The three complementary units are situated in the following context: Australians are living longer and our society is an ageing one. The recently concluded Royal Commission indicates some of the challenges and complexities in providing effective care for older citizens. Ageing in Australia today has become an urgent and increasingly important public issue. There are political, social and economic costs associated with an ageing society that require strategic thinking. A Gospel perspective calls Christians to collaborate in the building of a just and compassionate society.

Commencing with the ancient Christian understanding of the “care of souls” this specific course unit explores the evolution of pastoral and spiritual care to the present day as they contribute to the personal, mental and social wellbeing of ageing persons in our society.

Unit code: DT9631C

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: Moral Theology

Delivery Mode: Online

Proposing College: Catholic Theological College

Show when this unit is running

Learning outcomes


Demonstrate an understanding of human ageing from theological and spiritual perspectives;


Evaluate critically the range and variety of pastoral care approaches to human ageing;


Analyse the role and influence of pastoral care approaches in the lives of ageing believers and non-believers;


Formulate the contribution made by your own pastoral care understandings to the experience of human ageing.

Unit sequence

This unit is part of a suite of three integrated units: DT8632C, DT9631C and DT9633C


This unit is divided into three modules;

  • each module involves two Saturdays;
  • each Saturday requires 4 hours synchronous learning (10-12 noon, 2-4pm);
  • in addition 4 hours asynchronous tasks are required for each Saturday

  • Module 1 Ageing and care

  • Module 2 Ageing, pastoral care and well-being

  • Module 3 Ageing, pastoral care and the life cycle

Audit students may choose to participate in one or more modules

Indicative Bibliography

  • Cheston, R. and M. Bender, Understanding Dementia. The Man with the Worried Eyes. London: Jessica Kingsley, 2000.
  • Clebsch, W.A. and C.R. Jaekle, Pastoral Care in Historical Perspective. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1964.
  • Confoy, M. Welcome, Inclusion, and Attentive Presence. The Central Role of Pastoral Care in Catholic Health and Aged Care. Canberra: Catholic Health Australia, 2015.
  • Duffy, R.A. A Roman Catholic Theology of Pastoral Care. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1983.
  • Flanagan, B. and S. Thornton (ed.) The Bloomsbury Guide to Pastoral Care. London: Bloomsbury, 2014.
  • Lartey, E.Y. Pastoral Theology in an Intercultural World Peterborough: Epworth, 2006.
  • Oden, T. Care of Souls in the Classic Tradition. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1984.
  • Pattison, S. and J. Woodward (ed.) The Blackwell Reader in Pastoral and Practical Theology. Oxford, Blackwell, 2000.
  • Swinton, J. and D. Willows (ed.) Spiritual Dimensions of Pastoral Care: Practical Theology in a Multi-Disciplinary Context. London: Jessica Kingsley, 2001.
  • Woodward, J. Valuing Age. Pastoral Ministry with Older People. London: SPCK, 2008.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Case Study

Case study 2000 words

2000 25.0

Pastoral integration reflection

2000 25.0

Essay 3000 words

3000 50.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Prof Albert Haddad on 16 Aug, 2022

Unit record last updated: 2022-08-16 17:15:48 +1000