This post forms part of a catalogue I am building on the subtle language of abuse. In this installment, I consider a common discursive strategy within texts that carry religious meaning: the invocation of sacred legitimating authority and, conversely, distancing from an illegitimate (often formerly sacred) authority. This strategy often works within an overall us vs. them narrative. To illustrate this, I use a set of prominent church leaders' responses to the recent thirtyone:eight report on Rev. Jonathan Fletcher's abuse while he was vicar at Emmanuel Church Wimbledon.