuse victims. He has a doctorate in canon law and five master’s degrees. Since 1984, when he became involved with the issue of sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy while serving at the Embassy, he has become an expert in the canonical and pastoral dimensions of this problem—working directly with victims, their families, accused priests, and high-ranking Church officials. The following account is a written version of his extemporaneous presentation at the SNAP conference in 2016.

Following is Part 3 of a 5 Part Series
The Blast from Boston
On Sunday, January 6, 2002, the Feast of the Epiphany, The Boston Globe published the first of a series of articles about the systemic pattern of sexual abuse and cover-up by the Archbishops of Boston with a concentration on the incumbent at the time, Cardinal Law.

In the past there had been major eruptions such as the Jim Porter case in 1993, the revelations of widespread abuse at the Capuchin Seminary in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and at a Franciscan seminary in Santa Barbara, California, also in 1993, and the Rudy Kos trial in Dallas in 1997.

After a flurry of publicity and elevated hopes of survivors, things usually went back to the previous state, with clergy abuse on the Church’s back burner and victims struggling to be heard. I expected a similar pattern after The Boston Globe story and was wrong, very wrong, and happily so. The Globe continued to publish investigative stories about dozens of Boston priests but the real anger was triggered by the blatant cover-up and arrogant attitude projected by the cardinal and his assistants.

The lawsuits very quickly multiplied all over the country as hundreds of victims found their voices and came forward. Grand juries were convened in New York and Boston with more to come in the ensuing years. Survivor activity went into high gear and before long it was obvious that the victims, now survivors, had organized and were a force to be taken very seriously.

Read more …


Voice of the Faithful North Shore – Seacoast Affiliate
2016-2017 Adult Education and Faith Formation Program
“The Catholic Voter in a Major Election Year”—presentation by Reverend Kenneth R. Himes, O.F.M, Ph.D., Professor, Boston College Department of Theology

Sunday, October 23, 2016, 2:00 P.M. Our Lady of Hope Church Hall, Ipswich MA
Father Kenneth Himes will speak on the topic “The Catholic Voter in a Major Election Year,” Sunday, October 23. at Our Lady of Hope Church Hall, 1 Pineswamp Rd., in Ipswich. This presentation is sponsored by the VOTF North Shore – Seacoast Affiliate in collaboration with Boston College School of Theology and Ministry.

Lecture: Vatican II’s Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World encouraged believers to read the “signs of the times” to discern where God is to be found in the world and how we are to respond. The electoral season can be read as revealing a number of significant social issues that ought to be considered when Catholic citizens go to the voting booths.

Kenneth R. Himes, OFM, is a member of the Department of Theology at Boston College and a past president of the Catholic Theological Society of America. He is a Franciscan friar and Catholic priest. Awarded a Ph.D. from Duke University in religion and public policy, Fr. Himes has a special interest in the area of Catholic social teaching and the role of the Church in American public life. He is the author of three books, editor of two more, and has written more than 75 essays in journals or as chapters in books. In addition, Father Himes is a well-known speaker whose 2012 presentation before our group on the topic, “Being a Responsible Catholic Voter” was outstanding. He has also served as a mentor to our planning committee for many years.

Directions to Ipswich, Our Lady of Hope Church Hall, 1 Pineswamp Rd:
From the South: Take Rt. I-95N to Rt. 1N (Exit 50) Proceed 6.5 miles to Linebrook Road, Ipswich. Take right onto Linebrook Road at traffic lights. Proceed 3.5 miles. Our Lady of Hope Church Hall will be on right.

From the North: Take Rt. I-95S to Exit 54. Follow Rt. 133 East to traffic lights in Rowley. Turn right onto Rt. 1S. Agawam Diner will be on your right. Take left at next traffic light onto Linebrook Road. Follow Linebrook Road3.5 miles. Our Lady of Hope church will be on right. Or, Take Rt. 1 South from Newburyport and turn left at Linebrook Rd, traffic light. Proceed 3.5 miles to Church.

Saint Susanna Adult Faith Formation
Upcoming Programs for September Through October, 2016

All events will be held on Monday evenings, from 7:00 to 9:00 PM, at Saint Susanna Parish Hall, 262 Needham Street, Dedham. There will be a refreshments break. There are no fees, there is no charge for refreshments, and there is no pre-registration requirement. But Free Will offerings are gratefully accepted to cover our costs.

Sep. 26, and October 3, 2016Movie: “Spotlight” and Talk by Walter Robinson of the Boston Globe Spotlight Team. A two-week event.
On September 26, we will present Spotlight, the Academy Award winning movie about the Boston Archdiocese’s efforts to conceal child abuse by clergy, and The Boston Globe Spotlight Team and its successful exposure of the scandal. This film will be presented with English subtitles for the hard-of-hearing. Running time of the movie will cause this event to run an extra fifteen minutes beyond 9:00, approximately.

On October 3, Walter Robinson, who was the Spotlight Team Editor at The Boston Globe for this story, will speak on the topic. Walter V. Robinson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter for The Boston Globe, where he has worked as reporter and editor for 34 years. From 2007 to 2014, he was a Distinguished Professor of Journalism at Northeastern University in Boston. Robinson currently holds the title of Editor-at-Large at The Boston Globe.

Letter to the Editor

Dear VOTF,
The 2006 addendum to the 2002 Dallas Charter of the USCCB recommended that every diocese in the U.S. have an independent Review Board consisting of lay male and female professionals, psychologists, law enforcement, child-protection workers … and priests. This board would be the first entity to review any allegation against a priest. Such a board would be equipped to understand the nature of the grooming process that most pedophiles engage in, and the Review Board would be able to question the accuser and the accused.
As a Director of Adult Faith Formation, I was a mandated reporter in my state. I had to report my boss, a priest who had child porn on his camera and whom I saw touching an 8-year-old boy inappropriately. I brought my allegation to the Vicar for priests who told me to report it to child protection services and then the Police. Unfortunately, this priest had already groomed the child’s mother (who was his employee), and she came and supported the priest.
At that time we had NO ACTIVE REVIEW BOARD in the diocese, there were no professionally trained individuals with whom I could share my concerns.
Please do whatever you can to make sure that MANDATED REPORTERS have some BACK UP—and that there are ACTIVE REVIEW BOARDS in EVERY DIOCESE.
God bless you and your excellent work!

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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