R. J. Snell

R. J. Snell lives and gardens (or at least watches his children garden) just outside of Philadelphia in Havertown, a place where Sinatra, baseball games, and cigar smoke waft from his neighbors' porches onto his own. If Philadelphia had colder and longer winters, as this Canadian thinks natural and fitting, it would be almost perfect. The fact that his four children and wife live there (almost) redeems the overly warm weather.

He directs the philosophy program at Eastern University, in St. Davids, PA. He also co-directs the Agora Insitute for Civic Virtue and the Common Good, a research center devoted to understanding and sustaining the virtues and institutions of human flourishing.

The author of Through a Glass Darkly: Bernard Lonergan and Richard Rorty on Knowing without a God's-Eye View, and the forthcoming (with Steve Cone) Authentic Cosmopolitanism, he writes and teaches on Thomas Aquinas and contemporary Thomism, Bernard Lonergan, natural law, decent life, and the liberal arts.

Laudato Si’ and the Feverish Summer

For many, this summer was long, hot, and awful — at least politically; no one particularly recalls the weather. Why so rotten? Laudato si’, Obergefell, Planned Parenthood, and Trump. The less said about Trump the better, a judgment ma...

Contemplation and the Empire of Desire

Philadelphia, PA R. R. Reno of First Things has recently identified the “Empire of Desire” by its odd combination of regulation and libertinism. On the one hand, we cannot ride a bicycle without a helmet or let our children play in the park...

Rollin Coal and the Empire of Desire

Thanks to a good friend, I’m now up to speed on the phenomenon of “Rollin Coal,” which one commentator describes as “a new trend in which anti-environmentalist idiots with nothing better to do modify their diesel engined trucks to burn fuel...

Natural Law and Love

The following is an excerpt from R.J. Snell’s new book The Perspective of Love: Natural Law in a New Mode. Preface: According to the rightly celebrated theorist J. Budziszewski, natural law is a fact, a “feature of the world having to...

A Tale of Two Bodies

With pollen blanketing my car, I stopped by a “local” pharmacy on the way to work this morning. It’s an impressive new building, with a substantial parking lot, gleaming façade, and amenities scattered throughout the aisles. Certainly it wa...

Slow Growth and Living Form

Everything seeks its own perfection or completion, and, moreover, seeks this perfection in a way proper to itself. Since both the end sought and the way of seeking are attuned to the thing’s nature, actions can violate a thing’s integrity b...

What You Need to Know About Bernard Lonergan, S. J.

From the distance of 750 years, Thomas Aquinas can seem quite the stodgy fellow—not just old school but the old school. One needs to look a little closer to realize the exuberance of his work, not only in its robust confidence about the ord...

Veritatis Splendor at 20—Lessons for Localists

Veritatis Splendor, John Paul II’s encyclical letter, The Splendor of Truth, is now twenty years old. Promulgated August 6, 1993, the letter addressed fundamental issues in moral theology, responding particularly to certain revisionist or d...