Catholic Reform Group Launched with Extensive Press Coverage, Wide Grassroots Participation

Voice from the Desert

December 1, 2008

Press Release from Send the Bishops a Message

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Catholic Reform Group Launched With Extensive Press Coverage, Wide Grassroots Participation

Fast Start for Send the Bishops a Message

Tucson, AZ — Dec 1, 2008 –

“Send the Bishops a Message” is a recently launched group of reform-minded Roman Catholics deeply disappointed, saddened, and exasperated about Catholic Church officials’ two major, ongoing failures: to protect children from dangerous clerical predators and to provide acceptable levels of stewardship for hard-earned donations. The group advocates that all Catholics withhold financial donations (cash, check, and credit card) on designated “Withholding Sundays,” to send a message to the bishops that business as usual will no longer be tolerated.

A news conference at Our Lady of the Angels cathedral in Los Angeles on November 10th launched Send the Bishops a Message. The Los Angeles Times featured Send the Bishops a Message in a story by Duke Helfand published in the paper’s November 11th edition. Two L.A. radio stations, KFWB News 980 (Reporter: Bill Cooper) and 89.3 KPCC Southern California Public Radio (Reporter: Brian Watt) also participated in the news conference. Gustavo Arellano, a reporter for the OC (Orange County) Weekly and prolific chronicler of Catholic clergy sex abuse of children and the cover up of the abuse by Orange Bishop Tod Brown, featured Send the Bishops a Message on his blog. The Burbank Spanish language TV station Telemundo on November 10th also interviewed Frank Douglas, the group’s national director.

Send the Bishops a Message advisory board member Linda Pieczynski carried the Send the Bishops a Message banner in a news story published November 11th in a Chicago area newspaper. Linda underscored the group’s main goal: “We want to make Catholics aware that they can change their church,” she said.

Advisory board member Jim Jenkins was interviewed on November 17th for one hour during the prime time evening rush hour on the Andy Caldwell AM 1440 talk radio show that broadcasts in the Central California Coast area.

Advisory board member Vinnie Nauheimer in a November 29th opinion piece in the Journal News, a Gannett Co. Inc. newspaper serving Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties in New York, said, “It is time for the bishops to [drop] …visions of grandeur and airs of self-importance. Continuing this charade only hurts the church, its priests and most importantly, the laity; for it is they who bear the brunt of the embarrassment and monetary burdens created by an out-of-touch hierarchy.”

As of November 30th, Catholics from 43 U.S. dioceses and one foreign country (Australia) have either joined the Send the Bishops a Message campaign or reported that they withheld financial donations on November 16th, the 1st international Withholding Sunday. The 43 U.S dioceses are: Albany, Arlington, Atlanta, Baltimore, Belleville, Boston, Brooklyn, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Colorado Springs, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Fort Worth, Hartford, Kansas City (KS), Lansing, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, New Orleans, New York, Oakland, Ogdensburg, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland (ME), Rochester, Rockford, Rockville Centre, Saginaw, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Fe, St. Louis, Santa Rosa, Seattle, Tampa, Tucson, Washington, Winona, and Youngstown.

CONTACT–Frank Douglas at (520) 404-2489

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