The Catholic University of America

Sheen with CUA students
The caption accompanying this photo in the 1950 edition of The Cardinal, CUA's yearbook read: "Msgr. Fulton J. Sheen, renowned orator, in a post-lecture discussion with members of the student body."
 

Courses Taught by Sheen 

Following is a partial list of courses taught by Fulton J. Sheen during his 23 years of teaching at Catholic University.

  


 

1926-1930: School of Theology

Philosophy of Religion
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12 p.m.–1 p.m., Wednesdays 7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

(a) God and Religion in contemporary thought. A critical study in light of the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas. Present-day conceptions of Religion: the attempt to adapt Religion to the new psychology and new physics. Anti-intellectualist tendencies in present-day Philosophy of Religion and religious experience as its substitute.

(b) Historical origins of the above conception of religion; Rationalism, Romanticism, and Pragmatism.

(c) Critical appreciation of the modern idea of god and Religion in light of the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas.
 

Philosophy of the Christian Religion
Wednesdays and Fridays, 11 a.m.12 p.m., Thursdays 7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

(a) Evolution of the Protestant idea of Religion from the sixteenth century to the present day: Christianity without Christ and the Religion of Experience

(b) The Catholic Doctrine of the Church as the Historical Continuation of the Incarnation and as the Mystical Body of Christ, with special reference to the doctrines of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas.
 

1936/1937: School of Philosophy.

603, 604 – Science and Religion
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:10 p.m.

613, 614 – The Modern Idea of God in the Light of St. Thomas Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:10 p.m.
 

1937/1938: School of Philosophy

623, 624 – God and Society
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:10 p.m.
The transcendence and immanence of God in relation to the universe. Analogically, the transcendence and immanence of man made to God’s image and likeness in relation to society.
 

1938/1939: School of Philosophy

Philosophy of Science
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:10 p.m.

1939/1940: School of Philosophy

623, 624, God and Society
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:10 p.m.

625, 626, Seminar in Philosophy of Religion

1940/1941: School of Philosophy

623, 624, God and Society
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:10 p.m.

625, 626, Seminar in Philosophy of Religion

1941/1942: School of Philosophy

621, 622, God and Modern Philosophy
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:10 p.m.
The surrender of the scientific approach to God in favor of the philosophical and historical in modern philosophy. The transcendence and immanence of God as co-relative in the philosophy of St. Thomas and as mutually exclusive in modern philosophy. Critical refutation of the latter in the light of St. Thomas.

623, 624, Seminar in Natural Theology
 

1942/1943: School of Philosophy

623, 624, God and Society
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:10 p.m.

623, 624, Seminar in Natural Theology

1943/1944: School of Philosophy

God and Modern Philosophy
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:10 p.m.

623, 624, Seminar in Natural Theology


1944/1945: School of Philosophy

623, 624, God and Society
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:10 p.m.

623, 624, Seminar in Natural Theology


1945/1946: School of Philosophy

God and Modern Philosophy
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:10 p.m.

625, 626, Seminar in Philosophy of Religion


1946/1947: School of Philosophy

623, 624, God and Society
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:10 p.m.

623, 624, Seminar in Natural Theology


1947/1948: School of Philosophy

621, 622, Humanism and Religion
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:10 p.m.
Greek Drama as an aid to Greek Philosophy in the study of man in relation to God. The modern concept in Neibuhr, Barth, Kierkegaard, Brunner, Joad evaluated in light of the Philosophy of St. Thomas.

623, 624, Seminar in Natural Theology


1948/1949: School of Philosophy

623, 624, God and Society

623, 624, Seminar in Natural Theology

(Both classes also taught in Latin by Sheen.)


1949/1950: School of Philosophy

621, 622. Philosophy of Religion II
The swing from an optimistic to a pessimistic view of human nature. Analysis of the philosophy of Kierkegaard, Barth, Brunner, Freud, Neibuhr, Joad and others. Critiques in the light of the tensions revealed in man in Summa I-II of St. Thomas.
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:10 p.m.

623, 624, Seminar in Natural Theology

(Both classes also taught in Latin by Sheen.)


1950/1951: School of Philosophy

621, 622, Philosophy of Religion III
The non-intellectual factors of belief in St. Thomas. The importance of good will, the effect of immorality, and passions on ascent. The over-emphasis of these factors in Existentialism. Critique of Heidegger, Jaspers, Sartre, Marcel, and other Existentialists in the light of the Intellectualism of St. Thomas.
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:10 p.m.

623, 623, Seminar in Philosophy of Religion

 

 

 


 

Sheen on Teaching

The following excerpts from "Treasures in Clay," Sheen's autobiography, offer insights about his love for teaching.


block quoteFor many years our dean in the School of Philosophy was Father Ignatius Smith, a Dominican, who as not only a most brilliant teacher, but also a most renowned preacher. My class every afternoon was at four o’clock. Before going into the classroom which immediately adjoined Dr. Smith’s, I would go in and visit with him for ten minutes. He would walk out of the office with me and tell me a funny story as I was on my way to the classroom, so that I would enter the classroom laughing. My association with Dr. Smith, which lasted for years, was one of the happiest of my life.”


block quoteI loved teaching. I loved it because it seemed so close to the prolongation of the Divine Word.”


block quoteWhen I first went to the School of Philosophy I was teaching natural theology. I found that I was using some of the same notes that I had used before and, therefore, was not growing intellectually. I then decided to give a new course every year, but one that was related always to natural theology and to the existence and nature of God. So the courses throughout the years varied. There would be a course on the philosophy of history; another year the philosophy of Marxism, another the philosophy of religion, the philosophy of science, etc. All these were presented in the light of the thought of St. Thomas.”


block quoteI also spent a minimum of at least six hours in preparation for every single hour of lecture in class. It is very easy for a professor to turn into a kind of dried-up intellectual without constant stimulation and study.”


block quoteI felt a deep moral obligation to students; that is why I spent so many hours in preparation for each class. In an age of social justice one phase that seems neglected is the moral duty of professors to give their students a just return for their tuition. This applies not only to the method of teaching but to the content as well. A teacher who himself does not learn is no teacher. Teaching is one of the noblest vocations on earth, for, in the last analysis, the purpose of all education is the knowledge and love of truth.”


block quoteSome practices I observed in teaching were the following: my first rule was never sit. Fires cannot be started seated. If the students would have to 'stand' for my lectures, I ought to stand for them.”


block quoteI have given thousands of lectures but very few have ever been written out – either for the classroom or for general audiences. I always felt justified for not reading in the classroom or the pulpit by remembering a remark I once heard an old Irish woman make concerning a bishop who was reading a speech: 'Glory be to God, if he can't remember it, how does he expect us to?' "



block quoteMy courses at the university not only had the regular registered students, but there were always auditors – in fact so many that chairs had to be brought in for almost every afternoon lecture. One afternoon just before I went into class, a distinguished, slightly graying gentleman came to be and said: 'I want to talk with you; it is very important.' I said: 'I am about to begin my class; if you wish, you may come in and after class I will see you.' I was talking on the Soviet Constitution that particular afternoon. . ."
(Afterward, Sheen, who had been suspicious of the visitor, described him to a friend who was an FBI agent. The agent told Sheen the man was a well known Communist spy, and that Sheen's life was in danger.)