The public and private conduct of Workers* can inspire and motivate people, and can draw them to the Church, but it can also scandalize and undermine people’s faith. Workers must at all times be aware of the responsibilities that accompany their work. They must also know that God’s goodness and grace supports them in their ministry.
Working with children and young people is a special joy, but also carries special responsibilities. No one should ever compromise a child's innocence or tarnish his or her openness to good relationships. Christ our Lord preached:
Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.
But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Mt. 18:5-6.
While adult interactions with children and young people must be tailored for the particular context and child, some guidelines and consideration can inform good ministry practices.
1. Children and young people look to adults for examples of appropriate behavior. Actions speak louder than words. Adults should model the virtues of humility, chastity, and meekness. They should treat others with respect and courtesy; practice compassion; use appropriate language; and avoid sexualized humor, language, or conversation. They should, in every regard, model honorable behavior and relationships.
a. Those working with young people should generally not discuss their own sexual activities or desires, nor should they solicit such information from a young person.
b. Humor regarding sexual issues usually models a lack of respect for men or women, or for the marital love that God blesses, and is thus prohibited.
c. Those working with young people should never express sexual desires for another individual, or a desire to commit immoral acts with others (e.g. use drugs, view sexual materials, drink alcohol with a minor, etc d. Alcohol and drugs, whether or not permitted by law, are prohibited at youth ministry events.
2. Some children have had unhealthy experiences with relationships in the past. Children interpret actions through the lens of prior experiences and an undeveloped understanding. On one hand, human touch in fellowship can express signs of Christ's love and healing. On the other, human touch can be disordered or sinful. Most understand the difference between appropriate touching that signifies fellowship, forgiveness, compassion, or the love of
*Workers" includes: Deacons and seminarians serving the Archdiocese or a Parish, or attached to or on assignment by or visiting the Archdiocese; Servants of the Archdiocese or Parishes, including without limitation, Sunday School teachers, youth leaders, lay counselors; and, Paid Employees in the Archdiocese or any Parish.