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Welcome to History of the Church: Modern and Contemporary. Here we have put together some material for the course. We hope you enjoy it!




History of the Church: Modern & Contemporary

Dr Ailish McKeown

This course assumes a theological understanding of the Church founded by Christ. It demonstrates the presence and action of the Church in human history, and the Church’s vitality, development and constant renewal as it carries out its mission, received from Christ, in His Salvific plan. The course offers a general overview of history from the Renaissance to the end of the second millennium.

By the end of the course you should be familiar with the most significant people and events in the Church’s life and development in the modern era, and be able to situate them within their historical, political and cultural contexts. You should also be able to make connections between your study of historical events and trends, and other theology subjects.

The Program is divided into the following sections:

Section 1 | Renaissance & Reform
Section 2 | The Geographic Expansion of the Church
Section 3 | The Church in the 17th & 18th Centuries
Section 4 | The Church from the Restoration to the end of the 19th Century
Section 5 | The Church & the Modern World: Leo XIII to Vatican II
Section 6 | Vatican II to the Close of the Second Millennium

A detailed Course Program is available here. | VIEW




There are three assessment tasks for this subject:

A) 10-minute presentation for delivery in class on one of the following topics: (30%)

1. The Council of Trent
2. Culture & Inculturation
3. Evangelization in Asia
4. The Galileo Affair
5. The Enlightenment
6. The Church & the French Revolution
7. The ‘Roman Question’

B)  Four homework tasks involving reading and reflecting on a text and participating in class discussion. Written answers to any TWO to be submitted by the end of the course (35% each). Combined word-length: max. 1,500 words.

1. Martin Luther & the Quest for Certainty VIEW
2. Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum, 1891. VIEW
3. Pius X, Notre Charge Apostolique, 1910. VIEW
4. Benedict XVI, Address to the Roman Curia, 22 December 2005. VIEW


​Basic Manuals:

Orlandis, J., A Short History of the Catholic Church, (Dublin: Four Courts, 1985). VIEW

Armenio, P., The History of the Church: Parish Edition, (Downers Grove: MTF, 2014).

Armenio, P., The History of the Church: A Complete Course, (Downers Grove: MTF, 2006).

Hughes, P., A Popular History of the Catholic Church, (London: Burns & Oates, 1960).

Crocker, H., Triumph: The Power and the Glory of the Catholic Church : a 2000-Year History, (New York: Three Rivers, 2001).

Hales, E., The Catholic Church in the Modern World: A Survey from the French Revolution to the Present, (London: Burns & Oates, 1958).

Extra readings for specific topics of the course are listed in each section.


Just for fun!​

Midwest Theological Forum VIEW 1VIEW 2 VIEW 3 VIEW 4


You can view a list of Popes here  |    VIEW