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Psychological Dynamics of Pastoral Identity

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In the research reported in this paper, the psychological dynamics of pastoral identity are explored by relating different dimensions of professional identity to a more general and personal orientation towards others: empathy. Significant differences were found between catholic pastors and protestant ministers. The catholic pastoral ministry is cognitively oriented, separating personal involvement from professional understanding and commitment. The Protestant pastoral ministry is affectively oriented, but expressing a rather ambiguous social involvement. These differences are explained in terms of differences in theology and career motivation.


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