Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Teaching organisation

This unit involves 150 hours of focused learning.

Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit focuses on the missionary dimension of leadership, particularly in Catholic theology and practice. In this unit the cohort will explore the tools and principles of Catholic Social Teaching, including the Pastoral Circle, and their implications for leadership from socio-ethical and practical theological perspectives. More specifically, the unit will explore, among others, the sources, key themes and principles of Catholic Social Teaching and their implications for the exercise of leadership in the Church and in the world today. The unit serves as a practical application of the contemporary modes of theological method and hermeneutical reflection engaged throughout the course, and the unit itself, by helping the students construct a credo of leadership from a missiological perspective.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - articulate an understanding of justice in the Bible and Tradition.  

LO2 - apply the Pastoral Circle, using key sources and themes of Catholic Social Teaching, to a challenge to the exercise of leadership in contemporary times. 

LO3 - creatively construct and present a credo of leadership from a missiological perspective that integrates relevant learning and content in the course, in general, and the unit, in particular. 

Graduate attributes

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 


Topics will include: 

  • Social justice and its basis in the Bible and Tradition  
  • Missionary nature and role of the Church as People of God 
  • Defining and understanding Catholic Social Teaching 
  • Methods, sources and documents of modern Catholic Social Teaching 
  • Catholic Social Teaching and the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference 
  • The “signs of the times”, the Pastoral Circle and the role of (social) discernment in leadership as mission 
  • Social sin, charity and justice in Catholic Social Teaching vis-à-vis ethical and transformational leadership 
  • Leadership and the prophetic imagination 
  • Key themes and principles of Catholic Social Teaching vis-à-vis vulnerability, relationality, community and servant-leadership  
  • Pope Francis and the principle of mercy  
  • Key CST documents relevant to missionary theology and practice in contemporary times, e.g. Evangelii Gaudium  

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit involves 150 hours of focused learning. The total includes formally structured learning activities such as Adobe Connect Classroom online sessions, residential lectures, and online learning, particularly through the Forum and learning materials in the LEO (Learning Environment Online) page for the unit. The remaining hours involve research, reading, writing, and other preparatory tasks for assessment such as consultations with the lecturer-in-charge. These learning and teaching strategies were chosen because they are the strategies that are most relevant and appropriate to the delivery of the unit. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements and taking into account the role of the unit as the last unit for an area of specialisation. Such procedures may include, but are not limited to, essay and critically-reflective presentation. These assessment strategies were chosen because they are the strategies that are most relevant and appropriate to the assessment of students’ learning in the unit. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Hurdle Task  

For example: Forum post articulating an understanding of justice in the Bible and Tradition based on an online introductory module.  

500 words 



Written Task  

For example: Essay engaging a challenge to the exercise of leadership in contemporary times using the Pastoral Circle as well as key sources and themes of CST  


2000 words 



Creative Task 

For example: Kaltura media presentation on a credo of leadership as mission, that integrates relevant content and learning in the course and the unit itself. 


10 minutes 

1, 3 


Representative texts and references

Australian Catholic Social Justice Council. Building Bridges: Social Justice Statements from Australia’s Catholic Bishops 1988-2013 (Alexandria, NSW: Australian Catholic Social Justice Council, 2014). 

Davies, Mervyn and Graham Dodds. Leadership in the Church for a people of hope (London: T and T Clark, 2011). 

Lowney, Chris. Everyone Leads: How to Revitalize the Catholic Church (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2017). 

Massaro, Thomas. Living Justice: Catholic Social Teaching in Action (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2015). 

McCarthy, David Matzko. The Heart of Catholic Social Teaching: Its Origins and           Contemporary Significance (Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Pess, 2009).   

Phelps, Owen. The Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus: Introducing S3 Leadership – Servant, Steward, Shepherd (Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, 2009). 

Pope Francis. Evangelii Gaudium: Apostolic Exhortation on the Proclamation of the Gospel in Today’s World. Available at 

Sanders, Annemarie IHM, ed. Transformational Leadership: Conversations with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (New York: Orbis, 2015). 

Schlag, Martin. Handbook of Catholic Social Teaching: A Guide for Christians in the World Today (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 2017). 

Wijsen, Frans, Peter Henriot and Rodrigo Mejia, eds. The Pastoral Circle Revisited: A Critical Quest for Truth and Transformation (New York: Orbis Books, 2005). 

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