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The decreasing number of Catholic priests seeking ordination has led to a variety of creative solutions to meet parishioners needs. While there are distinct similarities between the Catholic Social Teachings and the Canadian Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics there is little literature pertaining to the role or practice of social work within the Catholic Church. This exploratory study employing key informant interviews examined if there was a place for social work directly within the Church. Individuals presently providing social assistance within the Church did not typically have formal counselling preparation. As well, distinct gaps in service provision exist ranging from bereavement support to youth programming. Respondents stated that social workers would be a worthwhile addition to any pastoral team and that the provision of professional psychosocial supports should no longer occur at arms length from parishioners but should be incorporated directly into the ministry of the Catholic Church.healing ministry of Jesus is total and comprehensive in scope; it is directed to the health and well being of the whole person in all its dimensions (physical, spiritual, mental, emotional, and social). Thus, the healing and health ministry of the church encompasses the entire range of possible human afflictions; her ministry seeks nothing less than the total liberation and well being of the human person. (Canadian Catholic Conference of Bishops, 2005, p. 3)Social Work separated from its religious beginnings in part to gain legitimacy as a profession yet the two have continued to interact, both in partnership and in contest. Faith based organizations have continued throughout the twentieth and twenty first centuries to provide significant social support and assistance in serving those with great needs such as impoverished and homeless individuals (Garland Bailey, 1990; Gibelman Gelman, 2003; World Bank, 2004; Yancey Atkinson, 2004). However some religious organizations support vigorously the established conservative status quo that oppresses marginalized groups that social workers attempt to empower and do not allow their members freedom of choice in literally life and death decisions with severe repercussions if a member challenges the established dogma (Cnann, 1999).Most of the social services provided by Canadian faith based organizations have become so fully integrated into the community that their work is typically viewed as merely another component of the continuum of care as highlighted by organizations such as Jewish Social Services, Salvation Army Shelters or Catholic Children Aid Societies (Barr, 2005; Kane, 2001; Lewis, 2003). For many of these long established organizations there has been a drift from their beginnings such that while faith and spirituality remain honoured elements of the organizations the original meaning of their religious foundations have changed and been secularized (Chambre, 2001). Yet, in the United States legislation in this century has encouraged faith based organizations to take on an even greater role in delivering social services to the community in areas such as addiction, adoption, criminal justice and homelessness (Cnaan Boddie, 2002; Lewis, 2003; Morris, Rambo Freeman Powell, 2005; Sherman, 2000; Staral, 2000). However, the question being asked here is can or perhaps should social workers return to the church, synagogue, temple or mosque not to serve the general community on behalf of the faith community but rather to serve the faith community directly.Several Christian orientated post secondary institutions offer courses in Church Social Work such as Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, New York, the Reformed Bible College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonne Illinois, Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, Union University in Jackson, Tennessee and William and Catherine Booth College in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Baylor University in Waco, Texas offers a specialization at the Masters Level having expanded its program to fill a void when the Carver School of Social Work program was terminated by the trustees of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary due to the conflict they perceived between social work and biblical values. However, the religious traditions of mainstream Roman Catholicism remain somewhat different than the evangelical calling of many United States based Protestant faiths and the fundamental attribute required for clergy in the Catholic faith has also created a unique contemporary dilemma in North America for the church.The teachings and instructions of what Catholics are called to do are embodied in the Catholic social teachings (Office for Social Justice Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, 2005). These teachings provide a framework on how Christians who follow the path should serve humanity and advocate for justice at the micro, mezzo and macro levels. Social work holds some similar values and principles to Catholicism in that they both believe in the intrinsic worth and dignity of the individual and in advocating for a just society, which benefits all (Himchak, 2005). The Canadian Social Work Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice also provide social workers with a framework in which to serve humanity, both individually and collectively, at the micro, mezzo and macro levels (Canadian Association of Social Workers, 1994). The intersection of the two is highlighted in Table 1.Table 1: Comparison of Catholic Social Teachings and Canadian Social Work Ethics Catholic Social Teachings Canadian Social Work Code of Ethics10) Global Solidarity and Development: our responsibility to each other crosses national, racial, economic, and ideological differences.10) Philosophy: the culture of individuals, families, groups, communities and nations has to be respected without prejudice.1.2: a social worker in the practice of social work shall not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, ethnic background, language, religion, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, age, abilities, socio economic status, political affiliation or national ancestry.Sources: Canadian Association of Social Workers, 1994; Office for Social Justice Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, 2005.While there is much common ground between these two, they are rooted in different philosophies and thus tensions do exist between them. The most prominent arises as the Catholic Church believes that the rights of the individual need to be protected from conception to natural death, thus abortion and euthanasia are forbidden, regardless of one life situation. It is believed that God is the Creator of everything living and since God is the Creator, God is the one that determines life ending. In this context, a women who is pregnant and does not wish to be, is encouraged, regardless of her life situation, to carry her pregnancy to full term. Social workers are taught to honour a client right to self determination, regardless of the social worker own belief system. In order to empower individuals to make decisions that are right for them, social workers assist individuals to explore all of the options available so that they can decide which is best. Once the individual makes that decision, the social worker typically accepts that choice without judgment, regardless of the social worker own personal beliefs. While the social work code of ethics focuses on an individual ability to determine what is best for them, Catholicism teaches that one choices should reflect a right relationship with God and that all matters should be considered in the context of God laws as revealed in and through the church.Unfortunately, there is little in the literature pertaining to the connection of the role and practice of social work within a religious institution that provides a framework for applying the practice of social work within the structure of the Catholic Church. While it has been shown that religious based charities conduct their operations in ways distinct from secular social service agencies (Hugen, DeJong, Venema Andrews, 2005), Cnann (1999) literature review was unable to identify a single source that dealt with the religious based social service organization as a service provider and/or a partner for social work. He stated that there may be articles dealing with a specific religion, such as the Jewish approach to parental care or the Christian approach to abortion, the role of the religious community as a whole in social service provision has clearly been ignored in social work articles (p. 53 54). However, Sherwood (2003) examination of the church as a context for social work practice did indicate that there is a place for combining religious practice and social work. He stated that a church based social worker would need to have an excellent understanding of social work values, beliefs and ethics, be able to resolve issues and dilemmas of confidentiality between the two interacting systems and must also be a good fit with the congregation mission and identity. Unfortunately Sherwood did not extend his discussion to provide a framework or a model for the practice of social work in this setting.One distinct but related issue of significance for Catholics, particularly in the developed world, is that of the decline of priestly ordinations. LaReau (2004) described the Catholic Church as being in a state of crisis as the number of priests has steadily declined since the 1970s through death, retirement and resignation. However, he also found that as the number of parishes without resident priests has increased, lay Catholics have responded with surprisingly creative solutions. Concurrent with this has been the devolution of social services in the general community and an increasing privatization of helping resources. This has resulted in an increased number of people of all faiths turning to their religious institutions, including the Catholic Church, to fill the gaps in services and to address their unmet psychosocial needs. Thus, the specific question being asked is: there a place for the profession of social work to become more directly involved with the Catholic Church to benefit both the church and its parishioners and to serve the faith community directly? As there is little literature pertaining to social work practice in Catholic institutions, an exploratory research study using key informant interviews was undertaken to assess the views of those already working or volunteering on pastoral teams. Purposive and snowball non probability sampling were used in gathering participants for the study with eight individuals from Southwestern Ontario initially selected, six of whom who participated in the study. Another participant was obtained by referral through an initial interview while an additional two persons were selected from a website directory, one of whom was interviewed. Participants included lay, volunteer and professional persons involved with the Catholic Church along with two clergy. The functions of the respondents included:advocating for justice around issues such as housing, daycare and trafficking;preparation of individuals for the sacraments;connecting people with resources and educating around issues of physical health;providing support and workshops around team development and transitions;ministering to those who come for assistance.A letter of introduction explaining the intent of the research and the process was mailed to potential participants requesting their participation. A follow up telephone call was made within two weeks, asking if the letter had been received and if they would be interested in participating in the study. Once an individual verbally agreed, an information package was mailed containing a letter detailing the study in greater depth, a copy of the questions (Appendix A) that they would be asked during the course of the interview and two copies of the consent form, one to return prior to the interview and one to keep for their reference. The questionnaire was forwarded in advance to reduce the time participants needed to spend reflecting on the questions and to maximize the time allotted to discussing the issues. To maintain confidentiality participants were informed in the letter that all identifying information would be removed. To maintain the anonymity of participants, direct quotes were identified by each participant assigned number alone (1).Data was collected by a single interviewer through face to face interviews using a structured, open ended questionnaire. The interviews were tape recorded with hand written notes taken to highlight both key points and issues to return to later in the interview for either further elaboration or clarification.There was a general consensus among participants that the shortage of priests has had a visibly negative impact upon ministry:number of sacraments is not decreasing but the number of priests is decreasing. The number of people coming to mass on Sundays is the same, but there are fewer priests to celebrate the Eucharist and preside over the liturgy. We have just as many masses, but the workload of the priests has increased. The people in the pews don really recognize that because they show up on Sunday and they still get the same service that they received 20 years ago, but the work behind the scenes to prepare those liturgies has greatly increased. I have a hand in that, so just from a sacramental standpoint, not that I celebrate sacraments, but helping to prepare people to celebrate those certainly takes a lot of my time. (6)
the north face zephyr triclimate jacket Is There A Place For Social Work Within the Catholic Church