Melkite Greek Catholic Eparchy of
The Eparchy of Newton (“the Eparchy”), which was established in 1976, encompasses 18 states, consists of 35 parishes and one seminary, has 47 diocesan priests and 37 deacons, and serves a population of 29,323 registered Catholics. The Most Reverend John A. Elya, who was installed as bishop in 1993, leads the Eparchy. A compliance audit of the Eparchy was conducted during the period of October 27-30, 2003.
The information set forth below represents conditions as they were found during the week of the audit. Information regarding necessary corrective actions taken by the Eparchy subsequent to the audit will be found in the last paragraph.
To Promote Healing and Reconciliation
The Eparchy has established an outreach program. The bishop has met with the one victim who reported abuse before 2002. The victim assistance coordinator is Fr. Andre St. Germain, who also functions as director of finance and chief assistant to the bishop. A Recommendation was made for the Eparchy to publish the name of the victim assistance coordinator. The eparchial review board (currently called the “pastoral care commission”) was established in 2002 and consists of seven members, including one priest and six respected members of the lay community. Procedures for making a complaint of abuse are set forth in the sexual misconduct policy, which at the time of the audit was in draft form awaiting finalization. An Instruction was issued for the Eparchy to promptly finalize and publish this updated policy. There have been no confidentiality agreements entered into by the Eparchy since June 2002.
To Guarantee Effective Response to Allegations of Abuse of a Minor
Although there have been no cases requiring cooperation with the civil authorities after June 2002, the one prior case was correctly reported, indicating that an effective working relationship has been established. The Eparchy’s procedure for advising victims/survivors of their right to report allegations of abuse by a member of the clergy to civil authorities is set forth in the draft policy referred to above. The Eparchy has established a code of conduct for priests and deacons, but it has not been widely disseminated. An Instruction was issued for the Eparchy to publicize and distribute standards of ministerial behavior and appropriate boundaries for clergy and other church personnel who have regular contact with children. The Eparchy’s communications policy stating the bishop’s intention to be open and transparent on issues regarding the sexual abuse of children is set forth in the draft sexual misconduct policy.
To Ensure Accountability of Procedures
The Eparchy was unable to provide any documentation showing that it had participated in the research study regarding the “nature and scope” of the problem of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy. An Instruction was issued for the Eparchy to submit the requested information.
To Protect the Faithful in the Future
The Eparchy has not implemented a safe environment program. An Instruction was issued for the Eparchy to institute a program that (a) provides training for parents, educators, clergy, employees, and volunteers who regularly work with children and (b) addresses the needs of children and youth. The Eparchy has developed standards of conduct for priests and deacons, as well as eparchial employees, volunteers, and any other church personnel in positions of trust who have regular contact with children and young people; but these standards have only been distributed to priests and deacons. An Instruction was issued for the Eparchy to appropriately disseminate the standards of conduct. The Eparchy is not conducting background evaluations for eparchial and parish personnel who have regular contact with minors. An Instruction was issued for the Eparchy to institute procedures for conducting background evaluations for such individuals. The Eparchy has not transferred any priest or deacon who has had a credible allegation of sexual abuse lodged against him to another eparchy for ministerial assignment, or for purposes of residence. The bishop, or his delegate, and the major superiors have coordinated their respective roles regarding issues of allegations of sexual abuse made against a cleric member of a religious institute. The Eparchy has not had an opportunity to cooperate with other churches, religious bodies, and institutions of learning in conducting research in the area of sexual abuse of minors. The Eparchy has established screening techniques in the selection of candidates for ordination, but the process does not include the conducting of background evaluations. An Instruction was issued for the Eparchy to include a background evaluation in its screening process for candidates for ordination. The Eparchy has a program for the systematic, ongoing formation of priests.
Compliance with the Provisions of the Charter
At the conclusion of this audit, the Eparchy of Newton was issued five Instructions and one Recommendation.
INSTRUCTION 1—The Eparchy will update its 1995 Policy on Sexual Misconduct with Minors Involving Clerics to conform to the requirements of the Charter.
INSTRUCTION 2—The Eparchy will publicize and distribute standards of ministerial behavior and appropriate boundaries for clergy and other church personnel who have regular contact with children.
INSTRUCTION 3—The Eparchy will obtain and complete the descriptive study on the “nature and scope” of the problem of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.
INSTRUCTION 4—The Eparchy will implement a safe environment program that (a) provides training for parents, educators, clergy, employees, and volunteers who regularly work with children and youth and (b) addresses the needs of children and youth.
INSTRUCTION 5—The Eparchy will institute procedures for the conducting of background evaluations for all eparchial and parish personnel who have regular contact with children, and also for candidates for ordination.
RECOMMENDATION—That the Eparchy make a public announcement of the name of the victim assistance coordinator.
As of December 1, 2003, Instructions 1 and 2 and Recommendation 1 had been addressed. Instructions 3, 4, and 5 had not been addressed. The Eparchy of Newton is found to be compliant with the Charter with the exception of Articles 9, 12 and 13, as measured by the process described in Chapter 2 in Section I.
The compliance audit measured activity that has occurred since the adoption of the Charter in June 2002 with the exception of certain mandated actions found in Articles 5 and 14. Actions taken by the diocese/eparchy prior to June 2002 to address allegations of sexual abuse of minors by priests and deacons are not included in this summary report.
Office of Child and Youth Protection
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
3211 4th Street, N.E., Washington, DC 20017-1194
(202) 541-5413 | FAX: (202) 541-5410