My amazing pastor Fr. John Ehrich* established the Institute of Catholic Theology a couple of years back so that any adult with a desire to learn more about the Faith is able to access outstanding instruction on a wide range of topics.
What's it to you, dear readers? Well, the classes are taught in person, but also via streaming video!** Yay!! Many out-of-towners take the classes right along with the folks sitting in the classroom. Not only can those out-of-towners access the streaming video in real time***, they can also later watch the recorded videos, which are available for a total of eight weeks (the six weeks of class and then for two weeks after).
Each course, taught at an undergraduate level and geared toward the average layman, is only $50 (plus the cost of an inexpensive book, if needed). Such a deal!
Check out the three classes which are starting up next week:
St. Augustine’s “City of God”
MONDAY EVENINGS 6:30PM-8:30PM
September 12 – October 17
Professor : Rev. Oliver Vietor, M.Div
“The City of God is the autobiography of the Church written by the most Catholic of her great saints…The City of God, for those who can understand it, contains the secret of death and life, war and peace, hell and heaven” (Thomas Merton, introduction to the Modern Library Edition). The class will read and discuss selections from Saint Augustine’s great work and will gain a deeper understanding of scripture, theology, history, and spirituality. “For what other end do we propose to ourselves than to attain to the kingdom of which there is no end?” (Book XXII.30)
An Introduction to Plato
WEDNESDAY EVENINGS 6:30PM-8:30PM
September 14 – October 19
Professor : Thomas E. Lordan, JD, MA, ABD
This course is for students who are new to Plato, as well as for those who may have studied him before. Why study Plato? As C.S. Lewis’ devil, Screwtape, put it, when we moderns are confronted by the work of an ancient author, the one thing we have been taught never to ask is whether it is true. We must try to overcome that modern prejudice. Western culture is principally based on two things: Greek philosophy (Plato and Aristotle) and Judaeo-Christian revelation (the Bible). In a time, like ours, of massive deculturation, it is vital to return to the sources. As John Paul II put it, faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth. Plato and Aristotle may be said to have been the first “Fathers of the Church,” even before there was a Church. Plato, the first philosopher, wrote dialogues, that is, little dramas, in most of which the hero was Socrates. Plato stands to Socrates as Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John stand to Jesus. Socrates discovered and articulated the dimensions of the human soul. Like Jesus, he was unjustly put to death by the authorities in the society whose order he disturbed. We will consider especially the following dialogues: Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, and Phaedo (chronicling the “Last Days of Socrates”); Gorgias and Republic (two of Plato’s most important ethical-political works); and Phaedrus and Symposium (Plato’s dialogues on love). These are available on-line, or may be purchased in inexpensive editions.
Your Mother Wears Army Boots...and You Should, Too: Basic Training in Apologetics
THURSDAY EVENINGS 6:30PM-8:30PM
September 15 – October 20
Professor: Rob Drapeau, MA.Ed
"Your mother wears army boots!" This familiar schoolyard taunt has prompted more than one playground pugilist to put up his dukes in defense of his mother's reputation, but worse things are said about the Catholic Church every day. Are you going to let them talk about your mom like that? At Confirmation we became soldiers for Christ, fully initiated members of the Church Militant. As such, we are obliged to readily and charitably defend our Mother whenever she is attacked. Can you do this? This class will equip you to:
- win any argument without cheating
- defend your faith without being defensive (or offensive!)
- use your sword and shield (the Bible and faith) together effectively
- stump your anti-Catholic brother-in-law this Thanksgiving with "Jesus Judo"
- be unapologetic when you apologize (give reasons for your beliefs)
Sound good so far? Yes! But if you're wondering what what caliber of professor you can expect for $50, check 'em out!
Rev. Oliver Vietor, M.Div.
Thomas Lordan, MA, JD
Rob Drapeau, MA.Ed._____
Alas, it is true that Fr. Vietor and Rob Drapeau are personal friends of mine, but please don't let that deter you! They are much kinder and smarter than I!
To learn more about the Institute, go here, or to bypass everything because you can't wait to register this very second, go here.
When Fall Semester, 2nd Quarter rolls around, I will highlight those classes, too. Now get going because if you learn all the stuff they teach, you will know way more than I do, and then you can engage the atheists and Church-bashers in the Bubble and I will retire. Or, better yet, the atheists and Church-bashers can take the classes and then convert and become holy saints before the rest of us! :)
*Fr. Ehrich is my wonderful (young whipper-snapper!) pastor whose theological street cred (and real cred) speaks for itself!