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5.13.9 Responding to Complaints and Conflict Resolution

Normally, the regional bishop will handle complaints about priests, conflicts between priests, and conflicts between priests and parishioners when they pertain to pastoral matters within the parish. The vicar for clergy will forward complaints to the appropriate regional bishop, notifying the person who submitted the complaint that this has been done. The regional bishop will then decide on appropriate action.

When a regional bishop receives a complaint about a priest or information regarding a conflict in a parish, he will verify before proceeding that the parties involved have received copies. If they have not, he will ask the person who submitted the complaint to forward them copies of the material in question, and he will not proceed with action until that has been done.

This procedure does not apply to very serious matters, i.e., ones that would involve penalties in canon or civil law. In such cases, the regional bishop will inform the archbishop or the vicar for clergy as soon as the matter comes to his attention.

In the investigation of a conflict, those involved will receive copies of the original complaint and subsequent rebuttals and rejoinders. The priest will send to the regional bishop a written response to the complaints concerning him and the regional bishop will review the response and discuss it with the priest. The regional bishop will then determine the appropriate next step. 

The regional bishop will summarize and distribute to the persons involved the results of any review or meetings arranged between the parties to the conflict. A copy of the final resolution will be sent by the regional bishop to the archbishop​​​ to be placed in the file or files of the priest or priests involved.

When a priest is involved in a complaint or conflict, the vicar for clergy​, at the request of the regional bishop, will supply the regional bishop with pertinent materials from the priest's file. Only when materials have a direct bearing on the matter at hand will copies of confidential material be supplied.

Anonymous letters of complaint are ignored and destroyed, unless they involve matters subject to penalties in canon or civil law, or are covered by the Archdiocesan Policy for Addressing Allegations of Sexual Abuse or Misconduct by Clergy in the Archdiocese.​​