As I’ve only taken a few philosophy classes, I don’t feel qualified to criticize your professor’s approach to philosophy. However, in response to most matters in life, I think this approach stinks. If you never explore hypothetical situations, you will not be prepared when they or similar situations arise. The Scout motto is “Be prepared.” We are fortunate that our military, emergency services, infrastructure planners, etc explore hypothetical situations.
Beyond the practical applications I mentioned, there are also obvious uses in better understanding theory. This is why St Thomas used hypotheticals.
[quote=ByzCath]How are lives at stake that the pastor can not deal with it but the priest celebrating Mass can?
Others have already given the good answer that the pastor may be unable to travel. The situation may also require a skill set (say Polish language fluency, or enormous strength, or the ability to squeeze through a narrow opening… ) that the pastor lacks.