A Christian Reflection on Pastoral Sexual Misconduct
King-tak IP

Preventing and responding to pastoral abuse of power has become a new and distinct professional field since the mid-1980s. Among cases of power abuse, sexual misconduct is especially reprehensible. The problem has received an unprecedented public profile. There is no returning to the days of secrecy, cover-ups, and denial. This paper attempts to give a Christian reflection on pastoral sexual misconduct. In section one, the author explains what behaviors have been classified as sexual misconduct. Section two deals with the question of why pastoral sexual misconduct is immoral. In section three, the author elucidates the harms that sexual misconduct brings to churches, pastors, victims, and their families. In addition, it attempts to handle the question of whether forgiveness is possible. Since pastoral sexual misconduct brings serious harm to all stakeholders, it needs to be prevented at all cost. Section four encourages pastors to take practical steps that could help them resist sexual temptation and be held accountable for meeting their professional expectation. The last section covers the measures that churches should take to prevent pastoral sexual misconduct and recommends procedures for handling cases of sexual misconduct in a fair manner.