An essential part of the mission of the Church is the promotion and protection of the rights and dignity of all people. Christian principles dictate that we have a special concern for those who are most vulnerable and those who cannot fully care for themselves.
The increase in recent years in reported cases of sexual and physical misconduct points to a problem that is widespread in our society. The lasting impact of incidents of this nature on both victims and accused is a profound tragedy.
The problem of unethical sexual or physical conduct, a form of exploitation, is one that compromises the integrity of the Church’s ministers and volunteers and adversely affects the image and effectiveness of the entire Church. People place in their Church leaders a trust that must never be violated by any person employed by or volunteering services to the Church.
With a firm determination to promote and honor that trust, the Diocese of Buffalo renews its resolve to provide safety and protection for children and young people in Church ministries and institutions.
In June 2002, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) took steps to ensure the Church’s vigilance in guarding against violations of trust. In November 2002, the USCCB approved a revised Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People (Charter) and revised Essential Norms for Diocesan/Eparchial Policies Dealing with Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests or Deacons (Essential Norms), effective March 1, 2003. See Promise to Protect – Pledge to Heal: Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, Essential Norms, and Statement of Episcopal Commitment (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, March 2003). This policy of the Diocese of Buffalo has been revised to incorporate those efforts.