Catholic Social Thought and Prison Ministry: Resourcing Theory and Practice

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.

Table of contents

Part 1  CST Informing Prison Ministry

1. Solidarity, Social Sin, and Prison Ministry

Kathryn Getek Soltis

2. Common Good and Prison: Where’s the Commonality? Where’s the Good?

Patrick Riordan SJ

3. Prison, Work, and Human Dignity

Kevin Hargaden

Part 2  Prisons Informing CST

4. Sitting Where They Sit: A Theology of Vulnerability

Gerry McFlynn

5. Hope, Despair, and Desistance: What Happens after People Are Imprisoned as “Sex Offenders”?

Alice Ievins and Thea Thomasin Reimer

6. Prison Chaplains as Truthtellers: Speaking In, To, and About Prisons

Elizabeth Phillips

Part 3  Critical Perspectives on Prisons and CST

7. Prison Chaplaincy and Criminal Justice: A Critical and Creative Dialogue

Andrew Todd

8. “An Unchristian Institution”: Christian Prison Chaplains and Penal Abolition

David Scott

9. Catholic Social Thought and Prisons: How Focus on Individual Reform Obscured the Relational Harms of Imprisonment

Keith Adams