Pastoral Studies


CG 4329: Epistemological Issues for Theology

What is the difference between knowledge & mere belief or opinion? What do we really know & how do we know it? Epistemology, the study of knowledge, is a branch of philosophy concerned with such questions. Although this course will explore a range of epistemological issues through an examination of some of the important contributions to the field (Plato, Descartes, Hume), the concentration will be on the realist (that is, Thomist) philosophy of knowledge.

CG 5301: Introduction to Theological Studies

Explores models, insights, and skills necessary to facilitate the crucial conversation between the Catholic faith and social, cultural, and ecclesial contexts of pastoral ministry, as well as exploration of key issues and pressing questions by way of introduction to sources; consideration of the qualities of the Christian minster, formation of mature Christian who are responsive, responsible and creative participants in their faith tradition and in society.

CG 5302: Pentateuch

An introductory survey of the first five books of the Old Testament--as the story of the people of Israel, with emphasis on the historical, literary, theological, and social contexts that shaped the development of the Pentateuch, its foundational importance, and continued relevance

CG 5304: Foundations of the Catholic Faith

This course explores the possibility and fact of revelation in Israel and Christ; its mediation in Scripture (inspiration, inerrancy, canonicity, and exegesis) and tradition; its reception in faith and expression in doctrine; faith and reason; the method and tasks of theology; and the role and importance of religious experience and of the teaching office of the Church.

CG 5305: Moral Theology

This course explores the foundations and development of Catholic moral theology. Emphasizing methodology and traditional Catholic approaches, this course focuses on the role of the human person as moral agent. The course includes lecture, moral case studies and seminar discussions.

CG 5307: Sacraments in Parish Life

This course is an introduction to the Church’s public worship through the seven sacraments. It will focus upon the systematic historical and theological frameworks within which the principles and practice of the sacraments developed. The principles of sacramental theology will be explored with particular regard to catechesis and pastoral practice, with some attention to the relevant canon law.

CG 5310: Church History

This course introduces the history of the Church from its Jewish roots to the present. Particular attention is paid to the geographical expansion of the Church, its engagement with various cultures, and the relations between Church and state.

CG 5311: Theology and Themes of Old Testament

This course orients students to the major themes of creation and exodus, covenant and prophecy, law and wisdom in the Old Testament. Consideration is given to the development of Israelite monotheism and the development of Messianic expectations in Israel.

CG 5312: Patrology

Patrology, or the study of the early Fathers of the Church, is in a very real sense the study of ourselves. The Fathers, not having the benefit of first-hand experience of Our Lord, relied upon testimony of those who had, i.e. tradition. The study of Patrology is the story of our beginnings as a Catholic Church and is an endeavor which connects us to both our earliest traditions and provides us with the foundations of our doctrine.

CG 5315: Gospels

This graduate introduction to the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) will focus on the text of each of these Gospels and their respective literary, historical and social contexts. The course will begin with an overview of the OT traditions that the canonical Gospels build upon. Following an introduction to the canonical Gospels, special attention will be given to key texts that will help to provide a greater understanding of the teaching of Jesus as well as insight into the theological perspective of each of the individual evangelists. Attention will also be given to the origin and growth of these Gospels and the communities they address within the context of early Christianity. Included is the study of how each gospel is fashioned in such a way so as to make them unique and effective in deepening the faith of their own particular churches and of us today as well. This is a Roman Catholic approach to the Scriptures in light of Dei Verbum that makes use of the critical tools of contemporary biblical scholarship of historical, literary, theological (that includes the spiritual) and pastoral interest.

CG 5317: Introduction to Liturgy

An introduction to the study of the Church's public worship, beginning with a study of ritual action as constitutive of life. Principles of liturgical theology. A survey of the history of the evolution of liturgical practice culminating with a study of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, the Directory for Masses with Children, the Episcopal documents on music, art & architecture and Eucharistic practices, the Lectionary for Mass, the Liturgical Year, and the General Instruction on the Liturgy of the Hours. A study of liturgical spirituality and an overview of the structure of the liturgy of the Eucharist from a historical and cultural perspective.

CG 5319: Prophets & Writings

This course offers an introduction to the contemporary study of the Deuteronomistic Historical Books (Former Prophets) and the Major and Minor Prophets (Latter Prophets). Typical areas of inquiry will include the story of the Conquest, the Judges, pre-Israelite prophecy, the northern and southern prophets and the Fall of Jerusalem. Special emphasis will be given to the prophets' style of communication as well as the role of the prophet in Israelite and Judahite society.

CG 5320: Foundational Theology

This course introduces the student to the doctrine of God, the Trinity, Incarnation, and the nature of revelation and faith. Critical to understanding the foundation of Christian theology is the role of reason in relationship to faith and established Church teaching.

CG 5322: Trinity and Incarnation

This course presents the mystery of the Triune God revealed in the mission of Christ and the gift of the Spirit. Special attention is given to: the transformation of Jewish monotheism by New Testament revelation; the tandem development of trinitarian and christological doctrine in the patristic Church; a systematic perspective on the Triune God, the person and work of Christ, and the work of the Holy Spirit; and the pastoral implications of the Catholic doctrine of God and Christ. Prerequisite: Sacred Scripture.

CG 5323: Anthropology/Eschatology

This course introduces the basic themes of theological anthropology: the creation of human beings to the image and likeness of God, and the original integral order of creation; the Fall, the reign of sin, and the problem of suffering; revelation, grace and freedom, and our cooperation with God’s work of redemption; and realized and future eschatology. Prerequisite: Sacred Scripture.

CG 5324: Mission of the Church

This course presents the origins of the Church in the mission of the Messiah, and the development of Christian understanding of the mystery of the Church. Special attention is given to the ecclesiology of Vatican II: the mystery of the Church with its hierarchical and charismatic gifts, the communion of saints, the Catholic Church’s commitment to ecumenism and religious liberty, and the mission of the Church today. Some consideration will also be given to Catholic social teaching as an articulation of the Church’s mission. Prerequisite: Sacred Scripture, Church History.

CG 5327: Sacraments I & II

An introduction to the Church's public worship and to the Sacraments. Principles of sacramental theology and study of the various rites which are part of the Sacraments of Initiation and the Eucharist, catechesis and pastoral practice. Attention also to the Sacraments of Matrimony, Holy Orders, Penance and the Anointing of the Sick, and of the Funeral Rites which deacons may celebrate or prepare others for.

CG 6308: Introduction to Pastoral Care

This course provides an introduction to the theory and practice of pastoral counseling. The following topics will be included: theories, types and methods of pastoral counseling and topics regarding specific problem areas. Discussions, presentations and review of counseling interviews will be included.

CG 6310: Paul & His Letters

This course will explore the rich variety of New Testament letters attributed to the Apostle Paul in their early Christian contexts. Attention will be given to specific and key biblical texts and major theological themes as well as foundational events and experiences that gave rise to this life-giving faith witness. The methodology makes use of the important tools of contemporary biblical scholarship of literary, historical, theological and pastoral significance and interest.

CG 7301: Declarations of Nullity

This is an introductory course in the types of declarations of nullity and dissolutions offered by the Catholic Church for divorced Catholics. It will review the theology of marriage and will cover the procedures for formal matrimonial cases as instructed in Dignitas Connubii as well as Ligamen (prior bond) and Lack of Form cases. Convalidations, sanatios, Privilege cases (dissolutions), and ratum et non consummatum cases will also be covered. A practicum in each area will be required. One should come to the class with a working knowledge of the Catholic Church's theology of marriage.

CG 7313: Faith & the Dominant American Culture

This course seeks to develop an appreciation of the strengths and challenges of the dominant American way of life: its vision, its values, representative character types in situations, codes of behavior and symbols in relation to a Catholic Christian worldview. Students will employ a reflective process to understand the implications of the enculturation of the Gospel in the American cultural context and the implications of living life in the Spirit. Some consideration will also be given to the challenges of religious pluralism. One of the Scripture courses is recommended prior to taking this course.

CG 7328: Puzzling Passages in Scripture

There are many passages in the Bible that are found to be confusing, hard, and , at times even violent passages, texts that are difficult even for people who have studied the Bible, whether in a parish or even in a university setting. This course will begin to address some of the puzzling texts that are found in both the Old and New Testaments by placing them in their own ancient historical, literary, social and cultural contexts. Once we get some idea of what they may have meant in ancient times, we will be better equipped to ask what they may have to say to us today.

CG 7333: Christian Allegory in the Fiction of C. S. Lewis

C. S. Lewis has been described as the pre-eminent Christian apologist of the twentieth century and his voluminous theological output clearly attests to this. However, in addition to his overtly theological works such as "Reflections of the Psalms" and "The Four Loves", to name just two, Lewis also produced some of the most interesting and engaging works of fiction from the standpoint of Christian allegory. This class will examine a small collection of Lewis' works of fiction, including "The Screwtape Letters", "The Great Divorce", "The Space Trilogy" and, of course, "The Chronicles of Narnia". Central to our investigation will be the various depictions of creation, heaven and the role of sin in the world as witnessed in these and other works of Lewis. In addition, the various characters who act as a stand in for Christ in Lewis' works (Asian and Prof. Ransom to name the most prevalent) will also be discussed in detail. All lovers of Lewis and untamed lions are encouraged to enroll.

CG 7334: The Church and Popular Piety

A study of the important role of liturgical and popular piety in the life of the Church using the 2001 Directorynon Popular Piety and the Liturgy promulgated by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments as our guide. We will study the many and various rituals which continue to color the life of any local church.

CG 7335: Hispanic Faith and Cultures in the American Context

This course will focus on the increasing impact that Hispanic/Latino cultures and spiritually are having on US society. In the 2010 census, Hispanics now constitute 38% of the Texas population. In contrast to the typical rendering of the United States and the spread of European-American culture as an east to west wave from the 1600s to the present, this course will suggest the implications of the simultaneous spread of Latin American culture in its diverse forms, as a south to north wave from 1942 to the present. In particular, we will focus on the roots on the Latino spiritual imagination both in Latin American theology and popular religion and explore how this understanding of God, the person in community, and the world is renewing the communitarian dimension of both US politics and US Catholicism. In addition to considering the growing impact of Hispanic/Latino cultures on US politics and public policy, the course will explore the challenges of bridging multiple cultures in parishes and transforming educational practices to manifest this ethos of "crossing borders."

CG 7336: Theology of Grace

This course explains the history and theology of the doctrine of grace, and associated controversies, focusing on certain period of Church history. The Patrisic period; Augustine, Scholastic and Thomistic theologies; the development of the doctrine during the Council of Trent in response to controversies of the Reformation.

CG 7337: Liturgical Music

This course will explore the historical development of Sacred Music in the Catholic Tradition, as well as take an in-depth look at the documents of the Church pertaining to music in the liturgy. Additionally, students will learn basic chanting skills, the musical modes of Gregorian chant, and focus on the music in the liturgical books of the Church. The course is designed to foster appreciation for sacred music and its sacramental nature, so it might truly fulfill its purpose of the glorification of God and sanctification of the faithful, by deepening participation in the liturgy and the encounter with Christ.

CG 7339: Mary and Popular Piety

The second part of Mary and Popular Piety is designed to study the principles and guidelines for the celebration and evaluation of the various devotions and rituals which make up the popular piety of the many peoples of the Church and how these ritual celebrations harmonize with the liturgy of the Church. Basing our study on the principles and guidelines found in the Director on Popular Piety and the Liturgy devotions commonly found today, especially Marian devotion and Eucharistic Devotion, will be critiqued.

CG 7353: Theology of Joseph Ratzinger/ Benedict XVI

This course will explore how the Christo-centric theology of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI sheds light into ecclesiology, ecumenism, biblical interpretation, Christology and politics. As a modern theologian, Ratzinger deals with pastoral questions related to ecumenism, faith in politics, inculturation, interpretation of Vatican II documents, the relationship of the universal and particular church, and beauty in the liturgy. This course intends to show how Ratzinger's theology makes the faith more accessible and attractive.

CG 7357: Aplicacion pastoral del Evangelio de Marcos

El objetivo de este curso es presentar un estudio de la teologia de San Marcos y proveer al estudiante herramientas fundamentales del campo de la teologia pastoral a fin de que puedan de manera efectiva promulgar el mensaje evangelico.

CG 7358: Catholic Teachings on Education

Graduate seminar on the special role of Catholic school teachers and leaders in the spiritual development and total formation of the person through an exploration of Church teachings on education, rooted in the Sacred Scriptures and Tradition of the Church. In particular, the course provides a comprehensive overview of papal and ecclesial documents from the early 20th century to Pope Francis, seeking to instill appreciation of tradition and Catholic education while challenging students to investigate related contemporary issues.

CG 7360: Sociology of Religion

This course will (re)introduce students to the sociological perspective more broadly and to social-scientific methodology. It will engage major theoretical approaches to the sociological student of religion, historical and contemporary, and explore current sociological studies with special attention to the priesthood.

CG 7361: Contemporary Theological Issues

Contemporary Theological Issues will consider a selection of theological issues from the contemporary era and the response of one or more theologians to those issues. The course will present the figures and arguments of the various sides of the issues. Students successfully completing this course will be able to: 1) demonstrate familiarity with the various issues to be considered and 2) demonstrate a level of proficiency in analyzing and evaluating competing theological positions as they arose in specific times and places in response to those issues.

CG 7362: Spirituality of the Psalms

This course will be designed to examine the literary genres of the Psalter as key source for Christian spirituality and resource for how Christians may live a faithful life within the context of our contemporary culture. Emphasis will be placed upon the historical dimension of the text with ancient Israelite faith and spiritual practice examined under the rubrics of creation, covenant, wisdom, lament, praise and community. Knowledge of the Psalter's spirituality will enable the students to reflect about their own spirituality. The course will also reflect upon ways in which contemporary Christian spirituality can be informed, sustained and nourished by the Old Testament.

CG 7363: The Catholic Priest in the Arts

Literature and film is examined as a reflection of both what is happening in theChurch at a given time and what is occurring in the larger society. The focus on the figure of the priest is thus a lens through which to view ecclesial, cultural, and societal issues. Novels range from the more literary to the more popular. In several instances filmed versions are paired with the novels that inspired them. Other films and TV series are included to expand the range of topics covered.

CG 7364: Medieval Readings

Course explores theologically significant readings from the Medieval Era, with emphasis on the compatibility of faith and reason; authors include Anselm, Abelard, Aquinas, Catherine of Siena and Bonaventure. Students explore questions of redemption, the sacraments, and whether creation and reason allow us to know God. Course complements other doctrinal classes by introducing primary texts influential in Church thought and teaching, including the documents of Vatican II.

CG 8310: Directed Reading: Spirituality & Culture

This Directed Reading course will offer the student the opportunity to identify areas of Christian spirituality with the cultural context in which the American way of life is formed and shaped. The student will be expected, particularly, to relate aspects of human development, Christian spirituality and the American way of life.

CG 9330: Christianity in the Quran

This course will examine traditions surrounding Jesus and Mary in the Quran. In addition, we shall compare the words of Jesus and the Quran for what they can tell us about the differing views of revelation.