The institutional dynamics of spiritual care

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    This article develops a framework to explain differences in the institutional dynamics of spiritual care in a societal context of secularization and pluralism. ‘Spiritual care’ is a term used for a professionalized type of pastoral care, particularly in two settings outside religious institutions, namely, institutions of care and state institutions, such as the army and penitentiaries. Since the seventies, the term has come to include not only pastoral care of various denominational origins, but also Humanistic, Islamic, Buddhist and Hindu varieties. In the Dutch case, a difference appears between the government policy towards spiritual care in the context of care and within the context of state institutions. In the former case, influence by the government is weak. In this case, a general spiritual care is developing, supposedly in order to keep track with the secularization of the clients. In the latter case, the influence by the government is strong. In this case, confessional spiritual care is promoted, probably in order to prevent outsiders from 'dangerous' religious varieties from entering these total contexts. Thus, we see two different tracks of dealing with religious diversity and religious abstinence.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)21-28
    Number of pages8
    JournalRevista de Estudos da Religião
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


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