School of the Announciation - Centre for the New Evanghelism School of the Announciation - Angel Statue
at Buckfast Abbey - Devon


Introduction to Catholic Theology

4-day summer school and 1-year online course 

In response to the interest in Catholic theology which has been expressed by many people, the School of the Annunciation is now offering a one year course entitled Introduction to Catholic Theology. This is an exciting opportunity to find out about the nature of Catholic theology and to study some important areas of the Catholic faith.

The 4-day introductory residential takes place 14 - 17 August 2017 at Buckfast Abbey.

You may apply for the one-year course either before or at the end of this 4-day introduction at Buckfast Abbey.

A One-Year Three-Module Course

The course method is blended learning. You will come for a short period of classes and face to face work with highly qualified and skilled lecturers who are committed to the Catholic faith. This residential period takes place in the beautiful setting of Buckfast Abbey. Those who are already students at the School of the Annunciation know what a precious and wonderful experience this is. The Benedictine prayer life of the monastery, including daily Mass, Vespers and Compline is central to the time students and staff spend together at Buckfast, which is so steeped in monastic history. The natural beauty of the location and the wonderful hospitality of the site make for a unique residential time of prayer, learning and community fellowship.

When the residential period is over your learning is closely supported through the study materials, which include both texts and online Moodle resources such as video lectures. Besides being guided in your study by the specially designed online site, you are also guided personally in your learning and preparation of essays by individual tutors working with you via email and skype.

The course comprises three modules:

1)      The Nature of Catholic Theology

2)      Theology of Christ

3)      The Church and Sacraments

These three modules cover essential basic aspects of theology in areas which are directly relevant for those seeking to know and live their faith more deeply. They also provide a solid basis for anyone who wishes to go on to study other areas of theology in more depth later.

What do the modules cover?

1) The Nature of Catholic Theology

We begin by considering the nature of theology in general, and Catholic theology in particular, drawing on the great tradition of those who have engaged in the task of Catholic theology viewed, in the words of St Anselm, as ‘faith seeking understanding.’ Prior to considering particular doctrines in later modules, this module will explore method in Catholic theology, the Deposit of Faith, and the sources of Catholic theology, with particular emphasis on the interplay between Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium. This lays the foundations for theological study in the following modules.

2) Theology of Christ                                             

“The word became flesh for us in order to save us by reconciling us with God” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 457). Together with the treatise on the Blessed Trinity, the treatise on Christology is at the centre of Catholic theological study. As in all areas of theological study and reflection, of faith seeking understanding, reflection upon the person and work of Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity made man, bases itself upon the truths proclaimed through Scripture, Tradition and the living magisterium of the Church. Accordingly, part of the study of Christology will involve an examination of the truths taught about Christ in the Bible and through the diverse and complementary lenses of the inspired visions of the writers of the Gospels and Epistles. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Church further understood truths present in the deposit of faith pertaining to Christology. How these truths are founded in Scripture is a further question explored in Christology. The debates of the great councils of the first millennium on Christ’s nature and work are then also an integral part of Christological study, as we understand how through these dialectical encounters the Holy Spirit guided the Church to an ever-deeper appreciation of the truth about Christ given in revelation.

3) The Church and Sacraments

The Theology of the Church follows the themes and chapters of Lumen gentium, the great Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of the Second Vatican Council. The biblical foundations of the Church from the Old Testament and the New are explored in depth, followed by a consideration of the four marks of the Church as One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic.  An appreciation of the Sacramentality of Christ and the Church leads onto the characteristics of the sacraments in general including sacramental grace.  Baptism, Eucharist and Holy Orders are given special attention to show the vital complementarity of the ministerial priesthood and the common priesthood of the laity in the life of the Church. 

What books do I need for the course?

Much of the study material is provided for you on the secure site on the School of the Annunciation webpages for which, as a student, you will be given a password.

In addition, some key texts are:

  • F. Ocáriz, L. F. Mateo Seco and J. A. Riestra, The Mystery of Jesus Christ (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 1991)
  • Roch A. Kereszty, Jesus Christ: Fundamentals of Christology (New York: Alba House, 2002)
  • Matthew Levering and Michael Dauphinais, editors, Recovering Aquinas and the Sacraments: Studies in Sacramental Theology (Chicago: Hillenbrand Books, 2009)
  • Paul Haffner, The Sacramental Mystery (Leominster: Gracewing, 1999)

How much will it cost?   

The fee for the one-year course is £777. This covers everything, including your residential stay at Buckfast Abbey, tutoring, online-learning, and administration costs.

For those applying for the 4-day course only, the fee is £345. If you decide, during the 4-day course, to continue on the one-year course, we will ask you to make up the difference in fee.

For both options, there is a non-refundable application fee of £50.

For information about bursaries, click here.

When does it start?   

The course begins with a residential study period at Buckfast Abbey. The residential begins at 5.30pm on Monday 14th August 2017 and finishes at lunch-time on 17th August 2017.  The residential programme is designed to include talks and seminars in the context of experiencing the rhythm of daily prayer of the resident Benedictine monastic community.

How much time will I need to spend on study every week?   

We ask you to devote at least five hours study to the course per week.

How long will each module take?   

Each module will take approximately 12 weeks to complete.

What work do I need to do?   

For each module, you will be asked to write a 2,500-word essay. You will be guided as you work towards this by your tutor.

What level is the course?   

The course is at the level of a first-year university course.

How to apply:   

To apply for this course, please download this printable application form.

Cancellation Rights: You have a 14 day cooling-off period which starts from the date of application.

For further information please contact
Telephone: 01364 645660.