06 October 2007

Tentative Plans/Discernment Woes

This isn't me. . .but this is how I feel!

Asking for prayers. . .again!

The discernment process for my next assignment is slowly coming to a close.

I have been praying over and thinking about and discussing with my superiors two options:

1) a full-time affiliate teaching position at the University of Dallas in English and theology and

2) advanced studies in philosophical theology/philosophical hermeneutics, leading to some sort of license or doctorate.

It is almost certain that I will not be continuing at U.D. as a teacher or campus minister. This leaves the advanced studies option. Now, the discernment begins again in earnest about where to study and at what level. Advanced studies requires that I gather a great deal of info about costs and financial aid, proper location for studies (a university at or near an OP priory), availability of room/board at the priory, the degree program and availability of faculty in the area I am to study, and on and on and on. I have to do this research for each university to which I will be applying.

So, where am I thinking about going? In order of preference:

1. Oxford University (M.Phil. in phil theo/hermeneutics & D.Phil. in same) 4 yrs

2. Gregorian Pontifical University (license and doctorate in phil theo/hermeneutics) 4 yrs

3. Catholic University of America (Ph.L. in phil , no Ph.D.--US doctorates take too long)* 3 yrs

4. John Lateran Pontifical University (lic./doc. in phil theo/hermeneutics) 4 yrs

The difficulty is that with the exception of CUA, only Roman Pontifical universities offer philosophy at the license level. And CUA's license is really a three-year M.A. The other two pontifical grad faculties in the US (Weston Jesuit & Berkeley Jesuit) only offer canonical degrees in theology. Two other European pontifical universities are Fribourg and Salamanca. My French and German is nonexistent and my Spanish is no where near good enough for grad work. Plus I am not at all thrilled by the idea of having to learn a foreign language in order to study philosophy so that I can return to the US to teach that philosophy in English. Learning a research language is one thing, but the time and effort to learn a language just to attend lectures. . .that strikes me as excessive.

The website for the Greg is extremely poorly designed and has almost no information. If anyone out there can answer a few basic questions about language requirements, I would most grateful.

Please pray for me and visit the Philosophy & Theology Wish List on the sidebar.

God bless, Fr. Philip, OP

*I mean here that I would not want to study for another American Ph.D. b/c they usually take btw 6-8 yrs. Also, the language requirements are unreasonable. CUA offers an excellent doctoral program in philosophy. I'm just too old and tired to spend the time and energy again on American-style doctoral hoop-jumping.


  1. Dear Father,
    I will certainly pray for you. I was, however, confused by your notation on CUA, which seemed to indicate that it does not offer a Ph.D. in philosophy.

  2. Rick,

    I only meant that I would not do another American PhD b/c they take way too long to complete. I have noted the ambiguity. Thanks!

    Fr. Philip, OP

  3. Good luck, you're in my prayers.

    In an unrelated matter, I posted a letter written by a priest of the Archdioces of Oklahoma City that was published in the diocesan newspaper where he basically speaks out against the Motu Proprio.

    I'd love to hear your thoughts on his letter...I posted it here


  4. Anonymous10:44 AM

    Father Philip,

    Wherever you go next, I hope you will have the time and energy to continue your blog and homily podcasts. Both are true blessings! Thanks and prayers.


  5. Father,
    Hmmmm.....let's see.
    Oxford: Great public transport, live at Blackfriars, "visit" the Lamb & Flag occasionally(tho I preferred the Royal Oak for the jukebox), world class profs, atmosphere of erudition.
    Rome & Washington DC: Both former SWAMPS! Government towns, lots of humidity.
    What's to discern?

  6. Anon.,

    As long as I preach publicly I will be posting here. Of course, as the listeners change, the homilies will change as well. Not in content, of course, but in style and tone. If I end up at Blackfriars/Oxford, my homilies will need to be a bit more erudite and not so "evangelical." American bluntness really grates on Brit ears.


    There is no discernment issue for me. Oxford is my first, second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth choice. If I alone were making the decision, I would be there now. However, I am not alone in this decision, so the Powers That Be have to weigh all the variables before a decision is made. There are two basic concerns: 1) for me--my age and 2) for me and the PTB--money. Catholic grad school is expensive. Even with the very kind and generous help from benefactors I've rec'd, four-five years of grad work can cost upwards of $200,000 in the US. It is much cheaper--dirt cheap!--in Rome. And about the same in the UK as the US.

    Pray hard! Fr. Philip, OP

  7. I will miss you a lot, Father.

  8. Father,

    I've taken the liberty of posting your request. I've also begun "some inquiries" which I pray may be of use to you.