Skip to main content

Increasing Trend to Secularize Chaplaincy

There has been an increasing trend in the pastoral care movement to move away from chaplaincy and pastoral care in favor of promoting and providing "spiritual care." Many hospital departments have changed their names to reflect this shift in philosophy and practice.

Spirituality circumvents religion and promotes chaplaincy as a generic practice. Religions are messy. They have rules, doctrines, beliefs, ethics---some of which are flawed to be sure. But religions usually stand for something. Spirituality is an amorphous thing, an oblong blur, with implications of cosmic connection, but with no price tag---no demands no dogmas, and no ethics. Not even a dogma demanding justice and mercy. The only perceptible doctrine promoted by the spirituality movement is that people should feel good about themselves.

At its best the clinical pastoral movement teaches religious professionals to be available to everyone. It also teaches them to be critical of all religion---but dismissive of none. Religion has caused considerable mischief throughout history. But religion at its best calls forth some of the noblest behavior of which human beings are capable.

The clinical pastoral movement has been correct to be critical of each and every specific religious practice; within the limits of mutual respect and decorum. At the same time, however, it must take
a permissive posture toward the various idiosyncratic manifestation of religion, giving them the benefit of the doubt. That is the basis on which the clinical pastoral movement began in the early 20th century. The movement did not attempt to create a new religion, particularly one that by implication would be superior to all the other "flawed religions" of the world. The promotion of spirituality results in diminishing the role of the hospital chaplain as a religious professional in favor of that of a generic approach which in the end a social worker or nurse can provide.

Popular posts from this blog

Edwin Friedman Thinking Systems

What I want to do this morning is talk about how congregations function like families. I am going to do it from a variety of points of view. I’m going to begin with a fable. This one is called "Burnout" and it’s about a fish tank with a scavenger fish in it, you know a scavenger fish is supposed to keep the fish tank clean. I’m trying to be as realistic about it in my use of language as possible so I hope that you will appreciate that.

Once upon a time there was a scavenger fish that lost its taste for shit. (I don’t think I have to read the rest of the fable. You all got the message already!) It was your normal, garden-variety scavenger and had never previously shown any signs of being different from the other members of its species. It lived in a normal-sized tank with the members of several schools and, from the very beginning of its association with this ecosystem, seemed always to be in perfect harmony with the environment. It never got in the way of the others and they…

CPSP Clinical Pastoral Education Training Programs

CPSP CPE/PPS CENTERS LISTING UPDATED 11/08

ARKANSAS AR – Little Rock (CPE)  George Hankins-Hull,  M.Div   University Arkansas fo Medical Sciences Medical Center  Little Rock,  AR (501) 686-6888 
AR – Springdale (CPE)  C. J. Malone,  M.Div   Northwest Health System  Springdale,  AR72764  (479) 957-8782 

CALIFORNIA CA - Long Beach (CPE)  Karyn Reddick,  M.Div   Long Beach Memorial Medical Center / Miller Children's Hospital  Long Beach,  CA90806  (562) 933-1452 

COLORADO CO – Lakewood (CPE)  Foy Richey,  M.Div   Rocky Mountain Center for Education and Training  Lakewood,  CO 80235  (303) 797-8255 

DELWARE DE – Wilmington (CPE) Bryan Bass-Riley Nemours-Alfred I duPont Hospital for Children 1600 Rockland Road Wilmington, DE 19803 (302) 651-5063

MASSACHUSETTES MA – Boston (CPE/PPS)  William E. Alberts,  Ph.D.,   Boston Medical Center  Boston,  MA 02118  (617) 638-6850 

MARYLAND MD – Easton (CPE/PPS)  Benjamin P. Bogia,  Ph.D.   Shore Health System of Maryland  Easton,  MD21601  (410) 822-1000 
MD – Hagerstown, MD (CPE) David C. …

ACPE CPSP Mediation Agreement Broken

TO MEMBERS AND FRIENDS OF CPSP

AND TO ALL MEMBERS OF THE CLINICAL PASTORAL COMMUNITY

The leadership of CPSP regrets to inform you that the mediation process between CPSP and ACPE has broken down. The Mediation Agreement which was signed with high hopes in Philadelphia, November 30, 2010, by the leadership of both organizations, and which created a good spirit and considerable optimism in the larger clinical pastoral field, has been critically breached.

The rupture has come about as a result of a threat from ACPE against the Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center's chaplaincy program as it goes for re-accreditation in January. The medical center’s clinical training program is directed by John deVelder has been accredited by ACPE for several decades. DeVelder is a certified CPE Supervisor with both ACPE and CPSP credentials. He is a prominent clinical pastoral supervisor, well-respected, past President of CPSP and former Chair of the COMISS Network.

The hospital was informed by ACPE th…