IPT Course Descriptions


In this course students will examine the teaching of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council and related post-conciliar papal teachings. A major goal of this course is to understand the pastoral nature of the Council and the inherently pastoral character of all the Church's doctrine. The course demonstrates the Council's continuity with the Catholic Tradition as well as its fresh insights, and shows how post-conciliar papal teaching sought to define, expand and implement the pastoral directives of Vatican II. This demonstration involves a careful examination of the four constitutions of the Council and a selection of representative texts from Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. Major themes include: the mystery of God's love revealed in the economy of salvation, the Church's role in that economy, the universal call to holiness, the Trinitarian and Christ-centered enrichment of faith as the foundation of the renewal of mission, the interplay of the human and the divine, the centrality of personal conversion, the Church in dialogue with the modern world and the Church at the service of human life and liberty.


This course examines the nature of the spiritual life - the end, means, expressions, and relation of holiness to the mission of the Church. It demonstrates that doctrine is foundational to spirituality, and shows how holiness is manifested in the rich variety of spiritual families in the Catholic tradition. The course stresses conversion as the fundamental human response to God's initiative of love. Readings include Chapter V of Lumen gentium on the Universal Call to Holiness and St. Francis de Sales' Introduction to the Devout Life or St. Therese of Lisieux's Story of a Soul.


This course is a study of the message of the Old Testament and its unifying themes.  The course emphasizes a Catholic theological synthesis of such themes as creation, covenant, redemption, sin, righteousness, the love of God, and the prophetic prefiguring of Christ and the Church. It includes the development of the pastoral skills needed to apply the synthetic method of Bible study to particular topics.


This course examines the Catholic Church's living tradition from the close of revelation to the eve of Vatican II, as expressed in the Magisterium and the work of leading theologians. It emphasizes the fundamental unity of all doctrine in the truth that comes from Christ, the continuity of this doctrinal tradition throughout the ages, and the historical context within which the truth of Catholic doctrine is articulated and understood. This course offers students an opportunity to view the vital relationship between the Church's doctrine and ecclesial and spiritual dimensions of the Catholic faith.


This course introduces students to the principles, sources, matter, and scope of theology within the Catholic tradition, emphasizing the foundations for theology. The focus is not so much on the "what" of theology as on the "why", i.e., the reasons that ground the faith we confess. The course presents vocabulary and concepts that facilitate contemporary theological discussion and development. Drawing on Pope John Paul II's encyclical Fides et ratio and selected works of great theologians like Augustine, Anselm and Aquinas, the course illustrates the vital relationship between faith and reason in Catholic theology.


This course is a spiritual and theological reading of the New Testament, with an emphasis on the development of the synthetic method, applied to themes concerning Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the apostolic mission of the Church. The course emphasizes the pastoral character of New Testament texts from a Catholic perspective, and is directed toward ongoing conversion and the universal call to holiness.


This course is a scientific investigation into the nature and vocation of the human person in the light of Christian revelation. Drawing upon Conciliar documents, the writings of John Paul II, and classics of Christian thought, special attention is given to the source and significance of our human dignity and freedom, the nature of and relationship among the intellect, will, and the passions, the significance of the body in a Christian framework, and the meaning of the human person as created in the image and likeness of God, as having fallen into sin, as redeemed by Christ, and as healed and perfected in communion with the Father and the Holy Spirit.


This course builds upon the themes of the first year course on Catholic Spirituality and examines the principles, means, and end of the Christian life of perfection. It is rooted in the mystery of Jesus Christ and the life that he infuses within us at baptism. Particular emphasis is placed on the life of prayer, the vital significance of doctrine within the life of prayer and the development of a specifically Christian virtue, including the infused virtues and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Required readings include St. Augustine's Confessions, St. Bonaventure's Journey of the Mind to God, St. Theresa of Avila's Interior Castle, St. John of the Cross' Ascent of Mount Carmel/Dark Night of the Soul.


This course is an analytical approach to the study of select portions of the Old Testament. Critical methods will be illustrated in the selected texts including source criticism, grammatical and rhetorical analysis, textual criticism, historical criticism, and lexical study.  The course will emphasize the Catholic understanding of the Old Testament canon and its cultural, geographical, and historical background.


This course is a presentation of the 1983 Code of Canon Law (except for canons on religious life, general procedural law, and certain ecclesiastical structures) in order to orient students to the Catholic Church's principal governing document. It includes an overview of the history of canon law, techniques of canonical interpretation, and an explanation of the role of law in personal and ecclesial life.  Areas of concentration include ecclesiastical finances, teaching mission, membership in the Church, marriage and annulments, and disciplinary law.


This course focuses on the ecclesiology of Vatican II and includes a detailed analysis of Lumen gentium, as well as an examination of the nature of renewal and the ecclesiology of communion. It demonstrates that it is essential to the Church to be simultaneously a personal communion in grace, truth, and love (the personal aspect) and an institution (the objective aspect). These principles serve as the foundation for understanding the Church as the sacrament of salvation and unity in which Christ continues His saving mission as Prophet, Priest, and King. This doctrinal foundation serves as the basis for a development of an ecclesial spirituality that emphasizes the universal call to holiness in the Church. Particular attention is given to Pope John Paul II's understanding of the attitudes of participation in and co-responsibility of all the baptized for the life of the Church.


This course is an analytical approach to the study of select portions of the New Testament. Principles of New Testament criticism are illustrated and basic research methods are set forth. The course stresses a close reading of texts in order to facilitate the pastoral objective of proper application.


This course is an examination of the central sources and themes of Catholic moral theology, with an emphasis on the role of the objective moral order and personal conscience, the nature of the moral act, and the scope of the Church's right and duty to make binding moral pronouncements. Key source texts will include Sacred Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the writings of Pope John Paul II, especially Veritatis splendor, and the classics of Catholic moral theology.


This course is an integrated examination of the fundamental liturgies of the Catholic Church, especially the holy sacrifice of the Mass and the Divine Office, presented in their historical context and in contemporary practice, with special attention to the question of how liturgy contributes to personal and community holiness. It also examines the seven sacraments of the Church, with attention given to the place of sacraments in the economy of salvation and the fostering of appropriate lay participation in sacramental celebrations. A final consideration is the authentic place of selected Catholic sacramentals such as Christian burial, the rosary, and various devotions in the life of faith. Students will spend time examining fundamental documents such as Sacrosanctum Concilium and the General Instruction on the Roman Missal, as well as canonical and liturgical directives in these areas.


This course presents an overview of the Catholic Church's teaching on the nature of society with a concentration on its consequences for personal, ethical decision-making in a social context. Students will study Biblical and magisterial sources for the principles of modern Christian social ethics, and will be equipped to make reasoned assessments and critiques of competing ethical systems.


This course is an integrated study of the biblical, historical, magisterial, and canonical foundations of the Catholic Church's understanding of ecclesial service, as it is rooted in the universal call to holiness. The course incorporates the theological synthesis of Truth and Love, stressing the interrelationship between doctrine and the active witness of sharing God's merciful love among the faithful. Particular emphasis will be placed on the relationship of ordained and non-ordained forms of service in the Church, and a critical examination of the role of the human sciences in the service of the Church's mission.