23-10 Foundations of Catholic Belief

Ended Dec 22, 2023

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Full course description

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Foundations of Catholic Belief explores the fundamental beliefs of the Catholic Church professed in the Church's creeds and meditated upon in The Catechism of the Catholic Church. In 24 video lectures, six professors from the University of Notre Dame (Jessica Keating, Christopher Baglow, Joshua McManaway, Leonard DeLorenzo, Timothy O'Malley, and Margaret Blume Freddoso) answer the following questions. What is faith, and why does it matter? Why did God create the world? Who is Jesus Christ, and how is he both God and human? What do Catholics mean when they say that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? How does Jesus Christ save us through his life, death, and resurrection? Who is the Holy Spirit, and what does the Spirit have to do with the Church including the sacraments? What do Catholics believe about heaven, hell, and purgatory? These professors, all popular teachers at Notre Dame, answer these questions through engaging examples from life, literature, art, and humor. This course is accessible to both Catholics and non-Catholics alike, while also addressing contemporary misunderstandings about the Catholic faith. This course is required for those pursuing a Certificate in Catholic Theology in all areas. 

Course Content

Unit 1: The Creed- Jessica Keating

  • Scriptural Meditation
  • What is belief? (CCC 28)
  • The Reasonableness of Belief (CCC 32-35)
  • Belief in the person of Jesus Christ (CCC 1, 34, 203)

*** This unit is designed to address the particular challenges to faith in at a time when the prevailing worldview is characterized by skepticism, materialism, and scientism.


Unit 2: Creation-Christopher Baglow

  • Scriptural Meditation
  • Setting the Stage for Understanding the Doctrine of Creation (CCC, 268-278)
  • The First Creation Account (CCC, 105-119)
  • The Widest Wisdom: The Christian Doctrine of Creation (CCC, 279-324)

*** This unit addresses some of the challenges believers sometimes face when attempting to understand how the Catholic religion approaches the relationship of faith and science.


Unit 3: Jesus Christ- Joshua McManaway

  • Scriptural Meditation
  • How does Catholic Doctrine help us to know Christ? (CCC 80-82, 85-90)
  • Jesus, Son of God
  • Jesus, Son of Mary

*** Lecture 1 in this unit emphasizes how doctrine develops how scripture and tradition work together and why it is important. Church history about the Council of Chalcedon is shared.


Unit 4: Salvation in Jesus Christ- Leonard DeLorenzo

  • Scriptural Meditation
  • Sin and Its Effects (CCC, 355–421 and 2331–2347)
  • Christ, Savior in Truth (CCC, 456–460 and 606–61)
  • By His Death and Resurrection (CCC, 1, 456–460, and 606–611)

*** In addition to gaining a new understanding of salvation, participants gain a new appreciation for how scripture is read when the unit professor guides them through a proper reading of Genesis 2 & 3.


Unit 5: The Church and Sacrament- Timothy P. O’Malley

  • Scriptural Meditation
  • I Believe in the Holy Spirit (CCC, 232-267, 683-747)
  • The Nature of the Church (CCC 748-810, 963-975, 1113-1199)
  • The Marks of the Church (CCC 811-873)

*** This unit emphasizes the mystery of the Church and how it is distinguished from a sociological entity.


Unit 6: The Last Things- Margaret B. Freddoso

  • Scriptural Meditation
  • The Mysteries of Death and Judgment (CCC, 1021-1022, 1041)
  • The Mysteries of Hell and Purgatory (CCC, 1033-1037, 1030-1032)
  • The Mystery of Eternal Life (CCC, 1024- 1029)

*** This unit addresses the most often-held questions and misconceptions about the mysteries of life after death.

Course Format

  • Seven weeks in duration; first week for orientation.
  • Up to 20 students in each course.
  • Video lectures with text transcripts available.
  • Supplemental readings are provided to encourage further exploration, internet links provided for all readings.
  • Written assignments (200-250) required.
  • Facilitator-moderated weekly Zoom sessions with participants.

Participation Requirements

  • View the lecture for each unit.
  • Read assigned texts; keep notes, questions, and comments for class discussions.
  • Answer weekly discussion question. 
  • Respond to weekly unit assignment.
  • Attend weekly Zoom for each unit. If you cannot attend, you can still meet the participation requirements.
  • Complete the course evaluation.

Time Expectations

3 to 5 hours per week, depending on your learning style and schedule.

Course Certificate

An electronic certificate of completion awarding 35 contact hours will be available in course when completing all course requirements.

Area: Catholic Doctrine

Course Begins: