Power In Pastoral Relationship

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In the course of this assignment I propose to consider what Richard M. Gula has to say about power within a pastoral relation, and then to consider my pastoral placement and places where power is evident, and the kind of reflection required to maintain professional ethical boundaries. In “Ethics in Pastoral Ministry”, Richard M. Gula S.S., opens the area of power and its place with pastoral ministry. In an ideal world, one might think that there is no place for power within a pastoral relation or pastoral action. However. Power exists whenever people interact. Prudence suggests that we consider power and how it might work in a pastoral relationship, and the ways in which we might guard against unreflective action where power is not considered…show more content…
Some of the duties that follow from being a pastoral minister, which are fulfilled within the context of a pastoral relationship. 3. The minister’s responsible use of power in the pastoral relationship, aware that there is a power inequality. Gula’s next section concerns itself with the nature of power and its sources of ‘legitimation’ within pastoral ministry. He looks at power in its entirety, as being neither good nor evil, but somehow ambiguous. “Power is ambiguous. It is often a despised or feared reality arousing more suspicion and defensiveness than acceptance. It is a hard reality for ministers to acknowledge because it evokes so many negative images: corruption, power-tripping, being one-up, coercing, and exploiting the powerless to name a few”. What is power? Gula refers us to the work of sociology and says that power is ‘the capacity to influence others’ . That seems a softer understanding of power than is in common usage. Their perspective on power allows us to consider it positively and negatively, depending on the manner in which it is…show more content…
Power is always a matter of more or less, because the capacity to influence another is relative to who the other is in a given situation”. The work of a chaplain in a school demonstrates this, where the chaplain is in a position of authority in relation to students, in a position to give or withhold assistance according to their own preferences, or whims. What boundary keeps the conscientious chaplain using power in a positive way only? Students are not powerless, though many who approach the chaplain may experience themselves as less powerful than some of their peers. Any student can make a complaint against a member of staff. My placement school has a Care Team which considers and refers students to particular professionals within the school (school completion, chaplain, guidance, behaviour for learning etc). This group also helps to hold the team members accountable, though how subtle manipulation would be noticed is hard to

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