Pastoral and Spiritual Care in Pluralistic Societies

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444). This special issue belongs to the section "Religions and Health/Psychology/Social Sciences".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 24 June 2024 | Viewed by 11853

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Practical Theology, Faculty of Protestant Theology, Heidelberg University, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
Interests: pastoral care; psychology of religion; practical theology; health and religion/spirituality; psycho-therapy; empirical research in theology; religion/spirituality in old age; diaconia; caring commu-nities

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute for Practical Theology, Department of Pastoral/Spiritual Care, Psychology of Religion and Religious Education, University of Bern, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
Interests: mental health; religiosity/spirituality; religious care; social psychology; history of pastoral care

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In this Special Issue of Religions, the focus will be on how the tradition of pastoral care and the newer approaches to spiritual care find itself today in the confrontation with the conditions of a plural society. For some time now, poimenics, theology, but also psychology and psychology of religion, sociology, philosophy or medicine have been reflecting on how societal pluralization and differentiation affect religious phenomena, pastoral care within the church framework and beyond, spiritual needs and spiritual care. In particular, the expansion to interreligious pastoral care and spiritual care (Noth, Wenz & Schweitzer 2017; Noth & Kohli-Reichenbach 2019), intercultural pastoral care (Kießling 2019) and the dialogue between Judaism, Christianity and Islam have set new standards here for what can be understood by “care” and “spirituality/religion”. However, this requires a far-reaching future-oriented reflection on how new approaches to the cooperation of cultures, religions and professions can be created in a pluralistic society. Particularly in view of the loss of self-understanding of religious affiliation, the individualization of spirituality and the loss of influence of the churches, it is necessary to ask how pastoral care and spiritual care can be shaped in the future. Conflicts also have to be considered in this field: on a social, religious–spiritual or cultural level, there are also conflicts in plural societies, e.g. about norms, values, religious/spiritual feelings and attitudes, which become relevant in pastoral care and spiritual care.

This Special Issue intends to address the following questions, but is also open to its own suggestions and topics within this spectrum:

  • Empirical research in the context of religious phenomena in plural societies and its effects/implications for pastoral care and spiritual care.
  • Pastoral care and spiritual care in the multireligious and interreligious as well as intercultural context.
  • Significance and impact of global phenomena on religion, pastoral care and spiritual care (e.g. migration, global health challenges).
  • Approaches and methods for interreligious and intercultural pastoral care or spiritual care.
  • Which religious, spiritual and cultural needs do people have today and how can they be addressed in pastoral care/spiritual care?
  • Spiritual, religious, cultural conflicts in plural societies and their significance in pastoral care/spiritual care.
  • How does the pluralistic society affect pastoral care/spiritual care in different fields, for example, in hospital chaplaincy or in schools (school chaplaincy)?
  • What training, qualifications and prerequisites are necessary on the part of pastoral care workers and other professions in order to ensure good interdisciplinary and interprofessional care?
  • Which models of interprofessional and interdisciplinary cooperation have proven successful in the plural context and which further developments are necessary?

We look forward to receiving abstracts and manuscripts and are eager to hear your ideas and suggestions for a fruitful discussion of pastoral and spiritual care in the context of plural societies.

We welcome research papers and contributions from the field of empirical, historical and theoretical research as well as contributions from pastoral and spiritual care practice.  

We request that, prior to submitting a manuscript, interested authors initially submit a proposed title and an abstract of 400–600 words summarizing their intended contribution. Please send it to the guest editors (Email A) or to the Religions editorial office (religions@mdpi.com). Abstracts will be reviewed by the guest editors for the purposes of ensuring proper fit within the scope of the Special Issue. Full manuscripts will undergo double-blind peer-review.

_______________________________________________

Literature:

Kießling, K. (2019). Seelsorge interkulturell: Pastoralpsychologische Beiträge (1st ed.). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/kxp/detail.action?docID=5646335

Noth, I., Wenz, G., & Schweizer, E. (Eds.). (2017). V&R eLibrary. Pastoral and spiritual care across religions and cultures: = Seelsorge und Spiritual Care in interkultureller Perspektive. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht Neukirchener Theologie. https://doi.org/10.13109/9783788732028

Noth, I., & Kohli Reichenbach, C. (2019). Pastoral and Spiritual Care Across Religions and Cultures II: Spiritual Care and Migration (I. Noth, & C. Kohli Reichenbach, Eds.) (1. Auflage 2019). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.

Prof. Dr. Annette Haussmann
Prof. Dr. Isabelle Noth
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • pastoral care
  • spiritual care
  • interreligious
  • intercultural
  • spirituality
  • spiritual needs
  • health care chaplaincy

Published Papers (9 papers)

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15 pages, 601 KiB  
Article
Caring for–Caring about: Negotiations of Values in Pastoral Care
by Mikkel Gabriel Christoffersen, Annette Daniela Haußmann and Anne Austad
Religions 2024, 15(5), 619; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15050619 - 17 May 2024
Abstract
The term “care” in pastoral care means caring for others. Yet those who care for others in pastoral conversations can also be defined existentially as people who care about the world, that is, people who hold values. This article explores how caring for [...] Read more.
The term “care” in pastoral care means caring for others. Yet those who care for others in pastoral conversations can also be defined existentially as people who care about the world, that is, people who hold values. This article explores how caring for and caring about commence in pastoral practice, with special attention paid to conflicts of values in pastoral conversations. The article proposes a typology of subjects for value conflicts in pastoral care, and it proposes a set of strategies for navigating those conflicts. We base both proposals on an analysis of German and Norwegian verbatims, i.e., protocols of pastoral caregivers’ memories of pastoral care encounters. These verbatims highlight that while pastoral caregivers and care seekers have different roles and obligations in pastoral care, an existential encounter occurs which has its own potentials and pitfalls. Thereby, we draw attention to the necessary negotiations of values that transpire in pastoral conversations in postsecular societies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pastoral and Spiritual Care in Pluralistic Societies)
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25 pages, 325 KiB  
Article
Tradition and Transformation: Spirituality in Church-Related Caring Communities in a Pluralistic Society
by Annette Daniela Haussmann, Olivia Lea Odrasil, Stefanie Wiloth, Esther Hinz, Patricia Kerl, Jonathan Mylius and Kathrin Ackermann
Religions 2024, 15(3), 363; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15030363 - 18 Mar 2024
Viewed by 796
Abstract
Demographic change in aging societies makes it urgent to ask how care can be understood as a social task. This is where the concept of caring communities comes in, which understands care as a task of many, indeed, of society as a whole, [...] Read more.
Demographic change in aging societies makes it urgent to ask how care can be understood as a social task. This is where the concept of caring communities comes in, which understands care as a task of many, indeed, of society as a whole, and aims to offer mutual care in communities. While the concept has been described in theory many times, empirical studies are rare. In pluralistic Western societies, the church as an institution is becoming less important while spirituality and spiritual needs are increasing in prominence. These processes of secularization run parallel to a growing interest in spirituality and an individualization of religion. Nonetheless, church congregations have always offered a place of mutual care and lived religion that functions as a network and social resource. So far, the role of spirituality in church-related caring communities has not been sufficiently addressed. In an exploratory qualitative study of three church-related caring communities in Germany, we focus on the target group of caring relatives, of whom we interviewed nine. The results show that church-related caring communities provide important spiritual resources and rely on the basis of shared values that are closely connected to Christian convictions. However, the different understandings of care and spirituality point to the relevance of discussing the often preliminary motives and values of care. Especially in plural societies, the discourse on plural values for mutual care is important and can form a basis for caring practices such as spiritual and pastoral care. Opportunities and places to discuss and debate different and shared values underlining care practices are necessary. The potential of spiritual and pastoral care in church-related caring communities is important and needs to be further strengthened. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pastoral and Spiritual Care in Pluralistic Societies)
12 pages, 185 KiB  
Article
Navigating Religious Difference in Spiritual Care
by Daniel S. Schipani
Religions 2024, 15(1), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15010041 - 27 Dec 2023
Viewed by 872
Abstract
During the last two decades there has been growing research on intercultural and, more recently, interreligious care in the face of increased, global pluralization. Representatives of various traditions are making substantial contributions beyond the pioneering work of Christian clinicians and theoreticians. This essay [...] Read more.
During the last two decades there has been growing research on intercultural and, more recently, interreligious care in the face of increased, global pluralization. Representatives of various traditions are making substantial contributions beyond the pioneering work of Christian clinicians and theoreticians. This essay addresses one of the challenges and opportunities associated with multi-faith contexts: the methodological and clinical question of how spiritual caregivers can effectively engage significant difference in interreligious caregiving situations. Therefore, the twofold goal of the article is to understand and to foster competent practice by counselors, psychotherapists, chaplains, pastors and other spiritual caregivers. The body of the text describes and illustrates five strategies that caregivers can employ plus a review of seven categories of therapeutic interventions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pastoral and Spiritual Care in Pluralistic Societies)
15 pages, 317 KiB  
Article
“Faith-Sensitive” Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Pluralistic Settings: A Spiritual Care Perspective
by Fabian Winiger and Ellen Goodwin
Religions 2023, 14(10), 1321; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14101321 - 20 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1440
Abstract
Over the past two decades, in response to a growing awareness of the impacts of humanitarian crises on mental health and psychosocial well-being, leading UN agencies and international aid organisations have developed a comprehensive framework for Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS). In [...] Read more.
Over the past two decades, in response to a growing awareness of the impacts of humanitarian crises on mental health and psychosocial well-being, leading UN agencies and international aid organisations have developed a comprehensive framework for Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS). In more recent years, aid workers have further begun to consider religious life as a central factor in mental health and psychosocial well-being, viewing “faith” as an important, but often neglected, component of empowering and “locally appropriate” MHPSS. However, the attempt to deliver “faith-sensitive” MHPSS across the highly pluralistic settings of international humanitarian intervention has entailed protracted ethical and practical challenges. In this article, we argue that these challenges may be usefully understood in terms of three areas of concern: the lack of evidence on effective interventions; the risk of reproducing problematic power dynamics between MHPSS providers and receivers; and the challenge of articulating a cross-culturally relevant paradigm of “faith-sensitivity” comprehensible across a wide range of religiously diverse settings. This article contributes to these challenges by drawing on the field of professional spiritual care to suggest areas of potential contribution and interdisciplinary dialogue. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pastoral and Spiritual Care in Pluralistic Societies)
14 pages, 251 KiB  
Article
On the Concepts of Religion and Confessionality for Pastoral Care and Spiritual Care in Interreligious and Intercultural Contexts: Clarifications with the Help of Religious Education and Systematic Theology
by Sabine Joy Ihben-Bahl and Traugott Roser
Religions 2023, 14(10), 1319; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14101319 - 20 Oct 2023
Viewed by 879
Abstract
According to current consensus definitions in healthcare, religious aspects can be part of ”spirituality” but ”spirituality” is open to non-religious traditions as well. Nevertheless, spiritual care is often provided by theologically trained pastoral caregivers belonging to religious groups and institutional bodies. How, then, [...] Read more.
According to current consensus definitions in healthcare, religious aspects can be part of ”spirituality” but ”spirituality” is open to non-religious traditions as well. Nevertheless, spiritual care is often provided by theologically trained pastoral caregivers belonging to religious groups and institutional bodies. How, then, do we take “religion(s)” into account when pastoral and spiritual care finds itself within a context of a diversity of religions and religious and non-religious biographies? What function does “confessionality” have—except for the fact that spiritual care professions can also be educated at a theological faculty and thus graduates are familiar with confessional premises of the respective denomination institutions? What significance do these premises have as a basis or a target for research and the fields of action and for the self-understanding of chaplains or spiritual caregivers? Our contribution draws attention to the potential for the reflection on “religion” to inform an understanding of its role in healthcare. In this regard, the term “spirituality” needs some reflection as well. When investing in such clarification, we understand that “religion” and “confessionality” need to be considered with the idea of inherent principles or even as a principle and, thus, are valuable in view of the practice of pastoral and spiritual care. These theoretical reflections are developed on the one hand by comparison with confessional religious education in pluralistic contexts, and on the other hand from systematic theology, specifically with Paul Tillich’s idea of a “Protestant principle” as an open-minded way to bring together pluralistic challenges and the religious identity in pastoral or spiritual care encounters. Preoccupation with these terms as concepts is not only necessary but valuable to encounter the other individual with respect and sincere interest and thus opens up his or her individual access to the world and life and the inherent principles in a resource-building way. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pastoral and Spiritual Care in Pluralistic Societies)
11 pages, 219 KiB  
Article
Nonreligious Chaplains and Spiritual Care
by Amy Lawton, Adah Anderson and Wendy Cadge
Religions 2023, 14(9), 1166; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14091166 - 13 Sep 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3570
Abstract
Spiritual care in a religiously plural society necessarily includes care for the nonreligious. However, little is known about the nonreligious people who themselves work to provide spiritual care. Today, spiritual care providers, better known in the United States context as chaplains, come from [...] Read more.
Spiritual care in a religiously plural society necessarily includes care for the nonreligious. However, little is known about the nonreligious people who themselves work to provide spiritual care. Today, spiritual care providers, better known in the United States context as chaplains, come from a wide variety of religious backgrounds, including nonreligious or unaffiliated with religious tradition. While nonreligious chaplains have robust pluralistic skillsets—a professional strength and a benefit to spiritual care work—they nonetheless encounter training and workplace challenges specific to their religious identities. The theoretical framework of Christian normativity could account for these challenges. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pastoral and Spiritual Care in Pluralistic Societies)
22 pages, 345 KiB  
Article
Forgiving Others: Pastoral Care of Forgiveness in Post-Secular Societies
by Mikkel Gabriel Christoffersen
Religions 2023, 14(9), 1106; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14091106 - 26 Aug 2023
Viewed by 993
Abstract
This article argues that pastoral insights into the dynamics of forgiveness are also relevant for pastoral care in post-secular society. While receiving forgiveness has been the raison d’etre of the sacrament of penance (a historical precursor to modern pastoral care), contemporary post-secular societies [...] Read more.
This article argues that pastoral insights into the dynamics of forgiveness are also relevant for pastoral care in post-secular society. While receiving forgiveness has been the raison d’etre of the sacrament of penance (a historical precursor to modern pastoral care), contemporary post-secular societies accentuate the problem of forgiving others. This article explores several paths for forgiving others that care seekers can walk, guided by pastors who provide maps and signposts. Methodologically, this article analyzes two pastoral care conversations about forgiving others, published in a Danish podcast series on the official homepage of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Denmark. These two conversations present a highway of unconditional forgiveness, in contrast to the dead end of not being able to forgive. This article explores how pastors can care for care seekers along these diametric roads, and along several byways, through surveys of relevant (theological) philosophy, systematic theology, and theology of pastoral care. The two care seekers are neither religious nor simply secular; they are post-secular, moving in and out of secular and religious discourses as appears relevant. The article concludes with reflections on pastoral care in different intercultural settings, specifically in post-secular societies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pastoral and Spiritual Care in Pluralistic Societies)
16 pages, 313 KiB  
Article
Garbage Care as a Way for Eco-Spiritual Care in a Multifaith Society in Indonesia
by Andang Binawan
Religions 2023, 14(4), 509; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14040509 - 6 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1247
Abstract
This article will explain how garbage care can be a way of realizing eco-spiritual care in the multifaith context of Indonesia. In Indonesia, the environment is a common concern, and waste is also a common problem. With a qualitative reflective method, the activities [...] Read more.
This article will explain how garbage care can be a way of realizing eco-spiritual care in the multifaith context of Indonesia. In Indonesia, the environment is a common concern, and waste is also a common problem. With a qualitative reflective method, the activities in garbage care are reflected in an eco-spiritual care perspective. Eco-spiritual care is an effort to assist human beings to find themselves in their environment. This reflection concludes that with a phenomenological approach, garbage care will make people find their ‘oneness’. This will underlie the renewal of attitudes toward their lives in a deeper, more positive way. In addition, this reflection on the eco-spiritual will broaden the understanding of pastoral care that has existed so far, because eco-spiritual care is not only for people who are sick, but those who want to find their natural selves. This also means that the meaning of eco-spiritual care is much broader than pastoral care because it means giving ‘good food’, not just shepherding and merely giving spiritual food. Indeed, it must be a good and healthy spiritual food to let people grow better spiritually. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pastoral and Spiritual Care in Pluralistic Societies)

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11 pages, 249 KiB  
Perspective
Positioning Chaplaincy in the Pluralistic and Multidisciplinary Dutch Care Context
by Anja Visser, Hetty Zock and Hanneke Muthert
Religions 2023, 14(9), 1173; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14091173 - 14 Sep 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 672
Abstract
The professional identity of chaplains is under question because of societal trends of disaffiliation from and pluralization of religion, and of deinstitutionalization of care. Chaplaincy in the Netherlands looks to discourse around “meaning” to navigate these challenges. The use of the term “meaning” [...] Read more.
The professional identity of chaplains is under question because of societal trends of disaffiliation from and pluralization of religion, and of deinstitutionalization of care. Chaplaincy in the Netherlands looks to discourse around “meaning” to navigate these challenges. The use of the term “meaning” as the central concept in the professional identity of chaplaincy (and, by extension, spiritual care) is not undisputed, however. There are three related critiques: 1. Meaning and meaning-making have a strong cognitive and intentional connotation, which does not do justice to the lived experience of meaning and might lead to a medicalization of meaning. 2. The term meaning places the professional identity of chaplaincy in the instrumental discourse of other professions, which might lead to “abuse” of spiritual care toward external objectives such as health, (hedonistic) well-being, and/or economic gain, instead of internal objectives such as faith and spirituality. 3. A focus on meaning leads to a marginalization of religion, both societally and within chaplaincy, which might negatively affect chaplaincy’s core competence of hermeneutic understanding and worldview counseling. We conclude that finding one language to present the discipline might not be feasible and desirable. Instead, we advocate for the revitalization of the hermeneutic competency of chaplains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pastoral and Spiritual Care in Pluralistic Societies)
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