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Review article

Human Vulnerability, Spiritual Abuse, and Its Prevention

Ivan Platovnjak orcid id ; University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Theology, Ljubljana, Slovenia

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page 199-212

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People react differently to the news of sexual and spiritual abuse that has shaken the Catholic Church over the last decades. When it comes to the abuse of adults, many are of the opinion that if anything has happened, it is probably because the alleged victims were vulnerable. In the Catholic Church, the recognition that adults who are “vulnerable” can be sexually abused was an important step forward, because it acknowledged the harm done to them also and not only to adolescents. Of course, the use of the term “vulnerable persons” for these victims is ambiguous, because it has two meanings: the specific vulnerability of persons and the anthropological vulnerability of all persons. The author puts forward the thesis that every human being is anthropologically vulnerable and can be spiritually abused. In order to refute or confirm this, he first defines anthropological vulnerability and demonstrates its importance for the human being and for humanity. In the second part of the paper, he presents spiritual abuse and its consequences. In the last section, he illustrates the various ways in which these can be prevented. In conclusion, he offers some suggestions as to what needs to be done to render the Church more trustworthy and to enable the Church to authentically fulfil its mission.


sexual abuse; spiritual abuse; vulnerable person; vulnerability; consequences of abuse; ways to prevent spiritual abuse; Catholic Church

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Article data in other languages: croatian

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