Safe Environment

Ethics and Integrity in Ministry for Church Personnel

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.

2024 Materials

2023 Materials

    Children’s Safe Environment Curriculum: Empowering God’s Children

    The job of ensuring children’s safety is a challenging undertaking. The prevention of child sexual abuse requires more than adult awareness, education, and training about the nature and scope of the problem. We must also give our children the tools they need to overcome the advances of someone who intends to do them harm. The Teaching Safety program guide is a tool designed to assist parents and teachers in this important task. The Teaching Safety program is a vehicle through which parents, teachers, catechists, and youth ministers give children and young people the tools they need to protect themselves from those who might harm them.

    In compliance with Article 12 of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, the Diocese of Tyler utilizes the Empowering God’s Children™ program from VIRTUS® to meet our obligation to provide education and training for minors about ways to sustain and foster a safe environment.

    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. The program is required training for all youth who participate in religious education and Catholic schools.

    NOTE: Empowering God’s Children™ from VIRTUS® focuses on teaching minors the tools they need to protect themselves and what to do if someone tries to violate their boundaries. It builds sequentially on developmentally appropriate topics each year. It is not a human sexuality education program. Parents can learn more about Empowering God’s Children™ at: https://www.virtusonline.org/virtus/touchingsafetyprogram.cfm

    Reference Guide: English | Spanish

    Program Materaials and More Information: https://www.dioceseoftyler.org/egc

    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 Church personnel in the Diocese of Tyler must have a Church Personnel Certification (CPC). 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.

    To learn more or begin the process, visit https://www.dioceseoftyler.org/cpc/

    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

    Kilburn, Katia

    Kilburn, Katia

    Administrative Assistant

    (903) 534-1077 x134
    Lara, Ariseli

    Lara, Ariseli

    Director of Ethics and Integrity

    (903) 534-1077 x150

    Ethics and Integrity Calendar

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    Events