Journal for Christian reflections in the context of social sciences and humanities

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Diakonia in the Public Sphere – a Daughter of the Church, or its Sister?: Church and Diakonia Between Separation and Approximation
Šimr Karel
The paper attempts to localise the contemporary developed forms of organised diaconic activities with respect to church and society. Based on historical, sociological and theological analysis of Christian helping action with respect to its development in the modern period, it articulates the view that the theory of constitutive marks of the church, which conceives diakonia as one of the realising characteristics of the church, is not sufficient for reflecting institutionalised diakonia and charity in modern functionally differentiated society, and it is more appropriate to describe it as a connection of the systems of religion (Christianity) and social help (social work) – and thus to understand it not as a daughter, but as a sister of the church. On the one hand, this brings along the need for a complex interdisciplinary approach to ref ect this remarkable ‘hybrid’, but on the other hand it also requires that helping action in the Christian perspective does not give up its religious qualif cation, which is to be manifested, for example, in developing the Christian culture of diaconic facilities or in the diaconic spirituality of their workers.

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