Abstract and Keywords
The clergy have come under more scrutiny in recent times than perhaps any other profession. This article addresses the social and religious issues that have given rise to such intense scrutiny – paedophilia, the ordination of women, and homosexuality, among others. It also describes the declining authority and status of this profession. Among the more important reasons for this decline, the discussion suggests, are increasing differentiation and greater egalitarianism in the relationships between clergy and laity. It argues that there is a need for more relevant and appropriate training for the clergy if they are to perform an effective role in a world that is turning ever more religiously diverse, and suggests that new research be started in a number of areas with which scholars are familiar but about which little of substance is known, including those of women clergy, homosexual clergy, and clergy outside any denomination.
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