Randall Smith
Randall B. Smith, Ph.D.
Department of Theology
Scanlan Professor of Theology
University of St. Thomas, Houston

Curriculum Vitae (for the most up-to-date list of publications, see below)

* Philosophy of Teaching
* Semester-Long "Deep Learning" Exercise (This "deep-learning exercise" was composed at "Boot Camp for Professors" and incorporated into my "Teachings of the Catholic Church class.  I no longer teach "Teachings," but if I were to use the assignment again, I would likely substitute Pope John Paul II's Salvifici Doloris for David Bently Hart's The Doors of the Sea.) 
* Student Evaluations (not summaries, but actual student comments; I have provided the committee with everything that the Assessment Office was able to provide me)
2004:  THEO 1300/3300 D; MLMLA 5300; THEO 1300/3300 C  
2005: HONORS 1392 A; THEO 1300/3300 C; THEO 3300 CTA; THEO 4374 A 
2006-2007: HONORS 1392 A; THEO 1300/3300 D; THEO 1300/3300 E; THEO 3300 CTA; THEO 4325 A
2008: THEO 3300/3310 C; THEO 4374 N
2012: THEO 3349 A; THEO 3349 B; THEO 3349 C; THEO 4374 A
* Web Sites of Several Recent Courses Taught (I ask members merely to click around in these web sites to get an idea of my approach to teaching.  Each course web site has a copy of the syllabus for the course at the very top.)
Teachings of the Catholic Church
Modern Challenges to Christianity
Christ and the Moral Life


Scholarly Publications:


In Print:

"Giving Thanks for a Bountiful Harvest: Two New Books on the Natural Law," The Chesterton Review, vol. 41, nos. 3 & 4 (Fall/Winter 2015), 541-548. Review of Novak, Levering, Emon, Natural Law: A Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Trialogue (Oxford University Press, 2014) and J. Budziszewski, A Commentary on Thomas Aquinas's Treatise on Law (Cambridge University Press, 2014)

"Natural Law and Grace: How Charity Perfects the Natural Law," in Faith, Hope, and Love: Thomas Aquinas on Living by the Theological Virtues, ed. H. Goris, et al. (Leuven: Peeters, 2015), 233-257.  (I am not permitted by the publisher of the volume to link to a pdf of this article.)

"Hope and History," in Redeeming Philosophy: From Metaphysics to Aesthetics, ed. John Conley, S.J. (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University Press, 2014), 173-199.

"If Philosophy Begins in Wonder": Aquinas, Creation, and Wonder," Communio 41 (Spring 2014): 92-111.

"Thomas Aquinas on the Ten Commandments and the Natural Law," in The Decalogue and its Cultural Influence, ed. Dominik Markl, S.J. (Sheffield, UK: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2013).

Thirteenth, Greatest of Centuries?Sacred Architecture 22 (2012): 21-24.

How to Read a Sermon by Thomas Aquinas,” Nova et Vetera, vol. 10, no. 3 (Summer 2012): 775-804.


“What the Old Law Reveals about the Natural Law According to Thomas Aquinas,” The Thomist vol. 75, no. 1 (January 2011): 95-139.


On Penance, Absolution, and the Forgiveness of Sins,” Homiletic and Pastoral Review (November, 2011).


The Hebrew Bible and Creation,” in Green Discipleship: Catholic Theological Ethics & the Environment, edited by Tobias Winright (Anselm Academic Press, 2011).


Thomas Aquinas,” encyclopedia article in Encyclopedia of Christian Literature, ed. G. T. Kurian (The Scarecrow Press, 2010).


Don’t Blame Vatican II: Modernism and Modern Church Architecture,” in Sacred Architecture (Fall 2007).


Book review of: Russell Hittinger, The First Grace: Rediscovering the Natural Law in a Post-Christian World, in Crisis (October 2003).


“Thomas Aquinas's Semiosis of the Old Law in Terms of the Natural Law,” in Semiotics 2002, ed. Scott Simpkins and John Deely (Ottawa, Canada: Legas, 2003), pp 185-201.


“The Semiotic Function of the Epigraph in Aquinas' Biblical Prologues and Sermons: A Mixing of Memory and Desire,” in Semiotics 2001, ed. Scott Simpkins and John Deely (Ottawa, Canada: Legas, 2002), pp.420-438.



"How Faith Perfects Prudence: Thomas Aquinas on the Wisdom of the Old Law and the Gift of Counsel" — article accepted for inclusion in a volume on the infused virtues to be published in 2016 by the Thomas Instituut in Utrecht.

"Retracing the Arts to Sacred Scripture in the Prologue to Thomas Aquinas's Commentary on the Gospel of John"

— reviewed and accepted for publication in Nova et Vetera. 


In Process:

Reading the Sermons of Thomas Aquinas: A Beginner's Guide — A book-length study of Thomas Aquinas’s style of preaching. The book has been accepted for publication by Emmaus Press and is currently in process. 

Justice in Homer: Philosophical Investigations into the Meanings of Themis and Dikē in the Homeric Epics — A book-length study of the meanings of two key concepts that together reveal Homer's conception of justice in the Iliad and Odyssey.  The manuscript is finished and is currently under review by a major university press.

The Clockmaker God and the Myth of the God of the Gaps
The image of the “clockmaker” God actually has a long and interesting history of which the historians who claim Newton as its originator seem largely unaware.  The clockmaker analogy for God actually goes very far back in history, and yet its use to deny the existence of God is actually relatively recent.  Indeed, one would be hard-pressed to find almost any example of it before the twentieth century, even in the works of hard-core Enlightenment philosophes such as Voltaire or Rousseau, both of whom accepted the clockmaker God analogy.  In this volume, I trace the "clockmaker" analogy back to Cicero and then trace various formulations of it, especially the notion of the machina mundi, through history up to the relatively recent origins of the "absent God" interpretation of the "clockmaker" analogy.  This book is approximately half-written.

The Roots of the Natural Law Tradition: From Homer to Cicero This is the first volume in a planned multi-volume set of readers of classic texts (with commentary) dealing with the natural law tradition from Homer to Pope John Paul II.  Volume 2 will deal first with key biblical texts and then move to a consideration of Patristic and early Medieval thinkers, culminating with the work of Thomas Aquinas.  Volume 3 will trace the development of the tradition from the late Medieval period through the Renaissance and the Protestant Reformation.  The final volume will deal with contemporary developments since the Eighteenth Century. Volume 1 is in process.

Popular Publications (Both On-Line and In Print):

"The Thing People on Television Never Do," The Catholic Thing, 17 August 2016.

"Beginning St. Thomas Aquinas," The Catholic Thing, 6 August 2016.

"The Face of the Triune God," The Catholic Thing, 20 July 2016.

"Alice in Wonderland," The Catholic Thing, 8 July 2016.

"Come Study What Jesus Didn't Do (Even if the Bible Says He Did)," The Catholic Thing, 18 June 2016.

"Neutered by Neutrality: The Abiding Influence of John Rawls, Part Two, Public Discourse, 14 June 2016.

"Defeated by Default: The Abiding Influence of John Rawls, Part One," Public Discourse, 13 June 2016.

"A Traditional Catholic Wife?" The Catholic Thing, 1 June 2016.

"Is the 'New Evangelization' No More Than a Marketing Slogan?" The New Oxford Review, May 2016.

"Humankind Cannot Bear Very Much Reality," The Catholic Thing, 15 May 2016.

"The Meaninglessness of our Political Discourse: A Lesson from George Orwell," Public Discourse, 9 May 2016.

"How to Listen at Mass," The Catholic Thing, 30 April 2016.

"The Difficult Way of Mercy," Catholic World Report, 19 April 2016.

"Setting the Prisoner Free," The Catholic Thing, 6 April 2016.

"Good Friday, Death, and Christian Life," Catholic World Report, 25 March 2016.

"Ad Hominem Violence," The Catholic Thing, 23 March 2016.

"Bill Cosby for the Laetare Medal?" Catholic World Report, 15 March 2016.

"Penance, Absolution, and Forgiveness of Sins," The Catholic Thing, 9 March 2016.

"The Benedictine Option," Catholic World Report, 6 March 2016.

"Why a Church?" The Catholic Thing, 24 February 2016.

"Papal Errors," The Catholic Thing, 12 February 2016.

"You Don't Have to Like a Pope," The Catholic Thing, 28 January 2016.

"Two Faces in the Crowd," The Catholic Thing, 6 January 2016.

"Mary, Mother of Us All in the New Year, Catholic World Report, 4 January 2016.

"Hope in a Time of Darkness and Despair," The Catholic Thing, 23 December 2015.

"Pope Francis’s Holistic Understanding of the Environment," Catholic World Report, 8 December 2015.

"The Habit of Thanksgiving," The Catholic Thing, 2 December 2015.


"Reverence and Respect," The Catholic Thing, 19 November 2015.

"Uncivil Discourse, Part Two: A Call for Intellectual Humility," Public Discourse, 13 November 2015.

"Uncivil Discourse: Modern Media's Ideological Junkspace," Public Discourse, 12 November 2015.

"In Search of Better Homilies," The Catholic Thing, 4 November 2015.

"Rethinking Birthdays," The Catholic Thing, 23 October 2015.

"Religion, Violence, and Ignorant Bigotry," The Catholic Thing, 8 October 2015.

"Walker Percy and the Atticus Finch Question," Catholic World Report, 4 October 2015.

"The Forgotten Spouse," The Dispatch, 1 October 2015.

"Seminarians: Training to be Doctors of the Soul?" The Catholic Thing, 25 September 2015.

"Love Thy Spouse," The Catholic Thing, 9 September 2015.

"Conscience Clash and Double Standards in Kentucky," Catholic World Report, 7 September 2015.

"The Social Injustice Done to Adjunct Faculty: A Call to Arms," Public Discourse, 1 September 2015.

"The International Catholic University Solution," The Catholic Thing, 26 August 2015.

"The Habit of Seeing God Face to Face," The Catholic Thing, 12 August 2015.

"Martyrdom Then and Now," The Catholic Thing, 29 July 2015.

"The Little Stories We Tell Ourselves," The Catholic Thing, 15 July 2015.

"Faith: Spiritual Light that Enlightens the Mind," The Catholic Thing, 1 July 2015.

"Flesh and Spirit," The Catholic Thing, 13 June 2015.

"Are Catholics Afraid to Question?" The Catholic Thing, 30 May 2015.

"Catholicism vs. Materialism," The Catholic Thing, 13 May 2015.

"A 'War' Between Science and Religion?" The Catholic Thing, 29 April 2015.

"The Latest Attack on San Francisco's Archbishop," Crisis, 21 April 2015.

"The Active and Contemplative Life," The Catholic Thing, 9 April 2015.

"The Perils of Political Propaganda: Mass Hysteria over Indiana," Public Discourse, 2 April 2015.

"Are 'Facts' the Only Kind of Truth?" The Catholic Thing, 25 March 2015.

"Morality, Facts, and Opinions," The Catholic Thing, 12 March 2015.

"Mission Fit in Catholic High Schools," The Catholic Thing, 24 February 2015.

"St. Augustine's Wisdom: Adam, Eve, Christ, and the Church," Catholic World Report, 18 February 2015.

"Love as a Virtue," The Catholic Thing, 11 February 2015.

"The Coming Perfect Storm: Five Reasons Why Freedom of Religion and Conscience is in Peril," Touchstone (January/February 2015), 38-43.

"Love as Passion --- and Virtue," The Catholic Thing, 21 January 2015.

"Bureaucratic Bloat in Higher Education: Getting Rid of the Middlemen," Public Discourse, 15 January 2015.

"Of Scandal and Catholic Schools," The Catholic Thing, 3 January 2015.

"Is the Second Coming Still Coming?" The Catholic Thing, 7 December 2014.

"Journalism Today: Telenovela or Truth?" Aleteia, 6 December 2104.

"The Limits of a Secular Age," The Catholic Thing, 19 November 2014.

"Why a Bishops' Accreditation Process Could Be the Best Thing for Catholic Higher Education," Aleteia, 12 November 2014.

"Conscience and Reality," The Catholic Thing, 5 November 2014.

"Can an Atheist Make a Really Great Film about Faith?" Aleteia, 4 November 2014.

"Reading the Signs of the Times Rightly, Aleteia, 25 October 2014.

"Conscience and Truth," The Catholic Thing, 18 October 2014.

"The Challenge of the Church's Social Magisterium," The Catholic Thing, 4 October 2014.

"The Reality of the Church’s Social Magisterium," The Catholic Thing, 14 September 2014.

"A Modest Proposal for Dying Religious Communities, The Catholic Thing, 28 August 2014.

"A Right to Complain, an Obligation to Help," The Catholic Thing, 14 August 2014.

"The Heavens Declare the Glory of God," The Catholic Thing, 30 July 2014.

"A Pastoral and Dogmatic Council," The Catholic Thing, 19 July 2014.

"When Catholic Colleges Abandon Theology Requirements," Crisis 15 July 2014.

"A Higher Power," The Catholic Thing, 2 July 2014.

"A Tale of Two Trials: Karamazov and Zimmerman," Public Discourse, 26 June 2014.

"Dostoyevsky the Prophet: The Trial of Dmitri Karamazov and the Redefinition of Family," Public Discourse, 24 June 2014.

"Suffering Servant, the Circuit Breaker,
The Catholic Thing, 18 June 2014.

"Why St. Thomas Becket was Martyred," Crisis, 5 June 2014.

"Ignoring a Pope While Pretending to Listen," The Catholic Thing, 29 May 2014.

"The “Sensus Fidelium” and Popular Piety," The Catholic Thing, 15 May 2014.

"The Proper Sense of the ‘Sensus Fidelium'," The Catholic Thing, 1 May 2014.

"Logic: What’s Missing from Public Discourse," Crisis, 30 April 2014.

"Why I Don’t Write About the Vatican," The Catholic Thing, 16 April 2014.

"The Cistercians Are Back at Zirc," The Catholic Thing, 6 April 2014.

"Why We Need More Canon Lawyers," Crisis, 1 April 2014.

"The Late Great Fr. David Balas, O. Cist.," The Catholic Thing, 27 February 2014.

"Working with Better Principals," The Catholic Thing, 13 February 2014.

"A Confusing Conundrum in Our Culture," The Catholic Thing, 30 January 2014.

"Kissing and Communicating," The Catholic Thing, 16 January 2014.

"Gender and a Sacramental View of the Body," The Catholic Thing, 4 January 2014.

"Cartesian Gender Confusions (Cont.)," The Catholic Thing, 19 December 2013.

"Confusions sur le genre, d’inspiration cartésienne,"
France Catholique, 7 December 2013.

"Cartesian-Inspired Gender Confusions," The Catholic Thing, 5 December 2013.

"Le pape François : l’homme et le message," France Catholique, 25 November 2013.

"Perpetually Passed Over by Polling," The Catholic Thing, 21 November 2013.

"Francis: The Man and the Message," The Catholic Thing, 6 November 2013.

"Que souhaiteriez-vous être ?" France Catholique, 18 October 2013.

"Who Do You Want to Be?" The Catholic Thing, 17 October 2013.

"La nourriture raisonnée (Contraceptive Eating)," France Catholique,7 October 2013.

"La sexualité du robot (suite) : le principe de nuisance,"
France Catholique, 6 October 2013.

"Christ and the Moral Life," The Catholic Thing, 6 October 2013.

"Jesus Christ Superstar Now," Crisis, 25 September 2013.

"Contraception : le sexe vu comme une maladie,"
France Catholique, 25 September 2013.

"Contraception: Sex as a Disease," The Catholic Thing, 19 September 2013.

"La place de la nourriture et de la sexualité dans l’épanouissement humain," France Catholique, 7 September 2013.

"Food and Sex for Human Flourishing," The Catholic Thing, 5 September 2013.

"Contraceptive Eating," The Catholic Thing, 23 August 2013.

"Suicide's Tormented Souls," Crisis, 15 August 2013.

"Théologie morale et épanouissement humain,"
France Catholique, 13 August 2013.

"Moral Theology and Human Flourishing," The Catholic Thing, 8 August 2013.

"Pas de mal, des devoirs et autres imbroglios moraux,"
France Catholique, 24 July 2013.

"No Harm, Ought, and Other Moral Muddles," The Catholic Thing, 24 July 2013.

"After Architectural Modernism" Crisis, 11 July 2013.

"The Harm Principle," The Catholic Thing, 11 July 2013.

"Le désir sexuel, le langage, un combat inégal," France Catholique, 25 June 2013.

"Lust, Language, and the Un-level Playing Field," The Catholic Thing, 20 June 2013.

"De la sexualité des robots," France Catholique, 22 June 2013.

"Robot Sex," The Catholic Thing, 6 June 2013.

"Luxuria, la vie facile,"
France Catholique, 27 May 2013.

"Luxuria," The Catholic Thing, 25 May 2013.

"The Mystery of Esolen: Who are They?" The Catholic Thing, 9 May 2013.

"Tribunal Troubles," The Catholic Thing, 25 April 2013.

"Les hommes sont comme le Christ, le Chef de l’Eglise,"
France Catholique, 13 April 2013.

"Men Like Christ, Head of the Church," The Catholic Thing, 11 April 2013.

"The Reform We Need," Crisis, 3 April 2013.

"Vieillir et se retirer,"
France Catholique, 24 February 2013.

"Aging and Office," The Catholic Thing, 24 February 2013.

"Maȋtrise des armes, maȋtrise de la Cour," France Catholique, 7 February 2013.

"Gun Control, Court Control," The Catholic Thing, 31 January 2013.

"Reading in the New Year," The Catholic Thing, 7 January 2013.

"Joseph, père modèle,"
France Catholique, 28 December 2012.

"Joseph, Model Father," The Catholic Thing, 27 December 2012.

"Ce qui importe désormais," France Catholique, 10 December 2012.

"What Matters Now," The Catholic Thing, 9 December 2012.

"A propos du départ d’un voisin très aimé," France Catholique, 19 November 2012.

On the Passing of a Beloved Neighbor,” The Catholic Thing, 14 November 2012.


The Pro-Life USCCB Voter’s Guide,” The Catholic Thing, 25 October 2012.


"Former une conscience catholique," France Catholique, 12 October 2012.

Forming a Catholic Conscience,” The Catholic Thing, 11 October 2012.


“Une histoire en guise d’avertissement (Les débats entre Lincoln et Douglas en 1858),” France Catholique, 23 September 2012.


A Cautionary Tale,” The Catholic Thing, 21 September 2012.

"Sainteté : commencez par payer votre loyer," France Catholique, 9 September 2012.

Holiness Means Paying Your Rent,” The Catholic Thing, 8 September 2012.


"Cartographie de nos désirs désordonnés," France Catholique, 30 October 2012.

Mapping Our Disordered Desires,” The Catholic Thing, 25 August 2012.


“Se libérer du Catholicisme?” France Catholique, 12 August 2012.


Freedom from Catholicism,” The Catholic Thing, 11 August 2012.


“Le catholique anti-catholique,” France Catholique, 16 July 2012.


The Anti-Catholic Catholic,” The Catholic Thing, 14 July 2012.


Dewey or Don’t We: Why Our Kids Are Messed Up” (part 2), Crisis 4 July 2012.


Dewey or Don’t We: Why Our Kids Are Messed Up” (part 1), Crisis 3 July 2012.


“Certains sont plus ‘autres’ que d’autres,” France Catholique, 24 June 2012.


Some Are More ‘Other’ Than Others,” The Catholic Thing, 24 June 2012.


Courtship, Etiquette, and the Adolescent Male,” Crisis, 1 June 2012.


“A propos du mariage: Salut, partenaire!” France Catholique, 21 May 2012.


Howdy Partner,” The Catholic Thing, 19 May 2012.


“Agitation à propos des jérémiades Jenky,” France Catholique, 6 May 2012.


Jittery About Jenky’s Jeremiad,” The Catholic Thing, 5 May 2012.


Raising the Bar: Christianity and Liberal Arts in the University,” Crisis, 19 April 2012.


“L’amour désire connaître le bien-aimé,” France Catholique, 15 April 2012.


Love Desires to Know the Beloved,” The Catholic Thing, 15 April 2012.


Curiosities About Counting,” Crisis, 4 April 2012.


"Fraqueza que nos fortalece," Actualidade Religiosa, 28 March 2012.


“La faiblesse qui nous rend forts,” France Catholique, 21 March 2012.


Weakness that Makes us Strong,” The Catholic Thing, 21 March 2012.


“On ne coopère pas avec le mal,” France Catholique, 5 March 2012.


No Cooperation with Evil,” The Catholic Thing, 4 March 2012.


“La foi : une qualité pour l’intellect,” France Catholique, 19 February 2012.


Faith: A Virtue of the Intellect,” The Catholic Thing, 18 February 2012.


Beware the ObamaCare Win-Win,” The American Thinker, 17 February 2012.


Health Care Overreach: Federalism and Federal Mandates,” The American Thinker, 14 February 2012.


Faith Isn’t a Checklist,” The Catholic Thing, 2 February 2012.

"Fé enquanto compromisso," Actualidade Religiosa, 1 February 2012.

Faith as Commitment,” The Catholic Thing, 27 January 2012.


“La Foi : un engagement,” France Catholique, 23 January 2012.


“Hasard tragique - sacrifice par amour,” France Catholique, 1 January 2012.


Random Tragedy to Loving Sacrifice,” The Catholic Thing, 31 December 2011.


“Une vierge concevra,” France Catholique, 13 December 2011.


The Virgin Shall Conceive,” The Catholic Thing, 10 December 2011.


“Impossible pour un homme seul,” France Catholique, 26 November 2011.


For Man It is Impossible,” The Catholic Thing, 26 November 2011.


“Chce to viac šírky sv. Ignáca,” postoy.sk, 15 November 2011.


“Une vue à long terme - Mystique de l’unité,” France Catholique, 10 November 2011.


Taking the Long View,” The Catholic Thing, 9 November 2011.


“Peuple souverain?” France Catholique, 26 October 2011.


Power to the People?The Catholic Thing, 26 October 2011.


The Austrian Priests’ Initiative,” The Catholic Thing, 13 October 2011.


“Kiljoy is Here,” Notre Dame Magazine (Autumn 2011).


Dialogue Without Compromise, Without Fear,” The New Oxford Review, vol. 78, no. 7 (September 2011): 30-33.


"RCIA Dismay," The Catholic Thing, 20 September 2011.

The Magnificent Cat,” The Catholic Thing, 3 September 2011.


Thinking in Church and With the Church,” The Catholic Thing, 20 August 2011


“Svätý Augustín o sláve a páde Ríma,” postoy.sk, 17 August 2011.


Can We Stop Telling God What to Do?The Catholic Thing, 11 August 2011


Vertus pour la cité,” France Catholique, 30 July 2011.


The Virtues of the City,” The Catholic Thing, 30 July 2011.


Getting Rid of the Body,” The Catholic Thing, 13 July 2011.


American/Catholic/Patriot,” The Catholic Thing, 2 July 2011.


A Shameful Glory,” The Catholic Thing, 18 June 2011.


Our Numbered Days: Certain Death & the Last Lectures of Socrates & Jesus,” Touchstone, March-April 2011, Volume 24, Issue 2.

Quick, Call the Police!  It’s an Academic Lecture,” The New Oxford Review, January-February 2011, volume 78, no. 1.


Waiting for God? On the Meaning of “Providentially, Just in Time,” Touchstone, January-February 2011, Volume 24, Issue 1.


Revelations Public and Private,” The Catholic Thing, 28 January 2011.


“How to Ride an Elevator,” Notre Dame Magazine (Winter, 2010-11).


The Missing Foundation of Social Justice,” The Catholic Thing, 23 December 2010.


Studying With Ralph McInerny,” The Catholic Thing, 22 September 2010.


Say It Again: What Is There To Talk About In Heaven?Touchstone, Sept.-Oct. 2010, Volume 23, Issue 5.


Fides et Ratio:  The Aeterni Patris of this Generation?The Catholic Thing, 19 August 2010.


Reading the Church Fathers and Doctors,” The Catholic Thing, 13 June 2010.


Books and the Hungry Soul,” The Front Porch Republic, 8 June 2010.


But I by Backward Steps Would Move,” The Front Porch Republic, 26 February 2010)