Ethics and Integrity in Ministry
The Diocese of Tyler expects all Church personnel – whether priest, deacon, religious, paid employee, or volunteer – to conduct their lives and ministry (whether in a parish, mission, Catholic school, or other Catholic institution or ministry) with ethics and integrity.
While the Second Vatican Council calls all baptized and confirmed Christians to holiness, the obligation upon Church personnel is increased because of their education and position. They should lead by an example that will inspire others to follow Jesus more closely in their life and they should always safeguard the well-being of others. Ethics and integrity in ministry require “doing what is right” rather than simply not breaking the rules.
All Church personnel are to be committed to a life of ethics and integrity and formally commit themselves to the Code of Ethics and Integrity for the Conduct of Church Personnel in the Diocese of Tyler.
General Information & Policies
- Policy and Guidelines on Ethics and Integrity: English | Spanish
- Code of Conduct for Church Personnel: English | Spanish
- Public Outreach to Victims of Abuse
- Statements on the Rights of Victims and Accused
- Response Procedure
- Notice of Concern Form
Diocesan Review Board
The Diocesan Church Personnel Conduct Review Board is a confidential consultative body to the bishop in discharging his responsibilities to oversee the conduct of Church personnel in accordance with the law, policies, and justice. It is rooted in the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young Persons but is also available to consult the bishop on broader issues of ethics and integrity in the diocese.
Listing of Credible Allegations of Abuse by Clergy
The Diocese of Tyler Safe Environment Program is conducted cooperatively with parents, civil authorities, educators, and community organizations to provide education and training for children, youth, parents, ministers, educators, volunteers, and others about ways to make and maintain a safe environment for children and young people.
- 2019 Safe Environment Program Decree (PDF)
- 2019 Safe Environment Week Letter/Bulletin Insert from Bishop Strickland (PDF)
- April 2019 “Blue Sunday” Resources
- Child Abuse Prevention Month Resources from USCCB
- Prayer to St. Maria Goretti, patroness of abused children: English Prayer Bulletin Insert/Flyer (PDF)
- Oración a Santa María Goretti, patrona de los niños que han sido abusados: Spanish Prayer Bulletin Insert/Flyer (PDF)
Every year, the children in our schools and religious education programs receive lessons in keeping themselves safe.
Our Safe Environment lesson plans have been fully revised to address each grade level with instruction and materials that are age-appropriate, user-friendly, and fully consistent with the moral teachings of the Catholic Church. The lessons are designed to promote respect for the dignity of the human person and virtuous living.
Our goal in revising the curriculum was to equip teachers, parents/guardians, and students with knowledge that can help keep children and young people safe while providing this instruction in a way that fosters the formation of Christian virtues. These revised lessons were developed by the Safe Environment Office of the Archdiocese, in consultation with professional educators and child safety experts.
Acceptance Certificate for Service
As Christian adults, we have a moral and legal responsibility and are entrusted by God with the spiritual, emotional and physical well being of minors and vulnerable adults as they participate in activities within or sponsored by our diocese. It is our responsibility and commitment to provide an environment which is safe and nurturing.
Training, a criminal background check, and commitment to the Code of Conduct is required for all employees and other Church personnel who will be ministering to minors or vulnerable adults.
Information for Church Personnel (Employees and Volunteers)
An Acceptance Certificate for Service (ACS) is required of all Church personnel – clergy, religious, seminarians, paid employees, and volunteers engaged in ministry with minors and vulnerable adults. The ACS is granted after completing the process described below. You may NOT engage in ministry until the ACS has been granted, so please plan accordingly.
STEPS TO ACQUIRE AN ACS
1. Contact the “Armatus Administrator” at your your local parish to register. Be prepared to provide your full legal name, a valid e-mail address, and other requested information. Note: An e-mail address is now required to obtain an ACS. If you do not have an e-mail address, free services like Google, Yahoo, or Outlook.com are available.
2. Once entered into the database by the Armatus Administrator, you will receive two e-mails from Praesidium, Inc.:
a. An e-mail from firstname.lastname@example.org with instructions on how to complete the online criminal background check. You must do this within seven (7) days. If you encounter any difficulties, please call the Armatus support line (instructions in e-mail).
b. An e-mail from email@example.com with instructions on how to complete the on-line training component/policy review.
3. Once you have completed the background check and on-line component, you must attend an in-person Foundational Training session to view Praesidium’s CASE video and participate in a facilitated discussion. The Armatus Administrator at your parish can provide information on upcoming sessions.
4. At the in-person session, you will commit to and sign the Code of Ethics and Integrity for Conduct of Church Personnel.
Note on Fee: The cost of the background check is $16. Please ask your parish for their policy on collecting this fee.
Note on Security: Praesidium Inc. will conduct the criminal background check. Significant efforts have been made to ensure that the personal information you provide for the background check will be kept confidential and secure. Highly sensitive information such as social security numbers and birthdates are encrypted after you have entered the data. Only a partial social security number and birthdate are visible, except to run the background check, and will remain encrypted thereafter. The encryption is a minimum of 128 bit and when possible up to a 256 bit encryption. You may contact Praesidium directly at 800-743-6354, if you have additional questions regarding security of the data.
Note on Credit Report: As part of the online background check, you will be asked to read the consent form for the background check to be run. The consent form refers to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”). The FCRA is a federal law that requires information contained in the consent to be provided anytime an individual background check is conducted for various purposes. We note, however, that the background check to which you are agreeing will not include a credit check or the collection of any financial information about you.
STEPS TO MAINTAIN YOUR ACS
Ongoing training may be required to maintain your ACS. Each year, you will receive an e-mail directing with instructions on completing the on-line components designed to build upon the Foundational Training.
A new background check is also required every three years.
Information for Pastors and Armatus Administrators
SCHEDULE TRAINING SESSIONS
If you wish to schedule an in-person Foundational Training (CASE Video) session in your area, pastors or parish administrators should follow these requirements and contact a certified ACS trainer (see below).
The diocese has appointed a group of official trainers from every deanery. These trainers have been carefully selected and have agreed to serve the diocese in this capacity. Please select trainers from closes to your parish.
PARISH ARMATUS ADMINISTRATORS
If you have questions? Please contact:
IF YOU ARE A VICTIM OR KNOW A VICTIM:
The Diocese of Tyler is committed to provide help to anyone who may have been hurt or abused by a priest, deacon, religious, or anyone working in the name of the Church.
If you know or suspect that a minor or vulnerable adult is currently being abused or is in danger, immediately report it to your local police department or the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS).
Please also report abuse, and any concerns relating to ethics and integrity of Church personnel, to our hotline at (903) 266-2159.
Additional Help for Victims
Besides contacting the Diocese of Tyler, there are also other groups to provide assistance to those abused by priests, deacons, or religious.
For those seeking spiritual healing the Maria Goretti Network, a new lay group of survivors reaching out to other survivors, is a possible resource. Another such group is Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests, a support group headed by recovering survivors of abuse by clergy. There are also some more specialized groups, such as: The Regain Network for victims of abuse of any kind by the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi. Mothers against Sexual Abuse is another resource.
Promoter of Justice
The Promoter of Justice is an official of the Tribunal, the Church court. In the Diocese of Tyler, the Promoter of Justice is a contact person for concerns about the ethics and integrity of Church personnel.
Promoter of Justice
Father John Gomez
(903) 534-1077 x171
Victim Assistance Coord.
(903) 534-1077 x150
Safe Envrionment Contact
(903) 534-1077 x188
Catholic Bishop Abuse Reporting Service
ReportBishopAbuse.org or (800) 276-1562
The Catholic Bishop Abuse Reporting Service has been established to receive reports of sexual abuse and related misconduct by bishops, and to relay those reports to proper Church authorities for investigation. Where a report includes a crime, such as the sexual abuse of a minor, it will also be reported to civil authorities. Otherwise, reports will be kept confidential.
If you have any other kind of complaint about a bishop—such as parish assignments, church closings, or homily contents—please address those directly to the Diocese of Tyler. Sexual abuse by a priest, deacon or a staff member or volunteer of the Church should be reported as instructed on this page.
If you are the victim of sexual abuse (or any other crime), please contact local law enforcement.
Links and Information
- Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors
- USCCB Charter for Protection of Children and Young People
- Diocesan Social Media Policy: English | Spanish
- Visit www.bluesunday.org for free church bulletins, videos, press release, Happy Family’s children handouts, and more
Note: These sites are secular sites and so not all materials on them may be appropriate for Catholic families.
- Grooming: Basic description of the grooming process
- NetSmartz: www.netsmartz.org Good materials at various grade levels.
- NetSmartzKids: www.netsmartzkids.org Child-friendly activity site
- NS Teens: www.nsteens.org Teen friendly site connected with NetSmartz
- Coalition for children: www.safechild.org Materials for children safety
- TX Attorney General: www.oag.state.tx.us
- Booklet on Child Abuse: .pdf of booklet
- State Crime Victims on Abuse: www.oag.state.tx.us/victims/childabuse.shtml
- www.childhelpusa.org – This site has free downloads and inexpensive materials