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Master of Theology in Liberal Catholic Studies

Distance learning programs at EAU

Master of Theology in Liberal Catholic Studies

1. Introduction

Thank you for your interest in the European-American University Master of Theology in Liberal Catholic Studies program. The program is designed to be completed within twenty-two months by a student devoting ten to twelve hours a week, working by distance learning.

The program is outlined below, but individual details may be varied on the initiative of the Mentor and/or student, always subject to ratification by the University. In principle, the aim is to provide a fully bespoke, individualized learning experience that takes into account the particular strengths, interests and previous learning of the student, and thus offers a flexible but rigorous route to the degree.

The reader should note that the reference to “Liberal Catholic Studies” is specifically related to the history of the Liberal Catholic Church, established in 1915, and those churches that have developed from it. It is not concerned with the liberal aspects of Roman Catholicism or with religious liberalism in general.

The program currently consists of six modules, listed below with their main topics.

A. History of the Liberal Catholic movement
Origins in Old Catholicism. Wedgwood and the creation of the L.C.C. Subsequent history of the movement and its successor communities.

B. Theosophy
History of the Theosophical Society. Theosophy as a philosophy of religion. Influence of Theosophy on the Liberal Catholic movement.

C. C.W. Leadbeater
Life and philosophy of C.W.L. His influence on Liberal Catholicism. His theological importance.

D. Devotional and other literature of the Liberal Catholic movement
Study of liturgical and other works of Liberal Catholicism, including the writings of Wedgwood and Matthews.

E. Theology of Liberal Catholicism
Study of the theological position of Liberal Catholicism and of the movement today. Relations with other movements within the I.S.M. Relations to the positions of the mainstream denominations.

F. A Dissertation Topic

2. Aims and objectives

The program is aimed at the ordained or layperson, whether or not a Liberal Catholic, who desires to understand the origins, philosophy and faith that has brought about the Liberal Catholic movement. It offers the opportunity to assess all the important strands that have contributed to the movement, without being exclusively devoted to the point of view of any one of the present-day churches that make that movement up. It will produce scholars with an in-depth understanding of Liberal Catholicism that would be useful for prospective ordinands or those in the early stages of a ministerial vocation, as well as those from other backgrounds who seek to relate to Liberal Catholics in a meaningful and respectful way.

3. Methods of delivery

The delivery of the teaching for the course is by distance learning. Students will be assigned a Mentor who will be a practitioner in the field and/or an established academic. They will work out the exact details of what is to be studied and how this will be assessed in co-operation with the Mentor with this learning contract then ratified by the University. In most cases, students will communicate with their Mentor via electronic communications (e-mail, fax) although some Mentors prefer to work via postal mail, and many will also offer telephone support.

4. Course materials

The chosen methods of learning are designed to offer the student the maximum of flexibility and scope in tackling the program.

The individualized nature of the program means that traditional course materials in the form of structured course notes are rarely appropriate or practical, although it is hoped that where possible, Mentors will make their notes on particular topics available to the student. Students are, of course, responsible for creating their own course notes based on their reading and related work.

Most work within the program will consist of directed readings from key texts selected by the Mentor. The student will be responsible for obtaining books, which are not included in the tuition fees, although both the Mentor and the University will endeavor to assist in the event of any difficulty in obtaining books. The Mentor will set regular assignments based on the directed reading, most of which will be in the form of an essay or paper. Mentors will also provide guidance on background reading for each topic.

5. Entry requirements

The usual minimum requirements for entry to the course are as follows:

  • Completion of a first degree or an equivalent theological qualification. In some cases completion of the requirements for ordination will be taken in lieu of a first degree.
  • Candidates will normally have attained the age of twenty-eight years. All candidates will be expected to show a proficiency in the English language.

It is a key principle of the University that each application should be considered on its own merits, and admission to the course and all interpretations as to the eligibility for such admission remain at the discretion of the University.