Ask the Religion Experts: Should Canadian prisons employ chaplains of different faiths?
The Ottawa Citizen November 17, 2012 6:48 AM
ABDUL RASHID is a member of the Ottawa Muslim community, the Christian-Muslim Dialogue and the Capital Region Interfaith Council.
A chaplain or pastor is usually a member of Christian clergy. In addition to his many other functions, he provides support to his parish members in times of difficulty, distress and sorrow. However, there have been some major changes in the domain of spiritual care.
First, recent developments in inter-faith dialogues have increased mutual recognition, understanding and respect. The various faith groups, while attached to their own faith communities, have found a common core: All human beings are the creation of the same God and we all share responsibility to provide care to them irrespective of colour, caste or creed.
Secondly, a non-clergy person may not be able to conduct a religious service but he or she may have a strong spirit, deep faith and greatly caring heart and is both willing and qualified to provide comfort and support to those in need. As a result, the role of chaplaincy has become more diversified.