USCCB, Letters/statements on suitability of priests for public ministry, 31 October 2008.


The USCCB Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People was asked to provide model letters on: 1) the suitability of a religious priest for a stable assignment in a diocese; 2) the suitability for temporary ministry of religious priests; and 3) a celebret or testimonial letter acknowledging a diocesan priest’s suitability for ministry. Following discussion by the USCCB Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People (CPCYP) and in consultation with the USCCB Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance, the following texts were offered to the bishops in October 2008 as models for accepting a priest into the diocese or eparchy for public ministry in fulfillment of Norm 12 of Essential Norms. The text of the suitability letters follows:




United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People

October 31, 2008

The Bishop’s Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People was asked to provide model letters on the following:

1. The suitability of a religious priest for a stable assignment in a diocese

2. The suitability for temporary ministry of religious priests

3. A model for a celebret or testimonial letter acknowledging a diocesan priest’s suitability for ministry

After thorough discussion by the Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People and in consultation with the Bishops’ Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance, I present these models to you confident that they provide the essential information that a diocesan bishop or eparch needs in order to accept a priest into the diocese or eparchy for public ministry.

Some documents that are circulating at the present time seem to be excessive in details and others seem to be vague. The CPCYP has studied the attached documents carefully and presents them to you for possible use in the United States.

The USCCB has no authority to require that a specific form of a celebret or other authorization be used. Rather, these texts are offered simply as models for consideration when implementing Church law on a local level.

Thank you for your continued support. If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact Ms. Teresa Kettelkamp at the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection at (202) 541-5413 / tkettelkamp@usccb.org or Msgr. Ronny Jenkins, Associate General Secretary at (202) 541-3100 / rjenkins@usccb.org.

(signed)

Most Reverend Gregory M. Aymond

Chair




Model for a Letter/Statement on the Suitability of a Religious Priest for a Stable Assignment

Dear (Arch)Bishop N.N.:

Under the Guidelines proposed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Conference of Major Superiors of Men, Leadership Conference of Women Religious and Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious (NCCB, November 1993) and the policies of this religious institute, I write to certify the suitability of [NAME] as a member of this religious institute in good standing. I do this in the spirit of mutuality, trust, respect and common understanding in accord with the principles set for in Mutuae Relationes (Rome, May 14, 1978).

Specifically, I write to inform you that I have proposed a member of our Province, Rev. [NAME], to the [PLACE], effective [DATE], as [ASSIGNMENT].

[NAME] was born on [DATE], made his Final Profession on [DATE], and was ordained to the Priesthood on [DATE]. [Include information such as DATES OF PREVIOUS ASSIGNMENTS, RELEVANT INFORMATION, and SPECIAL SKILLS here].

I am able to the best of my ability to assure you that [NAME] is a person of good moral character and reputation and is qualified to serve in an effective and suitable manner in your diocese. In addition, also based on inquiry and to the best of my knowledge, and in light of the provisions of can. 903 CIC and can. 703 §1 CCEO, I can assure you that nothing in his background in anyway would limit or disqualify him from this assignment.

I am unaware of anything in his background which would render him unsuitable to work with minor children. [NAME] has completed training in an educational program, a diocesan and/or the CMSM Instruments of Hope and Healing-Safeguarding Children and Young People program, conducted by Praesidium Religious Services, [GIVE DATES OF ATTENDANCE], which is in accord with the Essential Norms for Diocesan/Eparchial Policies Dealing with Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests and Deacons (USCCB 2006).

Therefore, I respectfully ask that the priestly faculties of the [NAME OF (ARCH)DIOCESE or EPARCHY] be granted to [NAME], effective [DATE], and for the duration of his assignment to [PLACE].

Be assured of my prayers for you during this time.

Respectfully in Christ,

[Name of the Major Superior]

[Title]

[Date]

Effective ______ through _____




Model for a Celebret/Testimonial of Suitability for Temporary Ministry of Religious Priests

Dear (Arch)Bishop N.N.:

In light of the provisions of can. 903 CIC and can. 703 §1 CCEO, and under the Guidelines proposed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Conference of Major Superiors of Men, Leadership Conference of Women Religious and Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious (NCCB, November 1993) and the policies of this religious institute, I write to certify the suitability of [NAME] as a member of this religious institute in good standing. I do this in the spirit of mutuality, trust, respect and common understanding in accord with the principles set forth in Mutuae Relationes (Rome, May 14, 1978).

Specifically, I write to inform you that Rev. [NAME] is a member of the Province of [PROVINCE NAME], who currently resides in [PLACE OF RESIDENCE]. He will be exercising ministry at [NAME OF THE CHURCH OR INSTITUTION] in [LOCATION OF THE CHURCH OR INSTITUTION] in your diocese, on [DATE].

I am able to make the following statements:

- He is a person of good moral character and reputation.

- I know nothing which would in any way limit or disqualify him from this ministry.

- I am unaware of anything in his background which would render him unsuitable to work with minor children.

Respectfully in Christ,

[Name of the (Arch)bishop/Eparch]

[Title]

[Date]

Effective ______ through _____




Model for a Celebret/Testimonial of Suitability for Temporary Ministry of Diocesan Priests

Dear (Arch)Bishop N.N.:

In light of the provisions of can. 903 CIC and can. 703, §1 CCEO, I write to inform you that Rev. [NAME] is an incardinated priest of the [(Arch)diocese/Eparchy] of [LOCATION], who currently resides in [PLACE OF RESIDENCE]. He will be exercising ministry at [NAME OF THE CHURCH OR INSTITUTION] in [LOCATION OF THE CHURCH OR INSTITUTION] in your diocese, on [DATE].

In regard to Rev. [NAME], I am able to make the following statements:

- He is a person of good moral character and reputation.

- I know nothing which would in any way limit or disqualify him from this ministry.

- I am unaware of anything in his background which would render him unsuitable to work with minor children.

Respectfully in Christ,

[Name of the (Arch)bishop/Eparch]

[Title]

[Date]

Effective _____ through _____




USCCB, Letters/statements on suitability of priests for public ministry, 31 October 2008, CLSA, Roman Replies and Advisory Opinions, 2009, 24-28.