Humanist hospital chaplaincy


What are your thoughts on this?


Good. Those who don’t identify with a particular religion also need support.


Does her humanism cause her to interfere with the Catholic priests bringing the sacraments to the patients?


Does spirituality transcend “religion”? I think that is the point she is trying to make. But when she speaks of spirituality as getting lost in music or nature she is not helping that point. When she speaks of “being there” for people with “Compassion” that is more to it. Even Christian chaplains must do that with everyone including those who do not share their beliefs.

So put yourself in the place of a Catholic/Christian chaplain and you are with a non-believing person in crisis. What do you do? try to convert them? I hope not. Rather you provided a compassionate caring presence and maybe offer nonjudgmenetal listening skills.


I think it doesn’t matter what beliefs she holds as long as she is able to do her job and support those who need it.


Being an atheist isn’t the same as being a humanist, people tend to forget there is such a thing as Christian humanism, which is where the idea started.


She’s associated to Humanists UK, which is effectively an atheist organisation.


Will she give culturally sensitive care or impose her own beliefs?
If a Catholic patient is suffering from spiritual distress and needs the sacrament of reconciliation will she call an actual priest for them, without condescension and eye rolling?

If I’m having a spiritual problem, I want another Catholic.
If I just need psychiatric care, it doesn’t really matter the religion of the practitioner I see.


I’m pretty sure she would, in the same vein would a Catholic hospital chaplain try to convert someone of a different faith or would they seek out the spiritual/emotional support that the patient needed?


My experience with chaplains of various faiths has been positive. They have been more interested in serving and providing comfort than in pushing an agenda.

I hope that my experience is representative of chaplains in general.


No hospital chaplain of any faith I have ever encountered has behaved in such a manner and it would be highly unlikely this individual would. Behaving in such a way as you suggest would be grounds for complaints non stop and highly unprofessional.


A certified chaplain would give the patient’s preferences the highest priority.


My very devout Catholic grandfather had a Jewish Chaplin when he died.


It’s very possible I’m being grossly unfair.

If I had a physical condition, I would not hesitate to seek the most competent practitioner regardless of faith.

But with the increasing polarization of our society and the dividing of people into different camps by personal philosophy, if I were having a spiritual crisis, I wouldn’t want somebody counseling me who secretly thought my beliefs were stupid and from the Stone Age while privately congratulating themselves on having escaped such silly superstitions. I would need somebody who understands me because they walked in my footsteps.

OTOH, she might be really cool and funny and compassionate.

But when I have a crisis, I do seek out other believers, because I don’t have to explain myself so much.


I hope and trust that people who become hospital chaplains are motivated by compassion and love more than anything else.


Maybe this will help.

The chaplain models and collaborates with the organization and its interdisciplinary team in respecting and providing culturally competent patient-centered care.
The chaplain includes in her/his assessment the identification of cultural and spiritual/religious issues, beliefs, and values of the patient and/or family that may impact the plan of care. The chaplain assists the interdisciplinary team, through practice and education, in incorporating issues of diversity into the patient’s plan of care.
Demonstrates a thorough knowledge and understanding of cultural and spiritual/religious diversity.
Defines and incorporates desired outcomes, interventions, and plans into the assessment and plan of care in terms of the patient’s/family’s culture, spiritual/religious practices and beliefs, ethical considerations, environment, and/or situation.
Identifies and respects spiritual/religious and/or cultural values; assists in identifying and responding to identified needs and boundaries.

Most people don’t realize the amount of training, education, supervision and accountability required of certified chaplains. I am one of them now for 25 years.


thanks for your service. hugs


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