This course examines the work of three church councils that put their stamp on the Catholic Church at key moments in its history, making it what it is today. The first section is dedicated to the Fourth Lateran Council (1215), which defined the high medieval church as an all-encompassing papal monarchy with broad powers over the lives of all Europeans, Christian and non-Christian alike. In the second section we turn our attention to the Council of Trent (1545-1563), which responded to the threat posed by the Protestant Reformation by reforming the Catholic church, tightening ecclesiastical discipline, improving clerical education, and defining and defending Catholic doctrine. We conclude with a consideration of the largest church council ever, Vatican II (1962-1965), which reformed the liturgy and redefined the church to meet the challenges of the modern, multicultural, post-colonial world.
Course Attributes: EN H; BU Eth; BU IS; AS HUM; AS LCD