(MENAFN – Swissinfo)
Today, being an army chaplain means listening and talking more than doing religious rituals. Vbs / ddps
To support the troops, army chaplains increased their scope of operations. To deal with the stress caused by the pandemic, they are now offering psychological assistance to soldiers.
This content is published on February 16, 2021 – 09:00 February 16, 2021 – 09:00 Olivier Pauchard
Specialist in federal politics. Previously worked at the Swiss national news agency and at Radio Friborg.
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The pastoral care of soldiers at the forefront of the pandemic
Military chaplains at the forefront of the pandemic
Pandemic and chaplain in the Swiss Armed Forces
Last spring, the army mobilized its troops to support civilian authorities during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic. This is the first time since World War Two that the Swiss army has been deployed in this way. A new support mission – this time consisting mainly of volunteers – is ongoing through the end of March to deal with the second wave underway.
The soldiers might not be performing complex combat maneuvers, but their new mission was not necessarily psychologically easy. In this context, the Army Chaplain asked 35 priests to participate. There are currently five pastors available for those who need additional counseling.
“Imagine a young person who has to leave civilian life overnight ending up in a hospital caring for a dying person. For example, I recently met a 21-year-old soldier whose job was to prevent a patient from unplugging a medical tube. It is psychologically exhausting,” he said. Captain Stefan Junger, chief of the Army Chapel.
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