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Theology Department


Overview

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

Theology 4 – Honors/CP1/CP
This course will introduce the students to western philosophical thought, including that of the pre-socratics, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.  The students will be introduced to their metaphysical thought, along with their epistemological views.  We will then discuss how these views influenced Church theologians such as St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine.  The second semester will be spent examining the creed from a philosophical perspective and looking at how the Creed was influenced by western philosophical thought.  Finally, the students will look at the role of the Christian in the world today.