Intercession and the Taboo and Stigma on Mental Health and Doctrinal Anomalies: Pastoral and Theological Implications of Public Prayer Practices

Armand Leon Van Ommen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Prayers of intercession cover a wide range of topics, yet prayers for mental health or issues around LGBTQ or divorce prove to be taboo and stigmatised. This article interprets this finding from empirical research with the theories of taboo as outlined by Alasdair MacIntyre’s and by Mary Douglas. Next a relational, theological framework for intercession is proposed. The article offers pastoral-theological reflections on the problem of taboo and stigma – caused by doctrine or cultural norms – in intercession. The article argues that the practices of solidarity, naming, and hospitality reframe the way taboo and stigma can be thought about theologically and therefore eventually might influence intercession in public worship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)206-223
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Practical Theology
Issue number2
Early online date30 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019



  • intercession
  • taboo
  • stigma
  • Mary Douglas
  • Alasdair MacIntyre
  • Intercession

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies

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