Contemporary Global Catholicism

  • Worshipers before a statue of the Virgin at Saint Mary's Basilica.
Age Level
Undergraduate College
Catholics around the world live and imagine their faith in a startling diversity of ways, but they are still part of the same global Church. This course examines the globalization and localization of Catholic faith, asking how local meanings, practices, rituals, and experiences spread globally and a global faith becomes local.

Readings describe local Catholic communities in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe, and elsewhere. The course is organized according to special topics that illuminate processes of globalization and localization: worship and inculturation; Catholic Charismaticism and healing movements; gender and family; conversion and interreligious encounters; saints and sanctity; and liberation and struggles for social justice. Throughout the semester, we return repeatedly to the question of how Catholicism can be both a local culture and a global system.

Follow Marc Loustau's blog for a weekly review of lessons, readings and resources, as well as the author's impressions as a first-time teacher of global Catholicism of what worked and what didn't in the classroom.