Value orientations and attitudes of military chaplains

[Translate to Englisch:] Titel Werte
[Translate to Englisch:] Bildnachweis: Colourbox

" Wir sind Kirche mit und unter den Soldatinnen und Soldaten."[ 1]
(We are Church with and among the soldiers.)

The military chaplaincy has existed in Germany for more than 50 years. It is active at the interface between church and state and sees itself as a church among soldiers. The pastorals have a special position as military chaplains in the Bundeswehr. The spiritual focus is on church services and the administration of sacraments as well as the pastoral care of the soldiers and their families. The pastorals perform these tasks in barracks, training facilities and hospitals of the Bundeswehr, on military training grounds, on board ships or as accompaniment on foreign missions. The tasks defined by the state include the provision of life lessons as part of the ethical training of the soldiers.

Since 2014 the special situation of pastorals has been given a special attention within the framework of the cooperation between the ZFG and the KMBA. The study " Wertorientierungen und Einstellungen von Militärseelsorgern und Militärseelsorgerinnen". examines the development of value orientations and attitudes of priests and pastoral officers in the course of their professional activity in catholic military chaplaincy. New perspectives on the situation of the pastorals employed in catholic military chaplaincy will be opened up, providing insight into the broad field of activity and the challenges that the work there brings with it. This includes, among other things, how professional demands and challenges affect the individual and thus his or her value orientations and attitudes, both in the basic service and during the period of deployment. The results of the study can be used to derive recommendations for the acquisition, training and maintenance of mental hygiene for pastorals. In particular, the focus on life and job satisfaction, mental health and motivation for one's own work are important factors in ensuring that military chaplains can provide the best possible support for the soldiers and their families entrusted to them. In his sermon in the Pontifical Office at the General Conference on Military Chaplaincy in 2017, the Military Bishop of the German Armed Forces, Dr. Franz-Josef Overbeck, said: „Seelsorge ist Arbeit im schönsten Sinn des Wortes, weil sie den Blick auf die richtet, die diese Arbeit vollziehen und auf die, denen sie zu Gute kommt“ (Pastoral care is work in the most beautiful sense of the word, because it focuses on those who carry out this work and on those who benefit from it.)

Conception of the project

The research project is designed as a panel study over a period of 12 years. With this approach it is possible to continuously accompany an entire generation of and military chaplains and to record possible changes in their value orientations and attitudes. This is based on the assumption that these change in the course of their work in the military chaplaincy with its diverse requirement profiles and foreign assignments.

1] 1. Leitsatz der Katholischen Militärseelsorge (1st guiding principle of Catholic military chaplaincy)