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Ed. by Graham, Elaine / Schröder, Bernd
In cooperation with Dreyer, Jaco / Forrester, Duncan / Gräb, Wilhelm / Grethlein, Christian / Junker-Kenny, Maureen / Mette, Norbert / Miller-McLemore, Bonnie / Mullino Moore, Mary Elizabeth / Nieman, James / Osmer, Richard / Schreiter, Robert / Schweitzer, Friedrich / Kwan Un, Joon / Ven, Johannes
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Power, justice, asymmetry and relationality in pastoral care and parent–child relationships
1K. U. Leuven, Faculteit Godgeleerdheid, St. Michielsstraat 6, BE-3000 Leuven, www.theo.kuleuven.be
Citation Information: International Journal of Practical Theology. Volume 14, Issue 2, Pages 204–218, ISSN (Online) 1612-9768, ISSN (Print) 1430-6921, DOI: 10.1515/ijpt.2011.016, February 2011
- Published Online:
This contribution develops a practical theological reflection on power in relations of ‘pastoral care’. In a first step, different critiques on ‘power’ in pastoral care are analyzed. The author argues that the influence of ‘power’ has to be taken seriously in pastoral relationships. In a second step, a reflection on care for children functions as a starting point for thinking about power, asymmetry and mutuality in pastoral relations. Thereby, the reflection about ‘asymmetry’ in the theories of Emmanuel Levinas and Ivan Boszormenyi-Nagy is considered as fruitful not only in parent-child relations, but also in relations of pastoral care. Reflection on pastoral care should also include thinking in terms of ‘justice’. In a third step, the author argues that a relational anthropology is the basis for an adequate thinking on power, asymmetry and mutuality in pastoral relations. In a fourth step, the author asks how we can avoid thinking about pastoral relationships in an excessively individualistic way, and how we can avoid the individualistic tendency that the parent-child relationship inspires when reflecting on pastoral relationships? She argues that solidarity is a very important aspect in thinking about asymmetrical relationships. Nevertheless, it does not remove the burden to reflect permanently about goals and aims in relationships, about justice and about power balances.