Clerical Abuse

Because this site is primarily for clergy and other religious professionals it is particularly important to emphasize that clergy are at elevated risk for becoming perpetrators of some kinds of abuse — and also at elevated risk for becoming victims of some other kinds of abuse.

Religious Professionals as Abusers

While public focus is generally limited to sexual abuse, there are other kinds of abuse which are common among religious professions. Especially important is the role of clergy in spiritual abuse. See the section of this website on spiritual abuse for resources on this issue.

General Resources

Clergy Recovery Network

Abuse Tracker: Media Reports of Clergy Abuse

Stop Baptist Predators

James S. Evinger, Annotated Bibliography of Clergy Sexual Abuse, 3 PDF files. An excellent and quite comprehensive list of resources.


Elisabeth Horst. Recovering the Lost Self: Shame-Healing for Victims of Clergy Sexual Abuse, (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1998).

Nancy Myer Hopkins, Mark R. Laaser, Editors. Restoring the Soul of a Church: Healing Congregations Wounded by Clergy Sexual Misconduct (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1995).

Nils C. Friberg and Mark R. Laaser. Before the Fall: Preventing Pastoral Sexual Abuse. (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1998).

Anson Shupe, William A. Stacey, Susan E. Darnell, Editors. Bad Pastors: Clergy Misconduct in Modern America (New York, NY: New York University Press, 2000).


Religious Professionals as Abused Persons

Religious professionals are not only at elevated risk for becoming perpetrators of abuse, they are also at risk for experiencing abuse themselves. How you think about this issue will probably be a reflection of your perception of the kind of power which clergypersons possess. If you think that religious professionals are always in a powerful position, they you will most likely have a difficult time imagining how they could be in the role of a victim. But the subjective experience of religious professionals about their power is a much more complicated situation. In some religious traditions, the power given to clergypersons is very limited. If you hang out with clergy for very long you will collect horror stories about abusive congregations, abuse by lay leaders, abusive working conditions and many other very troubling forms of abuse.


Case Study
Preacher in the Hands of an Angry Church by Chris Armstrong

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *