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RELIGIOUS STUDIES 1027E, SECTION 571
INTRODUCTION TO CATHOLIC THEOLOGY

FALL/WINTER  2011/2012

Wednesdays 7:00 - 10:00 PM
Room 102, St. Peter's Seminary

INSTRUCTOR:  Renée Pereira, BSc, MTS, PhD Candidate
Office Hours by appointment

A. COURSE DESCRIPTION

An introduction to central themes of Catholic theology including revelation, faith, Jesus, Church, sacraments.

B. GOALS

This course will assist students to grow in the following knowledge, skills and attitudes.

KNOWLEDGE:

  • To understand the centrality of the Paschal Mystery and God's action within salvation history.
  • To understand the relationship between scripture and Tradition.
  • To understand the key principles associated with biblical authorship and interpretation.
  • To understand the major moments of Jesus' earthly ministry.
  • To understand the fundamental principles associated with the action of the Trinity.
  • To understand the social mission and communal nature of the Church.
  • To understand Christian moral principles and how they are to be utilized in concrete decision-making.
  • To understand the significance of the sacraments in the Church's mission to manifest the presence of God's love in the world.
  • To understand the development of doctrine in the Church, and be aware of the major historical and modern sources that demonstrate these teachings.

SKILLS:

  • To be able to integrate the various realms of theology.
  • To be able to enter into theological dialogue, to listen to other opinions, to use philosophical concepts, and to apply wisdom to today's issues.
  • To be able to articulate the Catholic understanding of the economy of salvation.
  • To read and analyze primary documents in their context.
  • To be able to see the relationship between theory and practice.

ATTITUDES:

  • To embrace a sense of wonder in the mysteries of the faith and to accept that our comprehension will never be complete in light of the nature of theology.
  • To foster sensitivity towards the religious attitudes and beliefs of others.
  • To appreciate the Catholic faith, its traditions, and its teachings.

C. ASSESSMENT

1. Mid-Term Exam (20% of final mark)

This in-class exam will be in lieu of a scheduled Christmas exam.  It will have short answer questions and one essay question.

Date:  Wednesday, November 23rd

2. Research Paper (20% of final mark)

This is a formal essay of eight pages (including bibliography) and it will be based upon a limited number of TBA subject areas.

Due:  Wednesday, March 28th

3. Presentation (20% of final mark)

Informal seminars will be done in groups of three to four students.  All are required to prepare for and to present the material and a two-page class summary handout is required.  The seminar topic is to be chosen by the groups from a list of potential topics, with seminar dates coinciding with course material.

Topic sign-up will be done in-class, based upon a lottery system, on Wednesday, September 28th.

4. Final Exam (40% of final mark)

Essay format.
Date TBA by UWO Registrar's Office (during the April examination period).

C. READINGS OR TEXTBOOKS

Although there are no required texts for the course, there are some suggested resources:

1. Flannery, Austin, ed., Vatican II Council: The Basic Sixteen Documents (Northport, New York: Costello Publishing Company, 1996).

OR, download for free: http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/)

2. Kreeft, Peter, Catholic Christianity: A Complete Catechism Of Catholic Beliefs Based on The Catechism Of The Catholic Church (San Francisco: Ignatius
Press, 2001).

• Available at both the UWO bookstore and chapters.ca

3. A Bible (Suggested: New Jerusalem Bible or the New Revised Standard Version [Catholic Edition]).

E. COURSE STRUCTURE (Tentative)

SECTION 1: Introduction

Introduction: What is Catholicism?
Revelation and Faith
Scripture as a Theological Source
The Interpretation of Scripture
The Use of Scripture in the Church

SECTION 2: Quest for the Historical Jesus

Infancy Narratives and the Historical Jesus
Biblical and Early Understandings of Jesus
The Preaching and Ministry of Jesus
The Death of Jesus

SECTION 3: "Fully Human, Fully Divine"

Redemption and the Incarnation
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: The Trinity
The Resurrection, Eschatology, and the Return of Jesus
Ascension and the Birth of the Church

SECTION 4: Historical Theology

The Pauline Missions
The "Theologies" of the Early Church
The Church Fathers and the Rise of Christianity
Church History: The Whirlwind Tour (4th Century to 19th Century)

SECTION 5: The Life of the Church

The Renewal of the Modern Church: Vatican II
The Nature and Mission of the Church
Ecumenism
Introduction to the Sacraments
The Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist
The Sacraments of Vocation: Marriage and Holy Orders
The Sacraments of Healing: Sacrament of the Sick and Reconciliation
Catholic Liturgy and Catholic Devotion


SECTION 6: Moral Theology and Catholic Bioethics

The Basics of Moral Theology
Social Justice
Evangelium Vitae
Issues of Human Life: Contraception and Natural Family Planning
More Issues of Human Life: Genetic Testing and Reproductive Technologies
Issues of Human Death: Abortion, Euthanasia, Suicide, and War

 F. READING LIST

Please see the separate handout detailing all the suggested readings for each week. There will not be any exam questions specifically based upon these readings, although these readings will help a student better understand the content of the course.

G. UNIVERSITY REGULATIONS

Students are responsible for knowing the University’s academic policies and regulations and any particularities of their own course of study. These can all be found at the University’s website http://www.uwo.ca/univsec/handbook/appeals/scholoff.pdf). Ignorance of these policies is not an excuse for any violation thereof. The following policies are particularly important to note:

Plagiarism: Students must write their essays and assignments in their own words.  Whenever students take an idea or a passage from another author, they must acknowledge their debt by quotation marks and/or footnotes. Plagiarism is a major academic offense. Students may be required to submit their work in electronic form for plagiarism checking.

Selection and Registration of Courses: Students are responsible for ensuring that their selection of courses is appropriate and accurately recorded, that all prerequisite course(s) have been successfully completed, and that they are aware of any anti-requisite course(s) that they have taken.

Marks: Student marks, either temporary or final, will not be made available via e-mail. Due to privacy laws, these marks can also no longer be posted. Students are required to attend class in order to pick-up marked assignments during the year and can receive their final marks from the UWO website sometime in May 2011.

Seminars:  Seminars cannot be rescheduled. Students are advised to plan ahead for this project, as failure to be in class and participate in one’s seminar will result in a zero grade. 

Also:

1. Texting in class is unbelievably rude, distracting, and unnecessary. Do not text during lectures, seminars, or discussions.
2. Emails will be answered as soon as possible during business hours, Monday to Friday.
3. For reasons of professionalism, all Facebook invites sent to R. Pereira will be refused. Please know this is not meant to offend any student–it is a blanket policy.