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Australian bishops release new code of conduct

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jackmauro - published on 04/10/24

The document replaces two separate codes for the clergy and lay ministers, and is reflective of the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards.

The Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference (ACBC) has released a national code of conduct that will guide all people who work in connection with the many ministries of the Australian dioceses. Released on April 8, the 32-page document issues new guidance concerned with the safety of children and the most vulnerable

Titled “Integrity in Our Common Mission,” Vatican News reports that the new guidelines will replace two earlier published codes of conduct that offered different guidance for clergy and the laity. Now, both groups will follow the same guiding document. 

The change was requested by Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse. It provides guidance on a variety of topics, including physical and emotional boundaries, responding to complaints, positive relationships, using social media, abuse in the workplace, and financial ethics.

In the announcement, representatives of the ACBC wrote: 

“The principles in Integrity in Our Common Mission have been developed to guide, form, strengthen and affirm those behaviors which are expected of all engaged in the ministries of the Church: in parish and sacramental life, education, health and community services, pastoral care, social welfare support and the variety of other ministries to which people of faith are called.”

The missive is reflective of the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards, which aim to assist the formation of clergy and lay pastoral leaders and reflect integrity on the aspects of their lives. Bishop Greg Bennet, chair of the Bishops Commission for Professional Standards and Safeguarding, reiterated the Church’s zero tolerance policy: 

“Integrity in Our Common Mission is a vital resource for renewing our commitment to the safety of children and vulnerable people,” he said, adding that “its principles have been developed to guide, form, strengthen and affirm those behaviors which are expected of all engaged in the ministries of the Church.

Read the full document here.

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