The Contemporary Church and its Evolving Mission

The Theology Track takes up a new theme each summer, responding to events shaping our church and world. Pope Francis, the first pope trained as a chemist, is acting and writing in unprecedented ways, challenging us to enter a new era in the Church. His commitment to the environment is one that invites us to look not only at carbon emissions, but how we have constructed the modern world. This course will offer a close reading of Francis' book on the environment, Laudato Si, focusing on issues of environment, land, colonialism, indigeneity, and economics. We will explore the history of colonialism and Christianity, the dislocation of peoples, and our current disassociation from the land. Students with an interest in a wide variety of topics---from science to economics, from politics to spirituality---will love this discussion-based seminar. We will talk and work with organic farmers, Potowanami Indians, and social visionaries about how our future must look very different from our present.


Student Testimonial

Alice Felker from Bethesda, Maryland shares her ND Summer Scholars experience! 

Academic Directors

Steve Battin

Dr. Steven Battin earned his Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Systematic Theology from Notre Dame. His research explores the ways psychological processes, cultural traditions, and social contexts have contributed to different understandings of the Church throughout history. Committed to the philosophy that the art of teaching and the art of learning must aim at nothing less than the cultivation of well-integrated human persons, Dr. Battin sees theological studies as an indispensable discipline in the students’ self-cultivation of personal and communal wholeness. Dr. Battin teaches the introductory course “Foundations of Theology” and a second-level theology developmental course entitled “The Church and Empire.”

Sheila McCarthy

Sheila McCarthy

Sheila McCarthy holds a PhD from Notre Dame in Liturgical Studies and a Master's degree from Duke University. She currently teaches theology and literature courses at Holy Cross and Notre Dame. An avid beekeeper, Sheila promotes urban farming and animal husbandry, currently working to get goats legalized within city limits of South Bend.