Issues in Contemporary Catholicism TRS4095

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Critical Studies
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course will explore the structures and teachings of the Catholic Church and their influence at both the religious and the geo-political level.


1x2hr seminar per week over 10 weeks as scheduled on MyCampus.


This is one of the Honours options in TRS and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

Available to all students fulfilling requirements for Honours entry into Theology and Religious Studies, and by arrangement to visiting students or students of other Honours programmes who qualify under the University's 25% regulation.

Excluded Courses





Two x 3000 word essays - 50% each

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course will provide the opportunity to:

■ explore the key features of contemporary Catholicism, including its ecclesiological structure and practices, and its theological, moral and social teachings;

■ assess the legacy of the Second Vatican Council;

■ discuss contemporary controversies within the Catholic Church

■ explore the influence of Catholicism across the world and in international relations.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ outline the main ecclesiological features of contemporary Catholicism, including its structures of authority, and its understanding of papal and magisterial authority;

■ indicate the content and identify sources of other key teachings of the Catholic Church;

■ deploy historical and documentary sources to assess the legacy of the Second Vatican Council;

■ analyse some of the controversial debates on theological, ecclesiological and moral issues within the Catholic Church

■ critically assess Catholicism's influence on and/or contribution to selected issues of contemporary concern.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.