James V. Schall

About James V. Schall

Rev. James V. Schall, S.J., is a teacher, writer, and philosopher. Having served as Professor of Political Philosophy in the Department of Government at Georgetown University, Fr. Schall is the author of many books, including The Life of the Mind: On the Joys and Travails of Thinking, Catholicism and Intelligence, and A Line Through the Human Heart: On Sinning and Being Forgiven.

Is Barack Obama Our Worst President?

By |2017-07-31T23:48:04-05:00January 17th, 2017|Categories: Barack Obama, Fr. James Schall, Politics, Presidency, Tyranny|

President Obama’s Muslim and community-organizing backgrounds were both traditions that had almost nothing to do with what we once understood to be Western civilization, with its unique American gloss… In the sweepstakes for which of our presidents was the worst, the usual candidates are James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, and Warren Harding. When William Jefferson [...]

On the Deaths of Plato and Eric Voegelin

By |2017-07-31T23:48:05-05:00August 28th, 2016|Categories: Books, Christianity, Eric Voegelin, Featured, Fr. James Schall, Plato, Socrates, Timeless Essays|

Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords readers the opportunity to join Fr. James Schall as he contemplates the similarities between the death of Plato and the death of one of Plato’s more recent scholars, Eric Voegelin. —W. Winston Elliott III, Publisher But there is another sort of old age too: the tranquil [...]

Is Social Justice a Right?

By |2019-03-11T15:33:37-05:00March 25th, 2016|Categories: Culture, Family, Featured, Fr. James Schall, Justice, Virtue|

For much of my academic life, I considered the terms, “values,” “rights,” and “social justice,” to have equivocal meanings. When these terms were used without clarification, they disrupted any fair social order. Each of the phrases had two or more meanings that usually meant the direct opposite of each other. Conversations and legislation in [...]

Can Catholic Education Be Redeemed?

By |2017-07-31T23:48:09-05:00March 18th, 2016|Categories: Catholicism, Education, Fr. James Schall, Tracey Rowland|

The annual Cardinal Winning Lecture on Catholic Education, sponsored by the St. Andrew’s Foundation, was delivered on February 6, 2016, at the University of Glasgow in Scotland by Tracey Rowland, the Australian theologian and Director of the John Paul II Institute in Melbourne. Rowland is the author of two books on Benedict XVI and [...]

Should We Build Walls?

By |2017-07-31T23:48:09-05:00March 3rd, 2016|Categories: Featured, Foreign Affairs, Fr. James Schall, Immigration, Politics, Pope Francis, Presidency|

The recent spat of words between Pope Francis and Donald Trump over the relative merits of bridges and walls deserves some further comment. Both words, “bridge” and “wall,” have their precise meanings. As such, though they are not the same thing, they are not opposed to each other. We need them both. If we [...]

Is There a Patron Saint of Teachers?

By |2019-10-24T15:46:08-05:00July 25th, 2015|Categories: Christianity, Education, Featured, Fr. James Schall, Liberal Learning|Tags: |

“Your total ignorance of that which you profess to teach merits the death penalty. I doubt whether you would know that St. Cassian of Imola was stabbed to death by his students with their styli. His death, a martyr’s honorable one, made him a patron saint of teachers.” —Ignatius Reilly, in John Kennedy Toole’s, [...]

Jonathan Swift: Vexing the Rascally World

By |2017-07-31T23:48:15-05:00June 26th, 2015|Categories: Fr. James Schall, Jonathan Swift, Literature|Tags: |

Jonathan Swift In a letter of Jonathan Swift (1667–1745) addressed to the poet Alexander Pope (1688–1744), dated September 29, 1725, Swift spoke of returning to the grand monde of Dublin to deal with various curates and vicars, and to “correct all corruptions crept in relating to the weights of bread and butter throughout [...]

The Enduring Nature of Scholasticism

By |2019-10-24T11:06:18-05:00February 10th, 2015|Categories: Aristotle, Books, Christendom, Christianity, Classics, Featured, Fr. James Schall, Science, St. Thomas Aquinas|

“Truth is the self-manifestation and state of evidence of real things. Consequently, truth is something secondary, following from something else. Truth does not exist for itself alone. Primary and precedent to it are existing things, the real. Knowledge of truth, therefore, aims ultimately not at ‘truth’ but, strictly speaking, at gaining sight of reality.” [...]

Obama’s “Right to Worship” Ushers in New State Religion

By |2017-07-31T23:48:19-05:00March 20th, 2014|Categories: Barack Obama, Christianity, Fr. James Schall, Religion, Thomas Jefferson|Tags: |

The constitutions or laws of many nations provide for what is called “religious liberty.” In practice, this liberty is under severe restrictions in numerous countries, if it exists at all. The fact is that no one can really talk about religious freedom without examining what the “religion” holds. Grace builds on nature but does not [...]

On the Measure and Conservation of Human Things

By |2017-07-31T23:48:21-05:00October 28th, 2013|Categories: C.S. Lewis, Christianity, Fr. James Schall, Politics, Walker Percy|Tags: , |

For the truth of knowledge is measured by the knowable object. For it is because a thing is so or is not so that a statement is known to be true or false, and not the reverse.—Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on Aristotle’s Metaphysics, Book 5,1.17, #1003 A people that were to honor falsehood, defamation, fraud, [...]

On the Place of Augustine in Political Philosophy

By |2019-10-30T12:32:16-05:00August 28th, 2013|Categories: Christianity, Fr. James Schall, Literature, Political Philosophy, Political Science Reviewer, St. Augustine|

“Shall it (the happy life) be that of the philosophers, who put forward as the chief good, the good which is in ourselves? Is this the true good? Have they found the remedy for our ills? Is man’s pride cured by placing him on an equality with God?”— Pascal, Pensēes, #430. “Salvation, such as it [...]

On Leisure & Culture: Why Human Things Exist & Why They Are “Unimportant”

By |2017-07-31T23:48:28-05:00July 25th, 2013|Categories: Aristotle, Christianity, Classics, Culture, Fr. James Schall, Plato|Tags: |

Let me begin by citing two passages that graphically underscore the themes that I wish to consider here—the things of leisure and culture, of what is and its surprising origins. The first lines are from Gregory of Nazianzen, the great Eastern theologian: What benefactor has enabled you to look out upon the beauty of [...]