Item Details

Clergy Sexual Misconduct Against Adults in the Roman Catholic Church: The Misuse of Professional and Spiritual Power in the Sexual Abuse of Adults

Issue: Vol 30 No. 3 (2017)

Journal: Journal for the Academic Study of Religion

Subject Areas: Religious Studies Buddhist Studies Islamic Studies Biblical Studies

DOI: 10.1558/jasr.32747


This article describes and discusses the power–vulnerability intersect in the
lives of 23 women and 6 men who experienced clergy sexual misconduct
against adults (CSMAA) within the everyday life of the Roman Catholic
Church. It argues that framing CSMAA around a ‘vulnerable victim’ rather
than an ‘abusive cleric’ has led to the misinterpretation and continuation of
CSMAA, and an overall attitude of victim blaming. However, when victims/
survivors of CSMAA are given the opportunity to tell their stories, a different
picture emerges. The article concludes that CSMAA does not occur because
there is a vulnerable adult but, rather, because there is a cleric willing to
misuse their powers to abuse adult vulnerabilities. This article also argues
that the unique dynamics of CSMAA become more evident and
understandable when those clergy powers and adult vulnerabilities are
clearly delineated as being both positional and personal realities.

Author: Stephen E. de Weger, Jodi Death

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