Upon the unanimous recommendation of the Council of Priests, the following shall be the diocesan policy on this matter effective November 1, 2012:
- Children and youth under the age of 18 years will no longer be employed in rectories, parish offices, and/or priest residences anywhere in the territory of the Diocese of Allentown.
- Children and youth shall not be admitted to rectories, parish offices, and/or priest residences in the territory of the Diocese unless accompanied by an adult other than a priest, deacon, or seminarian.
- One-on-one pastoral care of children and youth under the age of 18 years shall be initiated only during regularly scheduled times and places, in a meeting space clearly observable by another staff member or to which the door can be left ajar.
- Children and youth under 18 years of ages should not be entrusted with the keys to the parish buildings or be permitted unlimited and/or unsupervised access to the same parish buildings.
- Youth under the age of 18 years may serve as sacristans for Sunday Masses in so far as they remain in public areas within the church building.
These measures should not only be seen as protecting our children and youth, but also as a safeguard of the reputation of our priests, deacons, and seminarians.
Policy approved by Most Reverend John O. Barres at Council of Priests Meeting: March 5, 2012