Documents (in PDF format) may be downloaded and printed, or printed directly from the web site. We also can mail documents to you, for the price of handling and shipping. Please contact the office for this service: email; telephone 781-559-3360.

Documents are listed alphabetically by category.

General Information

Asserting Our Rights: one-page summary of our rights and responsibilities as the People of God

Church Governance: four-page overview of governance and what Pope Francis may reform

Projects & Prospects: VOTF Scorecard for 2015-2016

Rights and Responsibilities of the Laity: four-page coverage of lay rights within the Church

Ten Steps to Reform: steps VOTF members can take to help reform the Church

Why VOTF?: four-page description of how VOTF helps raise voices together

VOTF Bylaws

VOTF Statement of Identity


Bishop Selection

Bishop Selection Primer — 2-page summary of VOTF model for lay input into bishop selection

Consulting the Laity on Candidates for the Episcopacy

Proposal for International Bishop Selection Modeling


Clericalism & Celibacy

A Brief History of Celibacy: a condensed summary, with bibliography

Action Plan: Petition to Ordain Married Men and Bishop Letter Template

Celibacy: Suggested Readings — a short bibliography

The Clerical Culture — three-page description of the culture that feeds sex-abuse and other scandals

Clerical Culture Among Roman Catholic Clergy in the U.S.: overview of the clerical culture with bibliography for additional reading

Colloquium on Clericalism at 2016 AUSCP Conference: Outline and Handout

Crisis in the Priesthood: Conversations About Celibacy with Revs. Richard McBrien and Don Cozzens and Prof. David O’Brien (Study Guide 1 for VOTF DVD “Conversations About Celibacy”)

Crisis in the Priesthood: Conversations About Celibacy with Fr. Don Cozzens (Study Guide 2 for VOTF DVD “Conversations About Celibacy”)

Mandatory Celibacy and the Priesthood (a history outline) and Nine Parish Models (for an era with fewer priests)

Mandatory Celibacy: Time to Discuss Its Flaws: an essay by Edward J. Greenan

Petition to Ordain Married Men

Talking Points: Priesthood for both Married and Celibate

Tips for Meeting with Bishop


Financial Accountability & Transparency

2020 Report on Measuring and Ranking Diocesan Financial Transparency

2019 Report on Measuring and Ranking Diocesan Financial Transparency

2018 Report on Measuring and Ranking Diocesan Financial Transparency

2017 Transaparency Report: Measuring and Ranking Diocesan Financial Transparency

Canon Law and Diocesan Finance Councils: commentary on the canon laws

Canon Laws on Church Finances: relevant canons from the Code of Canon Law

Currency Counting Form: a template for properly counting cash in the weekly collection baskets

Diocesan Finances Analysis: What Can We Learn? with Notes

Financial Accountability: one-page summary of initiative to foster financial transparency and accountability at diocesan level

Financial Accountability & Transparency Project: description of VOTF project

Guidelines for Finance Councils: “best practice” guidelines established in Chicago Archdiocese

How to Read a Diocesan Financial Statement: instructions on analyzing what your diocese reports

Parish Financial Security: brochure for publicizing security needs

Principles for Diocesan Finance Councils

Questionnaire for Diocese Accountability & Transparency Project

Using the VOTF Finance Accountability Database: instructions for opening the web-based “window” into records on U.S. diocesan financial reporting

What’s Your Parish’s F-IQ?: a 10-step yes/no questionnaire to assess your parish’s Financial Integrity Quotient, and how secure your weekly parish collections are


Lay Education

Church Origins: VOTF study guide (21 pages) on the origins of the Church; related document shows the TImeline scriptural scholars generally assign to the writings of the New Testament (3 pages)

Collaborative Study Tips: outline of suggestions for encouraging full participation in a shared learning experience

Parish Read: a simple approach to working within your parish on lay-organized projects; this template focuses on reading a book together

Promise of Vatican II: study guide for 4-week discussion series

Scripture Surprises: essay from Commonweal (2007) on why we study Scripture

Vatican II: Faithful Revolution: study guide for lengthy DVD series (available on Amazon) about the Church council that “opened windows”


Ordaining Married Catholics

Petition to Ordain Married Men

Talking Points: Priesthood for both Married and Celibate

Tips for Meeting with Bishop


Restorative Justice & Healing Circles

Healing Circles lecture: Bill Casey at BC Church in the 21st Century, Dec. 3, 2015

How Do Healing Circles Work?

Healing Circles Background, Mission, Vision, and Committee

Options for Truth & Reconciliation Efforts

Restorative Justice Concepts

Testimony from Healing Circle Participants

Boston Globe article on Healing Circles


Spiritual & Devotional Resources

Day of Renewal Model: step-by-step details for developing and running a day of renewal for a small group

Emmaus Prayer Service: lay-led prayer service with the theme of an Emmaus Moment

Faith Sharing Groups: outline of steps for organizing a small faith-sharing group

Proposing a Parish Book-Read: template for organizing gatherings

Reconciliation-based Model for Meetings: template suitable for VOTF and other meetings, with model handout and a leader’s guide

911 Prayer Service: template for a lay-led remembrance service

Vespers of Hope: prepared in collaboration with the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests

Note: Additional prayers and services are available directly on the web site. See the Prayers and Prayer Services page under our Prayerful Voice Program.


Structural Change

Church Structure: Organizational Primer: PDF version; for slide presentation, please contact VOTF National

Diocesan Health Check: Introduction

Diocesan Health Check: Instructions

Diocesan Health Check: E-VAAVC Health Check Template

Parish Good Governance Test

: simple questionnaire to apply in your own parish

Parish Pastoral Council Self Assessment: for PPC members to assess their own operations

Proposal for Independent Judicial Review of a Diocese: would establish administrative tribunals in dioceses to address violations of lay rights (which are codified in 1983 Canon Law)

Proposal for Mutual Visitation as a Mechanism for Renewal: visits among dioceses could encourage renewal and strengthen “fraternal correction” via exposure to operational practices elsewhere

Sample Mission Statements

Sample Diocesan Guidelines

Sample Parish Pastoral Council Documents

Parish A – PPC Constitution & Bylaws

Parish B – PPC Constitution

Parish C – PPC Constitution & Bylaws

Parish D – PPC Constitution & Bylaws


Survivor Support

Bibliography on reports, essays, books covering sex abuse in the Church, by Fr. Tom Doyle

Vatican Report of Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick

Government and Academic reports on clergy sex abuse: academic assessments and investigative reports from national and international government commissions.

John Jay Reports (commissioned by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops)

The Nature and Scope of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests and Deacons in the United States 1950-2002 (published 2004)

The Nature and Scope Supplementary Data Analysis 2006 (published 2002)

The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests and Deacons in the United States, 1950-2010 (published 2011)

VOTF Commentary and Analysis on the John Jay Causes and Context Study

Statutes of Limitations Advocacy Guide — guidelines for those who wish to work within their states for reform of laws that serve to shield child abusers rather than protect children (22 pages)

U.S. State Legislature and Attorney General Reports

Altoona-Johnstown Diocese: Report of the Thirty-Seventh Statewide Investigating Grand Jury (published 2016)

Boston MA: The Sexual Abuse of Children in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston: A Report by the Attorney General (published 2003)

Manchester NH: Attorney General Investigative Report plus

Audit Agreement by Manchester Diocese to Avoid Criminal Prosecution

2005 Audit

Link to 2006 Assessment, Appendices, and Exhibits (includes data from the 2002 Agreement)

2007 Audit

Compliance Report Advisory Jan 2008

Compliance Report December 2008

Philadelphia PA: Grand Jury Report (2003) and Grand Jury Report (2011) and Grand Jury Report (2018) on six dioceses

Kansas City MO: Investigation of the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph and

Indictment of Bishop Finn and Diocese

Suffolk County NY: Special Grand Jury Report Report (published 2003)

Internal Audit

Capuchin Province of St. Joseph (U.S.), June 2013

Australian Government Reports

Ireland Government Reports

Murphy Report (published shortly after the Ryan Report) covered clergy sex abuse in the Archdiocese of Dublin.

Part 1, Part 2, Conclusions and Appendices

Ryan Report (the name commonly attached to this investigation) was conducted by Ireland’s Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse on the abuses committed in Church-run orphanages and industrial schools.

The Netherlands

Summary of Report by Commission of Inquiry (published December 2011) [Note that first page in the Summary has a single word on it; text begins on page 2.]


McLellan Commission Report (published August 2015) reports on the safeguarding policies, procedures and practices of the Church in Scotland, at the request of the Bishops’ Conference there. The recommendations (beginning on page 66) highlight the need to listen to, support, and find justice for survivors.


Women’s Roles in the Church

Women Deacons: How Long? — paper on restoring the female diaconate to the Church (15 pages)

Suggested Readings: Women in the Church — additional resources and information on women’s roles (9 pages)