1991 …2020

Research output per year

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Personal profile

Research interests

In a late modern society, the church, spiritual/pastoral care and practical theology face a new situation. Pluralization and individualization, globalization and standardization, detraditionalization and secularization, necessity of reflection and multiplication of perspectives are key terms to describe the present wave of modernization. It is a fundamental task for spiritual and pastoral care to strengthen religious identity. This leads to a reflection on the identity of the pastor as professional and of practical theology as scientific discourse. My research investigates the typical late modern challenges for both. It focusses on the Dutch context of the Catholic Church in particular, often in comparison with the situation in Germany.




  • 2001-present: Assistant Professor of Practical Theology, Tilburg University.
  • 2008: qualification as a university lecturer (Habilitation and Privatdozent), University of Münster.
  • 1998-2001: researcher for pastoral care of the youth, German conference of bishops, Düsseldorf.
  • 1999: Ph.D.: University of Münster.
  • 1994-1998: research assistant, University of Münster.
  • 1995: MA Theology, University of Münster and University of Bamberg.
  • 1985-1988: training as a bookseller, Bielefeld.


Assigned grants


  • Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG): Chairman of the international network Practical Theology and late modernity, 2009-2012.


Current courses

Click here for my courses.


  • Pastoral Care
  • Youth And Pastoral Care
  • Practical Theology
  • Religious Communication
  • Pastoral Theology

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Research Output

Discovering practical theology: Exploring boundaries

Gärtner, S. & Dillen, A., 2020, Peeters Publishers. (Louvain Theological & Pastoral Monographs; vol. 47)

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Der Fall des niederländischen Katholizismus. Kirche und Seelsorge in einer spätmodernen Gesellschaft

Gaertner, S., 2017, Herder. 239 p. (Katholizismus im Umbruch; vol. 5)

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Praktische Theologie in der Spätmoderne. Herausforderungen und Entdeckungen

Gärtner, S. (ed.), Klöden, T. (ed.) & Spielberg, B. (ed.), 2014, Würzburg: Echter Verlag. 332 p. (Studien zur Theologie und Praxis der Seelsorge; no. 89)

Research output: Book/ReportBook editing

Zeit, Macht und Sprache. Pastoraltheologische Studien zu Grunddimensionen der Seelsorge

Gärtner, S., 2009, Freiburg/Br. et al.: Herder. 400 p.

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Fanal der nachkonziliaren Krise? Der theologische Streit um De Nieuwe Katechismus

Stefan Gärtner (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talkScientific

Katechismen - Instrumente der Glaubensweitergabe?

Stefan Gärtner (Contributor)

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conferenceScientific

Kongress der Pastoraltheologen

Stefan Gärtner (Contributor)
9 Sep 201911 Sep 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conferenceScientific

Glaubensverdunstung in säkularisierter Gesellschaft

Stefan Gaertner (Speaker)
19 Sep 2018

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talkScientific

Wege zum Menschen (Journal)

S. Gaertner (Reviewer)
2018 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditorial activityScientific