Course Descriptions

Core Courses

CATH 201: The Word of God in Human Words: Introduction to Scripture

This course is an examination of the major people, topics and themes in the narrative given across the Christian Bible. In keeping with approaches to Scripture set forth by Vatican II, our approach to the Bible will attend to the historical and literary aspects of these writings and their placement in the larger biblical canon and with an eye to their reception by the Church.

CATH 202: I Believe: Principles of the Catholic Faith

The center of the Catholic faith is Jesus Christ, who as the eternal Son of God become human, reveals who God is and the meaning and goal of human existence. The Church's reception of his revelation is articulated in the ancient statements of faith known as the creeds. Using the Apostles' Creed as our guide, this course will explore the basic principles of the Catholic faith and explicate the thinking which they entail.

CATH 203: The Human Drama: The Catholic Church through the Ages

The story of Christian believers from the early centuries to the 21st century, with attention to its emergence as a persecuted marginal movement, toleration and establishment as the religion of the Roman Empire in the fourth century, the struggles and challenges faced from late antiquity to the disruptions of the Black Death, the age of reforms and missionary outreach (15th through the 17th centuries), the challenges of rising secularity and the response of two councils. The course will balance institutional narrative with exploration of emerging spiritualities among religious and lay Catholics, and their impact in society.

CATH 395: Development in the Life of the Church: Major/Minor Seminar (sophomore/junior year)

A project-based seminar experience that will mix joint and individual projects with guided reading focused on a theme established by the instructor.

CATH 495: Catholic Studies Capstone Experience

Intended as a flexible requirement, fulfilled by a seminar format, independent study, internship or portfolio, designed in collaboration with student's advisor in Catholic Studies

Elective Courses

CATH 221: What is Love? Soul Mates and Soul Friends

This course surveys theological and philosophical ideals of storge, philia, eros and agape. Special attention is paid to St. Brigid's model of the anam cara, soul friend and St. Aelred's writings on friendship.

CATH 281: Rule-Breakers: A New Look at the Ten Commandments through Film

Rule-Breakers takes as its centerpiece the internationally acclaimed film series, "Dekalog," a set of related narratives exploring the consequences of transgressing divine norms found in the Ten Commandments. Through these masterfully crafted stories, we will explore perennial questions about the human condition and consider what it means to live out of harmony with God and other humans.

We will meet on Thursday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m., and divide our time into three parts: first, engage in student-led introductions to the night's topic, based on assigned readings; second, watch the 50-minute film together; and in the final hour discuss the subtleties of the film narrative and its implications for our understanding of the commandment being explored.

CATH 282: Whose Humanity Matters? Human Dignity in the Age of Hyper-Incarceration

Using the lens of incarceration practices as the focus for addressing this question, students explore how the design of prisons has dehumanized those incarcerated and the staff who guard them. The human search for meaning, particularly through religious faith, is examined and ways it has enabled prisoners to transcend their circumstances are considered. The theme of incarceration is traced through the Bible, and its significance in the life of Jesus is highlighted. The Catholic understanding of human dignity deriving from being created in the image of God is explored throughout this course of study.