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THEO 410/411


  • Course ID:THEO 410/411
  • Semesters:2
  • Department:Theology
  • Course Rank:Required
  • Teachers:Alvaro de Vicente

Description and Objectives

Catholic Apologetics for seniors has a dual purpose. First, the class is intended to teach various aspects of the Catholic Faith. Second, this class aims to help the students grow in their faith. This is a much harder task than teaching them doctrine. Class discussions in general and some of the topics in particular (confession, prayer, etc.) will hopefully not only illumine their minds but also stir their hearts.


Each student receives a binder containing the main content of the class and C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters.

Course Requirements

The quarter grades are a combination of two tests, prayers, and class participation. The semester and final exam are both cumulative. On the first day of each quarter, I give the students the dates of the exams and the dates by which they should memorize the list of prayers assigned for that quarter. The students get credit for this assignment by orally reciting the prayers to me. The grade they will receive depends on how prompt they are in memorizing and reciting them.

Catholic Apologetics is a pivotal class. As the students approach college their knowledge of the Faith is important, but their faithful practice of it is essential. I am available to them anytime they may have a question or they may want to chat about any of the issues we discuss in class – or even the ones we may not have discussed. I look forward to having them in class.

Outline of Topics Covered


  1. What this class is about
  2. Quickest possible review of Moral Theology Page 2
    1. Moral act
    2. Do good and avoid evil
    3. End does not justify the means
    4. Double Effect
    5. Participation in Evil


  1. Religion
  2. What is Faith? Page 4
    1. Natural Faith
    2. Supernatural Faith
  3. What is Reason? Page 5
    1. Types of Knowledge: How do we acquire each?
    2. Objective and Subjective Knowledge
  4. What is the relationship between Faith and Reason? Page 7
    1. Methodology of Faith and Methodology of Reason:
    2. Relationship between Object of Faith and Reason:
    3. Why faith and reason can never truly contradict each other
  5. Natural means to know God’s existence Page 23
    1. The two natural means:
    2. Proofs of the existence of God:
    3. Reason and Reasonableness
  6. Divine Revelation Page 69
    1. Why do we need it?
    2. Content
    3. Stages
  7. Sacred Scripture Page 72
    1. Books:
    2. Interpretation:
    3. Criteria:
    4. Senses:
    5. The Bible: Myth or History
  8. Overview of the Old Testament Page 97
  9. Overview of the New Testament Page 101
    1. Stages:
    2. Historicity of the Gospels:
  10. Sacred Tradition Page 122
  11. Why does man turn away from God? Page 127
    1. Why does man sin
    2. Original Sin:
    3. Actual Sin:
  12. Forgiveness of Sin Page 131
    1. Introduction
    2. Through Baptism
    3. Through sacrament of Penance
    4. Reconciliatio et Penitentia
  13. Why is there evil in the world? Creation Page 138
    1. What type if Universe did God create?
    2. God created the best world of its kind.
  14. Why is there evil in the world? Angels Page 140
    1. What is their Nature?
    2. Their Test:
    3. Guardian Angels:
    4. The devil:
  15. Why is there evil in the world? The Problem of Evil Page 142


  1. The Dignity of Human Life: Introduction
    1. Man composed of body and soul:
  2. The Dignity of Human Life: Thou Shall Not Kill Page 170
    1. Respect of the body:
    2. How alcohol and drugs disrespect our body
    3. Self-defense
    4. Punishment
    5. Medical Procedures
    6. Euthanasia
    7. Medical Experimentation
    8. Transplant of Organ Donation
    9. Just War
  3. The Dignity of the Human Person: Contraception Page 174
    1. Life begins at conception:
    2. Humanae Vitae Page 177
    3. In Summary
  4. The Dignity of the Human Person: Abortion Page 194
  5. The Dignity of the Human Person: Fertilization Techniques and Embryonic Testing Page 226
    1. Fertilization techniques
    2. Embryonic testing:
  6. Family Page 227
    1. What is a Family?
    2. Divine Institution of the Family
    3. Social impact of the Family
  7. Same-Sex marriage Page 241
    1. Why does the Church care?
    2. Why should the State care?
    3. Obergefell v Hodges Page 267
    4. Final Thoughts:
  8. Stewardship of God’s creation Page 319
    1. Care for Animals:
    2. Laudato Si
    3. Universal destination of the goods of the earth
    4. See Christ in homeless, outcast, unpopular
    5. Concern for the spiritually poor


  1. Universal call to Holiness
    1. God wants every person to know, love, and serve Him. Longing for God inherent to the human person
    2. Salvation outside the Church
  2. The Personal Call Page 354
    1. Moses’ Vocation and John Paul II’s interpretation
    2. Personal Attitude:
  3. Prayer Page 357
    1. What is prayer?
    2. Why do we pray?
    3. Characteristics of prayer
    4. How do we pray?
    5. Spiritual Direction
  4. Types of vocation Page 372
    1. Lay members
    2. Ordained priest, bishop
    3. Consecrated life
  5. Marriage: Theology of the body Page 389
    1. Theology of the body
    2. God is the author of marriage
    3. Lifelong commitment in marriage
  6. Marriage: Celebration of the sacrament Page 392
    1. Public act that requires a liturgical celebration
    2. Setting for Valid marriage
    3. A Catholic is encouraged to marry another Catholic
  7. Marriage: Preparation for the sacrament: Introduction Page 394
    1. Remote
    2. Proximate
  8. Marriage: Preparation for the sacrament: The 6th commandment Page 395
  9. Marriage: Preparation for the sacrament: Pornography Page 397
  10. Marriage: Preparation for the sacrament: Homosexuality Page 440
  11. Marriage: Preparation for the sacrament: Healthy dating habits for high school and college Page 452
    1. Dating
    2. Courtship
    3. Engagement
    4. Necessary components to successful relationship
    5. Dating in high school or college: how to make it work?
    6. Develop skills for lifelong commitment
  12. Immediate preparation for Marriage Page 454
    1. The Church has a responsibility to prepare couples
    2. Couples’ promises
    3. Knowledge of each other
    4. Practical skill to live commitment
  13. Effect of the sacrament Page 455
    1. Grace to live unselfishly
    2. Grace to strengthen permanent nature of their union
    3. Grace to pursue eternal life
    4. Grace to educate children
    5. Example to and strengthening of society
    6. Challenges
  14. Divorce Page 459
    1. Civil divorce
    2. Consequences for divorced Catholics who attempt marriage:
  15. Annulment Page 461
  16. Some Final Thoughts on Vocation Page 463


  1. Death Page 464
  2. Particular Judgement Page 465
  3. End of the World Page 466
  4. Final Judgement Page 467
    1. How do the dead resurrect?
    2. Final Judgement:
  5. Purgatory Page 470
  6. Hell Page 475
  7. Heaven Page 476
  8. Conclusion Page 477

Successful Students

Students are expected to come prepared to each class, having carefully read the appropriate material from the binder and Screwtape Letters. Students who are thus prepared will be better able to contribute to class discussion.