CDU Blog

New Theology Courses for Fall!

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Sun, Jun 20, 2021 @ 10:43 PM

THEO 419-619 Theology of Aquinas

This new Theology of Aquinas course, instructed by Father Bevil Bramwell OMI, PhD, is a basic introduction to the thought of Saint Thomas Aquinas. By looking at the backgrounds of some of the concepts that he uses along with selected articles from the Summa Theologica, his most well-known work, the student will be able to glimpse how Aquinas developed the explanations and arguments in his thought. The course includes biographical material as well as the historical material that will help make the early medieval period more comprehensible.

HUM 260 THEO 290-590 - Theology of Sacred Architecture

CDU’s new Theology of Sacred Architecture course is an introduction to the history, theology, and symbolism of Catholic sacred architecture that focuses on how the development of Catholic sacred architecture and theology has affected the shape, configuration, and use of the Catholic church throughout various architectural styles and eras. It will follow this development from Pagan and Old Testament ideas of sacred architecture throughout the Middle Ages, Renaissance, Counter-Reformation, and Vatican II. The course will give an overview of the various declarations of the Church regarding the construction and symbolism of the church edifice. Undergraduates will be able to apply it towards either their humanities requirements or theology electives. Graduates will be able to apply the course towards their theology electives.

The course is taught by Erik Bootsma, who was trained in the classical liberal arts at Thomas Aquinas College’s great books program. He became interested in the philosophy of architecture and aesthetics. This philosophy was the foundation upon which he completed his architectural education with a Masters of Architecture degree from the University of Notre Dame.

Summer Apologetics Seminar Answers Crucial Questions

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Sun, Jun 20, 2021 @ 10:41 PM

Why does the Church still matter today? Why are the sacraments important? Why go to Mass? Many people today consider themselves to be “spiritual” but not “religious.” Surveys show that over half of American adults do not regularly attend church, and only 20% of Catholics born after 1970 attend Mass. Surprisingly, about two-thirds of those who do not attend church believe that God exists and consider themselves to be Christian, yet they see little value in attending Mass. This likely includes some of your own family and friends. Therefore, the need to equip Catholics to credibly, convincingly, and compellingly explain and share why we need the Church, the sacraments, and the Mass has never been greater.

Why Do We Need the Church?, offered July 19th to Aug. 9th, 2021, will help us respond to this growing trend by exploring key reasons why active involvement in the life of the Church, especially the Mass, is Christ’s will for his followers. Register today. 

New Chairman Elected to Head Board of Trustees

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Sun, Jun 20, 2021 @ 10:33 PM

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Stephen D. Pryor was elected to serve as chairman of the Board of Trustees effective March 15, 2021. He succeeds Dr. Charles R. Wasaff, the Board’s first lay chairman.

A highly accomplished business executive with a long history of service to the Church and Catholic organizations, Mr. Pryor brings a wealth of experience and visionary leadership to the role of chairman. He retired as president of ExxonMobil Chemical Company in 2015 after more than 43 years of ExxonMobil service.

Mr. Pryor is a trustee emeritus of Lafayette College and former vice chair of the board. He is a director and retiring board chair of The Immokalee Foundation and a director of the Foundation for Government Accountability. He earned a BA in Biology from Lafayette College and an MBA from Harvard University.

Systematic Theologian Joins Faculty

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Sun, Jun 20, 2021 @ 10:30 PM

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We are excited to welcome Martin X. Moleski, S.J., Ph.D., to the faculty. Dr. Moleski, a Jesuit priest, educator, and author, holds a Ph.D. in Theology from The Catholic University of America. He taught for 30 years at Le Moyne College in Syracuse and Canisius College, winning tenure and promotion to full professor. He currently works as an assistant to the editors of Biblica and Orientalia at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome.

He has authored three books: Personal Catholicism, Michael Polanyi (with William T. Scott), and Judging Religion Justly. He was a weekly host of “Calling All Catholics,” a one-hour broadcast on affiliates of The Station of the Cross Catholic Radio, for seven years.

Dr. Moleski specializes in Catholic Systematic Theology and World Religions. In addition to the Ph.D., his extensive education includes a B.A. in English from Boston College (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa), an MA in Philosophy from Fordham University, and an M.Div. and S.T.B. from Regis College, University of Toronto. He recently taught PHIL 340 See for Yourself: An Introduction to Epistemology.

Paul Schott Stevens Appointed to Board of Trustees

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Sun, Jun 20, 2021 @ 10:28 PM

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Join us in welcoming Paul Schott Stevens, who was appointed to the Board of Trustees in March. He brings many years of strategic leadership, financial expertise, and commitment to our Faith to our esteemed Board of Trustees and will be an asset as CDU embarks on its new strategic plan. He retired in 2020 after more than 16 years as president and CEO of the Investment Company Institute (ICI), the global association of regulated funds whose members manage some $35 trillion on behalf of more than 100 million shareholders. During this time, he also served as a director of ICI Mutual Insurance Co. and of the ICI Education Foundation. From 2014-2017, he was chairman of the International Investment Funds Association. Stevens was general counsel of ICI from 1993-1997.

Outside of ICI, Stevens has had a varied career in private law practice as corporate counsel and in government service. He was a leader in the financial services practice of Dechert LLP, an international law firm, and senior vice president and chief counsel for mutual funds and international enterprise at Charles Schwab & Co. He was Special Assistant for National Security Affairs to President Ronald Reagan, who appointed him as the first Legal Adviser to the National Security Council (NSC) and subsequently as head of the NSC’s policy and support staff. At the conclusion of his government service, Stevens received the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, DoD’s highest civilian decoration.

Over the course of his career, Stevens has been committed to a wide range of professional, church, cultural, and community activities. He chaired the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Law and National Security. He was resident in Japan in 1990 as a US-Japan Leadership Fellow. He has served on the boards of the National Capital Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America and of the community foundation ACT for Alexandria. He is a long-time member of the Life Guard Society of George Washington’s Mount Vernon. For 11 years he was a member of the Finance Council of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington and served as chair of the Council’s investment committee. Currently he is a trustee of Catholic Investment Services; a member of the Finance & Investment Committee of the Federal Association of the Order of Malta; a director of the Eisenhower Foundation; and a member of the national advisory board of his alma mater, Jesuit High School of New Orleans, Louisiana.

Stevens received a B.A., magna cum laude, from Yale University and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. He is a member of the District of Columbia Bar. Stevens and his wife Joyce have been married for more than 40 years. They have four sons and live in Alexandria, Virginia.

Maronite Sister Receives Scholarship to Attend CDU

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Sun, Jun 20, 2021 @ 10:21 PM

We welcome Sister Emily to CDU as our new Mission Diocese Scholar in the MA program. Highly recommended as a promising student by Bishop Mansour of the St. Maron of Brooklyn mission diocese, Sister Emily is a Maronite Servant of Christ the Light. Her mission is to serve the Church in the parish as a spiritual mother in imitation of Mary, radiating the Light of Christ through a life of contemplative prayer, asceticism, and apostolic mission to children, young adults, families, the sick, dying, and grieving. Maronite Sisters live in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, and serve alongside the priest in pastoral ministry, reaching out with a maternal touch to the many needs of the parish family. Her superior, Sister Marla Marie Lucas, says, “Sister Emily’s CDU scholarship is a Godsend to her formation and fulfilling our mission.”

The mission dioceses scholarship program is part of CDU’s commitment to serve our brothers and sisters at the peripheries. As a non-profit, CDU could not offer transformational scholarships to those who serve the Church without your support. We are grateful to The Koch Foundation and our generous private donors who support this program.

Lilly Endowment Awards Initial Grant to CDU

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Sun, Jun 20, 2021 @ 10:18 PM

The Lilly Endowment has launched an initiative to strengthen and sustain the capacities of theological schools to prepare and support pastoral leaders. The Pathways for Tomorrow Initiative is a multi-phase initiative open to ATS (Association of Theological Schools) accredited graduate schools including CDU.

The initial grant is non-competitive and awards schools $50,000 to research and conceptualize a proposal that will explore emerging challenges and opportunities, gain clarity about their mission in light of these challenges, assess the effectiveness of their educational strategies, and design and implement plans to make their institutions more effective and financially viable. Phase 2 grants are highly competitive and will award schools up to $1 million to fund initial implementation.

CDU has assembled a task force under the leadership of board trustee, Brian Corbin, Executive VP of Catholic Charities USA. The task force is exploring Pope Francis’ inspiring social encyclicals including (Laudato si, 2015, Fratteli tutti, 2020) and popular writings (Let us Dream, 2020) and his emphasis on the Gospel message of responding to the needs of the underserved, the poor, marginalized, and most vulnerable members of our communities.

Professor Bonagura Publishes Second Book

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Sun, Jun 20, 2021 @ 02:38 PM

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Undergraduate Theology professor David Bonagura, Jr., has published a new book: Staying with the Catholic Church: Trusting God’s Plan of Salvation, which explains the mystery of the Church and why we need her to encounter Christ in light of contemporary challenges. This book is a reassurance for readers that the Church’s ultimate mission remains to aid sinners in the achievement of salvation, in spite of, and despite, the frailty of its members and leaders alike.

Professor Bonagura was inspired to write the book in 2018, after the revelation of a new wave of scandals within the Church hierarchy. “So many Catholics were angry, confused, and questioning how such things could happen in God’s Church,” he says. “These reactions are understandable—I shared them. But, if the Church is what we know in faith that she is—the Body of Christ, the temporal extension of the Incarnation—then there has to be more to her than the sins of her members.”

“I set out to explain what the Church is, why Christ founded her, and what her mission is in the hope that Catholics would understand that the Church is a great mystery, a collection of sinners ministering divine healing to sinners, that is worthy not only of our continued support, but our faithful love,” Professor Bonagura says.

The book can be ordered on Amazon or from Scepter Publishers.

From Our President

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Sun, Jun 20, 2021 @ 02:29 PM

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The 2020 Annual Report tells a profound and inspiring story of the CDU Community, a mission-focused, pioneering educational venture that most recently demonstrated its worth in response to the worldwide pandemic. While most of higher education responded in panic-mode, CDU continued doing what we do so well every day, as we are experts in the pedagogy of online education. Our colleagues at the International Federation of Catholic Universities reached out to us at the beginning of the pandemic to ask that we teach international faculty how to teach online. We are continuing that service into the future.

We understand the richness of theological education in our world of contemplative conversations and digital imagery that draws our students into the beauty of the Church’s 2,000-year history of art, music, culture, and writings. We also have a global footprint as the premier Catholic online educational institution of worldwide service and international charity at a moment’s notice wherever we are needed.

What inspired me especially about the Annual Report this year was the glimpse it gives into the unity of our communal dedication to our mission so united to the Church’s mission of the new evangelization.

Our mission, handed on from Jesus himself, embodies our community. Trustees like Dr. Joe Braddock never grew weary of inspiring us to find the gaps in Catholic higher education that CDU could fill. The Annual Report documents the effective transition of leadership from Dr. Charles Wasaff to our new Board Chair Stephen Pryor, as well as the quality and dedication of our faculty, the hard work of our staff, and the achievements of our graduates. The CDU community lives out education of the mind and heart.

Our Annual Report enables us to reflect more deeply on the story of our donors, who generously share in this mission. We know so well how many worthy organizations and activities deserve financial support. However, the value of our mission is deeper and perhaps more lasting as we feed the mind and heart of each student who in turn becomes a passionate disciple eager to give back and share the joy that comes from the gift of a CDU education.

A very significant milestone for us is the retirement of Sister Mary Margaret Ann Schlather, SND, who on June 30 will bid farewell to her position as Dean of Catechetical Programs and Accreditation Liaison Officer. She has been a rock and source of wisdom and strength to all of us who have been privileged to work with her for many years. Our students have a deep affection for her because of her devotion to them through a commitment of personal communication to each one of them and the respect she has garnered from many dioceses who have worked with her to bring a CDU education to their catechists and lay leaders. Sister Margaret Ann embodies the institutional values of CDU, and she will be a part of our institutional history as a gift of self to a mission that brings transformation and joy. Sister and I share a deep, personal friendship. Her return to her Provincial Home in Chardon, Ohio, will keep me connected to my own family in Ohio and keep us connected to our roots with the Sisters of Notre Dame. Let us all pray in gratitude for the exemplary life of Sister Mary Margaret Ann Schlather, SND, who found her inspiration in the truth and call of CDU’s mission.

Enjoy a presentation about The Genealogical Adam and Eve

Posted by Catholic Distance University on Thu, Mar 11, 2021 @ 03:52 PM

CDU hosted Dr. Joshua Swamidass, a computational biologist at WUSTL, to present his book “The Genealogical Adam and Eve” to the CDU faculty. The book argues that it is quite consistent with human genealogy that all people alive in the world today or even in first century Palestine descended from a single couple. Swamidass asks provocatively if and how the Church can present that story alongside the conventional biological story of human evolution that took place over millions of years. Responses to his book were delivered by two members of the CDU faculty: Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio and Dr. Cathy Gara.

Watch it here!