Opinion: MN Hospital Chapels Should Accommodate New Multi-Religious Society

December 26, 2004

Source: Pioneer Press


On December 26, 2004 the Pioneer Press reported, "columnist Joe Soucheray takes issue with St. Paul's Regions Hospital over the decision to remove the cross from its chapel. Many hospitals have traditionally offered sacred spaces to their patients and families. People of faith experience the need, when dealing with suffering occasioned by illness and death, for wisdom, strength and healing through prayer, worship and meditation. They also wish to express gratitude for the blessings of life, and freedom from pain. Hospitals are places where human beings experience uniquely and intensely the duality of life and death. In religiously homogenous communities, it is expected that such sacred spaces will reflect the symbol and mode of worship of a single tradition and hence the cross and pews in the Regions chapel. Since people of many faith traditions are using our hospitals, it is commendable that a hospital recognizes this fact and seeks to respond by catering to the needs of multi-religious patients and their families. This is the context in which I see the decision of Regions Hospital. The motivation is not necessarily concern to avoid offense, but to offer a space that could be meaningfully utilized by people of different religious commitments."

See also: Interfaith, Health