Church Issues Rules of Conduct
Archdiocese of Detroit Issues New Booklet of Ministry Guidelines to Combat Sex Abuse
By Mike Martindale
The Detroit News [Detroit MI]
September 13, 2004
Rules of conduct
Among standards detailed for pastoral counselors, spiritual directors or volunteers:
* Never engage in sexual intimacies with the persons they counsel. This includes consensual and nonconsensual conduct, forced physical conduct, inappropriate sexual remarks.
* Physical contact of any kind (i.e. touching, hugging, holding) with persons they counsel can be misconstrued and should be avoided.
* Clergy should not allow individual youths to stay overnight in the cleric's residence.
* Clergy, staff and volunteers suspected of illegal actions should be reported to proper civil authorities immediately.
* Volunteers must not smoke or use tobacco products in presence of children or youths, nor possess or be under the influence of alcohol or drugs while volunteering.
Source: Archdiocese of Detroit
DETROIT — The Archdiocese of Detroit is issuing a 14-page code of conduct to priests, deacons and volunteers in the ministry in its latest effort in the campaign to combat sexual abuse.
Ned McGrath, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Detroit, said Sunday an estimated 100,000 copies of the booklets are being printed and will be distributed to every parish attended by 1.5 million Catholics in the six-county Detroit Archdiocese.
"This is something which was called for by U.S. bishops ... to help protect young people and others," said McGrath. "There has always been an understood code of conduct, but certainly nothing as detailed as this. It was discussed among priests and it was agreed it was something that was needed."
The code of conduct for clergy and other church personnel has been available for about 10 days on the Archdiocese’s Web site, www.aodonline.org, McGrath noted.
The booklet will provide guidance to priests and others regarding a wide range of situations, including physical contact, counseling, harassment and ethical misconduct.
McGrath said the booklet will be a supplement to a 40-page guide from the Protecting God’s Children program, adopted in 2002. This month, the archdiocese announced it has begun implementing Touching Safety, a two-lesson, age-appropriate program for children in kindergarten through eighth grade on how to identify and report any sexual abuse or improper touching by others.
U.S. Catholic bishops have mounted an effort to resolve about 700 cases of priests who have been accused of sexual abuse. In Metro Detroit, 23 priests have been accused and removed from their posts since 2002.
In a Sept. 1 statement, Detroit’s archbishop, Cardinal Adam Maida, said the code of conduct will provide a blueprint for priests and others to follow.
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