Rhett Segall

Joined: Nov. 15, 2011


I’m 67 years old. I have a MA in Religious Studies from Manhattan College. I’ve been teaching high school theology for 45 years. Presently I’m teaching moral theology at Catholic Central H.S., Troy N.Y. to 11th graders. I set up VonH value philosopy right at the beginning of the course.

Most recent posts by Rhett Segall:     (See all of them)

fired for pregnancy

Feb. 15 at 8:39am | Comments: 10 | Most recent comment: Feb. 25 at 5:07pm

I’m wondering what the Personalist Project thinks about the following situation: A non-married teacher in a Catholic school is fired when her pregnancy becomes evident. Given that the fired teacher had signed the morality clause in her contract it seems she has no legal recourse. But I’m wondering about the prudence of the firing. In the Diocese of Albany where I teach it is against policy to expel a student who gets pregnant. “Pregnancy is...

Women in combat.

Jan. 25 at 10:46am | Comments: 4 | Most recent comment: Sep. 20 at 8:00pm

The US military will now allow women to participate directly in combat. I think this is indicative of the erosion of gender appropriate roles in society. Allowing for appropriate exceptions, it is important for the wellbeing of society that men be involved more than women in actions meant to protect others. Soldiering is an example par excellence of such an action. Women, on the other hand, should be given a preference for those actions meant to nurture others. Home making...

Obama’s Empericism

Jun. 27 at 7:58pm | Comments: 4 | Most recent comment: Jun. 30 at 8:37am

An article in Crisis magazine, “What’s Behind the Mandate?” by Gerard Bradley unmasks the Obama Administration’s fundamental empiricism on two fronts—the ontological and the existential. Ontologically Bradley notes that Obama’s asserts that those who want to place limitations on the availability of contraception, abortion and same sex marriage,  base their opinion on religious convictions which, as such, are subjective and cannot be validated by objective measures and so consequently...

Purity of Heart, Part 2

May. 25 at 2:56pm | Comments: 3 | Most recent comment: May. 28 at 7:33am

Jules: I’ve finished reading K and listening to your presentation. Some reflections on part 2: K’s insistence that for suffering to be meaningful the sufferer must not lose the will to happiness is of vital importance. I think it meets two strong dangers. One is a sadistic trend inherent in human nature (Freud called this tendency "Thanatos" after the Greek god of death). The second danger is from the puritanical strand in Christianity which sees the...

Response to Kierkegaard’s Purity of Heart

Apr. 28 at 11:01am | Comments: 4 | Most recent comment: May. 10 at 9:29pm

Thank you Jules for presenting in a very clear way the first 7 chapters of Purity of Heart.I also read the chapters. Here are some reflections. The section on not forcing the good is very insightful and of capital importance. Respecting the organic process of growth is a critical quality in one's endeavors to be creative. To have this respect towards development necessitates patience on the part of the creator. I think the connection Kierkegaard makes between...

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Re: Some power struggles are good and necessary

Dec. 7 at 5:29pm | see this comment in context

Katie, I agree with you but think that a Christian has to add another perspective from St Paul: 1 Corinthians 6:7 :

Now indeed [then] it is, in any case, a failure on your part that you have lawsuits against one another. Why not rather put up with injustice? Why not rather let yourselves be cheated?

I do not know how to reconcile the imperitive to stand up for our rights on the one hand and Paul's injunctive on the other. Perhaps the reconciliation is found in DvH's analysis of mercy where he points out that before being merciful it's necessary to ask whether mercy in this situation will actually be morally harmful to the "culprit".

Re: Searching for community

Jul. 31 at 10:46am | see this comment in context

None of these communities can be forced and a fortiori the community of the heart. In my experience as a Catholic school teacher,  (I judge Catholic Schools to be a community of spirit) I find it absolutely counterproductive when the powers that be try to force the teachers and the students in to a community of heart. This can be encouraged but never forced.

Lastly I would note that religious communities should not be seen too quickly as embodying communities of heart. I was in the Society of Mary (Marianists) for nine years. I love the Society and its mission but, as Katie noted with her college experience, flawed human nature is very much operative there too, sometimes in spades!

Re: Searching for community

Jul. 31 at 10:45am | see this comment in context

Katie and Stellatum

Your yearning for the richness of  the kind of community experience you had for a period in college reminds me of a comment by Jacque Maritain regarding the study circles he and Raissa had established in France. WW2 broke up the gatherings and Jacque saw this as an example of the fact that “the Holy Spirit is not at work only in the durable institutions which go on for centuries, He is also at work in ventures which vanish overnight and must always be started afresh.”

Regarding communities of deliberate intention, I think it is helpful to differentiate  three different kinds of communities: communities of work, e.g. a construction crew building a house. Here just a minimum level of cooperation is needed. Second, there is the community of spirit. Here we have individuals cooperating to create something worthwhile for human kind, e.g. the development of an art museum or philosophical study club. The third type of community is the community of the heart. Here we have the profoundest sharing and enrichment.

Re: Immigration: Impediments to the Conversation

Jul. 24 at 9:45am | see this comment in context


I think your assesment is fair.

I think it is important that government is alert to these necessities ahead of time. This foresight should include educating one's nation to its responsibility to share its goods with those in need. The Biblical story of Joseph's prudent husbandry of Egypt's goods is most applical here.

 Do you remember Tolstoys story "How much land does a man need?" I think the principle behind that story, i. e. we must shape our priorities in  light of death, is applicaple here too. How much do we really need in this statu viae? For the Christian death is a passage not a termination.



Re: Tenderness and gallantry

Jul. 23 at 9:43am | see this comment in context

Thanks Katie. I love this anecdote and the photo. I eagerly await Alice's memoirs! I regularly reread "The Soul of a Lion", her bio of Dietrich. I understand Dietrich's memoirs may be published-can't wait! In the same genre I regularly reread Edith Stein's "Life in a Jewish Family". My experience in reading these and similar works is that I'm entering into the stuff of life.



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