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Knights Protecting the Vulnerable

By Robert B. "Bob" Goss State Advocate

Vol. 4, 2016-2017


Knights are special men who take solemn vows to protect our Church and religious and to obey the orders of those officers over us.Knights also are leaders.Leaders lead by their actions.The community, your parish, and your friends and family look to you as a Knight to do the right thing and be a leader against evil.

Did you know the Knights form an integrated defense for our children and elderly? Your leadership and unselfish dedication form the basis of this defense against evil.

Let us look at why some Knights may be required to take SAFE and VIRTUS (your Diocese may call the training Ethics and Integrity or another name) training.

Assume you are put in charge of making sure that no child or elderly person is harmed physically, emotionally, or financially.How do you ensure you have zero incidents of abuse?

You start with analyzing the problem and forming a strategy to safeguard our most vulnerable.

So let’s begin our analysis of how to protect children, elderly, and vulnerable:

  • You would want to know the who, what, where, when, and how that predators or abusers operate, correct? Correct
    • This is a big job correct? Of course
    • Your job is important, true? True
    • We can agree protecting children is important? True
    • In fact protecting all vulnerable people is important, true?True
    • Creating protections around the vulnerable is our job, correct? Yes.
    • Can you do this alone? No
    • If you cannot protect the vulnerable alone, do you need help?Yes
    • You want to protect all children, correct? Yes
    • You want to protect the elderly, correct? Yes
    • Since it is your job to make sure no one is harmed by evil, we can agree you want as many helpers as possible, correct?Yes
    • We can further agree that a Knight trained to understand how predators operate would be helpful, correct?Yes
    • As the Knight in charge you have to form the vanguard to be successful, correct?Of course.
    • This vanguard would be much better with Knights trained to understand how predators or abusers think, true?True.
    • And it would be even better if these Knights were trained to spot situations where a child could be harmed, true?True.
    • Expanding on this strategy, a Knight who understands past abuse situations has a better chance of recognizing a situation that could lead to abuse, true? True.
    • So arming a Knight with knowledge of the who, what, where, when, and how from past predators/abuser cases would help protect the children, elderly, and vulnerable, true? True.
    • Knowing where there are behavioral changes signaling danger are important to know, correct? Correct.
  • Knowing what may seem innocent, but is actually inappropriate behavior, is important in preventing abuse, correct? Correct.
  • Finally we can agree that you would want everyone to have the knowledge to stop any evil, true?True.
  • Is this SAFE training difficult? NO.The SAFE training is online and takes about 1.5 hours.Three modules with quizzes at the end of each module.
  • These modules, however, provide the who, what, where, when, and how from past abuse cases. The Knights learned to spot behavior changes in the victim and identify when an adult’s actions may be inappropriate.

Turning back to our duty to protect all children, elderly, and vulnerable people, the Knights can be a powerful new line of defense for our church to protect all, TRUE?True.

Knights employing our principles of unity and fraternity form a layer of defense for our priests and church against evil.A council of Knights, united and observant of situations that could lead to harm for a child or elderly are a valuable lynchpin in stopping evil hearts who might try to harm others.As Knights we acquire the knowledge and ability to spot situations that are dangerous through experience and training.

VIRTUS and SAFE training are two programs Knights may be TASKED WITH COMPLETING.His Excellency, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, and the Bishops of Texas have tasked Knights to help the Catholic Church protect the vulnerable by taking VIRTUS. Our vows as Catholic gentlemen are to support our priest and church.This request from our supreme Knight and clergy is not a hard task.

Why two programs?

SAFE training is the Knights of Columbus program for ONLY A FEW Knights at the council level – Grand Knight, program director, community director, and family director.So only a few Knights out of every council are given the opportunity to take the SAFE training.

Background check is required by the Knights

  • The Grand Knight and the community or family director roles must also provide consent for a background check through Praesidium for the Knights of Columbus
  • Any Knights who volunteers on diocesan or parish property.
  • An in-person, 3 hour training will teach you, the who, what, where, when, why, and how abusers think and groom their victims.
  • Additionally there is a background check that the diocese pays for.
  • Yes.Unfortunately there have been a few negative background checks of brothers. So these brothers have been barred from being near children.
  • So is the program helping - - Yes.

The Supreme Knight and the Order have determined the KofC online SAFE program is mandatory for these few officers.The goal is simple: to have Knights armed with the knowledge that prevents abuse.

So what happens if an officer or director refuses to take the SAFE training?

  • That individual will be removed from office.
  • Every organization has rules, regulations, and procedures you must follow. The Knights of Columbus take protecting our children, elderly, and vulnerable to heart. You have a choice. If you want to hold one of these offices or positions you will take the training. If you determine for whatever reason you will not take the training, you do not get the honor of the office or the position within the Knights of Columbus. It is that simple.

VIRTUS also called Ethics and Integrity – Diocesan Training

Turning to the Church’s program, which our Bishops have selected to protect children, elderly, and vulnerable — VIRTUS.VIRTUS provides you with the skills and knowledge to protect the vulnerable of our community. This separate program is a 3 hour, in person, live presentation that gives the who, what, where, when, why, and how to spot and stop abuse before it happens. The 1st training class is arranged through the diocese.VIRTUS, however, is open to ALL Knights.VIRTUS is mandatory for any Knight volunteering on diocese or parish property.

Our Bishops believe in the Knights.Thus, our Bishops have turned to the Knights to form another shield of protection to guard each child, elderly, or vulnerable member of the diocese.Trained Knights provide a vital safeguard to our priests and a trained Knight may help prevent future abuse.A Knight trained, knowledgeable, and armed with the skill to stop evil strengthens the vanguard of protection within our Holy church communities.VIRTUS assist Knights to be ever vigilant in helping each Bishop and religious to expand the safeguards to minors and the elderly.

Who has to take this VIRTUS training?

How long is VIRTUS training?

Background check is required by the Diocese

Do these programs help?

I hope this exercise helps you to see how vital you, a brother Knight, are to protecting our children, elderly, and vulnerable members of our faith and community.I pray you embrace another FREE learning opportunity designed to help protect our children, grandchildren, elderly, and other vulnerable people in our parish and community.

Leaders lead by their actions.The community, your parish, your friends and family look to you, and we all are counting on you to help the Order and our Bishops and Holy Church stop abuse - - before it happens.

Thank you.God bless you for all you do.

Vivat Jesus.

Bob Goss

State Advocate and the Legal Affairs Committee

Chris Hamm & Mikell West

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