Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
It has been several years since the United States Catholic Bishops gathered in Dallas, Texas to respond to incidents of sexual abuse and to sign a Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. The bishops pledged to promote healing and reconciliation for the victims of this abuse and to respond effectively to any allegations.
The Diocese of Venice is committed to these promises and continues to reach out to victims and to respond to allegations. One of the primary means by which this is done is the Safe Environment Progam which calls us to integrity, transparency and fidelity. All priests, religious, deacons, employees, and volunteers who work with children, including me your Bishop, undergo background checks and screening. Further, all are required to attend a Safe Environment Program offered in various locations throughout the Diocese. The training of the Safe Environment Program addresses the increased awareness needed regarding abuse and the gravity of sexual abuse.The Diocese also has a policy for the Protection of God’s Children and Vulnerable Adults that provides all information regarding the reporting, processing and dealing with allegations, You may find this policy on the Diocesan website, dioceseofvenice.org/diocesan-policies-and-forms.
The Diocese of Venice complies with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, and provides a safe environment for children. Moreover, the Diocese has been and continues to be audited by an independent firm of auditors, most of whom are former FBI Agents.
Although the Diocese has been doing everything possible to protect children and promote the awareness of such abuse, our primary concern and focus remains the healing and reconciliation for victims. We pray God will bring peace to those who suffer or have suffered from abuse. The Church is forthright and serious in her continued commitment to provide a safe environment for all of our faithful, whether in our parishes, schools, religious education programs or other activities.
I ask all of you to pray for the victims and for those who have suffered because of abuse. May Almighty God guide us as we continue in our commitment to His people.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Bishop Frank J. Dewane
Diocese of Venice in Florida