In olden times, before there was a Protestant church, the priest or other member of a religious order had a spiritual director to whom he could always take his troubles. Today most Protestant clergymen are not that fortunate. It is a rare denomination indeed that has any adequate ministry to its ministers, although emotional problems of clergymen are on the increase.
I do not want to imply that our Protestant clergymen are any more confused than their neighbors across the street or than those in their congregations. Our rapidly changing morals, standards of commerce, and the quickening pace of day-to-day life are already taking their toll in heightened emotional disturbances among many individuals. Granting that our clergymen are average, normal individuals, they are caught up in the problems and anxieties of the day. Their families are subject to the same stresses and strains. More than ten thousand of our Protestant ministers are now receiving some form of individual or hospital psychiatric care.
Here again I am not trying to prove that there is a vast amount of serious mental illness among our clergy. Actually, there are no statistics proving that there is more emotional and mental illness among clergymen than among members of any other professional group, despite the fact that there has been a threefold increase in the number of ministers in state hospitals. The figures are of particular interest only because clergymen are supposed to be figures of emotional strength and stability in our communities and churches. It must be obvious to anyone who is professionally concerned with physical or mental illness, however, that our clergy, like all other individuals, have problems in these areas.
Over the past several years, as ...1
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