The Contemporary Church and Its Evolving Mission

Pope Francis is challenging us to enter a new era in the Church. So our question will be:  are we ready for Catholicism, 2030 style? And what will that even mean?     

Most high school theology courses spend a lot of time on what has happened in the past. That is important, but this exciting two week seminar will look at what will, and should, happen in the future as we navigate some huge issues:  

  • In 2030, the largest Christian country in the world will be China. What does that mean for the centrality of European and North American theology?
  • In 2030, most scientists will likely support continued embryonic cell research and practices like in vitro fertilization. How will Catholics respond?
  • In 2030, most countries will allow same sex marriage. Will the Church, and should the Church, alter its approach to the issue?
  • In 2030, the War on Terror will likely be continuing. Will Catholics support all military tactics aimed at protecting national security, or will we move in Pope Francis’ direction of pacifism?

As you can see, we will cover many topics and be multi-disciplinary, so students with an interest in a wide variety of topics—from science to economics, from politics to spirituality—will love this discussion-based seminar. One interesting “extra” will be a field trip to an Amish farm, complete with a traditional meal and buggy rides. Often seen as stuck in the past, the Amish are growing and have some surprising lessons for how to navigate a changing future. 

Michael Griffin Notre Dame Summer Scholars Theology

Academic Directors

Dr. Michael Griffin earned his Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral degrees from Notre Dame. He also teaches theology at Holy Cross College, one of Notre Dame’s brother institutions in South Bend. Dr. Griffin has a great passion and skill for generating lively classroom discussion. In addition to teaching, he and his wife Catherine are the proud parents of two little boys with big Catholic names: Benedict, 5, and Basil, 2.

Sheila McCarthy i

Sheila McCarthy is in Ph.D. studies at Notre Dame, specializing in the connections between how we pray inside of Church and how we live through struggles outside of Church.  Ms. McCarthy is also a member of the local Catholic Worker community, which practices hospitality to the poor. Seminar participants will share this experience—even getting to prepare a breakfast for 100 people!  Another activity which she shares with students during breaks throughout the day is her skill as a yoga teacher. Her goal this summer is to finally get Dr. Griffin to try it!