The Department of Theology is at the heart of the education in faith and reason that the University of Notre Dame strives to give its students. Guided by the ideal of “faith seeking understanding,” we engage in academic and pastoral reflection on various aspects of the mystery of the divine-human relationship. We do so in six principal areas:, , , , and .
Like the University of Notre Dame itself, the department is explicitly 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.
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 cannot be done adequately in a narrowly denominational manner.
In accord with the changes in society at large and in Catholic higher education since the Second Vatican Council, the department values diversity in terms of gender, ethnicity, race, and canonical status. We are committed to the recruitment, promotion, and retention of women and colleagues from historically-underrepresented groups as faculty and students. Our commitment to pluralism and diversity is also reflected in the areas of academic specialization among faculty and students. The 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.
Our academic mission of teaching, research, scholarly publication, and service is twofold in scope. Internally, the faculty of the department is committed to enhancing Notre Dame’s mission, primarily through the teaching of five distinct student constituencies: undergraduate, M.A., M.T.S., M.Div., and Ph.D. The department is particularly concerned that its commitment to graduate-level education and research not compromise its commitment to undergraduate education. Externally, the department seeks to be responsive to three publics: 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. 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.