Bad Pastors: Clergy Misconduct in Modern America

(Anson Shupe). New York University Press, 2000.

This solidly grounded study expands our understanding of clergy misconduct, moving discussion from individual acts of embezzlement, excessive use of clerical authority, and sexual violation to a more mature awareness of these real abuses. Twelve scholarly articles deal with the questions of how much clergy malfeasance is actually out there and what the church and the larger society can do together to begin to mitigate such behavior. These studies investigate whether clergy abuses are inherent to religious organizations or arise out of the nature of organizational structures in general. Clergy malfeasance as a "discovered " phenomenon has too long been either repressed by religious systems or kept as the preserve of journalists and moralists, and popular reports of abuse have been qualitative and anecdotal. This book helpfully demonstrates the need for more quantifiable studies for use by social scientists within and beyond religious organizations.