THL521 Theological Ethics for the Helping Professions (8)


This subject develops the ethical awareness needed for pastoral ministry situations. It includes an overview of the history of ethics in Western and Christian traditions; examines critically some components of ethical ‘maturity’ in a pastoral minister; and engenders critical reflection on the personal and practical criteria necessary for properly ethical pastoral ministry. Students will be encouraged to develop self-reflective practice.

+ Subject Availability Modes and Location

Session 1
Distance*Canberra Campus
*This subject offering contains a residential school. Please view following information for further details.
Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: THL521
Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject information

Duration Grading System School:
One sessionHD/FLSchool of Theology

Enrolment restrictions

Master of Pastoral Counselling (Clinical)
Master of Arts (Ageing and Pastoral Studies)
Master of Ministry

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to discuss critically theological and other rationales for ethical praxis
  • be able to articulate the components of ethical 'maturity', and obstacles to ethical practice
  • be able to identify where and how the concept of 'ethics' affects pastoral ministry practice
  • be able to deploy ethical awareness to establish a safe pastoral ministry environment and relationship
  • be able to reflect on their own 'moral character' and ethical commitments with increasing self awareness


The subject will cover the following topics:
  • Introduction to the history, philosophy and theology of ethics
  • The drivers of unethical behaviour
  • The concepts of 'moral discernment' and 'moral character', and their relationship to professional practice
  • Some components of moral 'maturity'
  • The communal nature of ethical formation, and its relationship to pastoral ministry
  • Examination of a significant major Australian code of ethics
  • Reflection upon some moral problems in the pastoral ministry setting

Residential School

This subject contains a compulsory 3 day residential school. During the compulsory residential school, students will be expected to demonstrate an advanced level of integration of  theory and critical reflection through participation in group discussions, personal reflection, lectures, and experiential and practical exercises.


The information contained in the 2016 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: 06 September 2016. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.