“CLERICAL ABUSE AND CHRISTIAN DISCIPLESHIP” BY JOSEPHINE ANNE STEIN – ‘MODERN BELIEVING’ – THE JOURNAL OF THEOLOGICAL LIBERALISM
The Church of England’s official responses to clerical abuse compound the harm done to victims/survivors, as well as damaging clergy accused of abuse, congregations and not least, the Church itself as a Christian institution. This article explores the reasons why the Clergy Discipline Measure (CDM) and other current responses to abuse are incompatible with Christian discipleship, and presents Christocentric alternatives which prioritise the cure of souls and reconciliation. This approach draws upon non-adversarial practices such as occupational psychology, pastoral and social work intervention and restorative justice to craft bespoke responses to ecclesiastical abuse by clergy and church leaders. Improved understanding of clerical abuse and applying theologically grounded responses would improve spiritual recovery for all those wounded by ecclesiastical abuse: survivors, perpetrators, congregations, church leaders and their families and communities. But it is the Church of England itself which would stand most to benefit from enacting its Christian vocation.