Archive for February, 2022

How do we ‘Keep the Faith, Change the Church’?

Voice of the Faithful marks its 20th year in 2022 and is offering a series of stories about who we are and what we do. The following is by Mary Pat Fox, VOTF president.

February 24, 2022

Voice of the Faithful has been working to do just that – Keep the Faith and Change the Church – for 20 years. Change takes a long time, and changing a 2,000-year-old organization takes a lot of perseverance! In Pacem in Terris, Pope St. John XXIII said: “To proceed gradually is the law of life in all its expressions; therefore, in human institutions, too, it is not possible to renovate for the better except by working from within them, gradually.” Working within the Church marks a unique VOTF characteristic among modern-day reform organizations.

VOTF began as a small group of concerned Catholics in the basement of St. John the Evangelist Church in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and quickly grew to comprise more members than could fit in the church basement. The founders must have known that the change needed to stop the abuse, and ensure it would never happen again, would take a long time because the structure of our mission statement and three goals are still on point, 20 years later, for what needs to be done.

We began with outrage focused on hearing survivors’ stories and on alerting and educating Catholics to the reality of the abuse crisis, even as it continues today. Child sex abuse came at the hands of priests, some of whom we knew and trusted. Abusers do not resemble monsters. They look like ordinary people, hiding in plain sight.

Over the years, we have developed numerous resources to convey this message, all of which can be seen on VOTF’s website, and we have run programs, written letters, and held conferences, among many other projects and initiatives, to keep the focus on Keeping the Faith and Changing the Church.

Fast forward 20 years past that meeting at St. John’s, and you will see that change – despite the Church’s preference for glacial movement – has multiplied during those two decades. VOTF is completing our fifth annual diocesan online financial transparency and accountability report and releasing, soon, our first online reviews on lay involvement in Church governance and on diocesan adherence to established child protection guidelines. We have helped to hold the Church accountable, and these three studies do that.

Presently, we are engaged in holding Synod sessions in response to Pope Francis’s call for us to journey together in a Synod on Synodality, “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission.” All are invited to participate in VOTF’s Synod sessions. Watch our webpage, “Listening to the Faithful: Preparing for the Synod 2021-2023” for information about upcoming sessions and links to register. The information gathered will be submitted to Rome, according to guidelines for Lay Apostolates of the Catholic Church, as VOTF is recognized.

You will hear more about these and our other activities in upcoming issues of In the Vineyard, as part of our series of stories marking 2022 as VOTF’s 20th year in service to the Church.

Thank you for your continued support.

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Pope Francis reorganizes Vatican’s doctrinal office, creating department to handle abuse cases / National Catholic Reporter

The discipline section of the congregation will manage concerns related to the sexual abuse of minors and other ‘grave’ crimes.

National Catholic Reporter

“Pope Francis on Feb. 14 overhauled the current structure of the Vatican’s doctrinal office, creating an independent section to handle disciplinary matters related to the sexual abuse of minors. 

“Under its new structure, the office will operate with autonomous doctrinal and discipline sections that will be coordinated by separate secretaries, both of whom will report to the prefect of the congregation. 

“The new legislation, Fidem servare (‘To preserve the faith’), represents the most significant organizational changes to the office in over 30 years. 

“In announcing the new structure, which comes in advance of a much-anticipated new apostolic constitution that will reorganize the Vatican’s central bureaucracy, the Vatican did not announce any personnel changes at the congregation. 

“The office’s current prefect, Cardinal Luis Ladaria, is 77 years-old and has passed the Vatican’s traditional retirement age of 75. Last month, Francis reassigned the doctrinal office’s secretary, its number two official, to lead Italy’s Reggio Emilia-Guastalla Diocese, indicating the pope could soon remake the top leadership of the office in the near future.

By Christopher White, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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You Can Now Register for Round Two of Voice of the Faithful’s Synod on Synodality Input Sessions

Voice of the Faithful has scheduled our next input sessions for the Synod on Synodality, the most significant opportunity ever for the Church’s laity to influence the future of the Church. See the schedule below, and please note:

  • The questions in Session 2 follow the questions is Session 1, so you need register for only one Set of sessions to ensure your input.
  • Sessions are restricted to eight participants to ensure all can effectively share their experiences, so your attendance is vital to the success of your session.
  • The registration deadline is three days before the first session in a set, and registration will be closed after eight participants have registered.
  • Please feel free to invite your friends, neighbors, adult children, and others and note the Saturday and Sunday sessions.

Session schedule (sign up for only one set of sessions
Register below for a Set of two Synod sessions. Choose only one Set. Each Set will include two sessions. Questions in session two follow those of session one, leading us in mutual discernment. (First round of sessions ended with Set 3, so we start here with Set 4)

The deadline for registering for a Set is three days before Session 1

Set 4: Click here to register for Set 4.(link is external)

Session 1 — Saturday, Feb. 19, 2 pm Eastern (1 pm Central, Noon Mountain, 11 am Pacific)

Session 2 — Saturday, Feb. 26, 2 p.m. Eastern (1 pm Central, Noon Mountain, 11 am Pacific)

Set 5: Click here to register for Set 5.(link is external)

Session 1 — Saturday, Feb. 19, 7 pm Eastern (6 pm Central, 5 pm Mountain, 4 pm Pacific)

Session 2 — Saturday, Feb. 26, 7 p.m. Eastern (6 pm Central, 5 pm Mountain, 4 pm Pacific)

Set 6: Click here to register for Set 6.(link is external)

Session 1 — Friday, Feb. 25, 4 pm Eastern (3 pm Central, 2 pm Mountain, 1 pm Pacific)

Session 2 — Friday, Mar. 4, 4 pm Eastern (3 pm Central, 2 pm Mountain, 1 pm Pacific)

Set 7: Click here to register for Set 7.(link is external)

Session 1 — Sunday, Feb 27, 4 pm Eastern (3 pm Central, 2 pm Mountain, 1 pm Pacific)

Session 2 — Sunday, Mar. 6, 4 pm Eastern (3 pm Central, 2 pm Mountain, 1 pm Pacific)

Set 8: Click here to register for Set 8.(link is external)

Session 1 — Monday, Mar. 14, 7:30 pm Eastern (6:30 pm Central, 5:30 pm Mountain, 4:30 pm Pacific)

Session 2 — Monday, Mar. 21, 7:30 pm Eastern (6:30 pm Central, 5:30 pm Mountain, 4:30 pm Pacific)

Set 9: Click here to register for Set 9.(link is external)

Session 1 — Wednesday, Mar. 16, 6 pm Eastern (5 pm Central, 4 pm Mountain, 3 pm Pacific)

Session 2 — Wednesday, Mar. 23, 6 pm Eastern (5 pm Central, 4 pm Mountain, 3 pm Pacific)

The Synod is for Mutual Discernment
This is your opportunity to express your hopes, dreams, desires, and, yes, even your concerns for the future of the Catholic Church. We will listen intently to the Holy Spirit and engage in mutual discernment to seek a path forward for our Church. The Synod on Synodality, officially called “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission,” will provide all people of God with a chance to express how they see the Church becoming the synodal, pastoral, evangelical Church it should be.

VOTF emphasizes that all voices will be heard for the Synod, even the voices of those who feel uncomfortable talking in a group about their experiences and hopes for the future of the Church. Anyone who would like additional information may email sends e-mail).

Click here to go to VOTF’s Synod 2021-2023 resources webpage …

Click here for Zoom instructions …


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