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 9:39am | Comments: 10 | Most recent comment: Feb. 25 at 6:07pm

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 11:46am | 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...

Latest comments by Rhett Segall:     (See all of them)

Re: Marriage and Freedom

Mar. 25 at 9:05am | see this comment in context

In terms of the science of marriage I do think the concept of work is needed to balance the idea of falling in love. One of the problems I have with DvH's science of marital love is the seeming absence of the necessity of this dimension. But as is so accurately noted, even with the best of intentions on both sides Gordian knots slip in.



Re: fired for pregnancy

Feb. 25 at 1:38pm | see this comment in context

I feel like I'm in the presence of Plato, Aristotle, Augustine and Aquinas! When one speaks I say "Of course." Then another speaks and I say "Of course." But then I realize I've been "of coursing" to opposite things!

A clarification: I did say she was let go when her pregnancy "becomes evident." Actually, it was an anonymous letter to the principal that brought the situation to light. Here again is the link.

Matt's point about the students being in high school is relevant in this way: In the proper context the students should be instructed as to the Christian Morality connected with the situation. It can be a very teachable moment.

Unless the teacher was presenting non-marital sex as acceptable I do not think that justice calls for her firing.

By the way, I have worked with my high school students on the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. They are capable of handling such issues if dealt with in both a factual and reverential manner.

We all seem to be freer and at peace because of it.



Re: fired for pregnancy

Feb. 15 at 11:04am | see this comment in context


Your distinctions are clarifying and make sense.

I suppose that not firing her for fear that the threat of firing might lead to abortion is a kind of blackmail.

I can't help but think of Hester Prynne in this situation!


Re: On minding our own beeswax and letting the Pope be Pope

Sep. 25 at 12:35pm | see this comment in context

Some media outlets misapplied Pope Francis’ use of the term “obsessed”. They used it to mean that the Pope was saying that the Church should not aggressively denounce abortion, etc. However, the Pope’s point, understood in context, was that  in standing up against any evil it’s important to do so from the vantage point of the whole gospel. (“The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently.” )  

However, certain evils are so egregious that it is imperative to confront the evil, day in and day out, with the message of the gospel. But surely it would be a misuse of the term to say that Martin Luther King was “obsessed” with civil rights or that Elie Wiesel was “obsessed” with the Holocaust. I hold abortion to be one of those evils that should be consistently confronted with the message of the Scripture which tells us that “before we were formed in our mother’s womb God knew us. (Psalm 139).

Re: Coming Out Celibate

Aug. 25 at 12:03pm | see this comment in context


Thank you for telling us about Joseph. It reminded me of Wesley Hill's autobiography Washed and Waiting Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality.For the first time I felt I understood the homosexual  angst.( Hill has a marvelous anecdote of dancing with a dazzilingly beautiful girl and feeling nothing. At the same time he is totally aware of this guy dancing with another girl!). Hill drew my attention to the agony of lonliness suffered by  Henri Nouwen. See  Wounded Prophet. Nouwen would return from giving an inspirational talk on God's love and, alone in his hotel room, weep and weep. He would call friends in the early hours of the morning seeking consolation.

I became aware of Hill's autobiography through reading "Does Jesus Really Love Me?" by Jeff Chu. Chu takes a different path than Hill, holding the position that God  welcomes responsible homosexual love.

A point on the term "disorder". In psychology it is used in reference to a disposition that a person would gladly do without, and can do something to change it,  e.g. "panic disorder". What many homosexuals are saying is that their orientation is not changeable and therefore it is not something to be ashamed of.

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