Bishops are now severely criticized for their failure to hold priests to a strict and appropriate code of conduct. Some suggest that the widespread legitimization of dissent from Catholic teaching plays a part in this scandal. This is an opinion with which I would agree. The scandal is focused on evil and sinful actions and I believe it is necessary to look more deeply at the underlying spiritual causes. While we are intent on eliminating sources of possible harm to the physical and emotional well being of children we must also be intent on eliminating the possible sources of spiritual harm; scandal, false teaching, bad example, and the like. These have the power to lead little ones spiritually astray and in our desire to protect children we cannot overlook them. We cannot dismiss the importance of the moral uprightness, the “outstanding moral character”, of those who hold positions of esteem in our Parishes and in our Schools.
SOURCE: "Giving Testimony to the Truth" A Pastoral Letter for Diocesan Lay Ministers.
The Most Reverend Robert F. Vasa Bishop of Baker, April 2004. Attached to the letter is an Affirmation of Personal Faith to which Bishop Vasa asks all lay ministers to give their personal consent.