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.

No offerings have been identified for this subject in 2021.

Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School 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


This 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

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of THL521 in Session 1 2020. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated and can also differ to suit the mode of study (online or on campus).

Item Number
Value %
Overview of ethics: book review
Case study
Essay on professional code(s)

Residential School

This subject contains a 3 day Compulsory 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 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: May 2021. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.