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Fr. James V. Schall, S.J., has died at the age of 91

Fr. James V. Schall, S.J. giving his final lecture at Georgetown University in December 2012 (YouTube)

Fr. James V. Schall, the prolific and much-beloved Jesuit, professor and author, died earlier today. His family states that “he was comfortable and at peace” at the time of his death.

He was born in Pocahontas, Iowa, January 20, 1928. Educated in public schools in Iowa, he graduated in 1945 from Knoxville, Iowa High, and then attended University of Santa Clara. He earned an MA in Philosophy from Gonzaga University in 1955.

After time in the U.S. Army (1946-47), he joined the Society of Jesus (California Province) in 1948. He received a PhD in Political Theory from Georgetown University in 1960, and an MST from University of Santa Clara four years later. Fr. Schall was a member of the Faculty of Institute of Social Sciences, Gregorian University, Rome, from 1964-77, and a member of the Government Department, University of San Francisco, from 1968-77. He was a member of the Government Department at Georgetown University from 1977 to 2012.

Fr. Schall penned hundreds of essays on political, theological, literary, and philosophical issues for numerous journals, magazines, and newspapers. He wrote dozens of books over the course of some fifty hears, on philosophy, social issues, spirituality, culture, and literature. These titles included On the Unseriousness of Human Affairs: Teaching, Writing, PlayingBelieving, Lecturing, Philosophizing, Singing, DancingRedeeming the Time, Human Dignity and Human NumbersA Student’s Guide to Liberal Learning, and many others.

This article will be updated.

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About Carl E. Olson 1233 Articles
Carl E. Olson is editor of Catholic World Report and Ignatius Insight. He is the author of Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?, Will Catholics Be "Left Behind"?, co-editor/contributor to Called To Be the Children of God, co-author of The Da Vinci Hoax (Ignatius), and author of the "Catholicism" and "Priest Prophet King" Study Guides for Bishop Robert Barron/Word on Fire. His recent books on Lent and Advent—Praying the Our Father in Lent (2021) and Prepare the Way of the Lord (2021)—are published by Catholic Truth Society. He is also a contributor to "Our Sunday Visitor" newspaper, "The Catholic Answer" magazine, "The Imaginative Conservative", "The Catholic Herald", "National Catholic Register", "Chronicles", and other publications. Follow him on Twitter @carleolson.


  1. May he rest in peace.

    I keep a copy of Father Schall’s “Another Sort of Learning” (Ignatius Press) in a prominent place on the shelves at the foot of my bed. It is placed with the cover facing forward, so my day can begin with a reminder not to let the educational system interfere with my education.

    Father Schall is among the few men of the 20th and 21st centuries that I think of as “deeply unconfused”.

    • Charles –

      I love your perfect praise of Fr. Schall.

      He was a holy father, and tears well up, knowing that he has died, even though I only knew him from afar, in his books.

      And yet, he was such a loving teacher, his own loving heart and mindful concern for his readers came right through like an arrow to the heart, making me feel like even I, from afar, was sitting in his class, and he cared for me.

      And I am an old man…yet he was old enough to be my own father…and I feel that same grief…my good and faithful father has died.

      Well, with God’s grace, I may yet see Fr. Schall face-to-face, in the place where we see all.

      (and I like you have his book ‘Another Sort of Learning’ in my bookcase, right beside my bed)

      May The Father of Lights receive him.


  2. Thank you, Fr. Schall, for everything. Prayers and love go out to you, through the intercession of Our Lady.

    Without my ever speaking with you or asking you, you became not simply a teacher for me but an intellectual and spiritual guide, a blessing, a clarity, a consolation.

    Find rest from your sojourns in the Holy Trinity, in the company of the angels and Saints.

  3. Fr. Schall has been a constant companion since my deeper embrace of my faith 18 years ago. Hardly a week has gone by when I’ve not read at least something written by him.
    A good man died today.

    • It is sad, and indeed an outrage, what has happened to that order. But the promise was always only that the gates of Hell would not prevail against the Church as a whole — there was no promise regarding specific orders or rites or nations.

  4. Go to his reading lists. Make a start there. Even in emails to his correspondents he recommended readings. I’m still going through mine. RIP

  5. A grievous loss for us. Such priests were never more urgently needed, but our Lord saw fit — his presence is required before the Divine Majesty. God reward Father Schall most abundantly!

  6. a true priest, a faithful priest, a great priest and man.. he accomplished a great deal and influenced many for the good. Love you ,Father, Thank you! prayers

  7. I’m saddened for myself and the Church that we have lost such a good and faithful priest and teacher. But I am happy for Father Schall that he did not live to see further damage and discord come to The Church and his order of Jesuits.

    I believe he could truly say as St. Paul did, that “To die is gain”. I believe he was a holy priest who is now with Christ, whom he served well in life.

4 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  2. Fr. James V. Schall S.J. - Pray for me - Fremont Catholic Men's Group
  3. The reason and reality of the Nativity – Catholic World Report
  4. The reason and reality of the Nativity - Catholic Daily

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