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
- Notice of Concern Form for Parish Use
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.
- 2021 Safe Environment Program Decree (PDF)
- April 2021 – Child Abuse Prevention Month Resources from USCCB
- Blue Sunday 2021 (April 25) Resources
- Bulletin Flyer for April 2021: English | Spanish
- Outreach Flyer for Parishes: English | Spanish
- Warning Signs of Abuse Flyer: English | Spanish
- Recognizing Child Abuse and Neglect
- 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 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.
These lessons 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 lessons were developed by the Safe Environment Office of the Archdiocese of New York, 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.
All those who engage in ministry in the Diocese of Tyler must have an Acceptance Certificate for Service (ACS) in the diocese. The ACS includes training, a criminal background check, and commitment to the diocesan Code of Conduct. The ACS is required for all employees and other volunteers who will be working with minors or vulnerable adults. An ACS is valid for three years. The ACS is granted after completing all steps of the process below.
Information for Church Personnel (Employees and Volunteers)
STEPS TO ACQUIRE AN ACS
1. Contact the Safe Environment Coordinator at your local parish or school. You will need to provide your full legal name and your e-mail address. A unique e-mail address (only used by you) is required to obtain an ACS.
2. The parish Safe Environment Coordinator will create an account for you in Praesidium Academy, the on-line database and training platform used by the diocese. When this is completed, you will receive an e-mail from email@example.com inviting you to access Praesidium Academy. Once you have accepted this invitation, you will be asked to create a secure password, then you will sign-in and answer several simple questions.
3. Once inside the system, you will need to complete the online policy review course for the diocese. Click on Policy on Conduct of Church Personnel – Diocese of Tyler (ENG) and follow the steps to fully complete this course. The policy course takes approximately 30 minutes. Please have your computer speakers turned on.
4. After completing this course, you will need to complete a criminal background check. To do this, return to the Praesidium Academy dashboard and scroll to the very bottom of the page where you will see “Have a registration code?” Click this link and enter the following registration code: reg-bgc-premium-3yr Follow the steps to complete your background check. The background check takes approximately 10-15 minutes. Please carefully review all information before submitting. *
5. Once you have completed the online policy review course and the background check, you must attend an in-person Foundational Training session to view Praesidium’s CASE video and participate in a facilitated discussion. The Safe Environment Coordinator at your parish can provide information on upcoming sessions.
6. At the in-person session, you will commit to and sign the Code of Ethics and Integrity for Conduct of Church Personnel in the Diocese of Tyler.
* Persons operating a motor vehicle on behalf of the parish or school will be provided a different registration code.
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 birth dates are encrypted after you have entered the data. Only a partial social security number and birth date 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
A training renewal and new background check is required every three years.
Information for Pastors and Academy 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 ACADEMY ADMINISTRATORS (SAFE ENVIRONMENT CONTACTS)
If you have questions? Please contact:
Reporting and Victim Assistance
IF YOU ARE A VICTIM OR KNOW A VICTIM:
If you know or suspect that a minor or vulnerable adult is currently being abused or is in danger, immediately report it to state/local law enforcement or the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services at (800) 252-5400 or txabusehotline.org.
The Diocese of Tyler is committed respecting the dignity of all persons and to helping anyone who may have been hurt or abused by a priest, deacon, religious, or anyone working in the name of the Church.
Any current or past cases of abuse involving Church personnel should be reported to civil authorities and also to the victim assistance coordinator at (903) 266-2159 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 Coordinator
(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
- Apostolic Letter Vos Estis Lux Mundi of Pope Francis
- 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
Protecting Our Children: A Family’s Response to Sexual Abuse
Protecting Our Children: A Family’s Response to Sexual Abuse, a short documentary film produced by the Knights of Columbus, offers families a deeply personal and practical account of how one Knight and his family addressed their son’s abuse by a close family friend. The film presents parents with the scope and scale of the risks families face from sexual abuse in today’s society and provides them with knowledge and concrete steps they can follow to help keep their children safe. Click here to view the accompanying Guide For Families, a practical resource that contains useful information to help families protect their children from the risk of abuse.
For more, visit: https://www.kofc.org/en/safe-environment-program/index.html