Primacy of Interest and Conflict of Interest

1.    Those who serve on behalf of the diocese and its institutions are responsible for acting in the objective best interest of those they serve without prejudice to the good of the Church. They must act with a view toward the salvation of souls. No one may take advantage of someone receiving a service in order to further one’s own interest or the exclusive interest of a third party.

2.    Those who provide pastoral, spiritual or therapeutic counseling as authorized agents of the diocese or its institutions must avoid situations that present a conflict of interest and are urgently advised to avoid or clarify situations that present a potential conflict of interest or even its appearance. When a real or potential conflict of interest arises, they are to inform the party and disclose the relevant factors.

3.    Counselors are not to provide services on an extended basis to anyone with whom they have a familial, legal, or business relationship. This includes situations where there is a relationship due to consanguinity or affinity in any degree of the direct line and up to the fourth degree of the collateral line [1] or a close family relationship, relationship as guardian or trustee or advocate, close friendship or great animosity, or a desire to make some profit or avoid some loss.

4.    While not forbidden from counseling or directing friends, subordinates or colleagues on a short-term basis, counselors and directors should be attentive to potential complications and consequences.

5. When providing services to two or more people who have a relationship with each other, a counselor is to disclose to each the nature of the relationships. Where possible, action to eliminate any potential conflicting or competing interest is to be taken. However, when this is unavoidable, all the parties must be protected, duly informed, and their written consent obtained before services may be continued.

[1] CC. 1448, 492 §3 would be examples of this for judges, finance councils.

Date approved by Bishop

Posted by
Msgr. S. J. Raica, chancellor