CATH-112-01 Intro Cath St: Explorations in Cath Culture
Spring for 2016-2017
The central topic considered in the course is this: how does Catholic faith (as a religion of both/and,” not “either/or”) interact with various forms of human culture. The class will investigate Catholic tradition to see how it emerged from earlier, existing cultures and how it developed its own forms of cultural expression. We will in addition probe its relevance for contemporary society. We begin with narrative: creation accounts, the history of the people of Israel, the earliest stories about Jesus of Nazareth, the problems in reading them, and the central beliefs of Catholicism as they are derived from these accounts. After this overview, we look at four ways in which Catholicism has found expression within human cultural traditions. 1. Personal narratives. What meaning have people found in Catholicism in their own personal lives? Here we will read the autobiographies of Ignatius of Loyola [16th C.] and Dorothy Day [20th C.]. 2. Catholicism and society. How does Catholicism relate its faith to public policy? How should Catholics act as members of society? Here we will read some chapters from Francis’ “Apostolic Exhortation: Evangelii Gaudium.” 3. The fine arts. How has Catholicism shaped aesthetic imagination? We will study the architecture, painting, and sculpture of Michelangelo. 4. The physical world. What does Catholicism envision about nature, science, and the experience of being human? We will read the Encyclical by Pope Francis Laudato si’ .
Required Texts
“Required” means students must bring these specific texts to each relevant class session in order to use them during class discussions.
• Monika Hellwig. Understanding Catholicism. Second Edition. Paulist Press.
• St. Ignatius of Loyola. A Pilgrim’s Journey. Tr. J. Tylenda. Ignatius Press.
• Dorothy Day. The Long Loneliness. Harper SanFrancisco.
• Francis, “Apostolic Exhortation: Evangelii Gaudium” on Blackboard. Also available at:
• Francis, Laudate si. On Blackboard. Also available at:
• Anthony Hughes. Michelangelo. Phaidon.
Articles written by faculty members uploaded into Blackboard that supplement the following textbooks.
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
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