Definitions: What is a Pastoral Relationship?

Sexual exploitation is the development or attempted development of a sexual or romantic relationship between a person in any ministerial position, lay or ordained, and an individual with whom he or she has a Pastoral Relationship, whether or not there is apparent consent from the individual.

A Pastoral Relationship is a relationship between any clergy person and any person:

  • who attends a congregation or other ministry setting in which the clergy person serves;
  • who seeks ministry from the clergy person


Between any clergy person or any duly-appointed lay person, whether employee or volunteer, who is authorized to provide and does provide:

  • counseling;
  • pastoral care;
  • spiritual direction or spiritual guidance;
  • ministration of any Sacrament (other than the distribution of the Bread  and Wine by a lay  person at a public service of Holy Communion);
  • life/leadership/peer coaching;
  • hearing  a person’s confession, in the course of the duly-authorized ministry


the following ministers licensed under Canon III.4:

  • Pastoral Leaders,
  • Worship Leaders,
  • Preachers,
  • Eucharistic Visitors,
  • and Catechists and those they serve in the course of these ministries.


*Are licensed lay ministers  considered pastoral leaders?


Next: Click on: Definitions: What is Consent?

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