CATHOLIC STUDIES MINOR

CATHOLIC STUDIES MINOR
Division of Philosophical, Religious, Theological, Social & Cultural Studies
Richard Anderson, Ph.D., Chair
rick.anderson@loras.edu
563.588.7177

The Catholic Studies minor is multidisciplinary in character, including not only theology but history, politics, social studies, philosophy, literature, the arts, and science. Catholic Studies provides a broad introduction to the Catholic heritage which can enrich the Loras experience, no matter what major a student pursues. It is a study of Catholicism in its intellectual, historical, social, and cultural dimensions.

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Requirements for minor

Requirements for minor in Catholic Studies:

Req Course Cr’s
1 L.REL-391: The Catholic Heritage: Introduction to Catholic Studies 3
Select two from Req 2 (Philosophy, Religion and Theology)
2 L.CTL-277: Belief, Unbelief and the Good Life-AV 3
2 L.PHI-250: Human Identity in Community-AI 3
2 L.PHI-278: Bioethics, Society and Culture 3
2 L.PHI-301: Foundational Ethics 3
2 L.PHI-319: Neuroethics-AV 3
2 L.PHI-321: Medieval Philosophy 3
2 L.PHI-333: Philosophy of God and Religion 3
2 L.PHI-376: Philosophy and the Rise of Christianity-AC 3
2 L.REL-113: Introduction to the Bible 3
2 L.REL-213: Foundations for Ministry 3
2 L.REL-216: Catholic Church in Latin American 3
2 L.REL-239: Jesus and the Gospels 3
2 L.REL-261: Christ and Culture-AC 3
2 L.REL-270: Introduction to Christian Values-AV 3
2 L.REL-271: Catholic Social Teaching 3
2 L.REL-272: Christian Sexual Morality-AV 3
2 L.REL-318: Councils, Creeds and Culture-AC 3
2 L.REL-320: Sacraments: Catholic Identity in Community-AI 3
2 L.REL-345: Issues in Christian Ethics-AV 3
2 L.REL-354: Seminar on the Letters of St. Paul 3
Select one from Req 3 (History and Social Science)
3 L.ECO-254: God, Catholicism & Capitalism-AV 3
3 L.HIS-155: Introduction to Latin American History 3
3 L.HIS-226: Catholi-Schism Controversy-AI 3
3 L.HIS-227: American Catholics, Sexual Morality & Public Policy 3
3 L.HIS-340: Kings & Conversions: Medieval Europe 476-1075 3
3 L.HIS-341: Love & Reason: Medieval Europe 1075-1530 3
3 L.HIS-342: The Reformation-AI 3
3 L.HIS-343: Medieval Christianity 3
3 L.HIS-427: U.S. Catholicism 3
3 L.POL-321: War and Pacifism-AV 3
3 CTL Study Abroad Course-AC 3
Select one from Req 4 (Literature and the Arts)
4 L.ENG-255: All for One, One for All-AI 3
4 L.ENG-285: Modern Irish Literature and Culture 3
4 L.ENG-337: Medieval/Renaissance British Literature 3
4 L.REL-350: Bible and Literature 3
4 L.MUS-321: History of Sacred Music-AA 3
4 L.PHI-290: Christianity, Film and the Arts-AA 3
4 L.PHI-316: Ethics in Philosophy, Literature and Film-AV 3
4 L.REL-212: Roman Catholic Sacred Spaces 3
4 L.REL-252: God’s Literature: Introduction to New Testament-AA 3
4 L.REL-325: Catholic Liturgical Music in Theology and Practice 3
Select two from Req 5 (Electives)
5 Two of any of the courses listed above 6
21 total required credits
Course Descriptions

L.REL-391: The Catholic Heritage: Introduction to Catholic Studies

An examination of defining characteristics of Catholicism, and their manifestation in theology, spirituality, philosophy, history, economics, politics, literature, film and the arts. An integrative course for the Catholic Studies minor. 3 credits.

L.CTL-277: Belief, Unbelief and the Good Life- AV

The course examines arguments for and against the existence of God and studies how these arguments affect a comprehension of the moral life and the value of human behavior. The course will begin with a study of “virtue ethics” and will use this ethical theory as a basis for dialogue with the ethics of the non-Christian belief systems of Feuerbach, Marx, Freud, and Nietzsche. Students will develop the tools to make ethical decisions about critical issues facing the human community. This course is cross-listed as L.REL-335. The courses are identical but transcripts will reflect the course number (L.REL or L.CTL) that a student registers for and completes. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and one course from L.LIB-130, L.LIB-135, or L.LIB-220. 3 credits.

L.PHI-250: Human Identity in Community-AI

Philosophic investigation into human identity as a rational and social being, relying upon common experience, culture, and selected findings of the natural, social, and behavioral sciences; attention given to the distinct powers, performances, and place of human beings within the natural order, and insights related to the self and society, including the themes of life, mutual dependence, freedom, unity, knowledge and practical reason, and the afterlife. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and either L.LIB-130, L.LIB-135, or L.LIB-220. 3 credits.

L.PHI-278: Bioethics, Society and Culture

Abortion, assisted reproductive technologies, death and dying, research on human subjects, stem cell research, organ transplants, allocation of resources in a pandemic, and healthcare for the poor are examined through the lenses of philosophical ethics, Catholic moral theology, and law and public policy. Students will interact with healthcare professionals and institutions and advocacy groups, discuss contemporary films, and assess internet websites. May not enroll if have taken L.PHI-319 Neuroethics-AV. 3 credits. January term.

L.PHI-301: Foundational Ethics

This course will examine the basic questions of morality and the answers that have been developed within the Western philosophical and Christian theological traditions. Important historical and contemporary primary source material will be examined. This course is cross-listed as REL 301. The courses are identical but transcripts will reflect the course number (L.PHI or L.REL) that a student registers for and completes. Course not available to first year students. 3 credits.

L.PHI-319: Neuroethics-AV

A survey of ethical issues arising in contemporary work in neuroscience. Topics include predictive testing for neurological disorders; implications for abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and organ procurement of neurological criteria for the beginning and end of life; medical treatment decisions for brain injured persons with severely compromised consciousness; brain activity and free will; abnormal brain activity and culpability for criminal actions; enhancement of brain function; neuroimaging and privacy; and the ethics of neurological research with animal and human subjects. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and one course from L.LIB-130, L.LIB-135, L.LIB-220. May not enroll if have taken L.PHI-278: Bioethics, Society and Culture. 3 credits.

L.PHI-321: Medieval Philosophy

A survey of Christian, Jewish and Islamic philosophy from the early middle ages through Renaissance scholasticism, with particular attention to the work of Thomas Aquinas. Either L.PHI-110 or L.PHI-150 strongly recommended, but not required. 3 credits.

L.PHI-333: Philosophy of God and Religion

An examination of attempts to justify belief in the existence of God, the divine nature and attributes, the problem of evil, religious experience, the status of religious language, and divine action in the world, using historical, contemporary, and multicultural sources. Prerequisite: Either L.PHI-110 or L.PHI-150. At least one of the historical sequence courses strongly recommended but not required. 3 credits.

L.PHI-376: Philosophy and the Rise of Christianity-AC

This study travel course that traces how Christian thought led to new syntheses in regions where love for wisdom has not been left in ruins. Initial class meetings at Loras to engage primary texts, then travel to Sicily and Rome where on site visitation is integrated with reflection upon themes including: soul, body and the person; love and the will; women’s and men’s roles in political society; moral systems and virtue; God’s providence and power. This course is cross-listed as L.CTL-265. The courses are identical but transcripts will reflect the course number (L.PHI or L.CTL) that a student registers for and completes. L.PHI-100 or L.PHI-220, or one other philosophy or Catholic theology course are recommended but not required. Contact the CEL/course instructor for iteration-specific details. 3 credits. January term.

L.REL-113: Introduction to the Bible

An introduction to the methodology and importance of biblical studies, which includes a survey of the history and theology of the Old and New Testaments. 3 credits.

L.REL-213: Foundations for Ministry

Frederick Buechner described vocation as the intersection of one’s deep joy with the world’s deep needs. This course explores theological frameworks for ministry and the ministerial needs of the church today. In addition, the course engages students in theological reflection aimed at discernment and development of the personal skills necessary for effective ministry. 3 credits.

L.REL-216: Catholic Church in Latin American

This study travel course covers the history of the Catholic Church in Latin America and the current issues it faces. The course will primarily focus on Spanish and Portuguese colonialism, liberation theology, and the contemporary period. For part of the course, students will travel to Peru and experience historical reminders of the Catholic Church’s past, but also experience first-hand the issues facing the Church in Latin America today. Prerequisites: L.LIB-130 or L.LIB-135. 3 credits. January term.

L.REL-239: Jesus and the Gospels
A critical study of the content of the Four Gospels of the New Testament, as well as their literary, historical, social, and theological contexts. We will compare and contrast their portraits of Jesus, their messages for ancient Christians, and their relevance for modern readers. 3 credits.

L.REL-261: Christ and Culture-AC

Jesus of Nazareth has been the most important figure in western culture for twenty centuries. This course examines his legacy by negotiating themes of continuity and change in a wide range of cultural artifacts, from symbols and images to historical accounts and fictional narratives. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and one course from L.LIB-130, L.LIB-135, or L.LIB-220. 3 credits.

L.REL-271: Catholic Social Teaching

This course will examine those official documents of the Catholic Church, spanning from Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum (1891) to the present, that make up Catholic Social Teaching. This course will study CST’s guiding principles, how the modern popes and the Second Vatican Council applied them to the social, political, and economic problems of our time, and what continuing relevance they have for Catholics and all persons of goodwill. 3 credits.

L.REL-272: Christian Sexuality Morality-AV

This course will examine the Catholic Church’s official teachings on sexual morality, looking both to traditional formulations and to more recent ways of thinking about issues of sexual morality. It will also examine some contrary positions proposed by Catholics and non-Catholics. The course will also consider human sexuality, marriage, and family life as paths for growth in the Christian spiritual life. Prerequisites: LIB-100, LIB-105, LIB-110, and at least one course from LIB-130, LIB-135, or LIB-220. 3 credits.

L.REL-318: Councils, Creeds and Culture-AC

This course will examine three periods in the course of Christian history: (a) the time of the “Christological councils” (325-451), (b) the time of the Council of Trent (1545-1563) and (c) the time of the Second Vatican Council (1962-present), to investigate the formation of Christian doctrine, the interaction between social/cultural manifestations and Christian faith, and the interaction between politics and Christian religion. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and one course from L.LIB-130, L.LIB-135, or L.LIB-220. 3 credits.

L.REL-320: Sacraments: Catholic Identity in Community-AI
The Christian theological enterprise involves the study of Scripture, past theological work, contemporary culture, and other disciplines which engage the believer. But above all, theology must engage the life of the community in which an individual’s faith is mediated, nurtured, and developed the sacramental life of the Church. How do we understand Christian faith from the past and present celebration of the sacraments? Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and one course from L.LIB-130, L.LIB-135, or L.LIB220. 3 credits.

L.REL-345: Issues in Christian Ethics-AV
This course will look at the intersection of faith and public policy debate, as well as the basic principles that shape the Catholic Church’s positions on public issues. It will examine different sides of important public issues such as abortion, immigration, and the war on terror, as well as how Catholic principles relate to these issues. Prerequisites: LIB-100, LIB-105, LIB-110, and at least one course from LIB-130, LIB-135, or LIB-220. 3 credits.

L.REL-354: Seminar on the Letters of St. Paul

Using a seminar format, this course studies the letters of St. Paul in the order in which they were written, to facilitate an understanding of the author’s theological development in terms of the changing problems he faced. We pay attention to the literary form of the public letter in Paul’s day, his own use of that form, the people and positions he found himself arguing against, and his emerging theological synthesis. 3 credits.

L.ECO-254: God, Catholicism & Capitalism

The basic task of any economic system is the production of enough goods and services for its own survival. The burdens of production and the spoils of distribution are often inequitably allocated among members of society. Why is there poverty among great wealth? Why are populations allowed to starve while others do not have enough space for their garbage? This course utilizes Catholic social teaching and various ethics theories to explore economic and social issues that plague societies and to explore the meaning and measurement of fairness or justice. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and one from L.LIB-130, L.LIB-135, or L.LIB-220. 3 credits.

L.HIS-155: Introduction to Latin American History

A one-semester introductory survey of Latin American history from pre-Columbian civilizations to the present. 3 credits.

L.HIS-340: Kings & Conversions: Medieval Europe 476-1075

An exploration of the vivacious and complex world of barbarians and monks, pagans and Christians, queens and bishops. Questions about historical interpretation and analysis of evidence are important to the study and understanding of this period. 3 credits.

L.HIS-341: Love & Reason: Medieval Europe 1075-1530

A thematic study of the late medieval period that addresses issues of importance for that age and of interest for the modern world. Important themes will include love and marriage, chivalry, heresy, architecture and representation, individual and communal identity, the formation of nation-states, the Crusades, popular culture, intellectual developments, and the Italian Renaissance. 3 credits.

L.HIS-342: The Reformation-AI

The Reformation was by all accounts a spectacular event. Framed by the bitter denunciations of Martin Luther and the rigid restrictions of the Index of Forbidden books, enlivened by theological debate and mortified by extreme violence, the Reformation was to the people of the sixteenth century inspiring yet harsh and provided absolute certainty while at the same time provoking unimaginable confusion and complexity. How did it respond to the question, ‘What does it mean to be a Christian’? Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and one course from L.LIB-130, L.LIB-135, or L.LIB-220.3 credits.

L.HIS-343: Medieval Christianity

A study of the development of western Christianity in the Middle Ages, with particular attention to formative influences, definitive tensions, diverse perceptions and popular appeal. The most important themes are monasticism, sanctity, heresy, and the spiritual expressions of women and men. Less emphasis upon institutional history. 3 credits.

L.HIS-427: U.S. Catholicism

The history of Roman Catholics and Roman Catholicism in the U.S. from colonial beginnings to the present, with special emphasis on the changes in and anomalies of Catholic identity. 3 credits.

L.POL-321: War and Pacifism-AV

This course uses a wide variety of original writings to examine the nature and causes of war, theories of the just war, the pacifist critique of war, and the practice of non violence as an alternative to war. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and one course from L.LIB-130, L.LIB-135, or L.LIB-220. 3 credits.

L.ENG-255: All for One, One for All-AI

An investigation into questions surrounding the responsibilities of the individual to the community as evident in the work of three Nobel prize-winning authors- Francois Mauriac, Albert Camus and Samuel Beckett. We will examine the notions of choice, free will, personal identity and faith, and discuss ways in which these notions function within the framework of the novels/plays chosen for the semester. This course is cross-listed as L.CTL-274. The courses are identical but transcripts will reflect the course number (L.ENG or L.CTL) that a student registers for and completes. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-1 10, and one course from L.LIB-130, L.LIB-135 or L.LIB-220. 3 credits.

L.ENG-285: Modern Irish Literature and Culture

The course undertakes a literary oriented investigation and interrogation of modern Irish culture. Through the reading and discussion of selected 19th and 20th century Irish literary works,students in the course will explore various essential aspects of Irish communal life in order to apprehend the continuity and transformation of Irish culture over the last two centuries. Topics covered will include family structure, religious practice, economic conditions, education, attitudes toward land and language, relationships between the colonized and the colonizers, between classes, and between sectarian groups. Representative authors include William Carleton, Lady Gregory, William Butler Years, J.M. Synge, James Joyce, Sean O’Casey, Brian Friel, Seamus Heaney, and Eavan Boland. 3 credits.

L.ENG-337: Medieval/Renaissance British Literature

A study of British literature from Beowulf to Spenser, in modern translation from Irish, Welsh, Latin, French, and Old and Middle English, as well as some in the original Middle English and much in early modern English. Representative authors: Bede, the Beowulf-poet, Marie de France, Langland, Chaucer, the Gawain-poet, Malory, Julian of Norwich, More, Skelton, Wyatt, Surrey, Raleigh, Campion, Sidney, Spenser, Marlowe, Shakespeare. 3 credits.

L.REL-350: Bible and Literature

No religious tradition survives without the help of writers who celebrate, challenge, and even transform its beliefs and practices. This course reads Biblical writings for their beauty and artistry and then examines how the Bible has inspired others to compose poetry, fiction, and drama. 3 credits.

L.MUS-321: History of Sacred Music-AA

Music of the Western church has had a profound influence on the development of Western classical music. Specifically, how that music should be crafted and presented in worship has been a topic of debate throughout time. This course provides a general survey of the development of Christian church music throughout the centuries and delves into issues surrounding music and worship. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and L.LIB-130 or L.LIB-135. 3 credits.

L.REL-212: Roman Catholic Sacred Spaces

How are individuals formed by the physical spaces that surround them? How do the spaces in which Roman Catholics worship inform their understanding of the Church and God? How can substantially different understandings of the Church and God be reconciled within a single church? And how might these differences not simply be overcome, but embraced? This course involves travel to a variety of Catholic churches and the analysis of the theological function of those spaces that emerges according to their form. 3 credits. January term.

L.REL-252: God’s Literature: Introduction to New Testament-AA

The New Testament is comprised of the foundational documents of Christian faith. This course surveys these writings as literature that is crafted to communicate God’s revelation and to shape the faith and action of Christian communities. Exegesis will be employed to interpret the New Testament texts as literature in historical context and to think critically about the texts’ meaning for our present context. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and one course from L.LIB-130, L.LIB-135, or L.LIB-220. 3 credits.

L.REL-325: Catholic Liturgical Music in Theology and Practice

This course explores the artistic nature of Roman Catholic liturgy by focusing on one of its most recognizable artistic elements, liturgical music. Liturgical music is vital because it fundamentally impacts the experience of worship; by extension, it directs the theological vision that is developed by the liturgy itself. Students will explore the ways in which liturgy and liturgical music enrich, shape, and express the Christian spirit. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and one course from L.LIB-130, L.LIB-135,or L.LIB220. 3 credits.

Questions? Contact Us!

Jacob Kohlhaas, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Moral Theology
563.588.7308 | Jacob.Kohlhaas@loras.edu

Dr. Kohlhaas received his Ph.D. in Theology from Duquesne University where his dissertation considered contemporary Catholic theological accounts of parenthood and the nature of kinship within the Christian tradition. He received his M.A. in Doctrine, with a minor in History, at Catholic Theological Union where his thesis compared and contrasted developments in Catholic and Lutheran perspectives on human sexuality since the mid-twentieth century. Dr. Kohlhaas teaches courses on Christian morality and the Catholic moral tradition including Introduction to Christian Values, Issues in Christian Ethics, Christian Sexual Morality and Catholic Social Teaching as well as Introduction to Theology and Religious Studies and Social Justice Today. Dr. Kohlhaas’ research centers on questions of Theological Anthropology, particularly the moral aspects of the human need and capacity for relationships. This has led to specific research in the areas of sexual ethics, family ethics, environmental ethics, and theologies of children and parenthood.

Amanda Osheim, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Practical Theology
Director of Breitbach Catholic Thinkers and Leaders Program
563.588.7506 | Amanda.Osheim@loras.edu

Dr. Osheim received her doctorate in systematic theology from Boston College. Her courses include Introduction to Religious Studies and Theology; Foundations for Ministry; God’s Literature; Empowered Catholic Women, The Four Marks, and Communication for Communion. Dr. Osheim’s particular interest is ecclesiology, which is the study of the church’s identity and mission. She also collaborates with the Archdiocese of Dubuque to develop programs that meet the growing need for lay leadership in parishes.

Her research focuses on discernment of the Holy Spirit within the church; development of church doctrine and practice; and the evolving role of lay ministers in the church’s life. Dr. Osheim is an editor and contributor at DailyTheology.org. Other recent publications include: “On Our Pilgrim Way [Responses to ‘Evangelii Gaudium’].” America: The National Catholic Review vol.210 no. 1 (January 6-13, 2014) http://americamagazine.org/issue/joy-world; “Theology: serving the conversation.” C21 Resources, Fall 2013, p. 37. http://issuu.com/church21c/docs/2013_fall_resource_guide_final_web_; “The Local Church in Dialogue: Toward an Orthopraxis of Reception.” In Visions of Hope: Emerging Theologians and the Future of the Church. Kevin J. Ahern, ed. Orbis Books, 2012.

David Pitt, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Sacramental & Moral Theology
563.588.7324 | David.Pitt@loras.edu

Dr. Pitt is trained as a liturgical historian and as a liturgical musician. His Ph.D. in Theology (Liturgical Studies) is from the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, where he researched the reform of the rite for adult initiation in the Roman Catholic Church following the Second Vatican Council. His M.A. in Liturgical Music (Organ Performance and Composition) is from St. John’s University, Minnesota. These academic interests guide his teaching and his research, motivating him to investigate areas in which the Tradition of the Church might inform and direct contemporary pastoral practice. He co-edited A Living Tradition: Essays on the Intersection of Liturgical History and Pastoral Practice (Liturgical Press, 2012). Author of over 45 essays, article, and book reviews, he has especially focused on the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), the liturgical year, issues in the performance of liturgical music, and the music of Olivier Messiaen. Pitt held the 2013-2014 John Cardinal O’Connor Chair for Catholic Thought, during which time he was researching the history of Eucharistic praying. Pitt is actively involved in liturgical music ministry, currently serving as Organist at St. John’s Episcopal Church. He has led pastoral workshops and given organ concerts and recitals across the United States and in Canada.

John Waldmeir
Professor of Religious Studies
563.588.7966 | John.Waldmeir@loras.edu

Dr. Waldmeir teaches courses on religion and culture, sacred scripture, and world religions. A member of the Loras faculty for sixteen years, he has published four books, most recently Cathedrals of Bone, The Role of the Body in Contemporary Catholic Literature. A fifth book on the contemporary Catholic Church in Ireland, is forthcoming. He has held the annual John Cardinal O’Connor Chair for Catholic Studies twice at Loras, and recently won the Cardinal Newman Award for outstanding campus teaching and leadership.

Rev. Douglas Wathier, S.T.D.
Interim Vice-President for Academic Affairs
Professor of Theology
Director of Catholic Thinkers and Leaders Program
563.588.7013 | Douglas.Wathier@loras.edu

Fr. Wathier received S.T.D. (Sacrae Theologiae Doctor) from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, with an emphasis on the transmission of revelation and the act of faith. He teaches courses in the Catholic Thinkers and Leaders Program, including Character and the Catholic Intellectual Tradition; The Once and Future Church; The Displaced Person: Human Dignity and Human Rights; Councils, Creeds and Culture; Belief and Unbelief and the Good Life; and Leadership Seminar for Social Justice. He also teaches christology and ecclesiology in the graduate program, offers J-term courses with travel in Germany and Italy. Fr. Wathier is the Director of the Catholic Thinkers and Leaders Program, and serves as an instructor in the Archdiocese of Dubuque’s Deacon Formation Program.

Fr. Wathier’s academic interests include Catholic Identity in Higher Education. He has been invited to give presentations about this topic at Arizona State University and Fordham University. He also has given a presentation about the reception of revelation and the clerical abuse scandal at Georgetown University.