FSPC publishes book on pastoral confidentiality

Professional confidentiality in pastoral care ensures a safe space for people to talk about private matters. This poses both an opportunity and a challenge, and can even become a burden for those providing pastoral care. How can they deal with this situation? The book Dem Anvertrauten Sorge tragen - Das Berufsgeheimnis in der Seelsorge /Le secret professionnel au service de l’accompagnement spirituel (available in German and French) provides answers to this question.

The book is based on five practical examples, describing the particular personal, ethical, and legal dilemmas involved. It also provides answers to legal questions, quoting the relevant legal basis. This is followed by a theological reflection. The chapters end with practical conclusions and recommendations.

The book focuses in particular on the challenges facing professional cooperation, and delves into whether a necessary exchange of information is allowable within a professional team in the context of professional discretion. The book also looks into the reasons for abrogating this discretion, and discusses how pastoral caregivers can come to terms with this professional necessity even as they reach their own personal limits of what they can handle.

The appendix includes legal texts on confidentiality for clergy and the regulations of the Reformed churches of Switzerland on the issue. This book is oriented towards all pastoral caregivers, pastors, vicars, deacons, volunteers who provide pastoral care, and church leaders. It could also be of help to the family of those who provide such care.

The book is both the work of the authors and the result of collaboration with pastoral caregivers, legal experts, and other specialists within the church in both the German and French-speaking parts of Switzerland.

Dem Anvertrauten Sorge tragen - Das Berufsgeheimnis in der Seelsorge /Le secret professionnel au service de l’accompagnement spiritual by Rita Famos, Matthias Felder, Felix Frey, Matthias Hügli, and Thomas Wild.

© Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches and Reinhardt Verlag, 2016, 144 pages (+appendices).