This unit will explore the history of the Catholic Church in Australia. It will examine its foundations and its development phases through lay beginnings, the Benedictine ‘Dream’, the rise of the Irish Hierarchy and the eventual ‘Australianisation’ of its clerical leadership, to its current leadership crisis. Among key issues studied will be the influence of ‘Sectarianism’, encroaching secularisation, the Church in the colonial political and social environments, the influence of the religious orders and the Church’s stance regarding education. The unit will also consider the changing face of Catholicism following two Vatican Councils (1869-1870 and 1962 – 1965). It will also examine the significance of women in the Australian Catholic Church, its relations with the Vatican Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, relations with other Christian traditions, its missions to indigenous cultures and the impacts of migration.

Unit Code: CH2011Y

Points: 18.0

Unit Level: Undergraduate Level 2

Unit Discipline: Church History

Delivery Mode: Face to Face

Proposing College: Yarra Theological Union

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Learning Outcomes


Read critically the key primary and secondary sources of Australian Church History


Articulate the main phases of the Australian Catholic Church’s development


Critique the various perspectives on sectarianism as a major impact on Australian religion


Evaluate Catholic attitudes to the marginalised (women, indigenous peoples, poor)


Discuss the impacts of critical events in the life of the Australian Catholic Church

Unit sequence

15 points of Church History at Level One.


Lectures, Seminars, and Fieldwork Excursions


Type Description Wordcount Weight (%)
Seminar or Tutorial

1500 word tutorial

0 40.0

2500 word research essay

0 60.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 19 Oct, 2013

Unit Record last updated: 2019-03-15 14:56:50 +1100