Paschal Mystery Unit

This unit plan is a resource for The Paschal Mystery: Storytelling and Media Literacy contributed by Adam P. Zoeller.

School: Saint Xavier High School, Louisville, KY
Department: Theology
Course: Course Ill: The Paschal Mystery (USCCB Curriculum Framework) Academic Unit of Study: Paschal Mystery

Learning Objectives:

1. Explain the relationship between salvation history and Christian Anthropology.
2. Define spiritual poverty.
3. Examine the Paschal Mystery in relation to one’s faith life.
4. Explain the Problem of Evil in light of the Book of Job.
5. Differentiate between theological and cardinal virtues.
6. Identify and explain the 7 capital sins.
7. Describe the relationship between original justice, original holiness and original sin.
8. Analyze the wounds of original sin according to Saint Thomas Aquinas.
9. Identify the two causes of suffering in our world.
10. Describe necessary loss and provide examples.
11. Examine Isaiah’s Suffering Servant.
12. Define depression and learned helplessness.
13. Identify and explain the stages of grief.
14. Provide examples of defense mechanisms.
15. Apply themes of injustice and disorder to the film.
16. Examine how the Dark Knight Rises can be seen as an allegory.
17. Differentiate between the 1st Adam and the 2nct Adam using knowledge of typology.
18. Apply Resurrection Themes to your life as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

Technology Implementation: The Dark Knight Rises (2012) – Christopher Nolan, Director


• Individual Student Reflection
• Class Discussions
• Teach er Lecture
• Guidance Department Presentation
• Formative Activities: Lectio Divina, Meditation, Rosary, Celebration of Eucharist
• Film, The Dark Knight Rises


• Saint Xavier High School Guidance Department (Stages of Grief)
• Thomas Merton’s A New Birth excerpt from “Rebirth of the New Man in Christianity from Love and Living
• New American Bible -John 3:1-8
• Saint Thomas Aquinas Wounds of Original Sin
• Catechism of the Catholic Church #26, 1706, 601, 2558, 561, 1714,1171, 512
• Coon & Mitterer (2012). Psychology Modules for Active Learning 12th Edition: Wadworth, Cengage Learning.
• Koch, Carl (2003). Creating a Christian Lifestyle: Saint Mary’s Press.
• The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
• The Risen One: Living the Paschal Mystery as Disciples of Christ. (2012). Our Sunday Visitor
o Chapter & Section: 1.4, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 7.2, 7.4, 8.1, 8.2, 8.4

Assessments: Paschal Mystery Objective Test & Living the Paschal Mystery Project

Paschal Mystery Unit

Objective: To apply themes of the Paschal Mystery.

Directions: Create a Keynote presentation that examines a person who has experienced the Paschal Mystery in their lifetime. You may choose someone special in your life or you may create the project examining your own life. If you struggle to complete this project under these expectations, you may see the teacher choose a person from history who has experienced the Paschal Mystery.

• Refer to the Unit of Study for reading sections from the textbook & the Catechism of the Catholic Church to assist in your understanding of the material and execution of this project.
• You will be telling a story as you explain and/or apply themes of the Paschal Mystery.

Rubric: 100 points based on the following


Paschal Mystery Unit



Chapters & Sections to Read in this Unit – The Risen One (2012) Our Sunday Visitor: 1.4, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 7.2, 7.4, 8.1, 8.2, 8.4
Catechism of the Catholic Church References: 2558, 561, 1706, 1714,601, 1171, 512

Guided Questions for the Dark Knight Rises (2012)

1. Examine the title of the film as a reflection of the Paschal Mystery.
2. Define original justice and original holiness. Analyze how Gotham City has fallen away from these ideas.
3. Identify the two sources of suffering.
4. Provide a definition for necessary loss.
5. Provide an example of necessary loss for Bruce Wayne.
6. Define clinical depression.
7. Evaluate Bruce Wayne’s mental state at the beginning of the film. Refer to presentation by Guidance on the Stages of Grief.
8. Explain how Alfred is an example of the Old Testament archetype of prophet.
9. Read Isaiah 52:13-53:12. Explain how the treatment of the “Batman” by the police and the community as a whole reflects themes of the Suffering Servant.
10. Bane is defined as a person or thing that ruins or spoils. For example, gambling was the bane of his existence. Another definition is death; destruction; ruin. Do these definitions capture the essence of the character in the film? Explain.
11. What does the “pit in the ancient part of the world” represent in light of your knowledge of Paschal Mystery?
12. Define hope. Compare this to fatalism.
13. Provide examples of Saint Thomas Aquinas’ wounds of original sin from the movie. Choose from ignorance, malice, weakness, and disorder.
14. Describe the 3 scenes from the film that include “resurrection” themes.
15. How is Bruce Wayne transformed through suffering?
16. Can Alfred also be compared to Saint Peter in regards to Peter’s denial of Christ? Why or why not?
17. Compare Talia al Ghul with Judas Iscariot.
18. Using the title of this course, The Mission of Jesus, explain what the inclusion of the character Robin represents at the end of the movie.
19. Apply any of the theological virtues or cardinal virtues to the film.
20. Apply any of the capital sins to the film.

Guided Questions for Thomas Merton’s, A New Birth

Read the excerpt by Thomas Merton called a New Birth from the essay Rebirth and the New Man in Christianity. (Love and Living -1979). This excerpt can be found on pages 62-67 in Thomas Merton Essential Writings (2000).

1. What is meant by a new creation in relation to an inner revolution?
2. According to Merton, why does one look to be born again? Compare this idea to Bishop Robert Barron reflection on Saint Thomas Aquinas’ substitutions for God.
3. Provide a possible explanation or application to the following line from Merton, “he feels himself a prisoner in himself, depressed and weighed down by the falsity and illusions of his own life.”
4. Compete the following sentence, “to be born again is not to become somebody else, but…”
5. In order to become a new self, what must happen to the old self?
6. Analyze Merton’s explanation of being born again in regards to the ego and being born of the spirit.

Resource: Bochen, Christine M. Thomas Merton Essential Writings (2000). Orbis Books: Maryknoll, NY.

Resources for Paschal Mystery unit featuring the film, The Dark Knight Rises

Aquinas, Thomas (1948). Summa Theologica. Translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province. 5 vols. Westminster, MD: Christian Classics.
Bochen, Christine M. (2000). Thomas Merton Essential Writings. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books
Coon & Mitterer (2012). Psychology Modules for Active Learning Jih Edition: Independence, KY: Wadsworth Cengage Leaming.
Koch, Carl (2003). Creating a Christian Lifestyle: Winona, MN: Saint Mary’s Press.
Kubler-Ross, Elisabeth (1969). On Death and Dying. New York, NY: Macmillan Publishing Company.
Nolan, Christopher, Thomas, Emma, and Raven, Charles (Producers). Christopher Nolan.
(Director). (2012). The Dark Knight Rises. Warner Bros., Legendary Pictures, Syncopy, DC Entertainment.
The Risen One: Living the Paschal Mystery as Disciples of Christ. (2012). Huntington, IN.: Our Sunday Visitor.
New American Bible. (1991) .. New York, NY: Catholic Book Publishing Co.
Catechism of the Catholic Church 2nd Edition. (1994). (#26, 1706, 601, 2558, 561, 1714, 1171, 512). Washington, D.C.: United States Catholic Conference, Inc.

Adam P. Zoeller
B.A. Religious Studies Spalding University, Louisville, KY 2002
B.A. Clinical Psychology Spalding University, Louisville, KY 2003
M.Ed. in Educational Leadership University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 2009
Master Catechist Certification Archdiocese of Louisville 2004
Experience: 14 years teaching, current theology department chair Saint Xavier High School Louisville, KY
Educational Philosophy “I believe in Christianity as I believe the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it, I see everything else.” – C.S. Lewis