In the Vineyard: September 9, 2016

In the Vineyard :: September 9, 2016 :: Volume 16, Issue 17

News at National

Why We’re Asking for Your Help

Like all non-profits, we depend on you and your support for our advocacy projects, the resources we develop for members and affiliates, and the communications that deliver your messages on Church reform, transparency, and accountability.

We call it “keeping the lights on.” We convert your financial support into programs like healing circles for those wounded by clergy sex abuse, guidelines on child protection, financial transparency in dioceses, protection of dollars dropped in parish collection baskets, study guides on Vatican II and the origins of the Church, spiritual growth resources, and much more.

We develop and distribute these resources, and represent your voices, as efficiently as possible. And we strive to be faithful stewards of your donations. In the past six years we have trimmed costs wherever possible. Since FY2012, for example, our rent has increased just 4%; we’ve trimmed staff costs by 12%; cut our tech support costs by almost 9%; and chopped a huge 71% from our communications infrastructure. Almost every function needed to maintain a national office shows similar decreases.

We do it by taking advantage of every technological advance we can—switching from on-site servers and emails to “cloud” servers and hosted emails, for example—and by asking our staff to handle multiple job functions. Overall, since FY2012, we have cut operating costs by 16.2% despite general inflation in per-service costs from all vendors and utilities.

But we cannot eliminate all costs. Rent, insurance, payroll taxes, database service, banking costs, all must be paid. The services that allow us to communicate with you must be maintained. Security protocols, audits, office supplies, all these are needed as well. Not to mention staff to prepare and distribute resources and support our volunteers.

If you’d like to know what all that comes out to, here’s a table showing what it will cost this fiscal year (June 2016 to May 2017) to keep the lights on at VOTF.

And that’s just the basic operating costs and resource support. Each Healing Circle has additional costs. Maintaining the diocesan finance database requires data entry. Updating and adding to the Child Protection guidelines takes time and money. Taking our message to priests, bishops, and other Catholics takes dollars.

A little light dispels much darkness. We need all of you working with us to push the darkness back. Many of you have told us that the work of VOTF and knowledge of its existence allows you to continue as a Catholic. Your gift, no matter what the amount, allows us to continue as the Voice of the Faithful. Please give generously.

Bring Your Friends!
“Crucible Moments and the Role of Conscience”
Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016, 2:30 p.m.
Lannon Chapel, Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola
28 Commonwealth Ave., Chestnut Hill.
Reception follows discussion. Free.

A conversation about refugee crises and profiles of others’ “crucible moments” with authors David and Sasha Chanoff, sponsored by Voice of the Faithful® and the Boston College Church in the 21st Century Center.
Click here to RSVP for “Crucible Moments and the Role of Conscience.”
If you’ve already RSVPed, thank you very much.
Click here for a “Crucible Moments” flyer you can print and distribute.
Click here for book review, “Jim Post Profile in Book on Moral Choices.”

See you Sunday, Sept. 11, at St. Ignatius Church.


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

Catholic Church groups fight bills to revive old sex abuse cases
“It’s important to say right up front that this isn’t a story about pedophile priests. Bridie Farrell is Roman Catholic, but she says it was her speedskating coach who sexually assaulted her when she was a teenager … Farrell did what a lot of kids do when they’re molested: She kept silent. But 18 years later, when she was 31 years old, she went public with her story. The problem is that there’s a ticking clock. In a lot of states, including New York, where Farrell was assaulted, if you don’t report a rape or file a civil lawsuit fast enough, the perpetrator — whether it’s a coach or relative or a priest — gets off scot-free.” By Brian Mann, All Things Considered, National Public Radio

Bishop of Albenga quits after scandal
“Pope Francis on Thursday (Sept. 1) accepted the resignation of Monsignor Mario Oliveri, the bishop of Albenga-Imperia near Savona in northern Italy, following a scandal surrounding priests in his diocese … Scandals that emerged in Oliveri’s diocese included priests posting naked photos on gay websites, funds stolen from the church and priests involved [in] cases of child abuse.” By

Attorney General ties Jerry Sandusky cover-up prosecution to Catholic Church sex-abuse case
“State prosecutors are asking a trial judge to proceed with child endangerment charges against three former Penn State administrators charged as a result of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal … Prosecutors say the remaining counts against former Penn State President Graham Spanier and two of his top aides are justified by precedents set in the 2012 conviction of a high-ranking Catholic church official in Philadelphia.” By Charles Thompson,

Napa County now home for John Nienstedt, Twin Cities archbishop who resigned under legal cloud
“Minnesota and then Michigan evidently grew too hot for John Nienstedt, a former Catholic archbishop who was accused of protecting predatory priests and who now cools his heels in Wine Country. Nienstedt came far west after departing Minnesota under duress and stopping briefly in Michigan. A newspaper report out of Battle Creek earlier this year revealed that only two weeks after Nienstedt arrived and took a temporary church post there he ‘left amid a swirl of criticism.’ Residents opposed to his assignment hounded the diocese and the media, and pulled tuition support for a school associated with the church, according to another news report.” By Chris Smith, Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, California

Hunter (Australia) Catholic diocese was hopeful pedophile priest could be ‘cured’
“The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse hearing in Newcastle is investigating abuse at the hands of Vincent Ryan, a Catholic priest who worked in the Maitland-Newcastle diocese for decades … Dr. (Peter) Evans was questioned by the royal commission this morning (Sept. 2) about his session with Ryan. He said he had only ever offered an ‘assessment’ for Ryan, not treatment, and described the church’s hope that Ryan could be ‘cured’ of paedophilia as ‘unrealistic.’” By David Marchese, ABC News Australia
Editorial: Catholic Church and the crimes of its clergy, By Newcastle Herald Editorial Board
Bishop: Abuse seen as ‘moral problem,’ not criminal act, By

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

Light Years from 1984: Where Are We Going from Here? (Part 2)
By Thomas P. Doyle, J.C.D., C.A.D.C. 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.

“The safety of today’s and tomorrow’s children and the compassionate response to victims by the Church’s leaders will be uniformly assured only when the system that allowed this nightmare to happen has been fundamentally changed and replaced with a way of life that truly IS the People of God.
“This is happening now and will continue to happen because those whom this institution has harmed so deeply are making it happen.”

Following is Part 2 of a 5 part series…if you missed Part 1 – you will find it here.


The Catholic world changed in the summer of 1984. The change was imperceptible at first and its full force never really comprehended by the church hierarchy until the beginning of the second year of the new millennium. The change was not expressed in a single event but in a long, painful and at times, incomprehensible process. Whichever way one tries to label it, explain it, excuse it or minimize it, the public revelations of sexual abuse of young boys by Catholic priests in 1983 changed the institutional Church’s course through history.

Although media focus had been almost exclusively on the sexual abuse and cover-up that took place in the Diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana, hundreds of miles to the north, in St. Paul, Minnesota, another revolting tale of widespread sexual violation of boys by a single priest was being revealed by an attorney who in time would define his life and his life’s work by his advocacy for the victims of sexual abuse.

Read more

Perceptions About Catholic Sisters

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation this week announced the results of a recent market research study that shows that Catholic sisters, while highly respected, remain a mystery to most Americans.

The survey reveals that Catholic sisters are trusted by a significant majority of Americans (73 percent), and even more said their work is important (83 percent). However, the research also showed that perceptions of Catholic sisters are somewhat dated, shaped primarily by fictional stories and the media versus interpersonal encounters. For example, 42 percent of respondents indicated the majority of Catholic sisters today wear habits, 21 percent believe they live in seclusion, and 37 percent thought their work has little or no impact on non-Catholics.

In reality, although some Catholic sisters wear habits and some live in cloistered communities, most Catholic sisters in the U.S. wear simple modern clothing and most are out in the world helping marginalized communities, advocating for social justice, and educating millions of young people and adults.

To read more about the study go to
America Magazine also wrote about the study – “Sister to All” Report Explores the Perception of Catholic Sisters in the United States


September is here, and Adult Faith Formation begins at Saint Susanna’s. Here are the programs for September and October. As usual, more information, and the latest news about the program can be found at the Parish Web Site under Adult Faith Formation.

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. Free Will offerings are gratefully accepted to cover costs.

Sept. 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.

October 17, 2016 – The Hidden and Long-Term Effects of War
Documentary producer Margot Carlson-Delogne will speak on understanding the long-lasting and often unnoticed effects of war, and on the healing process. Ms. Carlson Delogne is the executive director and founder of the 2Sides Project and will present portions of her documentary. The background will be the Vietnam War and our experience since then, including the point of view of children who lost a parent in the war, the positions taken by governments, and those of the communities involved.

Join Bridgeport VOTF
After Spotlight: What Has Changed?

We return on Thursday, September 8th at 7:30 pm with an exciting program.

SPOTLIGHT tells the riveting true story of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe investigation that would rock the city and cause a crisis in one of the world’s oldest and most trusted institutions. When the newspaper’s tenacious “Spotlight” team of reporters delves into allegations of abuse in the Catholic Church, their year-long investigation uncovers a decades-long cover-up at the highest levels of Boston’s religious, legal, and government establishment, touching off a wave of revelations around the world …

Guests: Dan Tepfer and Gail Howard
Dan Tepfer has been the courts/crime reporter for the Connecticut Post (now Hearst Connecticut Media) for more than 35 years. In 1992 he was contacted by a young woman who claimed she was abused by the Rev. Raymond Pcolka. At that time the Bridgeport diocese denied they had ever received any complaints of abuse by its priests. Over the next 10 years Tepfer would interview more than two dozen victims of priest abuse, which he wrote about and their subsequent court cases.

Gail Howard is a member of the Connecticut chapter of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests). Gail will give us her perspective on the uptick in calls from survivors just now coming forward.

Meetings take place at 7:30 pm at the 1st Congregational Church of Norwalk, 3 Lewis Street, Norwalk.
These meetings are open and free to all.

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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