In the Vineyard: September 29, 2017

In the Vineyard :: September 29, 2017 :: Volume 17, Issue 17

News from National

Update on Healing Circles Project

VOTF’s Broken Vessels™ Healing Circles continue to offer opportunities that foster healing in the face of wounds still felt from clergy sex abuse crimes. Here’s an update:

  • Healing Circles have been held in Virginia and in Boston.
  • Additional Circles will take place in the next two months in Boston, again, and New York.
  • Facilitator training is scheduled for Pennsylvania.
  • A Healing Circle model demonstration will be presented November 7 at the Paulist Center in Boston.

We thank all of you who have supported this effort, and we give special thanks to those who spend hours upon hours each week preparing the Circles, reaching out to those who will attend, and training others to spread this important work.

A Remembrance

By Jim Post, a VOTF founder and first President

My friend Mark Mullaney passed away on September 18, 2017. Mark and his wife, Kathy, were co-founders of Voice of the Faithful and dedicated members who cared deeply about the mission of VOTF to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, to support priests of integrity, and to shape structural change that would help ensure sexual abuse would end forever. They were passionate about protecting children from abuse.

At Mark’s funeral mass, Fr. Thomas Powers spoke of Mark’s devotion to family, community, and the church. To paraphrase Fr. Powers, Mark’s dedication to the church was evident in his work to help the church be what it ought to be. Later, one of Mark’s sons described this commitment to reform in the phrase, “Keep the Faith, Change the Church.”

Mark embraced the VOTF mission, and he worked tirelessly to help the organization achieve its goals. He was one of VOTF’s “go to” members, ready to assist in whatever task needed attention. In 2002, in preparation for the convention’s closing mass, a procession–led by the cross—was to march through the Hynes Convention Center. But the cross was heavy and required a strong person to carry it. Susan Troy’s job was to find the right person. She spotted Mark, a former football player in high school and college; he graciously agreed to carry the cross. A picture I recall from the procession says it all: Mark led the way.

Mark carried the cross for VOTF in many other ways over the course of 15 years. He was an executive in the health care industry and he used his skill and knowledge to help find ways to foster our goals. He also knew how to recruit talented people to fill important roles, such as executive director, and he “closed the deal” in fundraising as well as anyone.

People who saw Mark in action urged him to run for election as president of VOTF. He agreed, and for six years he “carried the leadership cross” as VOTF’s president, working closely with VOTF executive director, Donna Doucette, and the board of trustees. Mark became the face of VOTF at meetings, assemblies, and other public events. He stood tall, proud of VOTF, and committed to repairing the church.

Hundreds of people attended Mark’s funeral. They came from all the facets of his life: family, community, church. Stories were shared generously, and our common thought as we shared those stories: God blessed us with Mark Mullaney. We are richer for having known him and poorer for his passing.

Obituary at

Support VOTF and Support Priests

A reminder from our September campaign

One way Voice of the Faithful supports priests is through collaboration with the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests. AUSCP sees itself as “a priests’ voice for hope and joy within our pilgrim Church.” It’s all about voices, both lay and clergy.

As a participant at past AUSCP annual assemblies, for example, VOTF has joined in the call to ordain married Catholic men as priests, presented a colloquium on clericalism, and helped lead a Vespers of Hope. At the 2017 Assembly, VOTF helped introduce attendees to DeaconChat, a program to encourage lay/ordained dialogue on a women’s diaconate.

Summing up 2017’s AUSCP Assembly, VOTF Executive Director Donna Doucette said:

“I have heard priests worrying that they may be guilty of clericalism and wondering how they can avoid it. I have heard retired pastors wonder if newly ordained priests would ever learn to actually become pastoral. I have heard Assembly attendees rue the failure of the Church to-date to fully implement the reforms of Vatican II. Progress continues. Working together, it can accelerate.”


Pope admits Catholic Church waited too long to respond to clergy abuse crisis
“Pope Francis has admitted that the Catholic Church waited too long before taking reports of clergy sexual abuse seriously, suggesting that the former practice of moving priests accused of abuse to new ministries instead of reporting them to authorities kept the church numb to the scope of the situation … The pontiff also called ‘prophetic’ the men and women who urged the church for decades to face the problem.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

University report lifts the lid on child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church
“The most comprehensive report ever published on the systemic reasons behind child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church has recently been released. The August 2017 report … examined 26 commissions of inquiry, scientific research and literature since 1985 to find common features in the culture, history and structures of the church and the psychological, social and theological factors that contributed to the tragedy. The report, five years in the making, comes from a research team at the Centre for Global Research at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University headed by Desmond Cahill and Peter Wilkinson.” By Kieran Tapsell, National Catholic Reporter

Magnum Principium is the latest event in the ‘liturgy wars’
(Part of NCR Magnum Principium Feature Series)
“Pope Francis’ Sept. 9 announcement that he was decentralizing the Vatican’s authority over translations of liturgical texts, turning that duty back over to local bishops, created quite a buzz in Catholic circles because, for some, it capped a story that spans more than 50 years. It is the story of the ‘liturgy wars.’” By James Dearie, Dennis Coday, National Catholic Reporter

Official at Vatican embassy to United States removed over child porn allegations
“The Vatican has confirmed a priest serving at the Holy See embassy to the United States has been recalled to Rome after receiving information he had violated child pornography laws. The priest is now being investigated by the Vatican’s Promoter of Justice.” By Charles Collins,

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

Struggling with Your Faith? So Did Mother Theresa

Did you know that Mother Teresa faced a “Dark Night of the soul”? One that lasted almost 50 years? What happened? How did she deal with it? And what might it mean for you and me?

Watch America Magazine’s new video. It’s a meditation on something that many people find confusing: On YouTube as well:

From the Family of SNAP Founder Barbara Blaine

September 24, 2017

We can now share with you that Barbara has peacefully passed away following an unexpected and rare cardiac event (SCAD) that occurred this past Monday. Her final hours were spent surrounded by her husband Howard and sisters Marcia and Marian. From the window in her room, she was basked in the bright sunlight cascading off the serene Utah landscape. Barbara loved hiking those rocky climbs with Howard, and her indomitable spirit was in harmony with the unshakable vistas.

From running a homeless shelter that she helped found, to acting as a tireless voice for those sexually abused who might otherwise have been silenced by the Catholic Church, Barbara was a fierce and tireless warrior on behalf of social justice. Her passion for progressive and compassionate advocacy was matched only by the love she felt towards family. Those fortunate enough to have known her are readily familiar with the absolute commitment she felt towards her close circle; we were all lucky to have been graced by her love.

Barbara was taken far too early, and we may never find rhyme or reason in the manner of her passing, but we can forever find inspiration and purpose through the manner in which she lived. She was a truly remarkable human being, and her spirit will remain with us, shaping our choices for the better, erring us away from petty concerns and encouraging us to lean in towards compassion, that we might honor her memory.

A Celebration of Barbara’s life will be held at a future date.

Book Corner

Looking for something to read?

Child Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church: An Interpretive Review of the Literature and Public Inquiry Reports, issued in August, is a 379-page document published by a research team at the Centre for Global Research at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University headed by Desmond Cahill and Peter Wilkinson. The document examines 26 commissions of inquiry, scientific research and literature since 1985 to find common features in the culture, history and structures of the church and the psychological, social and theological factors that contributed to the tragedy.

To learn more go to….


Prayer Outside the Box, by Fr. Tom Ryan, CSP, Paulist Center Boston
The apostle Paul counseled the followers of Jesus to “pray in all circumstances.” We will look at what makes for prayer, and then talk about how we can cultivate those attitudes of heart and mind anywhere and everywhere. Got any trade secrets to share? Bring ’em! We’ll see how they compare with the methods we uncover in the Christian treasure chest.

This is the second of a monthly series of talks on holistic spirituality for Christian living.

Date: October 25 from 7-8:15 pm at the Paulist Center, 5 Park St., Boston, in the 2nd floor Seminar Room. Donations to cover costs gratefully appreciated.

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.

© Voice of the Faithful 2017. All Rights Reserved.