Talk on Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen highlights college's Philosophy Day - Catholic Courier

Talk on Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen highlights college’s Philosophy Day

A video on a former Rochester bishop will be shown and discussed during the seventh-annual Philosophy Day Nov. 18 and 19 at St. John Fisher College’s midlevel of the Golisano Gateway.


The video "The Wit and Wisdom of Fulton J. Sheen" will be shown at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18, and at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19. Following the Wednesday screening, Kathleen Riley, professor of history at Ohio Dominican University and author of Fulton J. Sheen: An American Catholic Response to the Twentieth Century, will give a talk on Archbishop Sheen’s life. Archbishop Sheen was a television priest, served as bishop of Rochester from 1966-69 and is being considered for canonization.

Riley’s talk serves to kick off a day of sessions on "Philosophy and the Catholic Heritage," which run from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Nov. 19.

Other topics explored during Philosophy Day will include: "The Catholic Heritage," "The Roots of Catholic Education," "Social Justice" and "Catholic Education." Presenters will be faculty and students from St. John Fisher College, Syracuse University, Empire State College, Daemen College and a Rochester City School District psychologist. James Simpson, a Harvard University professor of English, will conclude the program Nov. 19 with a talk on "Bad News Bible: Six Dark, Dynamic and Demeaning Paradoxes of Sixteenth-Century Evangelical Bible Reading."

This is the first time the college’s Philosophy Day has had an intentionally Catholic theme, said Father William Graf, who is the chairman of the religious-studies department and the William and Helen Cavanaugh Chair of Catholic Studies at St. John Fisher College.

"It’s the first time we have made an intentional effort to do it, but we can’t think about philosophy without talking about our Catholic heritage," Father Graf said.

Although Archbishop Sheen did teach philosophy and theology in the college setting, he is more well-known for using mass media to teach millions, the priest noted.

"He took some complex truths and made them easy to digest," Father Graf said.

St. John Fisher College’s philosophy celebration is part of World Philosophy Day, which is sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, as a time for people to reflect on the importance of critical thinking, world peace, international cooperation and the love of wisdom. The local sessions are free and open to all.

For details on the local events, visit or contact Dr. Tim Madigan, assistant professor of philosophy, at 585-385-5259 or


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