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Religious studies Essay on Catholic doctrine

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Religious studies Essay on Catholic doctrine


The student will submit one paper. It will be between 1200 and 1650 words. The purpose of each paper will be to explain a specific point of Catholic doctrine, particularly answering the questions: What specifically does the Church teach on this topic? and Why does the Church hold this teaching?

Papers ​should not be written on strictly moral teachings, that is, the teaching in question should not directly and principally concern what is right or wrong behavior (so euthanasia, abortion, contraception, capital punishment, or environmental  ethics are not suitable topics).  

The paper will make use of 

  • at least ​ one relevant patristic source (i.e., a Christian writing from before 750),  
  • at least ​ one relevant passage of Scripture,  
  • at least ​ one relevant magisterial document (i.e., an official Church document containing authoritative teaching of the Catholic Church, e.g., a document promulgated by a general council or a document issued by the pope acting as supreme teacher of the Church other than the ​Catechism of the Catholic Church ​ ),  
  • at least ​ one approved theological “systematic” work covering the paper’s topic (a list of  approved systematic works will be provided to the class, others will be approved on a  case-by-case basis). 
  • In addition to these sources, the paper is to make reference to the relevant discussion of the paper’s topic in either the ​Catechism of the Catholic Church ​ or in the “Roman Catechism” (1566). These are ​minimal requirements ​ to complete the assignment; it is hoped that papers will use more than only these six sources. Further information relevant to this requirement is presented below in the section on policies.  


The student will submit a prospectus for the paper. The prospectus will include a brief description of the precise topic of the paper (approximately a paragraph) as well as an annotated bibliography. The annotated bibliography will be a list of the works that are being used for the paper (pinpointing specific locations in larger texts) that briefly notes the relevance of each work to the topic of the paper (i.e., briefly explaining why you are using this text. If you have already read this text, what important points from it do you plan to use in the paper? If you have not yet read it, why do you plan to read it, why do you think it will be useful for your paper?). Prospectuses are not graded, but ​submitting a satisfactory prospectus in a timely fashion is a prerequisite to being considered for an extension.    


It is expected that papers will conform to the norms of English grammar, spelling, mechanics, and idiom. IT IS ​STRONGLY ​ RECOMMENDED THAT YOU HAVE SOMEONE PROOFREAD YOUR WORK.​ ​ ​It is recommended that you complete your paper in advance of the due date, so that you have time  to avail yourself of the services offered by the Tutorial Services Center. Further, papers are to conform to the norms set forth in Turabian (see recommended texts). Citations should be presented in footnotes (what Turabian terms “notes-bibliography style”).  

  • Papers are to be typeset entirely in a single, 12pt serif font (e.g., Times New Roman). The body of the paper is to be double spaced, excepting block quotations and heading. 
  • Papers are to have the student’s last name and the page number on the upper right corner of all pages except the first. 
  • Under no circumstances should you cite the Bible by page number.  


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