Pastoral Care in the 21st Century: Challenges and Opportunities

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444). This special issue belongs to the section "Religions and Health/Psychology/Social Sciences".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 November 2024 | Viewed by 253

Special Issue Editors

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Guest Editor
Institute of Pastoral Studies, Loyola University Chicago, Chicago, IL 60660, USA
Interests: pastoral counseling; pastoral theology; theory and praxis of transformation, with pilgrimage as a specialization; expanding theories of research for pastoral praxis

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Guest Editor
Atlantic School of Theology, Halifax, NS B3H 3B6, Canada
Interests: pastoral psychotherapy; death and dying; trauma and trauma recovery; guilt, forgiveness and peace

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The modern history of pastoral care in the last hundred years has gained existential legitimacy and praxis capability through direct encounters with human persons and their communities. The infusion of social sciences, particularly psychology, has provided pastoral care necessary tools for accompaniment across the lifespan and these endeavors remain through the disciplines of accompaniment, meaning-making, and transformation.

Pastoral care in its praxis understandings includes the care for the whole person, including the communal and contextual realities of modern and postmodern life. As we look at the current landscape, however, it has become clear that pastoral care must consider the contemporary and emerging challenges that exist today. There seems an acceleration of pressures on persons and communities prompting not only personal crises but accelerated change in seemingly every domain of life, personal, communal, systemic, global, technological, environmental, to name but a few.

These emergent needs and challenges require contemporary educators, practitioners, and researchers to address these pressing demands for clarity and insight as we face the problems of today. Issues such as the role of technology in human development and identity formation; moral foundations for pastoral care and and communal health; spiritual perspectives and practices that facilitate wholeness across the lifespan; multicultural awareness facilitating best practices; narrative and/or positive psychology and spirituality and their applications can be viewed as examples.

This Special Issue will serve scholars and practitioners as an informed resource for current and emergent challenges, guiding the field within the contemporary demands of pastoral praxis and its applications.

Among the themes that researchers may well pursue include:

  • Intercultural pastoral care and counseling;
  • Spiritual perspectives and practices that support pastoral care;
  • Care of systems and communities;
  • Technology and human flourishing and/or its absence;
  • Pastoral care towards nurture for Earth’s home;
  • Emergent forms of stress and anxiety;
  • Evolving communities of care;
  • Theologies and spiritualities of accompaniment;
  • Contemporary challenges of identity formation;
  • Pastoral care in contexts of polarization.

Prof. Dr. William Schmidt
Prof. Dr. Jody Clarke
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • pastoral care
  • pastoral counseling
  • spiritual accompaniment
  • systems care
  • spirituality
  • pastoral theology

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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