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The Chaplain

The Chaplain

(p.53) Two. The Chaplain
A Ministry of Presence
Winnifred Fallers Sullivan
University of Chicago Press

This chapter describes the chaplain’s work as both authorized by religious communities and, at the same time, subject also to the secular rationalities of the institution in which she works. It argues that the chaplain fills a gap in late modernity—attending to the leftover human-ness of citizens understood to be in need of spiritual care. The chapter contains a brief history of the chaplain and the relationship of her work to that of other religious professionals. Separate sections describe the distinct chaplaincies of the military, the hospital, and the prison. The military chaplaincy in the US is now expanding to address a more diverse population and to include an advising role to the command with respect to religion in the places in which the army is stationed. Prison chaplains, too, are increasingly required to serve a more diverse population as well as to minister to staff. Hospitals affirmatively endorse spiritual health as a necessary component of good health. The Chaplain is increasingly seen across the domains in which he or she works as the indispensable person serving a universal need.

Keywords:   chaplain, Army, hospital, prison, institutional rationality

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