Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
I commend and thank you for your desire to serve Christ and His Church through some form of Parish or Diocesan apostolate. Your desire, while commendable, does not take from me or others in leadership positions in the Diocesan the responsibility we have to be vigilant about keeping children safe. A part of that vigilance includes a screening of employees and volunteers. I thank you in advance for your cooperation in this screening process. A second part, and in some ways a more critical part, involves your participation in the Shield the Vulnerable training designed to make you more aware of the prevalence of child abuse in our society, its subtle warning signs and what you, as a volunteer, are to do in cases of suspected abuse or neglect.
Any form of child abuse is absolutely contrary to the Gospel values of care and concern that Jesus commands us to have for one another. Child abuse is contrary to all that the Catholic Church believes and professes about the dignity of human persons. It is never to be tolerated.
The Statutes of the Diocese of Santa Rosa mandate that all its personnel – clerics, religious, employees and volunteers – are bound to maintain the strictest legal and moral standards in their ministerial relationships, especially with regard to young persons. Abusive conduct toward children or young people is not only a crime; it is a serious violation of Catholic moral teaching.
Vigilance is necessary in order to prevent abuse and to see that no child, not one at all, is victimized by such sinful and hurtful behavior. The Diocese of Santa Rosa is committed to the protection of children and your vigilance is essential to the fulfillment of this commitment.
Asking every good grace and blessing of God upon you, I am
Sincerely yours in Christ Jesus,
Bishop Robert F. Vasa
Bishop of Santa Rosa
In June 2002, the Bishops of the United States signed the Charter for Protection of Children and Young People. Aritcle 12 of this Charter requires that each diocese 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. Article 13 of the Charter requires that the diocese conduct a criminal background check on all clergy, employees and volunteers who have regular unsupervised contact with minors.
In order to ensure compliance with the Charter and to maintain a safe environment of all young people, the Diocese of Santa Rosa requires two things. prior to beginning any work or volunteer activity. All clergy, employees and volunteers who have regular contact with children are to: