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Matthew Cuddeback


Photo of faculty memberAssistant Professor

Contact Information:
St. Catherine of Siena Hall 113


Ph.D. - The Catholic University of America, School of Philosophy

Area(s) of Expertise:

In his stirring encyclical letter “Fides et Ratio" (“Faith and Reason”), published in the same year that I was granted my PhD (1998), Pope John Paul II says that "philosophy needs first of all to recover its sapiential dimension as a search for the ultimate and overarching meaning of life….This sapiential dimension is all the more necessary today, because the immense expansion of humanity's technical capability demands a renewed and sharpened sense of ultimate values” (§81). John Paul invites philosophers to recover this sapiential or wisdom dimension by working “in organic continuity with the great tradition which, beginning with the ancients, passes through the Fathers of the Church and the masters of Scholasticism and includes the fundamental achievements of modern and contemporary thought” (§85). As he closes “Fides et Ratio,” John Paul exhorts philosophers to “philosophize in Mary,” Seat of Wisdom: "between the vocation of the Blessed Virgin and the vocation of true philosophy there is a deep harmony. Just as the Virgin was called to offer herself entirely as human being and as woman that God's Word might take flesh and come among us, so too philosophy is called to offer its rational and critical resources that theology, as the understanding of faith, may be fruitful and creative" (§108). Moved by John Paul’s appeal, I have rooted my research and teaching in this “great tradition.” I strive to hand on its leading insights, chiefmost the insight of Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, and Thomas Aquinas (lived intensely, through grace, by the Virgin Mary), that the human person is made to seek, know, and enjoy God in fellowship with other persons. Of late I have focused on the anthropological and natural-law grounds of the Catholic Church’s understanding of marriage, the family, sex, artificial contraception, and natural family planning (NFP). Herein I draw from the teaching of Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis, that the family founded on the marriage of man and woman is the first and fundamental structure for "human ecology” and the sanctuary of life and love. (See below at "Click here for more information,” and at “Click here for audio/video clip.” See also the series of six 15-minute films on marriage and the family at Any student who wishes to discuss these or other subjects, or who wishes to pursue an Independent Study, is welcome to contact me.

Selected Publications:

Cuddeback, Matthew. TV or The Rosary?. The Rhode Island Catholic, June 11, 2015.

Cuddeback, Matthew. Pope Francis: "Protect the Family!". The Rhode Island Catholic, April 16, 2015.

Cuddeback, Matthew. (2013). Personal Unity. Philosophical Virtues and Psychological Strengths (Sophia Institute Press, 2013).

Cuddeback, Matthew. (2009). Josef Pieper On The Truth of All Things And The World’s True Face. A Cosmopolitan Hermit: Modernity and Tradition in the Philosophy of Josef Pieper (The Catholic Univ. of America Press, 2009).

Cuddeback, Matthew. (2009). Thomas Aquinas on Divine Illumination and the Authority of the First Truth. Nova et Vetera7 (3), 579-602 (available for download at "personal website"--click below).

Recent Presentations:

Cuddeback, Matthew., St. Pius V Young Adults weekly meeting, Providence, RI, "How to Talk to Others About Natural Law". February, 2017.

Cuddeback, Matthew., (with Dr. Paul Gondreau), Providence College Anscombe Society, Providence College, "Pornography: Harm, Healing, and Hope". December, 2015.

Cuddeback, Matthew., Prudence and Truth in Pro-Life Activism, Providence College, "Principles for Practical Wisdom in Pro-Life Legislation". April, 2015.

Cuddeback, Matthew., Guinness and God (young adults), Providence, RI, "Love Made Edible: A Wholesome Philosophy of the Daily Meal". April, 2015.

Cuddeback, Matthew., St. Pius V Young Adults weekly meeting, Providence, RI, "'With My Body I Thee Worship': The Body in Everyday Life and Love". September, 2014.

Cuddeback, Matthew., "Nature as Norm", St. Paul Seminary and School of Divinity, St. Paul, MN, "Thomas Aquinas on the Natural Norms to Guide Human Dominion Over the Earth". June, 2011.

Cuddeback, Matthew., Humanae Vitae, the Person, and the Thought of John Paul II, St. Paul, Minnesota, "Toward a Thomistic 'Philosophy of the Body'". June, 2008.

Click here for personal website

Click here for more information

Click here for an audio/video clip