Resisting Moral Residue

Alina Bennett, Sheena M Eagan Chamberlin

Pastoral Psychology
Pastoral Psychology

This paper surveys contemporary scholarly conceptions of moral residue in order to demonstrate the fruitful inconsistencies contained in these various notions. Due to the fact that moral dilemmas are commonplace in the practice of medicine, patients and practitioners are uniquely situated to experience moral residue. The authors investigate two medical sites as case studies that demonstrate how a more capacious notion of moral residue can be useful for explaining ethical complexities: euthanasia on the battlefield and care of minors who are members of the Jehovah’s Witness faith community. These case studies will be of particular interest to chaplains, pastoral theologians, and other relevant practitioners and intellectuals. Fruitfully cast against the illuminations of interdisciplinary scholars including Donald Capps, Lorraine Hardingham, and others, these cases are used as instructive discursive devices, shedding greater light on ideas put forth within the literature on this engaging and complex topic.

Bennett A, Chamberlin SME. Resisting Moral Residue. Pastoral Psychol. 2013;62(2):151-162.