Catholic Social Thought and Prison Ministry: Resourcing Theory and Practice

Edited by Elizabeth Phillips and Férdia Stone-Davis

This book is a collection of scholarly essays exploring two questions: What resources might Catholic social thought (CST) bring to pastoral work in prisons? And, what might listening to the prison context bring to Catholic social thought? An interdisciplinary group of contributors from the UK and the US bring insights from theology, criminology, and prison pastoral work into the exploration of these questions.

The work of Christian prison chaplains and volunteers in prisons is practised at the intersection of pastoral care and action for social justice, yet is often framed in terms of pastoral care alone. This collection of essays explores how the themes and insights of the long traditions of official Catholic Social Teaching and non-official Catholic social thought might illuminate – and be illuminated by a deeper engagement with – the context of prisons. Scholars of CST discuss the relevance of its themes and principles for prison ministry; an interdisciplinary group of scholars and practitioners discuss the relevance of prison ministry for CST; and critical questions are discussed concerning the roles and shortcomings of CST, prisons, and prison chaplaincy.

Together these essays provide an original contribution to Catholic social thought while also providing a resource for those who practise or train lay and ordained people for pastoral work in prisons.