· Vatican City ·

Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference

National code of conduct released

12 April 2024

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has released a national code of conduct “for people ministering in Catholic dioceses around Australia”. With the title, “Integrity in Our Common Mission”, the 32-page document was presented on 8 April, and “applies the overarching framework Our Common Mission”, which was approved in November 2022”.

Approved during the Plenary Assembly of the Bishops’ Conference in November 2023, the document aims to assist in the formation of the clergy and of lay pastoral leaders, encouraging them to reflect integrity in all areas of their lives. Anyone who does pastoral work “at the request of, or under the ultimate supervision of, a diocesan bishop must comply with the national code of conduct”, the Bishops state in their press release. Moreover they “may also be subject to specific statutory, contractual or other obligations, depending on the circumstances”.

Integrity in Our Common Mission replaces previous codes including Integrity in Ministry for clergy and religious and integrity in the Service of the Church for Church lay workers, gathering them into one presentation “as requested by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse”.

Emphasizing that the Church has zero tolerance of abuse, Bishop Greg Bennet, chair of the Bishops Commission for Professional Standards and Safeguarding, described the new document as a “vital resource for renewing our commitment to the safety of children and vulnerable people”. Its principles, he explained, “have been developed to guide, form, strengthen and affirm those behaviours which are expected of all engaged in the ministries of the Church”.

Among other things, the code addresses a wide range of areas such as physical and emotional boundaries, how to respond to complaints, positive relationships, social media use, abuse in the workplace and financial ethics.