4.1.1 Introduction: following the ‘pastoral spiral’ in this unit

Unit 4 Contents

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In Unit 2 (2.3.1 and 2.3.2) I introduced the ‘see, judge, act’ method and its development into the ‘pastoral spiral’.

I said that one way in which the ‘pastoral spiral’ would be important for the module is that each of units 3 to 7 is structured, more or less, on the basis of it.  Page 2.3.2 stated:

What this means is that the units have the following pattern:

  • To begin with you will be asked to bring to mind and reflect on your own experience in relation to the topic of the unit, for example, working life (Unit 4) or family (Unit 6).
  • Then some attention will be given to the historical background, and thereby the social context, which we need to know about if we are to analyse and thereby ‘see’ the topic adequately.
  • After that, we shall move to the ‘judge’ or ‘theological reflection’ stage, by looking at Scripture and the main documents of CST that address the subject.
  • Finally we shall look at what follows for what people need to do in practice…  [T]he ‘action’ stage in each unit is relatively short.  It is a springboard for the deliberation needed in people’s specific contexts.

In light of this, the order of topics we’ll look at in this unit is:

Part 1  Your (family’s) experience of working life

Part 2  Social/historical context, focusing on Rerum Novarum

Part 3  Centrepiece of unit: reading of Laborem Exercens

Part 4  Assessment and action

As this makes clear, this unit focuses on two encyclicals.  By the end of this unit you will have read the whole of Laborem Exercens.

The learning outcomes correspond more or less with those four parts of the unit and the stages in the pastoral spiral.

Learning outcomes for Unit 4

By the end of this unit, you will be able

  • to describe four ‘sectors’ of work and how your (and others’) work fits in relation to these
  • to list the main elements in Rerum Novarum’s remedy for the crisis of workers’ conditions in the nineteenth century
  • to communicate a critical understanding of the vision of human work which Pope John Paul II presented in Laborem Exercens
  • to summarize forms of action for workers’ rights that are and are not consistent with CST’s vision.
The first thing, then, is to attend to your own work.

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End of 4.1.1

Go to 4.1.2 Your work – past, present, future

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