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« THE LOSS OF DONALD CAPPS--By Raymond Lawrence, General Secretary | Main

August 30, 2015

Part I: A Silently Politicized Profession-- by The Rev. Dr. Belen Gonzalez y Perez, CPSP Diplomate

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Ever heard it said, “There are no politics in the chaplaincy profession,” Yeah right! I would like to believe that politics is not a constituent characteristic of the chaplaincy profession. However, I submit to you that such is a fantasy that betrays a lack of understanding, as well as a propensity to remain within the infantilized protection of a quintessential inner circle of the herd. Truth be told, there are a many political forces and interests that push and pull on the chaplaincy profession.
Politics, no matter the context, is the practice of influencing others to gain and maintain power and influence in a government or an institution. The chaplaincy, as a profession, is no exception to the innate human propensity to seek to protect and secure its own professional niche within an ever growing politicized society with its many competing social constructs.

Although ordinarily thought of in terms of belonging to the clergy caste, a chaplain is in fact not only of the clergy but more frequently a non-clergy member that exercises the role and function of the chaplaincy. This is somewhat confusing to the outsider.
To the outsider the chaplain is a minister of some particular faith tradition. In some faith traditions a chaplain is exclusively a role and title reserved for the official clergy. In other faith traditions a non-clergy is able to exercise both the role and function of the chaplain. For instance, it was the traditional expectation in Lutheran clergy circles that before considering to enter a chaplaincy the cleric required a minimum of 3 years of prior experience as a pastor of a congregation. It was thought that such congregational experience would be foundational to the future chaplain`s pastoral identity, work, and practice as a chaplain representing the faith community.

There are instances where soon after completing the standard four years of graduate theological program in a Lutheran seminary that a select candidate could be placed into the chaplaincy instead of the parish. On its face and without too much difficulty, the preferential nature of such an appointment in light of the minimal prior congregational work expected of all other clergy, clearly betrays that such appointments demonstrate a politicized reality.

The Rev. Dr. Belen Gonzalez y Perez, CPSP Diplomate
belengyp@aol.com

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at August 30, 2015 7:08 PM

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