Mission Statement

We are a Department of Theology engaged in ongoing academic and pastoral reflection on various aspects of the mystery of the divine-human relationship.

Like the University of Notre Dame itself, the department is explicitly Christian and Catholic in its religious tradition. It is committed in a particular way to the interpretation and articulation of the Catholic tradition and to the fostering of reflection and praxis concerning all aspects of Catholicism's various theological, doctrinal, liturgical, spiritual, historical, cultural, and canonical expressions and embodiments.

Although Catholicity is neither quantifiable nor fully achieved anywhere, the department's Catholic identity is reflected in the composition of its faculty, in the nature and content of its curriculum, and in its responsiveness to the intellectual and pastoral needs of the Catholic Church and to the intellectual and future ministerial needs of its students.

Our academic mission of teaching, service, research, and scholarly publication is twofold in scope. Internally, the faculty of the department is uniquely committed to the teaching of six distinct student constituencies: undergraduate, M.A., M.T.S., M.S.M., M.Div., and Ph.D. The department is particularly concerned that its commitment to graduate-level education and research not compromise its equal commitment to undergraduate education. Externally, the department seeks to be responsive to four different publics: the University of Notre Dame, the academy, the Church (primarily, but not exclusively, the Roman Catholic church), and society. The ways in which the faculty relates to students and publics vary in accordance with the respective backgrounds, competencies, and interests of its members.

Notwithstanding our identification with the Catholic tradition, we comprise a wide range of religious perspectives. While the department's central core is the Catholic tradition, the department is deliberately ecumenical; we are committed to dialogue with one another's traditions because theology can no longer be done adequately in a narrowly denominational manner.

In accord with the positive changes in society at large and in Catholic higher education since the Second Vatican Council, the department is becoming more diversified in terms of gender, ethnicity, race, and canonical status. We are committed to the recruitment, promotion, and retention of women and minorities as faculty and students and to an environment that is marked by a spirit of hospitality, collegiality, and justice for all.

Our commitment to pluralism and diversity is also reflected in the areas of academic specialization that one finds among faculty and students. No one specialization is intentionally privileged over others. Indeed, our various specializations are mutually enhancing because the work of the department is carried forward not only within each specialization but also through collaboration among them.

The future shape of the department will be determined by the evolving character and needs of the Church that is at once Catholic and ecumenical and around the changing contours of the world in which that Church exists. Accordingly, the department aspires to excellence in its academic programs and in its service of its publics so that it can continue to flourish as an international center of Catholic theology for the twenty-first century.