Archive for August 23rd, 2018

Prominent Catholics see larger role for laity in church’s abuse response / Catholic news Service

“It’s heartening that finally after all these years, and we hope it’s more than just verbiage, that the very things that the bishops attacked us for saying, they’re saying it now,” she (Donna Doucette, Voice of the Faithful Executive Director) added. (Catholic News Service)

An independent lay-run board that would hold bishops accountable for their actions, a national day for Mass or prayers of reparation, and encouragement to parishioners to become more involved in their diocese are among steps suggested by prominent lay Catholics to right the U.S. church as it deals with a new clergy sexual abuse scandal.

“Those contacted by Catholic News Service said that it was time for laypeople to boost their profile within the church and help begin to dismantle long-standing clericalism that has sought to preserve the reputation of offending clergy at the expense of the safety of children.

”Their credibility is gone and the trust of the faithful is gone,’ Francesco Cesareo, chairman of the National Review Board, said of the U.S. bishops as they worked to develop steps to promote greater accountability on abuse …

Cesareo was not alone in calling for a separate body to be established to handle accusations of abuse involving bishops. While details varied, the basic premise envisions that such a board would review abuse allegations or complaints of improper handling of an abuse claim by any bishop.

Just such a body has been sought since 2002, when the abuse scandal arose in the Archdiocese of Boston, by the church reform group Voice of the Faithful, said Donna Doucette, executive director.

By Dennis Sadowsky, Catholic News Service — Read more …


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WHAT CAN YOU DO? Following horrific Pennsylvania report on Catholic clergy abuse …

You can do a lot!

With the present heightened scrutiny of Catholic clergy sexual abuse and coverup, we have been receiving many calls at the VOTF office asking us what can be done. No baptized Catholic need ever feel helpless in the face of this ongoing scandal that has wounded so deeply the entire body of Christ. Our brief advice is this:
  • Click here to visit VOTF’s website and look under the PROGRAMS menu button at the top of the homepage. You will find a wealth of information and activities there — everything from combating clericalism, to using Broken Vessel™ Healing circles to help heal those harmed by clergy abuse, to saying prayers to help you through this crisis. After all, we have been at this so long that even bishops now use words like accountability that we made popular.
  • Click here to register for Voice of the Faithful’s 2018 Conference: Progress & Promise being held Oct. 6. In addition to hearing speakers and gathering with like-minded Catholics, you will be among the first to learn the findings of VOTF’s 2018 review of online diocesan financial transparency.
  • Click here to read “Ten Steps Toward Reforming the Catholic Church.”
  • Call us at (781) 559-3360 or email us at
Finally, and always, “Keep the Faith, Change the Church.”

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What happened when a dad challenged his priest during Mass about the sex abuse crisis / America: The Jesuit Review

“There isn’t a whole lot you can do because lay people are not in positions of power in the church,” he said. “Basically you’re outsiders, and the only way you can influence is as an outsider.” (America: The Jesuit Review)

Susan Reynolds, a Catholic studies professor at Emory University, took to Twitter to describe something she witnessed during Mass on Sunday (Aug. 19) that she said was unlike anything she had ever seen before.

“In a series of tweets, Ms. Reynolds described an encounter between the pastor of St. Thomas More Catholic Church and a father at Mass with his young son, who is on the verge of making his first Communion.

“The priest, Mark Horak, S.J., had just delivered his homily, which was devoted to the news that 300 priests have been named in a grand jury report chronicling the sexual assault of more than 1,000 victims in Pennsylvania. Father Horak apologized to those feeling angry and let down by church leaders, and he lamented that lay people were not empowered to do more in the church.

In some ways, it was a call to action …

“‘There isn’t a whole lot you can do because lay people are not in positions of power in the church,’ he said. ‘Basically you’re outsiders, and the only way you can influence is as an outsider.'”

By Michael J. O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review — Read more …

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