Intra-Church differences and tensions in health care chaplaincy
Fr Dr Angelo Brusco
Introduction to a discussion. Presented at the ENHCC conference ‘Growing together in our pain. Differences and tensions in healthcare Chaplaincy in Europe' in Dublin, 2004.
Full text published on the webpage of the ENHCC
Catholic chaplaincy, Italy, national association, formation, ecclesiology of communion
Catholic chaplaincy has a defined place within the ecclesial community. Unfortunately in Italy only priests have juridical recognition by the state while working in health care. Chaplaincy is therefore only accessible to male priests. This has an impact on the formation of chaplains and their image. The image of the chaplain is often still that of an older priest and needs work to make it more attractive and more accessible to the women and men of our time. Health care chaplains are represented by a national association (A.I.Pa.S) which exists independently from the Italian Episcopal Conference. Its current status gives the A.I.Pa.S chances to be creative, to take initiatives, to move and make efforts in new projects without ignoring the resource of the Church's tradition. A lot of progress has been made in the formation of chaplains. Literature is blooming. One of the most significant efforts has been the publication of a Dictionary of Pastoral Theology in the context of Health Care (Ed. Camilliane, Torino, 1977, 1444pp.). A Catholic Ecclesiology of Communion, where the diversity of vocations is stressed, could be a cornerstone for further developments in chaplaincy. The author is optimistic about the future of health care chaplaincy in Italy and considers intra church tensions as means to grow.
(abstract by Anne Vandenhoeck)
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