The Catholic University of America Press

The Mind That Is Catholic

Philosophical and Political Essays

James V. Schall

Paper 978-0-8132-1541-9 $34.95
November 2008 In Print Add to Cart
E-Book 978-0-8132-1826-7 $34.95
August 2012 In Print Add to Cart

James V. Schall is a treasure of the Catholic intellectual tradition. A prolific author and essayist, Schall readily connects with his readers on sundry topics from war to friendship, philosophy, politics, and to ordinary everyday living. In his newest work, The Mind That Is Catholic, he presents a retrospective collection of his academic and literary essays written in the past fifty years. In each essay, he exemplifies the Catholic mind at its best--seeing the whole, leaving nothing out.

The "Catholic mind" seeks to recognize a consistent and coherent relation between the solid things of reason and the definite facts of revelation. Its thought aims to understand how they belong together in a fruitful manner, each profiting from the other; each being what it is. The Catholic mind is not a confusion of disparate sources. It respects and makes distinctions. It sees where things separate. It is in fact delighted by what is.

This delightful book is not polemical, but contemplative in mood. Schall shares with readers a mind that is constantly struck by how things fit together when seen in full light. He brings to his work a lifetime of study in political philosophy, a wide-ranging discipline that, in many ways, is the most immediate context in which reason and revelation meet. The Mind That Is Catholic respects what can be known by faith alone. But it also considers what is known by faith to be itself intelligible to a mind actively thinking on political and philosophical things. The whole, at the risk of its own contradiction, does not exclude the intelligibility of what is revealed.

"Father James V. Schall is one of the few renaissance men still among us. His knowledge of various areas of reality and human endeavor is encyclopedic. Dealing with important abstract ideas, he is able to put flesh on them so that the ordinary reader can grasp easily what he is getting at. Schall is the apostle of truth and reality, since he is always reminding the reader to consult that which is."--Kenneth Baker, S.J., Editor, Homiletic & Pastoral Review

James V. Schall is professor of political philosophy at Georgetown University. He is the author of hundreds of essays on political, theological, literary, and philosophical issues and numerous books including Schall on Chesterton: Timely Essays on Timeless Paradoxes, At the Limits of Political Philosophy: From "Brilliant Errors" to Things of Uncommon Importance, On the Unseriousness of Human Affairs, and Another Sort of Learning.


"In each essay, he exemplifies the Catholic mind at its best--seeing the whole, leaving nothing out. . . . He brings to his work a lifetime of study in political philosophy, a wide-ranging discipline that, in many ways, is the most immediate context in which reason and revelation meet." -- National Jesuit News

"While sudoku might keep your mind limber and fit, Fr. James V. Schall's The Mind That Is Catholic: Philosophical and Political Essays will challenge you to a higher level. . . . Fr. Schall covers a myriad of timely topics. . . . In a world of instant messaging and immediate gratification The Mind That Is Catholic calls us to a greater understanding of what matters most." -- Elizabeth Yank, Lay Witness

"The Mind That Is Catholic, is a learned, insightful and stimulating collection. . . . [Schall] does a fine job of showing how faith and reason, when working together, deepen and illuminate our understanding of reality, not least political reality. . . . The Mind That Is Catholic will be of interest to scholars, graduate and undergraduate students, and to the intellectually adventurous general reader." -- William Gould, America

"For decades Fr. Schall has enlightened and entertained readers as one of America's most prolific Catholic authors. Now an octogenarian, Schall has collected twenty-two essays that exhibit the essence of the Catholic mind: "to be open to all things, including those things revealed to us, insofar as we can grasp them." . . . Schall's true joy lies not in the answers but in the pursuit, which, as he often notes, ultimately points beyond this world." -- David G. Bonagura, First Things

"All of the essays in this book circle around the point that knowledge received from revelation does not contradict knowledge acquired through reason. . . . This collection of essays reflects a traditional understanding of the relation of faith and reason." -- Lucien J. Richard, OMI, Catholic Library World

"These Philosophical and Political Essays by James V. Schall, S.J., professor of political philosophy at Georgetown University, are nothing less than the intellectual biography of a leading Catholic teacher/scholar and an invitation to join in his quest and celebration of the life of the mind. Those who have read Father Schall for years . . . will find this book a capstone to be relished and returned to time and time again. Those who meet Father Schall for the first time in The Mind That Is Catholic will be invited to join in his reflections and meditations on the essential questions of human life. . . . This collection belongs in every college and university library and, if used as supplemental readings, Father Schall's insights and reflections could provide the basis for important and much needed "conversations" in politics, philosophy, and religion courses. But this is not a book to be read lightly or to be read at just one or two sittings. Each essay deserves to be read, digested, and re-read while also discovering and reviewing its sources." -- Michael R. Dillon, American Catholic Studies

"[I]t is impossible to convey a sense of the riches to be found in these essays culled from a lifetime of writings. Most important, though, Fr. Schall has achieved his goal in these pages and has made utterly clear what is unique and previous about the mind that is Catholic."--Anne Barbeau Gardiner, New Oxford Review

Product Details

Pages:xi, 337 pages

Dimensions:6x9 inches


CIP Information: 2008020523/ BX1793.S325 2008/ 282--dc22


1. Christianity and politics--Catholic Church

2. Political science--Philosophy