Our children are the most precious gifts God has entrusted to our care. As a priest, deacon, religious, employee, or volunteer of the Catholic Church (hereafter known as diocesan personnel), I acknowledge that all individuals shall be treated with respect, courtesy, dignity, patience, loyalty and integrity. I promise to strictly follow rules in this Code of Conduct as a condition of my providing services to the children and/or youth of our parish/school/diocese.
- Situations in which an individual is alone with an unrelated minor are to be avoided. If a one-to-one meeting with an unrelated minor must occur, it should be held in a public or visible area within a building, such as an office with an interior window or an office with the door open. Under no circumstances is a minor to be removed or transported away from parish or school property alone.
- As professionals, it is inappropriate to give expensive gifts to (or receive expensive gifts from) minors who receive services from us. While it is difficult to define the term “expensive,” for this purpose it is defined as a gift not to exceed $50.00.
- Minors are never to be disciplined corporally or corrected with abusive or other inappropriate language.
- No one, other than a law enforcement officer responding to an emergency/crime, is allowed to carry or be in the possession of a weapon while working with a minor. This includes those who have a permit to carry any type of weapon. The term “weapons” shall be as defined by Commonwealth Law as found in the M.G.L. c.140, c.269, and c.276.
- It is understood that alcohol and tobacco products are regulated and defined by age limits as established by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Employees, volunteers, priests, deacons, and religious are expected to enforce these regulations and never purchase or provide alcohol or tobacco products for those who are underage.
- Illegal drugs/controlled substances shall never be distributed to or purchased for minors in the care of a priest, deacon, religious, employee or volunteer of the Diocese of Fall River.
- Prescription drugs shall never be distributed to a person whose name is not on the prescription.
- No one will be under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, or be abusing prescription drugs while engaged in professional or volunteer activities representing the Diocese of Fall River.
- As professionals, we must always provide a safe environment, which ensures that sexual boundaries will not be violated. These include, but are not limited to, sexual, physical, and emotional boundaries, and all forms of contact, such as telephone, email, texting, social networking, and any other form of electronic media.
- Never touch a minor in a sexual or other inappropriate manner. It is illegal to engage in any form of sexual behavior with a minor.
- Professionals in a supervisory capacity should be mindful of their responsibilities to the youth that they serve, and at no time shall their role be used to coerce an individual to engage in any sexual or other inappropriate behavior.
- At no time is it acceptable for any diocesan personnel to be in possession of child pornography and/or distributing child pornography (per M.G.L. c.272 s29B and s29C). Any diocesan personnel known to be in possession of such material and/or distributing the same shall be reported immediately to the proper authorities and shall be subject to an inquiry and possible disciplinary actions according to the Diocesan Abuse Prevention Policies & Procedures (2013).
- Always report any suspected abuse to Catholic Social Services at 508-674-4681 and other appropriate designated staff.
I understand that as a priest/deacon/religious/employee/volunteer working with children and/or youth, an investigative background check will be made on me. I understand that failure to follow any rule in the Code of Conduct will result in an inquiry and possible corrective/disciplinary actions from the Diocese.
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All priests/deacons/religious/volunteers/employees of the Fall River Diocese must sign this form to be a priest/deacon/religious/volunteer/employee of the Fall River Diocese. These forms are available here, on this website in .pdf format below.
For the complete Code of Conduct form please CLICK HERE.