RS 218A/B: Church

Syllabus- Spring 2003

A: T/TH 1:00-2:15 pm
B: T/TH 2:30-3:45 pm

SE 106


Raymond A. Patterson


JE 148


ex. 2427


Web Page:

Office Hours:



10-11 am
4-5 pm
11-12 am
and by appointment

Course Description

RS 218A: The Church is divided into three major segments:


A survey of Christian ecclesiology from its New Testament origins to the teachings of Vatican II


A study of the mission and structures of the Roman Catholic Church in the post-Vatican II era.


An overview of the issues and concerns addressed by the post-Vatican II Roman Catholic Church, including presentations made by members of the class.


Required Texts:

Students should have access to a Bible. Iíll be using the New American Bible, but other versions are acceptable. The texts for the class, available at the bookstore, are:

Sanks, T. Howland. Salt, Leaven & Light. New York: Crossroad Publishing, 1992.

Vatican Council II: Conciliar and Post-Conciliar Documents. Edited by Austin Flannery. Costello Publishing, 1996.

Other readings will be made available on Reserve or through the Internet from the online syllabus. Students should search the library catalog for the reserve readings, which are organized by the title of the articles listed under my name. Select the title to see the folder number of the article. Please do not mark the Reserve readings when taking notes.

Class Requirements:

Regular attendance is expected of all students. If a student is unable to attend class, he or she should notify the instructor. More than one absence without the instructorís permission will negatively impact the final grade. Frequent absences will result in a failing grade. If students have a conflict with the time of an exam, the instructor should be notified several weeks in advance. Otherwise, students will only be excused for an exam for serious illness or a family emergency, confirmed by the Deanís Office.

Students should be on time for class. Arriving late or leaving during the class period can be disruptive for the instructor and other members of the class. Excessive tardiness will be reflected in a lower grade for class attendance.

Students will be evaluated on the following course work:

Mid-term Exam


Final Exam


Term Paper Project

(Bibliography/Presentation/10 page paper)


Class Participation/Attendance


Academic Integrity:

Students are expected to adhere to the Academic Integrity Policy established by St. Michaelís College and distributed to all students.


Class Schedule

(The instructor reserves the right to change the schedule. Students will be notified in class of any changes.)


January 14

Class Requirements

Introduction-Christian Cosmology and Ecclesiology


Christian Ecclesiology

January 16

Jesus and the Church

Matthew 4:18-22; 10:1-25; 16:13-20; 26:26-30; 28:16-20

Acts 1, 2

January 21

Church in the New Testament

Sanks, 39-52.

Selections from letters of Paul, Letter to the Hebrews

January 23

Post-Apostolic Church

Sanks, 52-64.

January 28

Patristic/Medieval Ecclesiology

Sanks, 65-78.

January 30

Reformation Ecclesiology

Sanks, 79-87.

February 4

Tridentine Church/Vatican Council I

Sanks, 88-116.

February 6

Vatican II and its Ecclesiology

Sanks, 117-143

Lumen Gentium 5, 7-23


February 11

Ministry and Laity

Sanks, 147-166.

February 13

Liberation Ecclesiology

Sanks, 167-187.

February 18

Structures of the Roman Catholic Church: Pope, Bishops, Curia


February 20

Mid-Term Exam


March 4

Teaching and Authority of the Roman Catholic Church


March 6

Survey of Roman Catholicism in the United States



The remainder of the semester will be dedicated to various challenges facing the Roman Catholic Church during the past forty years since Vatican II. Each class will include brief presentations by students. The readings for each class period will be determined by those presenting the topic, in consultation with the instructor.

Relations with the World

March 11

Religious Freedom

Archbishop Lefebvre

March 13

Inter-Religious Dialogue

Relations with Judaism

March 18


Relations with Orthodox, other Christian denominations

March 20

Atheism and the "Secular" World


March 25




March 27

Political Action

Nuclear Weapons

April 1





Internal Issues in the Roman Catholic Church

April 3



April 8

Religious Life
Priestly Celibacy


April 10

Womenís Issues:
Womenís Ordination/ Altar girls/ Inclusive Language


April 15

African-American/Hispanic Catholics


April 17

"Disenfranchised" Catholics:
Divorced, Homosexual Catholics


April 22

"Seamless Garment" argument:
Catholic position on Birth Control, Abortion, Capital Punishment, Euthanasia

Term Paper Due

April 24

Pedophilia Scandal

April 29

Ex Corde Ecclesia and Catholic Higher Education
Theologians and the University


May 3

A: Final Exam
1-3:30 pm

May 5

B: Final Exam
1-3:30 pm