The Dechristianization of Christian Hospital Chaplaincy: Some Bioethics Reflections on Professionalization, Ecumenization, and Secularization
Engelhardt, H. Tristram, Jr.
Christian Bioethics 2003 April; 9(1): 139-160
The traditional roles of Christian chaplains in aiding patients, physicians, nurses, and hospital administrators in repentance, right belief, right worship, and right conduct are challenged by the contemporary professionalization of chaplaincy guided by post-Christian norms located in a public space structured by three defining postulates: the non-divinity of Christ, robust ecumenism, and the irrelevance of God's existence. The norms of this emerging post-Christian profession of chaplaincy make interventions with patients, physicians, nurses, and hospital administrators in defense of specifically Christian bioethical norms and goals unprofessional, because the chaplain is now directed as a professional to support health care services held to standards articulated within a secular morality. These changes are exemplar of the profound recasting of the dominant moral culture with wide-ranging implications for bioethics.
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