Spring 2022 Course Offerings

Courses Meeting Major/Minor Core Requirements

CATH 135: History of Christianity (cross-listed with HIST 171)
Dr. Jotham Parsons
TR 10:50 AM - 12:05 PM

This course traces the development of the Christian religion from its obscure origins to its present status as a diverse world religion with hundreds of millions of adherents. Our focus is on the ways in which the thought and organization of the Christian churches have responded to the enormously diverse societies and cultures in which they have existed.

Satisfies CATH 301 requirement.

CATH 201: The Word of God in Human Words: Introduction to Scripture
Dr. Bill Wright
TR 10:50 AM - 12:05 PM

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 205: I Believe: Principles of the Catholic Faith
Dr. Elizabeth Huddleston
TR 9:25 - 10:40 AM

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 395: Development in the Life of the Church
Dr. Ken Parker
TR 3:05 - 4:20 PM

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

Additional Spring 2022 Offerings

EQ 132: Is Care for the Planet My Responsibility?
Dr. Chris Cimorelli
MW 3:00 - 4:15 PM

Is care for the planet my responsibility? With the stakes of climate change already high and ever rising, this essential-question course considers various levels of responsibility-personal, societal, global-for the ecological crisis facing humanity. The consideration of one's own responsibility will be facilitated by an engagement with myriad resources both within and outside of Catholic Christianity treating issues of ecology, care for the planet, and a renewed understanding of creation and faith informed by dialogue with the natural sciences.

CATH 125: Spiritans & the Catholic Faith in a Global Environment (cross-listed with IR 125)
Fr. Bill Cleary
MWF 10:00 - 10:50 AM

This course seeks to survey the history, charism, and spirituality of the Spiritans and the wider presence of the Catholic Faith within the context of their global presence. Catholic Social Teaching and the ministry of the Spiritans will be considered in the face of changing global challenges.

CATH 252: Existentialism (cross-listed with PHIL 208)
Dr. Jim Swindal
TR 3:05 - 4:20 PM

We will work our way through a family of thinkers often labeled existentialists, such as Kiekegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre, de Beauvoir, and Camus. Our study will be guided by means of a few shared themes: freedom, anguish, responsibility and meaning.

CATH 253: Love and Friendship
Dr. Thérèse Bonin
MWF 1:00 - 1:50 PM

A philosophical consideration of love and friendship: the nature of love, its causes, its effects, its many manifestations, the mutual love found in friendship, the kinds of friendship, and the importance of friendship in human life.

CATH 254: The Mystery of God
Dr. Bill Wright
TR 9:25 - 10:40 AM

This class is a study of the distinctively Christian understanding of God. After examining the biblical witness to God's self-revelation and its articulation in the doctrine of the Trinity, we will read the work of major Christian figures who point us to God as being the Good we desire, the Truth we seek, and the beautiful Love in which we delight.

CATH 281: Rule-Breakers: A New Look at the Ten Commandments through Film
Dr. Ken Parker
R 6:00 - 9:00 PM

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 320: Black Catholics: History, Spirituality and Social Justice
Dr. Greta Tucker
T 6:00 - 8:40 PM

African American Catholics have a spirituality that is influenced and conditioned by the traditions, theology and spirit of the Catholic faith. However, African American Catholics share spiritual and cultural traits with African Americans. Traits of a distinctive African American spirituality are rooted in their African ancestry and influenced by the experience of slavery and oppression in the U.S. Therefore, understanding the spirituality of African Americans offers a glimpse into the uniqueness and the contributions of African American Catholic spirituality, which is often expressed in liturgical rituals, music, art and environment, and in family and communal relationships. African American Catholics are enriched and gifted with two spiritual traditions, one that is characterized and influenced by African American spirituality and the other that is distinctively Roman Catholic. In 1984, the African American bishops wrote in their pastoral letter, What We Have Seen and Heard, "African American Catholics are a gift to the Church and as a people have valuable gifts to offer in building the kingdom of God." The African American bishops affirmed the richness of the Black experience as a gift African Americans have acquired. They offered four dimensions or characteristics to describe African American spirituality shared by Africa American Catholics: contemplative, holistic, joyful, and communitarian. African American Catholics are challenged to share the gift of their spirituality with the Catholic Church and all of humanity.

CATH 352W: Thomas Aquinas
Dr. Thérèse Bonin
MWF 10:00 - 10:50 AM

An introduction to the philosophical thought of St. Thomas, focusing on such topics as God, nature, knowledge, language, the problem of evil, and the relation between faith and reason. Besides learning where Thomas stood on these matters, you will be equipped to interpret his writings and thereby to explore the full range of his thought.

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 205: 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 301: 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 499: 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

Love is a phenomenon that shapes human experience from birth to death, in the most profound and mysterious ways. The experience of "love" is at turns comforting, scary, dangerous, courageous, uplifting, damaging, or soul-making. What do we know of this mysterious force? Is love primarily self-serving or can it truly seek the good? Beginning with a brief survey of scientific, quantitative, and humanities disciplines, the course then examines the "Four Loves" identified by the ancient Greeks (and further defined by modern thinkers): storge (affection, as in a family), philia (friendship), eros (romantic/sexual love), and agape (charity or love that is self-sacrificial and giving - the only human love that resembles God's love for humans). Special attention is paid to friendship (philia) as a distinctive feature of university life on a campus like ours, with readings from Saint Aelred of Rivaulx and about Saint Brigid of Kildare as models of ideas surrounding "soul friends." The course also emphasizes love in all its forms as a nexus of social justice: that we are responsible for upholding and perpetuating the good in our relationships, for practicing agape, and for dismantling social inequalities that deprive human persons of the fullness of love.

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.