Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sexually Healthy Rabbis, Ministers, and Priests

I spent Monday with a group of United Methodist officials who are working to create a new policy for training for clergy and seminarians on sexual boundaries and harassment prevention. The Religious Institute is helping them place this work in the context of working with clergy on becoming sexually healthy religious professionals.

A sexually healthy religious professional of course understands appropriate sexual boundaries and how to deal with their attractions. But, they are also knowledgeable about human sexuality, familiar with their sacred texts on sexuality, have engaged in reflection on their own sexuality and how to integrate sexuality and spirituality, trained in pastoral counseling on these issues, skilled in preaching, and able to serve as a role model, discussing sexual issues with comfort, ease, and respect.

The good news is that a number of denominations are now understanding that assuring the sexual health of their religious professionals is central to ministerial formation. The UUA, as I've written here before, will now require all of their candidates to demonstrate competency in sexual health, education, and justice. We're working with at least five other denominations to help them more forward on these issues.

Maybe it's time for the Vatican to call on us for advice too.

1 comment:

E Blackman said...

As a UCC Clergyman who has served for more than 50 years, I am most uncomfortable with all eyes on the Roman Catholic Church. I have seen both homosexual and heterosexual unethical behavior by clergy more often than we would like to admit. Leadership has often overlooked the unacceptable bahavior of clergy with a wink. Jesus said, Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone! Out view should not be clouded by the popular press. E Blackman