Downloadable Documents

Clicking on any of the titles below will download to your device a copy of the associated document. Most are MS Word files, but some require Adobe Reader – free software available on the Internet. (To find a download site for this, use Google to search for “Adobe Reader Download all versions” and then choose a version to suit your device.)

Catholicity – What does it mean to say the church is ‘catholic’? Fr Ronald Rolheiser OMI explains the difference between catholicity and fundamentalism – the attitude of the ghetto. (MS Word, one page)

Clericalism and Catholicism – What is clericalism and how does it differ from, and harm, Catholicism – as our many good priests themselves recognise. This article by VOTF Ireland coordinator Sean O’Conaill was published in the Irish News (Belfast) in November 2006, following the Ad Limina visit of the Irish bishops to Rome.) (Adobe .pdf file, one page)

Clericalism and Clerical Child Sex Abuse – How clericalism is a key factor in the power-imbalance that leads to clerical child sexual abuse. It has also led to frequent ill-treatment of victims subsequently by the institution, and to the failure of leadership to heal the church. This is VOTF Ireland’s submission to the Irish state inquiry into clerical child sexual abuse in the archdiocese of Dublin in March 2007. (MS Word, two pages)

Communicating with Bishops “Does Dialogue Begin with Capitulation?” asks Fr Tom Doyle, explaining why so many bishops’ mishandling of the abuse issue has greatly changed the attitudes of lay people towards meaningful dialogue with them. (MS Word, 3 pages)

Communion – Pope John Paul II on the importance of forwarding communion, or fellowship, in the church – a communion involving all of its members – using canonical structures for that purpose. (Single page, MS Word)

Conscience and the Role of Laity in the Church – Key quotations from theologian Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI), Cardinal John Henry Newman, The Catholic Catechism, St Thomas Aquinas and Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. (Single page, MS Word)

The Legacy of Feudalism – Fr Donald Cozzens explains how feudalism, a social system dating from the early Middle Ages, came to influence the organisation and culture of our church. Its lynchpin was unquestioning loyalty to the leader – the lynchpin of the Mafia also. But feudalism in the church is now unravelling as the scandal of child abuse forces all Catholics to develop an adult conscience. (MS Word, four pages)

Hidden Crimes – Secret Pain (VOTFI Response) – In January 2007 the Northern Ireland Office requested responses to the consultation document “Hidden Crimes, Secret Pain” on the global problem of sexual violence in our society. This is VOTF Ulster’s response, calling for an end to our church’s climate of avoidance of open internal discussion of the issue of sexual violence since 1994, and for an inquiry into the handling of the issue by religious institutions in Northern Ireland. (MS Word, two pages.)

Hidden Crimes – Secret Pain (MACSAS RESPONSE) – Margaret Kennedy, member of VOTF and director of MACSAS, a UK-based organisation for the support of victims of sexual abuse, gives a considered critique of the NI consultation document. (MS Word, 27 pages)

Pope Benedict XVI – Ad Limina Address to Irish Bishops 2006 – the pope asks the Irish bishops to address the urgent task of rebuilding trust and confidence in the wake of the clerical child abuse scandals. (MS Word, 3 pages)

Pope John Paul II – Ad Limina Address to Irish Bishops 1999 – the pope calls for ‘new structures’ which will give ‘a greater sense of belonging’ to the ecclesial community. (MS Word, 6 pages)

Structural Change Primer – How exactly is our church structured, and what room is there for change? This VOTF document is a useful primer for anyone interested in this crucial issue. (MS Word, 46 pages)

VOTF and Canon Law – Fr Tom Doyle, expert canon lawyer, explains why Voice of the Faithful has a right to exist under the law of our church, and in accordance with the documents of Vatican II. Anyone who calls VOTF a ‘disloyal’ or ‘renegade’ organisation doesn’t know the rules of the church and needs to be given a copy of this. (MS Word, four pages)

VOTF and Vatican II – Quotations from the documents of the Second Vatican Council, affirming the right and obligation of lay people to speak out on matters affecting the good of the church, and our right to act on our own initiative. (MS Word, four pages)

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