Military chaplaincy

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Military chaplain in Afghanistan

Military pastoral care is a collective term for the activities as well as for the organizational structure of churches and religious communities in the military . It enables soldiers, their families and, if necessary, other members of the armed forces to practice their religion under the special conditions of military service. Military chaplains also accompany soldiers on their missions at home and abroad.


The central tasks of the military chaplaincy include the implementation of religious celebrations and rites, religious and ethical education and personal conversation.


The organization, function and involvement of the military pastoral care in the armed forces depend on the legal and actual conditions in the individual states and religious communities: The spectrum ranges from the support of soldiers by civil pastoral care to pastors in uniform who are fully integrated into the military hierarchy.

In some states there is a tendency for the state to standardize military pastoral care by creating supra-religious pastoral care institutions ( all souls ministry and force chaplains ), i.e. appointing pastors regardless of the denomination or religion of the individual soldiers. Belgium also employs humanists as soldiers' advisors who have no relation to a religious community.

Roman Catholic Church

Under canon law , as described by the Second Vatican Council , military pastoral care is divided into “military vicariates”, which are comparable to a diocese . Since the apostolic constitution Spirituali militum curae for the order of the Catholic military chaplaincy and the Catholic military ordinariats or military dioceses of 1986 they have been referred to as military ordinariate or military diocese. A further subdivision of the military ordinariates is not specified for the whole church and is handled differently.


See also

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Wilhelm Rees : The Catholic military pastoral care in Austria as a church and state institution. ( online ), pp. 179-192.