University of Malta

Study-Unit Description
UOM Main Page
Apply - Admissions 2016


TITLE The Universal Call to Holiness

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Moral Theology

DESCRIPTION For many, holiness may mean speaking about some lofty subject that is not for our diet! Since the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium) of Vatican II, Roman Catholics have become more familiar with the notion of a “universal call to holiness” based on baptismal identification with Jesus Christ. This has replaced a more elitist model where holiness was, implicitly at least, the preserve of special categories of Christians who were called to ‘higher’ forms of Christian life.

As Donna Orsuto aptly says: "In the Christian tradition holiness has a central place in our understanding of who God is and who we are. Holiness for Christians is about union with Christ, who in the Spirit unites us to the Father. It is about abiding in this loving union and letting this relationship flow into our everyday lives".

The understanding of spirituality is first presented from the Biblical point of view. Then the study-unit makes a survey of the different periods of Christian spirituality and presents different exponents of the "universal call to holiness", among these some Fathers of the Church, Fray Louis of Granada and St Francis of Sales. Finally, an in-depth study is made of Chapter 5 of the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of the Second Vatican Council.

Study-unit Aims:

The study-unit aims at presenting how the universal call to holiness was somehow always present throughout the history of Christianity albeit with a varying intensity and sometimes very much in the shadow.

It aims also at helping the participants to become aware that they themselves have this particular calling whatever their state of life.

To help one understand that holiness is attained not outside but through one's state of life.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- comprehend the concept of holiness;
- recognise the great richness of the Christian tradition of the universal call to holiness;
- depict the implications in one's moral life of the demands of holiness.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- consider holiness as being intrinsically linked to one's state of life and, thus, to one's concrete life;
- describe the demands of holiness to others, helping them to respond as best as they could to them.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

- BROWER Kent E., -- Andy Johnson (eds), Holiness and Ecclesiology in the New Testament, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI – Cambridge 2007.
- CONGAR Yves – Piero Rossano, “La Chiesa è Santa” in Mysterium Salutis. Nuovo Corso di Dogmatica come Teologia della Storia della Salvezza (a cura di J. Feiner e M. Löhrer), Vol 7, Queriniana – Brescia, 1972, 553-575.
- DE LA SOUJEOLE Benoît-Dominique, “The Universal Call to Holiness” in Vatican II: renewal within tradition (edited by Matthew L. Lamb and Matthew Levering), Oxford University Press, New York, 2008, 37-53.
- GULA Richard M., The Call to Holiness. Embracing a Fully Christian Life, Paulist, New York/Mahwah NJ, 2003.
- MARTIN Ralph, The Fulfillment of All Desire. A Guidebook for the Journey to God based on the Wisdom of the Saints, Emmaus Road, Steubenville OH, 2006.
- ORSUTO Donna, Holiness, Continuum, London – New York, 2006.
- PHILIPS Gérard, “Dogmatic Constitution on the Church. History of the Constitution” in Vorgrimler Herbert (ed.), Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II, Vol, 1, Herder and Herder, London, 1967, 105-137.
- PLACHER William C. (ed.), Callings. Twenty Centuries of Christian Wisdom on Vocation, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI – Cambridge 2005.
- SARTORI Luigi, “Il tema della Santità nella ‘Lumen Gentium’” in Credereoggi, n. 47, (5/1988), 57-68.
- SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, 21 November 1964.
- SHELDRAKE Philip, Images of Holiness. Explorations in Contemporary Spirituality, Ave Maria, Notre Dame IN, 1987.
- WULF Friedrich, “Introductory Remarks on Chapters V and VI” and “The Call of the Whole Church to Holiness” in Vorgrimler Herbert (ed.), Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II, Vol, 1, Herder and Herder, London, 1967, 253-260; 261-272.


Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Presentation Yes 30%
Assignment Yes 70%

LECTURER/S Charlo Camilleri

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.

Augustinian Institute Academic Year 2017-18

 Click here for more information


Dissertation Logbook
The Dissertation Logbook can be found here.


Log In back to UoM Homepage