Plus Portals

Theology Department


Deeply rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Catholic tradition and the ideals of the Christian Brothers as established by Blessed Edmund Rice, the Theology Program at Bishop Hendricken encourages students of all faiths to be conscious of our universal call to holiness.  Through the academic pursuit of theology and the sincere devotion to prayer and contemplation, students are challenged to embrace lives of genuine spirituality in whatever vocations they choose.  While respecting the diversity of beliefs and the validity of other traditions, the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church are presented as expressing the fullness of truth.  Students are assured a safe and tolerant environment to express and discuss sincere beliefs and doubts about philosophical and theological matters that concern them.

8th Grade SELECT Honors Institute

Theology: Development of Religious Tradition
This full-year course will trace the development of world religions, focusing on the central position of the Catholic/Christian tradition. This course will study the origins of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and some Eastern philosophies. This course also will introduce students to many of the original writings that shape these religions and philosophies.

Freshman Year

Theology 1 – Honors/CP1/CP  The Revelation of God in Scripture: Who is Jesus Christ?
The first year course invites students of all backgrounds to reflect upon their own faith development while learning the tenets of Catholicism. The main focus of this course will be to give students a general knowledge and appreciation of Sacred Scripture, both Old and New Testaments, so that through their study they will come to understand Jesus Christ as the living word of God.

In the first semester, students will focus primarily on the Hebrew Scriptures, studying the significance and beauty of God’s revelation as recorded in the Old Testament. The story of God’s chosen people, their place in salvation history and the Christological implications of the Hebrew Bible are all considered in detail. Students will learn how to read scripture using modern critical methods along with the traditional approach of the Church.

In the second semester students will study the New Testament with particular attention to the Gospels, where they may come to know Jesus more directly. In this segment of the course students will develop a deeper awareness that Jesus Christ is the ultimate revelation to us from God. In learning about who He is, students will also learn who God calls them to be.

While the content of the Honors track is largely similar to that of the CP1 track, the strategies and assessments employed in the classroom should reflect higher expectations of students and a more intensive study of Sacred Scripture.

Sophomore Year

Theology 2 –  Honors/ CP1/CP – The Mission of Jesus and His Church
The purpose of this course is to help students understand all that God has done for us through his Son, Jesus Christ. By studying the meaning of the Paschal Mystery, students will learn that God has accomplished our redemption through Christ and that it is in Christ that we have the eternal life God intended for us. Students will also learn that it is in the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, that we encounter the living Jesus. They will see how the Church was founded by Christ through the Apostles and is sustained by him through the Holy Spirit. Significant events in the history of the Church will be studied in order to better understand how the Holy Spirit guides the Church in her mission.

The difference between Honors, CP 1and CP levels has primarily to do with the depth of the analysis, whether ancillary issues are broached, and the expectations for the assessment, both papers and tests.

Junior Year

Theology 3 – Honors/CP1/CP – The Foundations of Moral Theology
This segment teaches the student to understand how to determine whether an action, a choice, is good or evil, right or wrong. It draws on basic moral truths revealed by God in Scripture, both Hebrew and Christian, and developed by the Church down through her history. To achieve its goal, the course must explore certain doctrinal themes, such as the goodness and love of the Law Giver, the nature and calling of the human person, the relationship of morality to the afterlife, and the inherent connection between truth and freedom. The ultimate goal of the course is to awaken in the student a desire to lead a moral life, not out of fear of punishment, but because of the beauty of love which stands at the heart of morality as not only its motive, but its essence.

The Catholic Social Teaching segment enables the student to develop an understanding of the foundations of a healthy and just society of whatever kind, be it as large as the world or as small as the family. Any such society grasps and protects the following realities: the dignity of the person, the centrality of the right to life, the special role of the family among communities, the rights and duties of each member of society, the Catholic understanding of the common good, the moral necessity to help the poor, the relationship between labor and capital or between workers and management, the solidarity of all peoples, and the nature of mankind’s stewardship over God’s world. The course presents these themes in light of Sacred Scripture and the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.

The difference between Honors, CP 1and CP levels has primarily to do with the depth of the analysis, whether ancillary issues are broached, and the expectations for the assessment, both papers and tests.

Senior Year

Catholic Doctrine – Honors/CP1
The Doctrine course is a one semester, senior-level study of the dogmatic teachings of the Catholic Church. It is designed to help students become aware of the assumptions of the modern worldview that make it difficult to fully understand what the Church really teaches. Beginning with a study of the dilemma of belief in the world of today, we will go on to investigate the existence and nature of God, the Trinity, the doctrine of Creation, the Fall, the Incarnation, the doctrine of Redemption, Heaven and Hell. Students will be challenged to read the works of theologians who bring Catholic doctrine alive through their writings, such as St Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, John Paul II, Benedict XVI, C.S. Lewis, Thomas Merton, von Balthasar.

The honors track is significantly more challenging than the CP1 track as the primary text for the honors student will be Benedict XVI’s Introduction to Christianity. The CP1 track will be based primarily on lecture material and supplemental readings. Expectations for assessment, both papers and tests, will differ according to level.

Sacred Scripture – Honors/CP1
This one semester, senior-level course is an introduction to the field of biblical studies, embracing the rich history of Catholic tradition and interpretation while also making appropriate use of the advances of modern biblical scholarship. This course is an advanced, detailed study of the sacred texts of the Bible designed to expand students’ understanding of the scriptures well beyond previous surveys of the Old and New Testaments. Through a careful reading of the inspired writings, students are introduced to the various methods used by scripture scholars to reveal the theological truths and salvific message contained in the word of God.
Students also explore the relationship between the oral tradition and subsequent written documents of the early Church in order to appreciate the Christological development of the Gospels and the evangelists’ understanding of Jesus Christ as God and man. Through this careful study of the Holy Scriptures, students will be encouraged to appreciate these sacred writings as literary masterpieces and reflect on the implications of biblical doctrine for their lives and for Catholic teaching.

While the content of the honors track is largely similar to that of the CP 1 track, the strategies and assessments employed in the classroom should reflect higher expectations of students and a more intensive study of the sacred documents.