Different Dimensions of Spirituality in European Health Care Chaplaincy
Father Stavros Kofinas
Paper. Presented at the Conference on Spirituality and Health, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland, January 13, 2004.
Spirituality, dimensions of spirituality, European Health Care Chaplaincy
Defining the content of health care chaplaincy may first appear simple. It is the care offered to the sick, within an institutional framework, by a representative of a religion or faith. At second glance, one will quickly recognize that this generalization hides many differences and discrepancies. When the representatives of European chaplaincies gathered to form a network, these differences were unexpectedly and surprisingly brought out into the open. The basis of these differences is not as much organizational as the way chaplaincy is conceived. This paper will view these differences, both on a conceptual and organizational level. In doing this, the issue will be raised as to the post-modern view of what is so called “spirituality” and its implication on how we view illness, health care and chaplaincy. Generic chaplaincy will be seen as a result of “post-modern spirituality”, while the possibilities of a “united chaplaincy” will be examined as well. Caution will be raised concerning a “spirituality” that is independent of theology and its ecclesiological perspective, stating that man's “spiritual health and wholeness” cannot be seen as an individualistic” experience but as a ontological way of life.
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