Keep the Faith, Change the Church.

In the Vineyard: May 17, 2012

Neaws from National

Fr. James Connell, Wisconsin Priest, to Speak at VOTF 10th Year Conference

The Reverend James E. Connell, a priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, advocates on behalf of victims/survivors of Catholic clergy sexual abuse. This courageous priest will be the closing speaker at Voice of the Faithful’s 10th Year Conference in Boston Sept. 14-15. He will address attendees on Saturday, Sept. 15, at about 4 p.m., at the Marriott Boston Copley Place Hotel. Click here for a conference agenda.

A former member of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee clergy sexual abuse audit review board, Fr. Connell has called for Church leaders to reveal the complete truth about clergy sexual abuse because, he says, only from such a revelation can this poison be removed from the Body of Christ. In an open letter to Catholic priests in early December 2010, he concluded, “Let us always embrace the word of the Lord: fear not; the truth will set you free.”

For more on Fr. James Connell, click here

Our early bird registration special of $150 per registrant ends July 15. After that, registration will cost $200.
Click here to register and for information. Reserve your room at the conference hotel by clicking here. The Group Code for a discounted rate has already been entered in the reservation form.10th Birthday Conference Save the Date Calendar 
Sept. 14-15 in Boston -- 
Be there if you dream of a Church defined by what it stands for rather than what it stands against!

Why You Do Not Want to Miss the 10th Year VOTF Conference!

A message from conference co-chair Jayne O'Donnell

I’d like to share with you three compelling reasons for attending the 10th Year VOTF Conference in Boston, this September. And I’ll admit that one of them is, well, a sort of a“told you so” to the bishops ... see my three reasons


Winners Announced for Hotel Raffle!
Two VOTF members have each won a free room night at our 10th Year Conference hotel, the Marriott Boston Copley Place Hotel.

The winners are Peggy Thorne of Norwood, Massachusetts, and Joe Dahlem of Kirkwood, Missouri. Joe has donated his free room night to conference speaker David Clohessy, SNAP Executive Director, in the name of his VOTF St. Louis Affiliate. David will speak at the conference on Saturday, Sept. 15, at about 11:30 a.m.

A Message from VOTF President Mark Mullaney
Go to VOTF’s blog to read VOTF President Mark Mullaney’s blog post on the changes that are sweeping the Catholic Church in Ireland and Austria: Are these changes happening in the United States?

Help Us Support the Sisters
Voice of the Faithful has joined a coalition of church reform organizations who are supporting the Nun Justice Project, an initiative through which anyone can encourage women religious in the wake of the Vatican's recent mandate for reform of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. Nun Justice Project initiatives and activities are being promoted primarily through the Nun Justice Project website. You can help support the sisters by writing to the Apostolic Nuncioattending or sponsoring a vigilpraying now and during Pentecost week;signing an online petition.Visit Nun Justice Project often to check the initiative's progress.

Cincinnati VOTF Supports the Nuns
Cincinnati VOTF has organized in support of the nuns. Susan Vogt sent in the following for other affiliates to use as a template if they are interested.

Main Actions:

  • A vigil in front of the Cincinnati cathedral Tuesday, May 15, and for the next two Tuesdays.

  • A full-page newspaper ad in the Cincinnati Enquirer.


  • Although not specifically a VOTF-led effort, many of the organizers also are VOTF members

  • Susan  was at the first night’s vigil and believes several items contributed to its success:

  • Timing: it was from 4:45 – 6:00pm. This means it was convenient for people to attend right after work. It coincided with the local 5:00 news. (Thus several TV channels carried it live with interviews). The cathedral had a 5:15 Mass so people were arriving for that. It coincided with workers’ drive time, which meant much traffic saw the demonstrators and could read our signs.

  • The media had been alerted.

  • People were asked to bring home-made signs.

  • The focus was: “We’re here to support the nuns,” rather than any particular hot button issue. Passersby could identify with the nuns who taught them or are visible locally in social service efforts.

  • There was a short prayer service with a common prayer that was handed out.

  • People sang these words to the tune of “We Shall Overcome”: We are all the Church. We are all the Church. We are all the Church today. Oh deep in our hearts, we do believe, that we are all the Church today.

  • About 70 people attended, including nuns, VOTF folks, theologians from the local universities, etc.

  • It will be bigger next week.

What Are You Doing?
Is your affiliate doing anything to support the Catholic nuns? If so, please send a brief description (and photos if possible) and we will share your experiences with other VOTF members. Perhaps your affiliate will inspire other affiliates to get involved.

VOTF’s Brad Pritt submitted the following website that lists actions throughout the country (not all VOTF-sponsored). Check to see if there are vigils and petitions in your area if you are interested.

Church, Women and the World ... Are We at a Crossroads?
In light of the recent issues concerning women religious and the Catholic Church, Sacred Threads, an interfaith ministry, and Regis College are hosting a panel on June 14 titled “The Church, Women and the World...are we at the crossroads?”

Panelists include Dr. Nancy Kehoe, RSCJ, Instructor in Psychology, Cambridge Health Alliance; Rev. Walter Cuenin, Chaplain, Brandeis University; Megan McCabe, Doctoral Student in Theology, Boston College; and Mary Quinn, SSJ, former President of the Sisters of St Joseph in Springfield MA.

For more information or to register, go to
or call 617-899-2871.

Affiliate News

The Louisville VOTF affiliate, along with the local SNAP affiliate, co-sponsored a talk by Terry McKiernan of at a recent meeting and Mike Diebold, the VOTF affiliate leader, has condensed the talk into a 7-8 minute YouTube video. You can see Terry’s remarks here

Voice of the Faithful FOCUS, 
May 17, 2012

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

Unfinished Work: Examining 10 Years of Clergy Sex Abuse
Ten years after widespread news coverage of sexual abuse by priests rocked the U.S. Catholic church, hierarchical response to the continuing crisis indicates the church has “lost its ability to be a self-correcting institution,” Jesuit Fr. Tom Reese told a symposium of experts on clergy abuse recently.
 -- The Sexual-Abuse Crisis: Unfinished Business

Hierarchy’s Inability to Mourn Thwarts Healing in Church
The Catholic hierarchy from the papacy on down seems to be roiling through a series of manic episodes in which they execute perverted power plays against those perceived as enemies, according to a commentary recently posted in theNational Catholic ReporterThis kind of mania often is exhibited by large identity groups whose power has been threatened and who are unable to respond adaptively to that loss through a process of healthy mourning.
-- The Passivity of the Catholic Church

Is This Cardinal Brady’s Last Stand?
With just a month to go until the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin, Irish Catholics are again reeling following further revelations of Church mishandling of abuse allegations. The Eucharistic Congress—which is expected to attract some 80,000 pilgrims—will be the largest religious event since the memorable visit of Blessed Pope John Paul II in 1979. Hopes that the June 10-17 celebration of faith could be a launching pad for a renewal of the Irish Church have been dealt a blow, however, by fresh criticism of the Primate of All Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady.

Nuns on the Frontier
In the 19th century, Catholic nuns literally built the church in the American West, braving hardship and grueling circumstances to establish missions, set up classrooms and lead lives of calm in a chaotic world marked by corruption, criminality and illness. Their determination in the face of a male hierarchy that, then as now, frequently exploited and disdained them was a demonstration of their resilient faith in a church struggling to adapt itself to change. 
-- Rome & Women Religious

Trial Evidence Available for Your Review
The Commonwealth’s response to Msgr. Lynn’s motion to dismiss charges of child endangerment against him is available online. It’s long, but quite enlightening.

Needs Improvement: Readers Rate the Bishops' Response to Church Sex Abuse
progress report from U.S. Catholic readers says that bishops still haven’t learned all their lessons on the subject of sexual abuse.

Attack on Girl Scouts Shows Current Law Isn't Working
The question is: Where has all this energy for empirical destruction come from in a church now projecting its own serious problems with sexual issues onto everything that moves? (Joan Chittister) And more on the Girl Scouts

Read the rest of this issue of Focus here...

A Letter from the Editor

A couple of years ago, I asked VOTF members to send in the reasons they are still Catholic. Washington Post writer, E.J. Dionne Jr., although not a VOTF member (that I know of) answered the question “Why I remain a Catholic” beautifully.

Please let me know what you think.

Siobhan Carroll

Questions, Comments?

Please send them to Siobhan Carroll, Vineyard Editor Unless otherwise indicated, I will assume comments can be published as Letters to the Editor.