Pastoral care

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The term pastoral care ( Latin cura animarum ) is a term that has grown historically in German and is made up of the words soul and worry . It describes the personal spiritual accompaniment and support of a person, especially in life crises, by an appropriately trained pastor , usually a clergyman of the respective denomination or religion . In terms of method, pastoral care can - depending on the concept - be designed differently; mostly it is a face-to-face conversation. The pastor is subject to confidentiality or its even stricter variant, the secrecy of confession . The scientific doctrine of pastoral care is called poimenics . Today it is usually referred to as practical theology in Protestant theological faculties and as pastoral theology in Catholic theological faculties.


Biblical justification

In the New Testament deal for the circumscribed with "pastoral" interaction terms like paraclesis ( Greek. Παράκλησις paraklesis ) what is in the broadest sense "support" in the narrow sense of " encouragement ", "encouragement", " warning " and " consolation “(Examples: Rom 12.8, EU  EU , Phil 2.1  EU , 1 Tim 4.13  EU , 1 Thess 5.14, EU  EU ). Other New Testament pastoral care vocabulary are z. B. νουθετεῖν nouthetein (= recommend , admonish, Acts 20.31  EU , Col 1.28  EU ) and καταρτίζειν katartízein (= put in order, make up, restore, 1 Cor 1,10, LU  EU , 1 Thess 3, 10, EU  EU ), who guide and justify pastoral action in their respective context.

The biblical finding that God or that Jesus Christ sees, recognizes, visits and comforts , can be taken as a model for a biblically based theory of pastoral care. All Christians can have various pastoral charisms such as counseling and healing ( 1 Cor 12.4-11  EU ), comforting ( 2 Cor 1.4  EU ) and teaching ( Eph 4.11  EU ). Pastoral care includes admonishing and reprimanding ( Tit 2.15  EU ), practical use for people in need ( Lk 10.30-35 EU ) and giving  hospitality ( Rom 12.13  EU ).

Conceptual content

With regard to the definition of pastoral care, there is a certain consensus that pastoral care is a verbal interaction mediated by other signs in a church and an individual context. Pastoral care can be described as a personally mediated, thematically structured, contextually embedded relationship event with a reference to transcendence .

The various approaches and methods of pastoral care are reflected in Poimenik (from the Greek ποιμήν poimḗn “shepherd”). This doctrine of pastoral care is part of practical theology .

Pastoral care should not be confused with psychotherapeutic action. Working with pathological dynamics does not belong in the competence of a pastor and is therefore deliberately excluded. However, psychotherapeutic methods are also used in pastoral care. In particular , pastoral psychology, influenced by Carl Rogers and the Dutch pastoral care movement in Germany, attaches great importance to a close exchange between pastoral care and psychology (mostly psychotherapy here ).

Pastoral workers

According to the Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox understanding, every Christian is called and empowered to provide accompanying pastoral care in the general sense of assistance, support and empathy . The focus of Christian pastoral care is not the solution of a current problem , but it sees itself as a relationship event. This interaction in turn does not only happen between two or more people, but lives from the assumption that God has a relationship with every person, regardless of whether they have ever been accompanied by pastoral care or not. Knowing about this fact, pastoral care wants to offer people the opportunity to experience sincere sympathy in negative - as well as positive - life situations in contact with one or more people. "People develop pastoral care together in an interactive and communicative process."

In a special sense, however, there are also officially appointed pastors whose pastoral activities go beyond the purely accompanying aspect and can lead to advisory pastoral care ( life counseling ). In this case it is actually a question of a methodical problem-solving process, through which the self-efforts of the person seeking advice are supported and optimized.

historical development

In the old church, pastoral care was primarily about the Christian's struggle against sin , which endangers his eschatological salvation , and the job of the pastor was to help the individual Christian. A first pastoral movement arose among the desert fathers , who often went to Christians and asked for advice. The first monastery-like communities were also such pastoral care centers. Numerous examples of pastoral advice can be found in the letters of Basil of Ancyra , Gregory Nazianzen, and John Chrysostom .

At the transition to the Middle Ages, Gregory the Great wrote the Liber regulae pastoris addressed to the Pope , one of the most influential books on pastoral care ever written.

In the Middle Ages, pastoral care was closely linked to the practice of the sacrament of penance , which included confession of guilt, reparation and absolution by the priest. The monasticism, for example, by Bernhard von Clairvaux , was particularly attacked against the routine, which is often externalized .

The reformers no longer emphasized sin, but emphasized God's forgiveness and consolation, especially Martin Luther and Heinrich Bullinger , but in many cases church discipline soon replaced pastoral care.

The pietism rejected any formal pastoral care; for the first time the pastoral conversation became an issue. The aim of pietistic pastoral care was to develop the fruits of faith in personal life, in diakonia and mission , while at the same time the meaning of pastoral care was seen in instruction in the Enlightenment , which enabled the faithful to lead a moral life.

In the 19th century, the Protestant theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher founded practical theology . He emphasized that pastoral care should strengthen the freedom and maturity of the individual church member. As early as 1777, on the Catholic side in Austria under Franz Stephan Rautenstrauch, in the spirit of the Josephine church reform, pastoral theology was included in the course catalog of the University of Vienna and taught in the mother tongue, not in Latin. In Germany, it was further developed and distributed , especially under Johann Michael Sailer , and is considered a forerunner of modern pastoral care.

In the USA, AT Boisen, one of the most important representatives of the American pastoral movement, developed the concept of " Clinical Pastoral Training " in the 1920s , which included pastoral care, psychology and pedagogy.

Eduard Thurneysen emphasized the kerygmatic aspect of pastoral care as "the alignment of the message and thus the awakening of spiritual life ..."

In the mid-1960s the pastoral care movement came to Germany via the Netherlands and there, too, led to the development of pastoral psychology . In the theology of the regional churches, pastoral-psychologically oriented pastoral care is standard to this day.

In the 1980s, the Catholic priest and university lecturer Eugen Drewermann developed his depth psychological interpretation of the Bible at the University of Paderborn, especially in the three-volume work Psychoanalysis and Moral Theology .

Types of pastoral care

Church pastoral happening today in different contexts (community, hospital chaplaincy , emergency counseling , psychiatry , telephone counseling , airport chaplain , Station pastoral care , school , police chaplaincy , artist pastoral care , counseling centers , retirement and nursing home chaplaincy, working with disabled people, hospice and dying companion , mourning , letter pastoral Internetseelsorge , SMS pastoral care , for special target groups such as migrant pastoral care and in shopping centers such as the Sihlcity Church etc.). In particular, casuals have a pastoral character due to the preceding personal conversation: During the baptismal conversation, young families are accompanied in a new phase of life, in the preliminary conversation about weddings there are pastoral moments through the clarification of organizational questions, especially in the run-up to funeral services , questions about the conclusion and the meaning of life awake.

What all fields of activity have in common is the requirement to accompany people in questions of life and belief. This happens in personal conversation, depending on the situation but also through prayer , through the administration of the sacraments , through comforting and encouraging words from the Bible , through gestures of blessing (e.g. laying on of hands ), but also through social support.

The Internet now also offers the opportunity to receive pastoral help. Many churches and other institutions offer e-mail contacts. Here, those seeking help can discuss their concerns with a permanent contact.

Pastoral care must always be reoriented towards the specific person. So there has been a continuous change in pastoral care practice since the beginning of Christianity. In earlier times people were very tied to where they lived . The territorial orientation of the church corresponded to this fact. In a modern society, however, there is great mobility , so that people choose offers and no longer naturally feel connected to their local community. People's world extends beyond their place of residence. A new approach, living space- oriented pastoral care , has been dealing with these challenges since the late 1990s . A pastoral care approach is to be developed on theological basis and with the help of sociology , which can do justice to the realities of pastoral care in the 3rd millennium.

Experience-oriented pastoral care combines pastoral care with approaches from experiential education and movement therapy. The theologians and pastors Ulrike and Christian Dittmar describe the experience (in nature) as a space, starting point and metaphor for the pastoral conversation. Walking together in particular became the basic situation for discussions. Not only the topics of the conversation play a role, but also movement patterns, breathing rhythm or speed and slowing down. Experience-oriented approaches to pastoral care have emerged from clinical pastoral care and with the pilgrimage of recent years.

Pastoral care in the Roman Catholic Church

The comprehensive aim of pastoral care is to support people in their specific situation:

“The joy and hope, sorrow and fear of people today, especially the poor and afflicted of all kinds, are also joy and hope, sorrow and fear of Christ's disciples. And there is nothing truly human that does not find an echo in their hearts. "

- Second Vatican Council , Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes - Church in today's world , 1.

According to the Catholic understanding, the body of pastoral care is the entire community of believers. As a rule, priests and deacons work as pastors in congregations or in pastoral groups. Full-time pastors can also be men and women as pastoral or parish officers, and religious can also take on pastoral tasks in their sphere of activity. Categorical pastoral care must be distinguished from parish pastoral care (territorial pastoral care). B. in hospitals, retirement homes, schools and prisons.

Pastoral care in the context of the Protestant regional churches

Many regional church pastors are trained in their own regional church pastoral care institutes, of which the "most modern" was developed by Winkelmann in the Bethel Theological School near Bielefeld . The founding of a pastoral care institute in the Bethel Church University with a very modern foundation was a turning point in the theological orientation of the Bethel Church University. Because in 1961 this university still had a decidedly pietistic basic orientation in line with the theology of its founder von Bodelschwingh.

First Dietrich Stollberg and then his successor Klaus Winkler , the first two long-term directors of the pastoral care institute, gave it a psychoanalytic character that justifies giving psychoanalytic pastoral care a wider area in the Protestant Church.

This direction of psychotherapeutic pastoral care has received great support for several years from professors of practical theology who give introductions to psychotherapeutic pastoral care through courses at many universities.

Pastoral care in the evangelical space

In evangelical pastoral care practice, attempts are made to orientate oneself to biblical life orders. The historical-critical standpoint, as it prevailed in the German university pastors' training , received little attention and application as the basis of pastoral action. At first there was a strict rejection of psychology in the evangelical pastoral currents, but since the 1980s there has been increasing use of psychotherapeutic methods. The ratio and weighting of pastoral care and psychotherapy is still a matter of dispute. In Biblical Therapeutic Pastoral Care (BTS), for example, biblical and psychological or psychotherapeutic approaches complement or interpenetrate. A psychotherapeutic approach is theologically founded in part on the assumption that psychological or psychotherapeutic methods correspond to the divine order of creation or life order described in the Bible - for example in analogy to the Old Testament wisdom literature - and can be derived from it.

Since the sixties of the 20th century and again since 2002, the term Member Care for the pastoral and holistic accompaniment of evangelical missionaries and intercultural co-workers, mainly by the American psychologist Kelly O'Donnell , emerged for their physical, mental and spiritual health , resilience to promote and effectiveness. O'Donnell presented concentric models in 2002 and 2011 to identify and describe the various stakeholders and areas of responsibility involved. In 1994 the international center Le Rucher was founded in Cessy , France , which aims to empower and renew people who care for the needy to do this service competently, effectively and in a healthy and holistic way. In German-speaking countries, too, the Academy for World Mission and other organizations have taken on the topic of Member Care , carried out training courses and made new offers.

Ecumenical Association for Pastoral Care, Counseling and Supervision

Many pastors from the Protestant regional churches as well as pastors from the Roman Catholic Church have worked in the German Society for Pastoral Psychology e. V. (DGfP) found its organizational framework. The DGfP is divided into 5 sections:

  1. Groups, Organizations (GOS)
  2. Clinical Pastoral Training (KSA)
  3. Depth Psychology (T)
  4. Person-centered psychotherapy and pastoral care (PPS)
  5. Gestalt pastoral care and psychodrama in pastoral work (GPP)

Systemic trade association

In addition, systemically integrative pastoral care (SIS) is establishing itself in the sectors

  1. systemically integrative individual pastoral care
  2. systemically integrative pastoral care for couples
  3. systemically integrative family pastoral care

Pastoral care in Judaism and Islam

At the end of 2019, the German Bundestag decided to set up a Jewish military chaplaincy in cooperation with the Central Council of Jews in Germany .


Basics and overall presentations
  • Wilfried Engemann (ed.): Handbook of pastoral care. Basics and profiles. 3rd, completely revised and expanded edition, Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, Leipzig 2016, ISBN 978-3-374-04258-6 .
  • Karl Federschmidt u. a. (Ed.): Handbook of intercultural pastoral care. Neukirchen-Vluyn 2002 (entire text online here)
  • Albert Höfer , Katharina Steiner, Franz Feiner (eds.): Handbook of integrative gestalt pedagogy and pastoral care, advice and supervision; Part I: Our image of man. LogoMedia, Nittendorf 2004, ISBN 3-902085-03-7 .
  • Anja Kramer, Freimut Schirrmacher (Ed.): Pastoral Church in the 21st Century. Models - Concepts - Perspectives. Neukirchen-Vluyn 2005, ISBN 3-7975-0072-6 .
  • Christoph Morgenthaler: Pastoral care (= textbook practical theology vol. 3). 2nd edition, Gütersloher Verlagshaus, Gütersloh 2012, ISBN 978-3-579-05404-9 .
  • Doris Nauer : Pastoral care concepts in conflict. A compendium. Kohlhammer Verlag, 2001.
  • Joachim Scharfenberg : Pastoral care as a conversation. On the theory and practice of pastoral conversation, 4th edition, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1987, ISBN 3-525-62142-6 .
  • Eduard Thurneysen : The doctrine of pastoral care. 7th edition, Theologischer Verlag Zurich, Zurich 1994, ISBN 3-290-11364-7 .
  • Jürgen Ziemer: Pastoral teaching. 2nd revised and updated edition, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2004, ISBN 3-8252-2147-4 .
Individual areas of work
  • Harmjan Dam, Matthias Spenn (ed.): Evangelical school pastoral care . Backgrounds, experiences, concepts. Comenius Institute, Münster 2007, ISBN 978-3-924804-80-0 .
  • Peter Godzik : Pastoral Care in Following Jesus. A meditation on Luke 24: 13-35. In: ders. (Ed.): The art of dying care. Handbook for accompanying the seriously ill and dying. Steinmann, Rosengarten b. Hamburg 2013, pp. 16-18.
  • Ralf Koerrenz , Michael Wermke (Hrsg.): Manual school counseling. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2007.
  • Ulrich Mack : Handbook of child pastoral care. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2010, ISBN 978-3-525-67001-9 .
  • Reiner Andreas Neuschäfer: That burns on my soul. Suggestions for a pastoral school culture. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2007, ISBN 978-3-525-61596-6 .
History and condition reports
  • Christian Möller (ed.): History of pastoral care in individual portraits. 3 vol. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1994–1996.
  • Klaus Thieme: Interreligious Pastoral Care: Interim report from my field of work. In: Michael Klöcker, Udo Tworuschka (Hrsg.): Handbuch der Religionen. Churches and other religious communities in Germany. (Loose-leaf publication with four additional deliveries per year (II-4.2.20), 36th EL 2013, pp. 1–43).
  • Peter Zimmerling (ed.): Evangelical pastors. Biographical sketches, texts and programs. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2005.
  • Peter Zimmerling: Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf as a challenge for pastoral care today. In: International Journal of Practical Theology 6 (2002), pp. 104-120.

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Pastoral care  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. cf. in the literature section : Christoph Morgenthaler: Seelsorge. 2012, p. 15
  2. ^ Christian Möller : Preaching pastoral care. The paraclete dimension of preaching, pastoral care and congregation. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1990
  3. Jay E. Adams: Liberating Pastoral Care. Theory and practice of biblical counseling. Brunnen, Gießen / Basel 1992
  4. Peter Godzik (ed.): Dying care - cordial and affectionate. Steinmann, Rosengarten b. Hamburg 2012, p. 30
  5. cf. Christoph Morgenthaler: Pastoral care. 2012, p. 23
  6. Peter Godzik: Pastoral care in the Old and New Testament. Bible study 1996 (online at (PDF; 131 kB); Pastoral care in following Jesus. A meditation on Luke 24: 13-35. In: ders. (Ed.): The art of dying care. Handbook for accompanying the seriously ill and dying. Steinmann, Rosengarten b. Hamburg 2013, pp. 16-18
  7. Elisabeth Schieffer: Pastor . In: Walter Kasper (Ed.): Lexicon for Theology and Church . 3. Edition. tape 9 . Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau 2000, Sp. 391 f .
  8. Philipp Müller : Pastoral Care II. Historical-theological . In: Walter Kasper (Ed.): Lexicon for Theology and Church . 3. Edition. tape 9 . Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau 2000, Sp. 385 .
  9. Joachim Scharfenberg : Pastoral care as a conversation. On the theory and practice of pastoral conversation. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1991
  10. ^ Christoph Morgenthaler: Pastoral care. 2012, p. 23
  11. ^ Christoph Morgenthaler: Pastoral care. 2012, pp. 22-24
  12. Wilfried Veeser: Script of the pastoral care basic course 1st block , 2007
  13. ^ Christoph Morgenthaler: Pastoral care. 2012, p. 17
  14. ^ Christoph Morgenthaler: Pastoral care. 2012, p. 315 ff.
  15. cf. Christoph Morgenthaler: Pastoral care. 2012, p. 34 f.
  16. Daniel Hell: Understand the language of the soul. The Desert Fathers as Therapists , 2002, ISBN 3-451-05191-5
  17. Basil the Great: Letter to a Fallen Monk (English)
  18. Joachim Heubach (Ed.): Luther as a pastor (publications of the Luther Academy Ratzeburg, vol. 18), Erlangen: Martin Luther 1991; Peter Godzik : Pastoral care with Luther , 1996 (online at (PDF; 66 kB)
  19. Ulrike and Christian Dittmar: Experience-oriented pastoral care. Christian Dittmar, accessed December 18, 2018 .
  20. Ulrike and Christian Dittmar: Experience orientation in the spa and tourist pastoral care in: Pastoraltheologie 1, 2001, pp. 32-38 . In: Pastoral Theology . No. 1, 2001 . Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2001, p. 32-38 .
  21. Ulrike and Christian Dittmar: Spiritual walks . 2nd Edition. Wortvergnügen, Nuremberg 2013, ISBN 978-3-9815621-2-5 .
  22. ^ A b Doris Nauer: Pastoral care concepts in conflict. A compendium , 2001, Kohlhammer Verlag, ISBN 3-17-017115-1 , p. 54
  23. Le Rucher Ministries - Equipping people to impact a needy world (English)
  24. Member Care at AEM
  25. Further training in Member Care at the Academy for World Mission in Korntal
  26. ^ Beat Weber : Member Care - a different kind of care. Emergency pastoral care Switzerland
  29. ^ Weinlein Alexander: German Bundestag - Jewish pastoral care in the Bundeswehr. Retrieved August 17, 2020 .
  30. ^ Jewish pastoral care: There will be military rabbis again in the Bundeswehr . In: FAZ.NET . ISSN  0174-4909 ( [accessed August 17, 2020]).