Research Paper Ideas?


#1

Ok, long story short, I’m allowed to choose anything to write about for a research paper for school. This is at a high school level, but nothing is off limits for the most part, although they do recommend straying away from controversal issues.

I really want to write about something regarding Catholicism.

It needs to be a little arguementative. I was thinking about writing about litergical traditions and how as a result the Church to thrives in all parts of the world and maintains the ability to be a universal Church. It’s something I don’t know too much about but am interested in learning more.

OR I might do something about about the different orders like Jesuits, Marianists etc… but I feel like that’s not as strong as the first topic and doesn’t really argue anything?

So if anyone has any suggestions, I’d love to hear them!


#2

I think your first topic on liturgy would be very rich. There are many directions you could go with it. You can start by looking at the Liturgy forum here to see that people can get very argumentative about liturgy. And yet despite differences of opinion locally, and differences in liturgical traditions globally, we are one Church, united in one Body and Blood of Christ. Rather amazing.


#3

The Eucharist, Apostolic Succession, Mariology, Infalibility, Scripture and Tradition... The list goes on and on :p


#4

The relationships between predestination, grace, and free will.

Just kidding! Definitely one of the most frustrating topics you’ll ever come across.:rolleyes:

My serious suggestion:

Stay away from liturgical matters. It may sound innocent enough at first, but it’s also a really complicated and for some people really controversial and passion-stirring subject.

If you are attracted to the subject of religious orders and need to be a little argumentative while avoiding great controversy, you might consider the variety of charisms of the various orders. In particular, for the sake of an easier paper, you might divide them into contemplative orders, like the Cistercians and Carthusians, and active orders like the Jesuits, and ask which path is better. You could look at potential arguments for and against each way of life and then (I hope) conclude that both have a valid place in the Church.


#5

Actually, I'd suggest that you go through about 3 months of threads from the Liturgy and Sacraments forum here at CA, find a question that interests you, and then go out and read the primary documents that will undoubtedly be cited by the posters. Generally speaking, you can find the entire text of most Church documents if you put the title in a search engine and then go to the citation that comes up under the vatican.va website.

As far finding a question about which you can be "a little argumentative" without straying into "too controversial", I would suggest a topic about which there is vocal misunderstanding among people who have little understanding of the subject, but not a lot of disagreement among people who actually know the facts surrounding the question. Again, I think you'll see similar questions coming up again and again. Look for a question has a provocative first post, does get more than a few responses, but doesn't get over 30 or 40. (Stay 100 miles away from anything that got locked.) If you don't see what you're looking for, start looking for threads that got more responses. If you don't find the question you want, I bet a suitably specific question will come to your own mind.

Have fun!!

PS Don't neglect to look up citations given in the footnotes of the Church documents. Pure gold.


#6

Thank you for your responses!

I don't feel that liturgical matters would be controversial? I attend a public school and the English teachers I could potentially have next year are not Catholic. As long as I stay within Catholic litergery rather than other denominations of Christianity, I feel I would not be at risk for offending anyone?

I've also considered papal infalibility but feel that could lead to controversy.

Overall, my vision of a paper concerning litergical matters would simply present different customs and then tie them together ultimately supporting how universal the Church is?

The controversy some people might feel towards this matter could even be something I touch upon in my paper but that would require a lot of thought before doing so.


#7

[quote="Flamingo, post:1, topic:248158"]
Ok, long story short, I'm allowed to choose anything to write about for a research paper for school. This is at a high school level, but nothing is off limits for the most part, although they do recommend straying away from controversal issues.

I really want to write about something regarding Catholicism.

It needs to be a little arguementative. I was thinking about writing about litergical traditions and how as a result the Church to thrives in all parts of the world and maintains the ability to be a universal Church. It's something I don't know too much about but am interested in learning more.

OR I might do something about about the different orders like Jesuits, Marianists etc.. but I feel like that's not as strong as the first topic and doesn't really argue anything?

So if anyone has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them!

[/quote]

What about the effects that religion has had on society. People claim that they don't want religion in their lives but. Take the day of the dead in Mexico. Even non Catholics celebrate it but the basis is based on the liturgical calendar and the feast of all saints and all souls day. There are these types of customs that over lap in all different cultrals.


#8

Ok, so out of a lot of thinking and a few good conversations with my friend and we both agreed papal infallibility would be a safe topic. It's not too controversial but still arguementative enough to be interesting.

I'm thinking that it would be really interesting to look why papal infallibility exists and what it means within the context of the Church, but I haven't really thought about it too much.

Does that sound ok?


#9

[quote="Flamingo, post:8, topic:248158"]
Ok, so out of a lot of thinking and a few good conversations with my friend and we both agreed papal infallibility would be a safe topic. It's not too controversial but still arguementative enough to be interesting.

I'm thinking that it would be really interesting to look why papal infallibility exists and what it means within the context of the Church, but I haven't really thought about it too much.

Does that sound ok?

[/quote]

That is a topic that very few people understand, even within the Church. It is a fairly narrow topic, and there is a great deal of interest in it. I think you could do a good paper on that, particularly if you are careful to make a distinction between papal authority and papal infallibility.

I still remember many research papers I did when the question was interesting. Work hard and have fun!!


#10

[quote="Flamingo, post:8, topic:248158"]
Ok, so out of a lot of thinking and a few good conversations with my friend and we both agreed papal infallibility would be a safe topic. It's not too controversial but still arguementative enough to be interesting.

I'm thinking that it would be really interesting to look why papal infallibility exists and what it means within the context of the Church, but I haven't really thought about it too much.

Does that sound ok?

[/quote]

I like it. :thumbsup:


#11

The following is anything but easy, but my son wrote a college paper (in a state college and his prof was a Baptist minister on the side) about the following and got an A+ on it.

His thesis was that, while protestant groups are not conscious of it, a large portion of what they believe is not really part of the doctrine of their own church, but is a part of a sort of "cultural overlay" resulting from the Catholic roots of western civilization...sort of like the whisper of the big bang which, astrophysicists tell us, is coming at us from all directions.

I can't exactly recall how he did it, but he took some of the faith statements of various churches, then pointed out some of the things they commonly believe that aren't in those faith statements, then pointed out how they are actually part of the teachings of the Catholic Church and have been for centuries, using Catholic references for them.

He included some statements about the Church that were said by non-Catholics including, I believe, Edward Koch, who said something to the effect that the Church is a constant that one can always refer to.

He had a concluding line that went something to the effect that to the West, the Church and its doctrinal heritage are like the Pole Star at sea. Mariners aren't all necessarily heading north toward it, but they do use it to guide their way.

His prof spoke to him after he read it and told my son it really made him think.

It really is true, by the way. I have at times handed a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to a protestant and asked him/her how much of it he/she disagreed with. Other than some specific things about Church structure and the Eucharist, they are hard put to disagree with very much of its immense content, even though not a tiny fraction of it is in the faith statements of their own churches.

But as I recall, it really was a tough topic to work up, or so he said. And too, my son is a pugnacious sort of fellow and was really taking a risk handing that to a Baptist minister professor in a state college.


#12

[quote="Ridgerunner, post:11, topic:248158"]
.....But as I recall, it really was a tough topic to work up, or so he said. And too, my son is a pugnacious sort of fellow and was really taking a risk handing that to a Baptist minister professor in a state college.

[/quote]

Would LOVE to read that!


#13

Me too…Maybe you have future apologists on your hands.


#14

[quote="faithfully, post:12, topic:248158"]
Would LOVE to read that!

[/quote]

Same.

Thanks again for your imput everyone!

I think pointing out the difference between papal authority and papal infallibility is a really strong point so thank you Easterjoy for that suggestion.

I don't know exacltly where I want this to go yet, but I think I'm going to start working on a basic thesis statement that is something about how within the context of the Church, papal infallibility binds Catholics together or something? It's late, so my brain is a little fried so I'm not really sure.


#15

[quote="beckers, post:13, topic:248158"]
Me too...Maybe you have future apologists on your hands.

[/quote]

I wish I had a copy of it myself. If he has a copy, it would be in those boxes of miscellany a student eventually collects and puts in an attic or garage, then discards ten or twenty years later when there's no more storage room.

I certainly hope he is a future apologist. He really has studied it. Perhaps not too surprisingly, he recently married a wonderful young lady who, after college, obtained her Master's in theology from the John Paul II institute. I would no more get into a theological dispute with them than I would try to fly to the moon on a Fourth of July rocket. Interestingly, I don't think there is the slightest difference in what the two of them believe. Good thing.


#16

Something about our beliefs would be highly educational for the others. They have so many misconceptions about our faith. My daughter had a protestant teacher, more than once say something ignorant.

So if you stick to the facts with the catechism, and documents produced by the church, and even some history, you could educated about something they would have questions but would clear up some kind of ignorance.


#17

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