Pastoral Care Training Pack

Unit 6: Relationships; Love One Another

6.1       Scripture & Worship



Heavenly Father, source of the timeless life of the Trinity and our name for perfect love, may we learn from your boundless generosity, the sacrifice of Your Son and the constancy of the Holy Spirit, how we may model our relationships in magnanimity, solidarity and constructiveness; help us comfort and encourage those who are unhappy in their relationships and those who are suffering from a family conflict, the breakdown of marriage or the loss of a valued friendship; and may we see you in them and may they see you in us. Amen.


Can: Lord, Unite us in love
Res: May we all be one

  1. Heavenly Father, source of all love, teach us to love you and one another as trusting and affectionate children so that we may banish cynicism and restore our sisters and brothers to affection and dignity:
  2. Heavenly father who sent your beloved son to live among us, help us to honour our incarnational purpose through the imitation of Jesus and the veneration of the Holy Family in which he lived:
  3. Heavenly Father, may we hold up before ourselves the generosity, meekness and sacrifice of your beloved Son; help us to refrain from usurping you in judgment and to act humbly in the presence of distress:
  4. Heavenly father, we thank you for the example of Our Blessed Lady, the Virgin mother of your son, who walked to comfort and assist her cousin; send the Holy Spirit upon us as you sent it upon Mary and Elizabeth so that our mouths may be full of your praise:

6.2       Introduction

  1. It may seem an obvious starting point that although relationships necessarily involve more than one person, as providers of pastoral ministry we will frequently only hear one 'take' on a relationship; and, therefore, we should not only be careful not to judge, we must also be even more careful not to take sides. When we think of relationships we should focus on the ideal of the Economy of the Trinity, working in the context of perfect love; and the relationships we enjoy as children of The Father and brothers and sisters in Christ, living under the care of The Spirit. The teaching of Jesus in particular sheds light upon the need for love, concern and respect in relationships and an avoidance of judgment.
  2. In this Unit we will consider:
    • The dynamics of good relationships;
    • The infinite variety of relationships;
    • The problems of power and manipulation;
    • The role of the listener and fellow traveller.
  3. The outcomes we hope to achieve are:
    • A sensitive and imaginative approach to unfamiliar relationships;
    • The boundary between constructiveness and intrusion;
    • The ability to distinguish pastoral care from counselling;
    • Familiarity with the teaching of Jesus.

6.3       Key Concepts

  1. Love and Trust:
    • Love is unconditional openness and generosity to the other;
    • Love, particularly in the family context, is not passive but is the means by which the beloved grows;
    • Trust is our mutual capacity to live in freedom;
    • Trust is built through behaviour and encouragement;
    • Trust is fractured by broken promises and the assertion of power.
  2. Family Relationships:
    • Loving is distinct from liking;
    • Loving is not based on reciprocity but is given that the beloved may love 'onwards';
    • The relationships in families are gifts from which we cannot walk away without considering the implications;
    • In long-term relationships, particularly between parents and children, there is a need for restraint and consistency ;
    • Love and conflict are not incompatible.
  3. Marriage & Partnership
    • Relationships based on choice must be mutual;
    • The essence of love is to make space for the beloved and not to impose one's own form of desire;
    • There is a need to distinguish between explicit and implicit contracts;
    • Love involves vulnerability which can lead to manipulation and the assertion of power.
  4. Friendship
    • Friendships are shared and not owned by one person;
    • Friendships take place in a shifting geometry, like a dance, where jealousy is inappropriate;
    • When people drift apart it is not necessarily a sign of rejection.
  5. The Dynamics of Separation:
    • Different issues need to be disentangled;
    • It is necessary to understand personal and social change;
    • No relationship is owned;
    • Forming new and diverse relationships is helpful.

6.4       Presentation

6.5       Case Sketches

  1. Tim is angry because his girl friend has left him for somebody else; and Frank is angry because his wife has left him for somebody else.
  2. Jill has run away from home because she is frightened of her father's violence.
  3. Tony is frustrated because his wife passively complies with everything he requires.
  4. Virgin bride Julie is surprised and upset by the sexual drive of her new husband, Philip.
  5. Martha used to have an intense relationship with Sally but she has made new friends.

6.6       Response

6.7       Resources: