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Catholic Doctrine Syllabus (75 Pages)...$25.00

We use Following Christ in the World by Anne Carroll. This is an excellent text, and contains great topics for discussion. It examines the role of philosophy in theology, considers the immortality of the soul, the divinity of Christ, social justice, abortion, contraception, euthanasia, grace, sin, suffering, and many other important topics. In addition we use Surprised by Truth which provides some additional guidance in apologetics. We also include essay and paper topics to give the student practice with writing in variety of styles. The Catholic Doctrine Syllabus has a day-by-day breakdown of this course along with paper topics, questions for discussion, tests, answer keys to the tests, and a variety of teaching resources including Twelfth Grade Subject Rubrics, Learning Objectives, and grading charts. This is a 1 year, 1 credit course.

Current Edition: © 2011.

Online versions of the MODG syllabi are provided to enrolled families free of charge. Paper copies of the syllabi are also available for purchase from the MODG office, with a 30% discount for enrolled families.

Book List

  • Essential 1
    • Following Christ in the World
      Carroll, Anne
      Seton Press — 141 Pages
  • Supplemental - Required 4
    • Aeterni Patris
      Leo XIII
    • Humanae Vitae
      Paul VI
    • Rerum Novarum
      Leo XIII
      Catholic Truth Society — 39 Pages
      ISBN: 1860821537
    • Surprised By Truth
      Madrid, Patrick
      Basilica Press
      ISBN: 0964261081
  • Supplemental - Optional 1
  • Alternate text that can replace an essential or required supplemental text 1
  • Mentioned in the syllabus, but not assigned 16


Week 1

Day Assignment

Begin by familiarizing yourself with your text, Following Christ in the World. Read the forward of the text on pp. v-vii. Now read Chapter 1: “Philosophy: Theology’s Handmaid” carefully. Today just concentrate on reading and understanding what you read in a more general way. Make sure Dr. Carroll’s arguments make sense to you as you read them. As you read, you may find it helpful to take notes, or to outline the chapter. You will re-read the chapter again in the following days, and discuss the chapter in depth, so this first reading is to get a grasp of the whole.

Note: Please take a moment to review the resources attached to this syllabus (these are found on the Family site - Syllabi tab; please click on "Resources" at the far right for each syllabus title). The PDF files found here are taken from the printed copy of the corresponding syllabus, if there is one. Some resources are generic to the grade level or subject and others are specific to the particular course. Answer Keys or Assignment overviews for the syllabus, if applicable, are only found via the parent log-in; the student log-in may access all other syllabus resources. Some of these resources will be assigned or referenced within the syllabus assignments. Others are here for support.


Today read the list of questions below. Now open your text again and begin by re-reading the introduction through the section “Act and Potency”. As you finish reading a section, jot down the answers to any of the questions below that are discussed in that section.

Please note that the language used in the text to define substantial change and accidental change, and act and potency, is somewhat unclear, though the examples and explanations that follow are helpful.

Study the following additions to your text:

In accidental change the thing remains, but in a different condition. That is, the thing that changes acquires a different size or quality or place, while remaining the same individual thing. But in a substantial change, the end result is a different thing, and not the same thing in a different condition. When a child grows, the end result is the same individual with a different size; but when a man dies, the end result is not the same thing, nor even the same kind of thing.

The definitions of act and potency are also not quite right. Potency is not “what a thing can become”, but rather the ability to become something. A statue is what the clay can become, but it is not potency. The potency (power) belongs to the clay, for it is the clay which is able to become the statue. Further, it is better to say that the actual is “what a thing is right now”. After the making, there is an actual statue. The act is that which makes it actual – e.g. the shape whereby the clay is actually a statue.

  • Define the principle of non-contradiction.
  • What did Heraclitus think about change?
  • What did Parmenides notice?
  • What two things did Aristotle distinguish to resolve and explain the Heraclitus and Parmenides’ positions?
  • Define substance.
  • Define accident.
  • What is substantial change? (Please refer to the note above.)
  • What is accidental change? (Please refer to the note above.)
  • How many kinds of accidental change are there? Name them.
  • Why doesn’t substantial change prove Heraclitus correct?
  • Define act and actual. (Please refer to the note above.)
  • Define potency. (Please refer to the note above.)
  • Does the soul have the potency to become something else?

Today finish the chapter you started yesterday. Begin by reading over the list of questions below. Then follow the same procedure that was given yesterday in answering the questions.

  • What are the four causes? Explain.
  • What do the subjectivist and the relativist believe?
  • List the three arguments that can be given to refute subjectivism.
  • Give one of the arguments that refutes subjectivism.
4 Discuss the chapter with your parent or teacher, using the questions from days 2 and 3 as a reference. You may wish to write out answers to any questions you struggled with in discussion today.