Theology

Department Chair: Mr. Mark Mals - Mark.Mals@uofdjesuit.org, ext. 2621

Four credits, consisting of required courses, are needed to complete the graduation requirement.

Courses in Theology for 2018-2019

9th Sem 1 - Jesuit Studies (0.5 credits)

This required freshman first semester course is an introductory study of St. Ignatius of Loyola, The Jesuits, and U of D Jesuit. Students will explore the impact the Jesuit order has had on Christian spirituality, world history, the arts, science, and education. Students will also learn to implement the Jesuit “way of proceeding,” a process of critical thinking that seeks God in all things, and apply it to all facets of their lives. Students will recognize the importance and practice of The Spiritual Exercises, Contemplatives in Action, Men and Women for and with Others, AMDG, Magis, and the Grad at Grad.

9th Sem 2 - Hebrew Scriptures (0.5 credits)

This required freshman second semester course is an introduction to Sacred Scripture (the Bible) with special attention to the interaction between God and the Israelite people through the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). Emphasis is placed on understanding Jewish History through the Torah and Historical Books and Revelation through the Hebrew Prophets in the Prophetic Books. Students are also introduced to contemporary Jesuit Prophets such as Ignacio Ellacuria S.J., Rutilio Grande, S.J., Alfred Delp, S.J. and others to help them understand and live out our continued call to fulfilling the prophetic mission: to see the world as God sees it and proclaim the world as God’s Kingdom. Focus is placed on relating themes found in the Hebrew Scriptures to contemporary social concerns.

9th Workshop - Called to Protect

This 2-3 day Archdiocese of Detroit program will be taught during the freshman year as a component of one of the theology courses. This is a personal safety instruction program for teens in Catholic high schools. The program addresses boundaries – physical, emotional and behavioral – and how to recognize, stop and act if someone attempts to violate personal boundaries.

10th Sem 1- Christian Scriptures (0.5 credits)

This required sophomore first semester course serves as a bridge between the Hebrew Scriptures and Christian Scriptures (Old and New Testaments) as the Hebrew prophecies are fulfilled through the realities of Jesus. The mystery of Jesus is revealed as the historical Jesus emerges. Emphasis is placed on the Infancy Narratives, Jesus the person, the miracles and teachings of Jesus, and the events and impact of the Paschal Mystery on the world. Students also reflect on and react to St. Ignatius’ mandate to “Go out and set the world on fire,” as experienced through the lives of Paul and the Apostles in Acts and the Letters of the Christian Scriptures. Through the Spiritual Exercises, students reflect on and apply the life and teaching of Jesus to their daily lives.

10th Sem 2 - The Sacramental Life (0.5 credits)

This required sophomore second semester course is a study of the sacramental life, ritual, and sacred presence. Concepts covered include the meaning and relevance of sacrament, the person and role of the Holy Spirit, the gift of grace, the Catholic Church’s Sacraments of Initiation, of Healing, and of Service (Vocation), and our call to Mission. The course prepares students to recognize and realize that “The world is charged with the grandeur of God” (Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ) and their responsibility to live the Jesuit call to See God in All Things.

10th Workshop - Called to Serve

This 2-3 day program is used in Catholic high schools as part of required safe environment training and will be taught during the sophomore year as a component of one of the theology courses. The Archdiocese of Detroit Safe Environments Policy specifies teen employees, and volunteers who work with children, must attend safe environments training. Called to Serve focuses on and enhances the following skills: working with and role modeling for children; communicating and working with adult supervisors; interacting appropriately with peers; recognizing and responding to inappropriate behavior.

11th Sem 1 or 2 - Morality (0.5 credits)

This required one-semester course (taken either semester) is an introduction to the basic principles of morality in the Catholic tradition including foundational moral concepts, Christian understanding of human nature, objective morality, and methodologies for moral discernment, including the Ignatian Rules of Discernment. Particular attention is given to the "human" act, knowledge and freedom, sin and conversion, Virtue Ethics and character, nature of conscience, natural law, values and norms for moral decision making and social responsibility as they relate to the Jesuit mandate to be Men and Women for and with Others.

12th Sem 1 or 2 - Human Dignity and Social Justice (0.5 credits)

This required one-semester course (taken either semester) is grounded in Pedro Arrupe’s Men and Women for Others that invites students to become fully human by resisting the dehumanization of others and embracing love and justice by working to change unjust and oppressive social structures as a constitutive element of our faith. Students will look at contemporary social issues -including poverty, racism, and gender - through the lens of scripture and Catholic Social Teaching and reflect on what it means to be a “man for and with others” called to respond to St. Ignatius’ mandate to “go forth and set the world on fire.”

Electives

African American Spirituality (0.5 credits) NEW!!

This one-semester elective course for juniors and seniors is designed to be an exploration into primary and secondary sources in the African American religious experience in an effort to uncover the spirituality of the people of Africa and how that spirituality was tied into the religious experience of the slaves who were brought to America, resulting in a distinctively African American spiritual formation tradition. The course will consider specific primary African American spiritual formation genres – slave narratives, as well as the lives and works of selected African American spiritual leaders.

Church History (0.5 credits) NEW!!

This one-semester elective course for juniors and seniors provides an overview of the history of the Church from the time of the Apostles, through the Reformation into the Counter-Reformation and Modern Church. The course is designed to provide the student with a broad understanding of the theological controversies and resolutions that defined much of the history of the Early Church and the World. It also introduces the major individuals involved and discusses the political and institutional trends within both the Church and the culture during this time frame (Charlemagne, Martin Luther, Ignatius, etc.). Although the broad spectrum of church traditions will be addressed, the primary focus of this course will be the history of the Western (or Catholic) Church.

Environmental Justice (0.5 credits) NEW!!

This one-semester elective course for juniors and seniors asks students to reflect on environmental and social challenges that are facing “our common home,” challenges that range from global climate change to local water and incinerator issues. The course invites students to consider how environmental decisions often impact poor communities and then fashion a response that demonstrates a commitment to justice. Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si, serves as the primary text for this course and is supplemented with other Jesuit resources and guest speakers from the community.

Gender, Sexuality & Religion (0.5 credits) NEW!!

This one-semester elective course for juniors and seniors introduces students to the articulation and understanding of gender, sexuality and religion, focusing on current issues and debates surrounding gender and sexuality as they are expressed within religious theologies, communities, and society. Students will consider the different meanings and significances of the terms gender and sexuality and the ways they are understood within religious traditions, especially the Catholic Church. Students will develop a deeper understanding of how gender, sexuality, and culture influence images of God and a person’s relationship with, and position within, the Church. Students will also delve deeply into the continuous evils of gender and sexual discrimination and inequality. Students will learn how compassionate dialogue and understanding is the first step to realize and live Pope Francis’ teaching that “Human dignity is the same for all human beings: when I trample on the dignity of another, I am trampling on my own.”

Ignatian Prayer and Meditation (0.5 credits)

This one-semester elective course for juniors and seniors introduces students to prayer in the Christian tradition focusing on the spirituality of St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, as a pathway to meditation, contemplation, wisdom, self-awareness, knowledge, discernment, and service to others (service that is done out of love for, and in imitation of, the Holy Trinity, who sent God the Son, incarnate in Jesus Christ, to serve, not to be served). It does this by way of learning the history, science, and practice of meditation, contemplation, the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, and his mysticism of service.

Ignatian Leadership (0.5 credits)

This one-semester elective course for juniors and seniors utilizes the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius as its centerpiece to delve deeper into St Ignatius and the Jesuits from the perspectives of history, spirituality, and the arts. The course explores how students can continue on with a life inspired by St. Ignatius in their adult life including Jesuit Universities, Jesuit Vocations, Jesuit Volunteer Corps, and Jesuit retreat houses. Students are also introduced to Jesuit organizations such as the Ignatian Solidarity Network, Jesuit Refugee Services, and Christian Life Communities.

Ignatian Scholars Program (0.5 credits)

This independent study elective course for rising juniors prepares students for the summer immersion trip to Spain, Rome, and Lourdes walking in the footsteps of St. Ignatius. Coursework will be completed online between February and June with a final exam and project due upon return to the United States. This independent study is in collaboration with St. Ignatius Cleveland.

This course is available to students in the Class of 2020 only.

Irish Studies Program (0.5 credits)

This independent study elective course for rising juniors prepares students for the summer immersion trip to Northern Ireland. This online course uses readings, lectures, and compositions related to history, literature, politics and Catholic social teaching applied to the Irish Peace Process. While in Belfast, Northern Ireland, students participate in a service-learning program during which they learn the dynamics of conflict and peace-building from the key architects of the Irish Peace Process. The program utilizes the Ignatian pedagogical method of context, experience, reflection, action and evaluation. This independent study is in collaboration with Walsh Jesuit and St. Ignatius Cleveland.

This course is available to students in the Class of 2020 only.

Law, Justice and Culture (0.5 credits) NEW!!

This one-semester elective course for juniors and seniors critically examines the complexities of law, society and culture. It will study the law as part of a political and social process with special emphasis on the courts and legal ideologies. Readings, videos, discussions, and writing assignments address will historical roots of our criminal justice system from slavery to current policing issues. The course also examines the impact of religious values, beliefs and organized faith groups and their impact on legal issues. We will look at how our faith and love puts us in a place to seek justice and fairness for those on the margins. This examination will cover all aspects of the criminal justice system—arrest and policing, trial, sentencing, incarceration, recidivism, school-to-prison pipeline and rehabilitation and the role of power and privilege. It will also include alternatives to punishment with a look at restorative justice. In addition to religion, the impact of other social identities and their impact in the criminal justice system will be examined along with how they intersect with one another. Examples of topics to be explored include, but are not limited to: death penalty, police misconduct, mental illness, minimum sentencing, rehabilitation, juvenile justice, prison industrial complex and convict leasing.

Philosophy (0.5 credits)

This one-semester elective course for juniors and seniors offers students the opportunity to examine domains of Western Philosophy including the questions and arguments regarding human nature, knowledge, freedom, the nature of reality, the problem of evil, and the existence of God. The course focuses attention on major figures including the Classical Philosophies of Socrates, Plato, an Aristotle and their influence on the Christian Philosophies of Aquinas and Augustine. Throughout the course, students excogitate the meaning of happiness and the good life and apply it to the Jesuit teachings of AMDG, Men and Women for and with Others, and the Magis.

Sacred Art and Symbols (0.5 credits)

This one-semester elective course for juniors and seniors explores sacred/religious symbols used as visual expressions in art, architecture and religious imagery. Students study various faith traditions to gather an understanding of praise older than language and the written word to “see God in all things.” In this integrated approach to learning about culture, religion and the arts, each student creates major art pieces that represent the faith traditions studied and their own original works that express an understanding of the creative process allowing them to embrace the universal call of the Beloved to us, His instruments, and our response – an expression of praise. Students gain an ability to understand the role of the creative spark in their lives.

Science and Religion (0.5 credits)

This one-semester elective course for juniors and seniors encourages students to realize that part of being human is the fundamental and ubiquitous quest for knowledge and understanding of the world that transcends scientific or religious restraints. Both science and religion seek to answer those questions regarding faith and reason. The aim of the multi-faceted approach in this course is through four lenses of the relationship between Science & Religion: opposition, independence/separation, dialogue, and cooperation. The course explores the relationship between science and religion from antiquity to contemporary views taking into account historical, sociological, and philosophical perspectives. Students explore the contributions of scientists and philosophers including Jesuits: Matteo Ricci, SJ, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ, George Coyne, SJ, Guy Consolmagno, SJ.

Spiritual Biography (0.5 credits) NEW!!

This one-semester elective course for juniors and seniors explores biographical and autobiographical narrative as the lens through which we can reflect on God’s grace working in human lives in ways that are sometimes dramatic, often ordinary, usually circuitous, but always revealing. The course will include a study of the lives of great Jesuits ranging from St. Ignatius to Alfred Delp SJ to Daniel Berrigan SJ and will cover a broad span of subjects ranging from the medieval mystics to Malcolm X. Students will study the lives of poets, prophets, and peacemakers. The perplexed and the persecuted. Dreamers and drunkards. Philosophers and holy fools. Students will listen to the stores that give us a glimpse into the human heart’s search for spiritual meaning in the midst of this complex, messy and beautiful journey called life. Students will write their own spiritual autobiographies, focusing on relationships, turning points, and key moments in their own lives, recalling the claim made by Karl Rahner, SJ that “the personal history of the experience of self is the personal experience of the history of God.”

Wealth and Poverty (0.5 credits)

This one-semester elective course for juniors and seniors investigates experiences and beliefs about wealth, poverty, social class, and economic inequality. Readings, videos, discussions, and simulations address historical roots, consequences of imperialism and globalization, and current data and policy options for America and the world. A crucial goal of the course is to deepen students’ commitment to a “faith that does justice” with a focus on Pope Francis’ teachings on economics and a preferential option for the poor and vulnerable.

World Religions (0.5 credits)

World Religions: Violence and Nonviolence in the World’s Religions

This one-semester elective course for juniors and seniors introduces students to the history, beliefs and practices of the world’s major religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Such a study should help students enlarge their understanding of God in a rapidly-shrinking world where knowledge of the world’s religions is imperative to our Christian vocation to “make peace among individuals and nations” (The Challenge and Possibility of Peace). The course will focus on violence and nonviolence in each of the world’s religions and will examine the ways in which religion has inspired both the best and the worst in humanity throughout history and in our world today.