Special Issue "Sexual and Spiritual Violence against Adult Men and Women in the Catholic Church"
A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 March 2022) | Viewed by 9144
Interests: power and religion; gender theory; gender bias; pastoral theology; sexual violence; spiritual violence; pastoral work
This Special Issue of Religions, entitled “Sexual and Spiritual Violence against Men and Women in the Catholic Church”, will focus on an area of religious research that is increasingly drawing scholarly interest: spiritual and sexual abuse of adults in religious domains, predominantly in the Catholic Church. Two perspectives are of particular importance here: first, the view of adult victims of sexual abuse by the clergy; second, the special focus on women. The aim of this Special Issue is to explore where and in what forms of sexual and psychological violence in the Catholic Church occurs.
The first focus of the issue will be to consider adults as victims of abuse in religious contexts (see Stephen E. de Weger, Reporting Clergy Sexual Misconduct against Adults to Roman Catholic Church Authorities: An Analysis of survivor perspectives, Queensland 2020). The phenomenon of adults affected by abuse in the Catholic Church attracted broader scientific interest years after the large amount of research on abuse of children and minors. The patterns and logics of violence associated with the abuse of adults differ from those associated with the abuse of minors. According to many reports of adult victims, spiritual abuse is used as a means to initiate sexual assault. It becomes apparent that sexual violence in the Christian Churches or other religious contexts cannot be seen independently of spiritual abuse. We hope that a significant number of essays will shed much-needed light on this link between sexual and spiritual abuse in pastoral contexts.
The second focus within the larger research field is on the sexual abuse of teenage girls and adult women in the Catholic Church. In Catholicism, the abuse of female victims appears to be closely linked to certain conceptions of gender that are taught by the magisterium and deeply ingrained in an exclusively male-dominated conception of the office. This Special Issue aims to provide, as a second goal, insight into this complex combination of structural and ideological power asymmetries and their role in violence against girls and women in the Catholic Church. (See e.g., Chibnall, J. T. et al., “A National Survey of the Sexual Trauma Experiences of Catholic Nuns” in Review of Religious Research 40 (2/1998) 142–167; Starkey, A., “The Roman Catholic Church and Violence Against Women” in Johnson A. (ed.), Religion and Men's Violence Against Women, New York 2015; Haslbeck, B. et al. (Hg.), Erzählen als Widerstand. “Berichte über spirituellen und sexuellen Missbrauch an erwachsenen Frauen in der katholischen Kirche“, Münster 2020; or Reisinger, D., "#NunsToo. Sexueller Missbrauch an Ordensfrauen - Fakten und Fragen“, in Stimmen der Zeit 236 (6/2018), 374–384.)
This Special Issue will be dealing with a scope of themes of sexual violence and aims to be an interdisplinary investigation into the problem. It will be examined from different theological, psychological, philosophical, historical, and legal disciplines and perspectives.
Topics that might be covered include:
- Discussion of the concept of spiritual abuse and spiritual violence
- Adults as victims of sexual abuse in the Church
- Abuse in religious congregations and orders
- Legal aspects of clergy sexual abuse of adult persons
- Gender issues with regard to sexualized/spiritualized violence
- Other Christian denominations than the Catholic Church
Prof. Dr. Ute Leimgruber
Dr. Doris Reisinger
Manuscript Submission Information
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- sexual violence
- spiritual violence
- spiritual abuse
- abuse of adult women
- clergy abuse of adults
- pastoral theology
- Catholic Church