INTER-FAITH PASTORAL CARE AND THE ROLE OF THE HEALTH CARE CHAPLAIN
Keywords:Inter-faith, pastoral care, chaplain / chaplaincy
This paper explores the inter-faith pastoral care provided by Australian Christian health care chaplains to patients and their families of non-Christian religions in public hospitals within the culturally diverse western suburbs of Melbourne (Victoria, Australia). Chaplains completed an ‘Inter-Faith and Pastoral Care Questionnaire' followed by an in-depth interview designed to explore the strategies, techniques, knowledge and resources of chaplains ministering to adherents of traditional non-Christian religions. The majority of chaplains were found to have provided pastoral care to people of non-Christian faiths utilizing a variety of pastoral strategies. Differences were noted between Catholic and Protestant chaplains, and between lay and ordained chaplains, particularly concerning their knowledge of non-Christian faiths and their use of resources. It is argued that future chaplaincy personnel need to be better trained in order to maximize the effectiveness of inter-faith pastoral care.
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