Course notes: Church in the World

Back in the winter semester of 2014 I had the chance to teach the course Church in the World at Concordia University. As this was a "slot course" there was no regular textbook for it, meaning we had to work from original documents and lectures. The course was basically a review of two of the most significant documents of Vatican II, and the lectures were a running commentary of those documents. A few of the earlier weeks had written notes also made available.

I often wonder if putting hours of audio online is worth it. Then I met Matt, a young man who, despite not being a student in my class listened along with the course out of interest. Today, he is finishing up his preparation for baptism. I'm honoured to know that these lectures were part of his journey, so here they are.

From the course outline:

From 1962-1965, the Roman Catholic Church experienced the Second Vatican Council (a.k.a. Vatican II). This was the largest gathering of Roman Catholics ever in history, and included observers from other churches and religious groups as well. The 16 documents of Vatican II have guided the evolution of the Roman Catholic Church ever since, and have had enormous theological and pastoral significance.

The 50th anniversary of Vatican II, being celebrated at present, encourages theologians to explore this council by returning to the source texts. Two documents stand out in particular: Lumen Gentium, which has been called the “hermeneutical key” to the whole council and which expresses the self-understanding of the Church at that time, and Gaudium et Spes, the pastoral constitution on the Church in the Modern World, which is a statement, not just for Catholics, but the world at large.

Links to these documents:

Files for the course:

Week 1

Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8
Week 9
Week 10
Week 11
Week 12