This course examines the central characteristics of Roman Catholic moral theology in the post-Vatican II era: specifically, how the discipline currently appropriates Scripture, tradition, the magisterium, human experience and reason, the universal desire for happiness, and the realities of sin and grace, to express the dynamics of the Christian moral life conceived as a dialogic response to the gracious initiatives of God and ultimately, as an act of worship that finds its source and summit in the Eucharist sacrifice (Catechism 2031).
Perhaps no ethical topic is more hotly debated today than moral absolutes: whether there are some actions that are always and everywhere morally wrong. From abortion to artificial contraception, from torture to the death penalty, these issues are of pressing concern for marriages, families, associations, government and international relations. This course seeks to review the Catholic response to this question through encountering the Christian tradition. After a short investigation on the nature of moral evil in Thomas Aquinas, this reading seminar will begin its historical overview of the Christian tradition with Sacred Scripture and culminate with Blessed John Paul II’s Encyclical Veritatis Splendor. All of this as we seek to get a clearer grasp on the Church’s teaching on moral evil and moral absolutes. (Cross-referenced to STHO 6112)
Focusing on the question of the meaning and reason for suffering in redemption, a study of Aquinas' text of Christ's Passion. An examination of how Divine Providence acts through the Son's human actions of suffering to bring about his exaltation and a new relationship to God, the world and us. Concluding commentary on how Christ, as instrument of the Godhead and in His own person, influences our human acts of suffering, through the sacraments, to bring similar results.
This course examines moral strengths as lived through the four cardinal virtues- both how these virtues can be obtained and how they are related to the Christian life through the theological virtues (faith, hope and charity), the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the Beatitudes. (Cross-referenced to STHO 6126)
A team-taught survey of Christian ethics, including fundamental moral theology and Catholic teaching in sexual morality, healthcare and social justice. Not applicable to M. Div. or M.A. with Christian ethics concentration.
This course begins with Benedict XVI's Deus Caritas Est and concludes with C. S. Lewis' The Four Loves and John Paul II's Love and Responsibility. Illuminating these works by engaging with the key philosophical and biblical texts that they cite, the course proceeds to illuminate the nature of love through the writings of Anglican, Protestant and Catholic novelists and theologians. The purpose of the course is to help people understand the spiritual nature of love in its manifold forms and so, gracefully to inflame and sustain their aptitude for courtship, family affection, friendship and charity. (Cross-referenced to PTHO 6134)
Few realities captivate us culturally, emotionally, and aesthetically, as the medium of film. In the complex multimedia culture we live in, film moves us in a way which no other media seems capable of doing. Moreover, films have a rich capacity to explore ideas and raise questions in something more than merely an intellectual manner. In this course, we will seek to capture film capturing us as we study three aspects of this draw: First, we will explore the medium of film itself and why it is so powerful. Second, we will examine the human emotional life to which film is intimately connected and on which it operates. Finally, we will explore some theological themes, issues, and questions – ranging from anthropology to morals to eschatology – which are raised in contemporary film.”
This course continues to explore the fundamental concepts of the Catholic moral theology by focusing its attention on the development of good moral character. The students will gain systematic knowledge in the area of virtue ethics, which encourages the pursuit of particular virtues, understood as primary means of spiritual and moral growth. Special attention will be given to the operation of four cardinal virtues, theological virtues, and their supports. Through an investigation of the life of virtue centered on Jesus Christ, this course will assist the students in discovering the profound meaning of the Lord's call to missionary discipleship. (3 credits; prerequisite: Fundamental Moral Theology I).
To develop skills in using Catholic Church teaching and Natural Law argumentation, an examination of the concepts of health, the human person, personal and social responsibility, confidentiality, reproductive technologies, abortion, medical research, experimentation, transplants, psychotherapy, addiction, suicide, euthanasia and care of the disabled, those with AIDS and the dying.
This course treats contemporary issues regarding the beginning of human life including cloning, embryonic stem cell research, reproductive technologies including in vitro fertilization, abortion, ectopic pregnancies, early induction and the ethical treatment of rape victims. This course seeks to apply the teaching of the Church and sound ethical reasoning to the issues raised by recent reproductive and prenatal technologies so that students will be able to advise effectively the people to whom they minister in making virtuous medical decisions. (Cross-referenced to PTHO 6217)
See PTHO 6224.
Marriage and family life is a great gift of God’s creation. Through the Sacrament of Marriage, spousal and familial love is taken up into the infinite love of Christ and the Church. In the communion of love open to God’s gift of life, all married couples and their children are called to holiness. Through readings based on the works of St. Paul, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, Hugh of St. Victor and Pope John Paul II, this course explores the ways in which God’s sanctifying presence is manifest in and through Christian spousal love that is open to life and placed at the service of the human community. (Cross-referenced to PTHO 6254 and STHO 6254)
This course investigates the historical causes, nature, and value of secularism as a cultural, and socio-political phenomenon affecting Catholic religious experience in what was once called Latin Christendom. The course is not only interested in secularism as such, but also in various contemporary Catholic responses towards it. Throughout the investigation will be viewed through the theological lens of Christian faith as revealed in Jesus Christ and authoritatively interpreted through the teaching authority of the Church.
This course focuses on people who have sacrificed or suffered the loss of normal and vital bodily organs and physiological faculties but who nonetheless, or on account of that loss, have gained or developed wondrous faculties of perception and insight that have brought immeasurable wealth to humanity. A partial aim of the course is to explore how such cases can serve to challenge the pressures upon medics to abandon the Hippocratic oath "to do no harm" to the disabled. Thus, by exploring such accounts and the philosophical, ethical and pastoral issues surrounding them, the course seeks to train and sustain pastoral ministers and medical and legal professionals interested in sustaining our culture's adherence to the Hippocratic oath to nurture and protect human life. (Cross-referenced to PTHO 6266)
An historical and systematic study of Church teaching using the Scriptures, guest lectures, case studies and film to develop a cognitive and affective appreciation of the Catholic view of human sexuality. The course considers chastity, friendship, spousal love, procreation, natural family planning, extramarital sex, masturbation, homosexuality and birth control.
This course explores violence-ridden and morally challenging passages of the Bible, including those which apparently sanction capital punishment, child-sacrifice, extermination of non-combatants in warfare, polygamy, slavery, lying, and making the Cross a gateway to eternal life. The course seeks to familiarize students with these passages and illuminate Jewish and Christian ways of explaining their meaning and function in the canon.
The course explores the themes of forgiveness in the Old and New Testaments with a view to supplying the student with scriptural resources for thinking about and developing a theology of forgiveness. Rabbinic, Patristic and Catholic scholastic interpretations of biblical passages will be explored to compare and contrast Jewish and Christian, Catholic and Protestant approaches to understanding forgiveness. The scriptural passages to be explored will include: 1) The themes of divine mitigation of punishment in the stories of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, and the forgiveness motif in the stories of Jacob and Esau and Joseph and his Brothers; 2) Levitical atonement rituals; 3) Forgiveness motifs in the Psalms and the Wisdom books; 4) Forgiveness motifs in the Prophets, e.g. in the Book of Jonah; 5-7) Forgiveness in the Synoptic Gospels, e.g. the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus’ Parables, Jesus’ Practice of Forgiveness in his life and passion; 8) Forgiveness in the Epistles of Paul and James in the context of their theologies of justification by faith and works.
A survey of Canon Law with an emphasis on topics central for diaconal ministry. Topics include: general norms, rights and obligations of the Christian faithful, especially the clergy, Sacraments (other than Matrimony), particularly Christian Initiation, Christian Burial, Temporal Goods and Sanctions.
An exploration of the theological warrants for Catholic social justice ministry, its scriptural foundations and its major principles as articulated in papal and episcopal documents. The application of these principles to family, to work, to economic systems and to political orders. An examination of the various ways that local churches and parishes can be effective instruments in bringing about God's reign of peace and justice.
This course investigates what it means to make a decision as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Bringing forth both old and new, the course does this in two ways. First, it looks to the Catholic scholarly tradition on the various aspects and elements of a prudential Christian decision. Second, it examines the Catholic spiritual tradition of discernment – its rules, exercises, and daily practices – so that both one’s own life and those of others the student will encountered is daily opened more and more to Christ’s call. (3 credits)
The Biblical, historical, systematic and liturgical development of Christian marriage from Biblical origins, Patristic thought, medieval synthesis, Reformation issues and Tridentine responses, to its contemporary theology. Issues related to the theology of marriage, e.g., sacramentality of marriage, divorce and remarriage, faith and marriage, and the pastoral care of Christian marriage.
The course introduces the students to the person and moral teaching of one of the most influential popes of the 20th century. It explains the basic anthropological assumptions behind John Paul II's ethical thought, and studies selected moral issues pertinent to the modern-day climate. Throughout the course, the students will review the main works of the Holy Father, including earlier writings from before his papacy. They will also take notice of the many ways, in which John Paul II's teaching contributed to the shaping and advancement of moral theology in the Church. Upon completion of the course, the students will possess systematic, albeit introductory, knowledge of the Holy Father's moral teaching.
Why has the complaint against God for innocent suffering arisen only in recent times? What are its philosophical presuppositions? Lectures will examine various theological and philosophical positions that give rise to the complaint or offer answers. Then the Catholic answer will be proposed; thereby the coherence of all Catholicism’s central dogmas will be explained and justified. The Church’s theology will be shown to offer the only possible coherent solution to the problem. For the Church lives from Jesus Christ crucified and risen, Eucharistically present in her midst.
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