Safe Environment

Ethics and Integrity in Ministry

Ethics and Integrity in Ministry

The Diocese of Tyler expects all Church personnel – clergy, religious, paid personnel, seminarians, and volunteers who work with minors or vulnerable adults – to conduct their lives and ministry with ethics and integrity. Ethics means acting consistently with the morals and teachings of the Catholic Church. Integrity is characterized by virtue, honesty, accountability, soundness of judgment, and sincerity of manner, without duplicity of any kind. 

While the Second Vatican Council calls all baptized and confirmed Christians to holiness, the obligation upon Church personnel is increased because of our position. We should lead by an example that inspires others to follow Jesus more closely in their lives and we should always safeguard the well-being of others – minors, vulnerable adults, and everyone.

All Church personnel are to be committed to a life of ethics and integrity and must formally commit themselves to the Code of Conduct of Church Personnel in the Diocese of Tyler. Diocesan guidelines support our policy and clarify boundaries of acceptable and non-acceptable behaviors in the diocese. Tools like background checks, training of Church personnel, sound reporting mechanisms, and outreach to victims are critical in the process of reconciliation, healing, accountability, and prevention of future acts of abuse.

General Information & Policies

Diocesan Review Board

The diocesan Lay 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. Members appointed to the review board serve five-year terms. In the Diocese of Tyler, the board will meet twice per year (Spring and Fall) and when needed to fulfill its functions and responsibilities.

Listing of Credible Allegations of Abuse by Clergy

Official Listing of the Diocese of Tyler (PDF)

Safe Environment

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.

2022 Materials

2021 Materials

2020 Materials

2019 Materials

Children’s Curriculum

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.

Church Personnel Certification

As Christian adults, we have a moral and legal responsibility and are entrusted by God with the spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being of everyone – especially 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 a Church Personnel Certification (CPC) in the diocese. The CPC includes training, a criminal background check, and commitment to the diocesan Code of Conduct for Church Personnel. The CPC is required for all employees and other volunteers who will be working with minors or vulnerable adults. A CPC is valid for three years.

Information for Church Personnel (Employees and Volunteers)

 

NEW CHURCH PERSONNEL (FIRST TIME)

Step 1: Go to the VIRTUS portal at https://diotyl.org/virtus and create an account. You will provide required contact information and select the primary location (parish/school) where you work or volunteer.

Step 2: You will read and commit to the diocesan Code of Conduct for Church Personnel.

Step 3: You will select a facilitated training session to attend within the first 60 days of ministry.

Step 4: Click the link provided to complete the background check process with Integrated Screening Partners. You must agree to and complete all steps.

Step 5: Attend the facilitated training session you selected in Step 3. Be sure to sign-in on the registration sheet when you arrive.

Step 6 (Optional): For those who will begin employment/ministry prior to attending the facilitated training session, an awareness video presentation is required. This will be selected during the registration process.

CURRENT CHURCH PERSONNEL (RECERTIFICATION)

60 days prior to the expiration of your background check or training, you will receive e-mails from VIRTUS prompting you to renew your background check and register for new training. VIRTUS will use the e-mail address that is on file from your last certification. If you have changed your e-mail address, please notify your Local Contact Person.

Step 1: Log-in to the VIRTUS portal at https://www.virtusonline.org/virtus/ and update your contact information.

Step 2: You will read and re-commit to the diocesan Code of Conduct for Church Personnel.

Step 3: You will select a facilitated training session to attend.

Step 4: Click the link provided to complete the background check process with Integrated Screening Partners. You must agree to and complete all steps.

Step 5: Attend the facilitated training session you selected in Step 3. Be sure to sign-in on the registration sheet when you arrive.

LOCAL CONTACT PERSONS (PARISH SAFE ENVIRONMENT COORDINATORS)

Each parish, school, and organization has a Local Contact Person to assist with the Church Personnel Certification process and other requirements of the diocesan Ethics and Integrity in Ministry program. If you have questions about your Church Personnel Certification or need assistance with the process, reach out to your Local Contact Person.

Information for Pastors/Principals/Directors and Local Contact Persons

 

SCHEDULE TRAINING SESSIONS

If you wish to schedule an in-person training session in your area, pastors or parish administrators should follow the requirements below and contact a certified CPC facilitator (see below).

FACILITATORS

The diocese has appointed a group of facilitators from every deanery to lead the in-person training sessions for the Ethics and Integrity in Ministry program.  These facilitators have been trained and have agreed to serve the diocese in this capacity.  For parishes, schools, and organizations, please select facilitators closest to your parish when hosting a session.

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 vac@dioceseoftyler.org.

Si sabe o sospecha que un menor o un adulto vulnerable está siendo abusado actualmente o está en peligro, denúncielo inmediatamente a la policía estatal/local o al Departamento de Servicios Familiares y de Protección de Texas al (800) 252-5400 o txabusehotline.org.

La diócesis de Tyler está comprometida a respetar la dignidad de todas las personas y a ayudar a cualquier persona que hubiera haber podido ser herida o abusada por un sacerdote, diácono, religioso, o cualquier persona que trabaje en nombre de la Iglesia. Cualquier caso de abuso, bien sea actual o en el pasado, que involucre al personal de la Iglesia debe ser reportado a las autoridades civiles, así como al coordinador de asistencia a las víctimas – al (903) 266-2159 o vac@dioceseoftyler.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.

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

Other Resources

Note: These sites are secular sites and so not all materials on them may be appropriate for Catholic families.

Ethics and Integrity Staff

Lara, Ariseli

Lara, Ariseli

Director of Ethics and Integrity/Operations Mgr.

(903) 534-1077 x150

Ethics and Integrity Calendar

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Events