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The Catholic Corner - VIRTUS

Protecting God's Children

"VIRTUS is the brand name that identifies best practices programs designed to help prevent wrongdoing and promote "right-doing" within religious organizations. The VIRTUS programs empower organizations and people to better control risk and improve the lives of all those who interact with the Church."(

The Diocese of Helena is dedicated to staying up to date and aware of how best to keep our vulnerable populations safe and to hold each other accountable in being guardians of our fellow sisters and brothers.

The VIRTUS program, often called Safe Environment; was established in 1988 to protect both the Church and its members in the case of liabilities and wrongdoing. The name derives from Latin and means; valor. The word "valor" inspires a way of life that follows moral strength, excellence, and heroism that conjures to mind the images of knights and warriors protecting those most in need.

All church employees, volunteers, clergy, religious, and instructors are mandated to take a course to know standard policies and procedures to protect children from abuse as well as the elderly. The course allows for dialogue about best practices for mandated reporting, legal action, steps, and preventative measures to protect oneself and those around them.

The Diocese of Helena specifically ensures that all members involved in church work stay up to date with training bulletins on how to recognize abuse; speak with victims; rules and regulations of what the law says; protect children; proper channels of communication; and much more.

VIRTUS is the Catholic Church's response to stop abuse in any and all forms and to strive for valor in our communities in how we treat one another. For more information, or if you are thinking of volunteering with a ministry but need to be VIRTUS trained first, or you would like to become an instructor, reach out to the Director of Human Resources and Safe Environment Carmae Fawaz at (406) 442-4820 | (406) 442-5191 or email her at or Safe Environment Coordinator and HR Generalist Cassie Hall at (406) 442-5820 | (406) 442-5191 or email her at

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