Last week I was in Nashville, TN for the American Association for Christian Counselors World Conference. One of the most interesting presentations I heard was on clergy and narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). Though the presenter focused on NPD among Protestant clergy (Presbyterian Church of Canada) I think the paper’s analysis has a more general application.
As for why NPD can be a significant concern in pastoral care, Ball and Puls write (citations deleted):
The problem is insidious. Pastors are trusted with our most intimate life details, are invited into our most difficult times, and are seen as trusted spiritual and relational advisors. How, then, can a pastor who requires praise and adulation, who feels no empathy for the people who support him, and who manipulates others for the sole purpose of meeting his own voracious needs be that person? Christ’s example of “you shall love your neighbour as yourself” would be comprehensible only at a dim intellectual level.
You can find the paper is available online. If you have the time and inclination I would encourage you to read it.
Ball, R. Glen and Puls, D (2015) Let Us Prey: The Frequency of Narcissistic Personality Disorder among Pastors.