The men and women who hold certain ministerial positions as employees or volunteers within the Archdiocese of Detroit are to a significant degree its public face. A condition of employment or volunteerism for such positions is that those who hold them live in full accord with Catholic moral teaching as outlined in the Archdiocese of Detroit Employee Handbook. Such condition is violated if the individual holding such position publicly and obstinately persists in living in a way that contradicts that teaching (cf., canon 210, 747,748§1, 915). If the breach is substantial, as determined by the Archdiocese in its discretion, it will result in termination of employment or volunteerism of such individual.
Reconciliation is available to such a person as it is to all of us, for we all are sinners in need of forgiveness. Vatican II reminds us of the Gospel mandate: We must follow “the way of penance and renewal” (Lumen Gentium, 8). But a question beyond that of spiritual reconciliation arises: May such a person ever return to a ministerial position within the Archdiocese (the Curia, parishes, schools, and other ministries)? This policy is intended to address the question of whether and how such a person may regain eligibility for employment or volunteering.
The Archdiocese of Detroit will judge each individual case to determine whether it will serve the Church’s common good to give a person the opportunity to follow a path that could restore employment or volunteerism. That judgment will be based on a number of considerations, including the degree of scandal caused by the violation of Church teaching. In the case of a positive judgment, the person in question will be asked to take the following steps:
- Resolve to live a life fully in accord with Catholic moral teaching and follow a plan to carry out that resolution. The resolution must be made in good faith, such that it expresses the individual’s sincere desire to live such a life.
- Meet with a spiritual advisor/director, agreed upon by both the person in question and the Archdiocese, who will offer spiritual support and, in consultation with the person, develop the appropriate plan.
- Make and carry out a plan agreeable to the Archdiocese and the person in question to make restitution, including public admissions and apologies where appropriate, for any public scandal he or she may have caused.
- Demonstrate for a reasonable period of time, as determined by the Archdiocese in its discretion, that he or she has been living in full accord with Catholic moral teaching.
Updated March 3, 2021