University of Malta

Study-Unit Description
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TITLE Pastoral Theology: History, Method, Basic Concepts

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Pastoral Theology, Liturgy and Canon Law

DESCRIPTION The study-unit introduces students to the basics of Pastoral Theology as a distinct field of study in Theology. First there is an overview of its historical development, highlighting the different definitions that were given over the years leading to the contemporary understanding of Pastoral Theology and to the challenges it faces today as a theological reflection on ecclesial action. ‘Ecclesial’ is understood not in a restrictive inward-looking sense, but in the sense of the Church - i.e. all the People of God - in action in the contemporary world, in the complex context in which the Christian community lives and acts. The particular method of Pastoral Theology is also explored, as well as its relation with the human sciences. The last part of the study-unit will focus on pastoral planning, with the aim of helping students identify certain essential elements which should be present in the planning process as well as basic skills of planning for pastoral situations.


By the end of this course, students should be able to:
(i) clearly distinguish the specific field of Pastoral Theology within the wider field of theological studies;
(ii) explain and use the method of Pastoral Theology as a theological reflection on ecclesial action;
(iii) promote an ecclesial planning process.


• GROLLA V., L’agire della Chiesa. Teologia pastorale, Padova 2003.
• LANZA S., Introduzione alla teologia pastorale, Brescia 1989.
• MIDALI M., Practical theology. Historical development of its foundational and scientific character, Roma 1999.
• REYMOND B. – SORDET J.-M. (ed.), La théologie pratique. Statut, méthodes, Perspective d’avenir (Le point théologique n. 57), Paris 1993.
• SCHWEITZER F. – VAN DER VEN J., Practical Theology – International Perspectives, Frankfurt 1999.
• ZULEHNER P.M., Teologia pastorale, Vols I-IV (transl.), Brescia 1992.


Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Examination (2 Hours) Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Joe Galea Curmi

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.
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The 21st Annual Augustinian Lecture 2017 will be celebrated on the 5th and 6th December 2017 with two lectures delivered by Rev. Prof. Theodore Dieter.

Closing Date Dissertation Proposals
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