New Zealand Defence Forces and Spirituality
What Does it Mean? What Are Their Spiritual Needs? How is Spiritual Health Care Practised?
Keywords:Military chaplain, padre, New Zealand, spirituality, spiritual care
In the context of military chaplaincy changing alongside a fluid global and New Zealand spiritual environment, this study aimed to elucidate the nature of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) chaplains’ (Padres’) role as providers of spiritual care to military personnel. Twelve NZDF Padres were interviewed and the transcripts thematically analysed. Three overarching themes emerged. Firstly, definitions and understandings of spirituality were informed by a Christian framework, however this often remained unspoken in their approach. Secondly Padres’ pastoral approach was holistic and relational as they actively lived and trained with other personnel. Thirdly, Padres acknowledged various role tensions, for example between their Christian values and the defence force mandate to use lethal force. Padres clearly professionally navigate the multi-cultural, multi-faith and non-faith needs that arise in the contemporary NZDF.
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