Daily Scripture Readings
Top O' The Morning
Saint Of The Day
Bishop Malloy's Public Schedule
June 1, 2016
Galena - 5:30 p.m., Confirmation for St. Michael and St. Mary Parishes at St. Michael Church
June 3, 2016
Woodstock - 7:00 p.m., Commencement Ceremony at Marian Central Catholic High School
June 4, 2016
Rockford - 11:00 a.m., Mass for the Sacred Order to the Priesthood at the Cathedral
Protecting God's Children
Lumen Fidei
The Observer
Calendar of Events
Webinar/Family Matters
June 2, 2016 - 9:00am
Champions for Children luncheon
June 2, 2016 - 11:30am (Rockford)
Individual retreats
June 6, 2016 - TBA (Barrington)
CSI Science Camp
June 6, 2016 - TBA (Aurora)
May 2016

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Communion Divorce Abuse Scandals
Confession Saints All-Male Clergy
Marriage Abortion Birth Control
Read the Catechism
Where Do I Call Home?
For Your Marriage
Por Tu Matrimonio

Sexual misconduct by clergy, Church personnel, Church leaders and volunteers is contrary to Christian morals, doctrine and Canon Law. It is never acceptable and Bishop David J. Malloy has declared emphatically, that "one case of abuse, is one too many." We acknowledge that sexual misconduct can have devastating consequences and effects on the victims and their families, the Church community, and for the transgressor.

The Rockford Diocese remains committed to preventing abuse and remains vigorous in its efforts of education, prevention and healing.

"To report an instance of sexual abuse by clergy, religious or
laity affiliated with the Diocese of Rockford,
contact local police authorities
and call the Victims Abuse Line: 815-293-7540."

If the abuse involves a minor, also contact the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services at 1-800-25-ABUSE.

Quick links

Communications Policy: Media relations regarding sexual abuse allegations

Safe Environment Online Training: VIRTUS/Protecting God's Children for Adults

USCCB Office of Child & Youth Protection

Frequently asked questions

What was the Diocese of Rockford's procedure in the past when handling sexual abuse or misconduct allegations?

Since 1987, the Diocese has had a policy in place to respond to sexual abuse allegations. The policy called for a Diocesan Intervention Team (now known as the Review Board) to investigate the allegations; for the alleged victim to be given information regarding how to report the allegations to civil authorities; for the Diocese to make counseling services available to the alleged victim. Under the policy, where allegations against a priest were deemed credible, the priest would be removed from any parish or other assignment which would have allowed him access to young people.

All priests, deacons, seminarians, religious, employees and volunteers of the Diocese are required to acknowledge that they will follow the Diocese of Rockford Norms for the Prohibition of Sexual Misconduct with Minors and Adults: Education, Prevention, Assistance To Victims, And Procedures For Determination Of Fitness For Ministry/Employment.

What is the procedure since the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' meeting in Dallas in June 2002?

The Diocese of Rockford adheres to the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, which was approved by the bishops in Dallas, and became particular law for the Catholic Church in the United States after Pope John Paul II approved it in October 2002. In keeping with the Charter, when an allegation is reported to the Diocese, it is referred to the Diocese's Review Board for prompt investigation. The allegation is also reported to law enforcement authorities and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services in cases where the victim is still a minor. Adult victims are encouraged to make a report to law enforcement and the Diocese cooperates in all investigations conducted by law enforcement. The Review Board's findings and recommendations are reported to the Bishop of the Diocese. Following a credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor, the accused is removed from all ministry duties, and the allegations will be referred to the Vatican for appropriate investigation and resolution according to Canon Law. Counseling is offered to the alleged victim, as well as to the accused. In no case is a priest who is credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor permitted to function as a priest.

What is the Church doing for the alleged victim?

When the Diocese learns of an allegation, the alleged victim is offered counseling and the Diocese reaches out to the alleged victim to begin the process of pastoral healing. The alleged victim is immediately encouraged to contact the appropriate civil legal authorities The Diocese reports to law enforcement and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services all allegations involving a current minor. At the same time, the Diocesan Investigator and the Diocesan Review Board investigate the allegation with the intention of being able to substantiate it. Diocesan investigators who are retired law enforcement officials, investigate every allegation even if the state's statutes of limitations on civil and criminal proceedings have expired, and the Review Board then makes its recommendations.

Does anyone from the Diocese meet with alleged victims of sexual abuse?

Every alleged victim is given the opportunity to meet with the Diocese's victims assistance coordinator, and the Bishop or his delegate.

What if I am an alleged victim of sexual abuse by a clergyman?

You should report every instance of sexual abuse by anyone to the proper legal authorities immediately, including the Department of Children and Family Services at 1-800-25-ABUSE. If the alleged abuser is associated with the Diocese of Rockford, after you have reported the abuse to legal authorities, call the Diocese's sexual abuse hotline at 815-293-7540.

Why are these allegations becoming public?

Part of the reason is the national publicity that has occurred. After years of silent pain, victims have learned that they were not alone and have come forward. Their coming forward now explains why the majority of alleged instances of abuse reported have been reported in just the last few years, and why most of the reports concern allegations dating back decades ago.

Why didn't bishops and dioceses know that these clergymen were doing such terrible things?

A priest commits to a life of celibacy and it is presumed that he lives according to that promise. When a man is ordained to the priesthood, it is presumed he has every intention of adhering to that promise. However, no bishop can know of every priest's intentions or actions at all times. While some bishops may have known or should have known of a priest's intentions or actions, the majority of the deplorable acts of sexual abuse were hidden from everyone except the offender and his victim.

Sexual abuse of minors is a societal problem, and it is more widespread than most people knew until recently. Most abuse occurs in the home, and most abusers are family members or close, trusted friends of the family. Of course, that statistic does not mean that most adult family members or friends of the family are abusers. In the same way, most clergy are not abusers.

What is the Diocese doing to eliminate the problem of abuse by clergy?

The Diocese is doing many things. It screens and tests candidates for the priesthood and diaconate. It conducts ongoing training and education programs in the detection and prevention of sexual abuse for priests, deacons, candidates for ordination, religious, employees and volunteers. All of the Diocese's elementary students and high school students, both in our Catholic schools, and in our religious education programs at our parishes, have been receiving ongoing training in sexual abuse awareness and prevention. This training is offered to all parents. All Diocesan priests, seminarians, employees and volunteers in direct contact with children are criminally background checked before they perform service for the Diocese in any parish, school or other facility. The Diocese responds promptly and decisively to allegations of sexual abuse- and removes from ministry and employment any individual associated with the Diocese, be it a priest, deacon, candidate for ordination, religious, or lay employee or volunteer, when a credible allegation is made.

Can you guarantee that sexual abuse of minors will never happen again in the Diocese?

No, we cannot guarantee that. No one can. However, we have policies and programs in place designed to prevent abuse by anyone associated with the Diocese. Policies call for us to screen all employees and volunteers who have contact with children. Programs assure that we educate children, parents, clergy, lay employees and volunteers. The VIRTUS "Protecting God's Children" program, for example, teaches clergy, church personnel, parents and volunteers ways to avoid situations that could lead to sexual abuse, to recognize the warning signs of a perpetrator, and how to detect abuse, prevent abuse, and report abuse. The program is a mandatory requirement of all priests, deacons, seminarians religious, employees and volunteers of the Diocese.

What is being done for the continuing education of clergy?

In addition to requiring that all clergy participate in the VIRTUS "Protecting God's Children" program, the Diocese has held a series of mandatory educational programs for clergy for the past several years. The focus of these programs is on prevention and detection.

What is being done in the seminary to assure us that future clergymen will not be abusers?

Our seminarians attend various seminaries, so the particulars of prevention efforts in their seminary experience will vary slightly. However, in all cases candidates for the priesthood in the Diocese undergo fingerprinting and background checks, as well as psychological testing and one-on-one interviews with several officials of the Diocese who are trained to detect and identify unsuitable candidates for the seminary. All seminarians undergo the VIRTUS "Protecting God's Children" Training, as well. Candidates must also have lived a celibate lifestyle before being considered for ordination. Every effort is made to assure that candidates for the priesthood are well-suited in every way to live chaste lives of service and fidelity to Catholic moral teaching.