PT 103 An Introduction to Pastoral Theology

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Module Level

8 [2.5 credits]

Related Department

Centre for Mission & Ministries

Time Allowance

Lectures: 12 hours / Reflective Learning Journal: 6 Hours / Essay: 8 Hours


Group Presentation: 35% Pastoral Reflection Essay: 65% [1,500words]. Students need to pass all components of assessment in order to pass the module

Module Aims

  • To teach students how to engage in academic theological reflection for ministry.
  • To establish processes of reflection on issues of concern within the Church and contemporary society.
  • To introduce students to the core tasks of Practical Theology.
  • To explore what it means to be a pastoral theologian.

Indicative Syllabus:

  • What is Pastoral/Practical Theology?
  • Becoming a reflexive practitioner.
  • Theological Reflection.
  • Models of reflection.
  • Ministerial identity.
  • Ministry in a wounded Church and a suffering world.
  • Four tasks of practical theological interpretation.

Learning Outcomes

  • At the end of this course, students will:
  • • Be familiar with practical theological reflection as an academic exercise, as well as a method of supporting and sustaining lived discipleship and ministerial leadership.
  • • Develop an awareness concerning understanding, and responding to difficult issues and situations in contemporary and concrete settings.
  • • Develop the practice of interdisciplinary engagement, including dialogue with Social Studies, theology, art, science.
  • • Have improved their reflexive thinking, by examining their own life experiences, actions, and practices, questioning cultural and personal assumptions, and developing awareness and understanding that will lead to more pastoral action/response.
  • • Have an understanding of what it means to be a pastoral theologian.


  • Indicative Bibliography:
  • ITC, Theology Today: Perspectives, Principles and Criteria (2012).
  • Lieven Boeve, ‘Critical Space for Catholic Theology? A Critical-Empathetic Reading of Theology Today,’ Theological Studies74 (2013): 828-855.
  • Helen Cameron, et al. Talking about God in Practice: Theological Action Research and Practical Theology (London: SCM Press, 2010)
  • Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, (2013)
  • Richard R. Osmer, Practical Theology: An Introduction (Cambridge, UK: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2008).
  • James Sweeney, Gemma Simmonds, David Lonsdale (eds). Keeping Faith in Practice: Aspects of Catholic Pastoral Theology (London, UK: SCM, 2010)
  • Judith Thompson, Theological Reflection. (London, UK: SCM 2008).
  • James Woodward and Stephen Pattison (eds), The Blackwell Reader in Pastoral and Practical Theology (Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 2000)