The community has certain expectations of the Church and those who work for it. They believe that the church is, and ought to be, a place where they and their families can be completely safe in moments of deepest faith and in times of vulnerability and stress. They also believe that people who have chosen to work for the church do so out of a particular commitment to God and to the Christian way of life, and they trust those persons to act in accordance with Christian principles. When Church workers act inappropriately, they hurt those the church is called to serve, damage the Church as an institution, give rise to scandal, and alienate others from God.
For reasons of both professional ethics and Christian theology, sexual misconduct by members of the clergy is especially damaging. The cleric’s profession is teaching the Word of God and helping others come into right relationship with God. Clergy take a vow at ordination to pattern their lives after the teachings of Christ, so that they may be a wholesome example to the people of God. Clergy who abuse the power and authority of their office by becoming sexually involved with people who are vulnerable to abuse or who are in their professional care betray their vows and their calling. They betray their victims and the Church as a whole.
The Church condemns sexual misconduct by clergy and other church workers in the strongest terms, and we have clear rules that define what it is and how it will be punished. Please visit the other pages in this section to learn more about this.