August 14, 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
As I do annually, I am writing to you to inform you what actions are being taken in maintaining a safe environment within our parishes. This message is to be received by all the community through parish newsletters, bulletins, and announcements. It intends to show that our diocese complies with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop’s (USCCB) Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
The church has a duty in maintaining a safe environment for all people of our community, especially our children, elderly, and those with special needs. We also have a duty to provide healing and reconciliation for those afflicted by sexual abuse by any clergy, church personnel, or volunteer. We are committed to providing outreach to any person who has been a victim of sexual abuse currently or in the past, and to cooperate with civil authorities and be transparent if such allegations come forth.
I ask and encourage any person who has been sexually abused by anyone of the church to report abuse to law enforcement or by visiting our website, chaldeanchurch.org/report. We have also added the Catholic Bishop Abuse Reporting Service (CBAR) to our website, implemented in response to Pope Francis’ apostolic letter Vos estis lux mundi, which established new procedures to ensure that bishops and religious superiors are held accountable for their actions.
Our Safety Environment office ensures that all parishes are conforming to the Dallas Charter by obtaining criminal background checks and providing training workshops for all clergy, parish personnel, and volunteers who come into contact with minors and vulnerable adults. Classes are also established for all the children enrolled in our parish programs teaching child safety material. The training program offered by our diocese for both children and adults is the Virtus Program. I have personally reviewed this program and found it to be in accordance with catholic morals and teachings.
Our diocese also conforms to yearly audits recommended by the USCCB to ensure that all Catholic dioceses and institutions in the United States are following the Dallas Charter. I am pleased to inform you that our diocese has been in full compliance and has passed all audits since 2004. You can view our policy regarding sexual abuse of minors and our code of conduct for clergy at the chancery office or our website, chaldeanchurch.org/safety.
I encourage all parents to take active roles in educating and safeguarding their children. As a church, we plan to continue our mission by keeping our children safe while they are in our parishes and institutions.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Mar Francis Y. Kalabat
Bishop of the Chaldean Diocese
of St. Thomas the Apostle U.S.A.