RELS 102, Intro to Catholicism

From the origin of the Christian era, the Church has made certain claims for itself; for example, that it carries the divine within its human institutional structure. Students will examine the claims the Church makes for itself, and explore how the Catholic tradition has responded to humankind’s questions concerning existence, meaning, the world, and God. Particular emphasis will be placed on how the Church responded to challenges posed by the Protestant Reformation, by modernity, and by post-modernity.

   • Critically evaluate the claims of the Church; understand the essential elements of the Church as an organization; be aware of the challenges facing the Church in the world throughout its history, and how the Church has responded to, and is responding to, those challenges

   • Understand the major topics of theology, the Church’s relationship to modernity, the theology and historical context of Vatican II and contemporary Catholicism, and Catholic Social Teaching

Course Details: Three different attitudes to the interpretation of the Church (rationalist, inner enlightenment, orthodox/Catholic); contemporary difficulties in understanding the Christian proposal: the history of our mentality, the religious consciousness of the Middle Ages, humanism, rationalism; the constituent factors of the early Church/the creeds; grace, sacraments, prayer, and liturgy of the Church; community, tradition, magisterium; 19th & 20th-century theological schools and the Church’s response to modernity

Image: Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.