St. Joseph Catholic Church
1050 Keller Avenue N • Amery, WI 54001
Office Hours: M-F 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Office Hours: M-F 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
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Please contact JoAnne to request envelopes or to receive information on how to set up an automatic withdrawal.
Contact us to schedule an appointment with Fr. Gene. We are always excited to hear from people who
have an interest in our Christian community.
Envelopes are also located in the sanctuary to request census forms.
Diocese of Superior
Diocesan Morals and
Fr. Philip J. Heslin
Moderator of the Curia
plague of sexual misconduct by some psychosocially ill priests and even
bishops over the past 30 years has generated a nightmare for the Catholic
Church in America. The Holy Father in his Holy Thursday address to priests
refers to this terrible atrocity as the “mysterium iniquitatis” (mystery of
iniquity). It is truly the struggle of good and evil raised to a most
The Diocese of Superior has not been spared
from this terrible plague. It has touched our diocese twice in the last 20
years. The cases were not pedophilia (involving pre-pubescents) as such, but
were technically cases of ephebophilia (involving post-pubescents). The two
priests involved in these situations have not functioned as priests since
these episodes and will not in the future. At the present, there are no
claims or lawsuits pending against the diocese.
Most deplorable in all of this is the damage
that was done to the persons who were abused. Such abuse brings to many,
perhaps most, victims consequences that last for years and maybe a lifetime.
In addition, this sexual abuse has brought great damage to God’s people and
to the priesthood. Ironically, it has also occasioned the loss of faith
which is the Church’s fundamental duty to foster.
In 1992. the US Bishops stated five principles
a diocese should follow when an allegation of sexual abuse is made against a
priest. The policies of the Diocese of Superior carefully comply with these
1. Respond promptly to all allegations. The diocese has zero tolerance toward any sexual misconduct, so much so that the diocese responds with an immediate investigation of even the appearance of sexual misconduct.
2. If an allegation is supported by sufficient evidence, the alleged offender is promptly relieved of his ministerial duties and referred for appropriate medical evaluation and intervention. The allegation and evidence is carefully studied by a “Morals and Ethics Review Board.” This Board is comprised of a lay woman, religious sister, lawyer, lay man, a clinical psychologist, claims risk manager, moderator of the curia, and the diocesan bishop. The Review Board determines whether there is sufficient evidence to substantiate an allegation and to determine the appropriate application of the morals and ethics policies. If the allegation is substantiated by sufficient evidence, the alleged offender is promptly relieved of his ministerial duties and referred to appropriate medical evaluation.
3. Comply with the obligations of civil law. If, in the judgment of the Review Board, the allegation is supported by sufficient evidence, law enforcement authorities are notified immediately if they have not yet been involved in the situation.
4. Reach out to the victims and their families and offer economic, medical, psychological, and spiritual assistance to the victim and the accused in a spirit of Christian justice and charity.
5. Within the confines of respect for privacy of the individuals involved, deal as openly as possible with the members of the community. The diocesan staff are careful to maintain confidentiality for the protection especially of the victim and the victim’s family and, to a certain extent, the accused as well.
More specifically, the Morals and Ethics Policy of the Diocese of Superior
pertains to five areas of concern: fair employment, child abuse, sexual
misconduct, sexual harassment, and drug or alcohol presence in schools.
1. Employment is based on the qualifications and competence of the applicant. There shall be no discrimination in employment on any basis prohibited by law such as race, color, sex, national origin, citizenship or disability. Preference may be given to an applicant who is Catholic if the position is clearly related to Catholic religious teachings and beliefs.
2. Child abuse by personnel of the diocese or its associated parishes while performing the work of the diocese or parish is outside the scope of the duties and employment of all personnel and will not be tolerated. The diocese expects those personnel mandated by Wisconsin Statute 48.981 to report such cases of child abuse to fully comply with the State requirements.
3. Sexual misconduct by personnel while performing the work of the diocese or parish is outside the scope of the duties and employment of all personnel and will not be tolerated.
4. The diocese and its associated parishes shall provide a working environment free of sexual harassment. Allegations of such harassment shall be promptly and thoroughly investigated and, if warranted, appropriate corrective action, including dismissal, shall be taken.
5. All parishes with schools shall provide a school environment free from the non-medical use of alcohol, drugs, and mood-altering substances. This policy does not include nicotine or caffeine.
Standardized personnel policies and a morals and
ethics policy were developed for all employees of the diocese and its
parishes. These policies were put in place on July 1, 1989 and subsequently
revised on March 1, 1993 and October 1, 1999 to assure their compliance with
the changing state and federal laws.
Furthermore, the Diocese of Superior was one of the first dioceses in the nation to have standardized personnel policies for all diocesan and parish employees as well as volunteers. As part of its fiduciary responsibility, the diocese asks that all pastors complete the Status Animarum Questionnaire (State of the Souls) annually. Along with many other items, the questionnaire asks pastors to indicate the number of employees hired and volunteers recruited during each calendar year. In addition, it asks pastors to indicate if the new employees and volunteers have received a copy of the personnel policies and have signed the Morals and Ethics Assurance Statement. In addition, diocesan staff have conducted several workshops throughout the diocese concerning the practical aspects related to the diocesan Morals and Ethics Policy.