Erik Sengers appointed as Endowed Professor of Chaplaincy Studies in the Military

The Executive Board has appointed Dr. Erik Sengers as Endowed Professor of Chaplaincy Studies in the Military at the Tilburg School of Catholic Theology (TST). This Chair has been established by the Military Ordinariate of the Netherlands (Ordinariaat voor de Nederlandse Strijdkrachten), that provides pastoral care to Roman Catholics serving in the Dutch Armed Forces.

The objective of the Chair is researching the actions of pastoral care †within the armed forces and theological reflection on issues of peace and security as they arise within the Dutch armed forces. The appointment is for a period of five years.

Dr. Erik Sengers (1971, Amersfoort) studied Social Sciences at the University of Amsterdam and Theology at the School of Catholic Theology in Utrecht. In 2003, he earned a PhD at the latter institution based sociological research on the involvement of the Catholic Church in the Netherlands between 1800 and 2000. He taught and conducted research on (religious) sociology at the Protestant Theological University, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Fontys University of Applied Sciences, and the Tilburg School of Catholic Theology. In addition, he was a staff member at the Diocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam, until recently, at the Diocesan Caritas Service (Dienst Diocesane Caritas).

In 2016, Sengers earned a PhD in Church History at the Tilburg School of Catholic Theology based on research into Joannes Aengenent, bishop of Haarlem from 1928 to 1935. Between 2017 and 2020, Sengers worked as a pastor at the Custodial Institutions Agency (Dienst JustitiŽle Inrichtingen) and in 2020 he was appointed as a chaplain at the Dutch Ministry of Defense. He is a diacon at the Diocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam and board member of the Center for the Social Doctrine of the Church (Centrum voor de Sociale Leer van de Kerk).

Sound pastoral care

In his research, Dr. Sengers will seek to connect the two remits of the Chair: that of pastoral care as a profession (particularly within the military) and that of theological and ethical reflection on war and violence. He will also be involved in teaching pastors and chaplains at the Tilburg School of Catholic Theology. The School is looking forward to collaborating with a familiar colleague who brings a great deal of practical experience and an extensive network to the job. In his own words: "I find the combination of practical work in teaching and research very stimulating. The big challenges faced by people in the armed forces, especially in the near future, requires sound pastoral care. The Chair offers a good platform to further develop this care together with colleagues at the Ministry of Defense, academia, and the Church."†

Prof. Sengers will hold his inaugural address on October 6, 2023, at 16:15 hrs. in Tilburg University Auditorium.
For more information, please contact press officer Tineke Bennema at or by phone: (+31) (0)13 466 8998.