Santa Clara University

Religious Studies department


Paul Joseph Fitzgerald, S.J.

Associate Professor

Fr. Fitzgerald was born in Burbank, California. He earned a B.A. in History from Santa Clara University (1980), and entered the Society of Jesus two years later. After first vows he went to Germany for studies, earning a Ph.B. in Philosophy from the Hochschule für Philosophie, Munich (1986). He returned to the States for two years of high school teaching in Sacramento, followed by studies for the M.Div. degree from the Weston School of Theology in Boston, Massachusetts (1991), and remained there for two more years to complete an S.T.L. with an emphasis in Ecclesiology (the study of the church). That path of study grew because he was interested in how God not only moves people to faith but also into faith communities. He felt that if God continues to interact with all the faithful, both immediately as persons and mediately through communities, then this opens new possible understandings of religious authority and corporate discernment. He explored those possibilities at the University of Paris IV - La Sorbonne, where he earned a D.E.A. in the History of Religions (1994), and a D. ès L. in the Sociology of Religion (1997). Concurrently he worked towards an S.T.D. in Ecclesiology from l'Institut Catholique de Paris (awarded in 1999).

Fr. Fitzgerald joined the Santa Clara University faculty in 1997 and teaches undergraduate courses on Catholic theology and spirituality, economic justice, film and religion, and Catholicism in American Culture, and graduate courses on the Church and Ministries for Peace and Justice. Fr. Fitzgerald was awarded tenure in 2003.

  Courses Research Activities CV  


Courses taught at Santa Clara University
  TESP 51
Catholic Theology: Spirituality
  RSOC 9 Ways of Understanding Religion
  TESP 46 Faith, Justice and Poverty
  TESP 110 Film and Religion
  TESP 128 Issues of Contemporary Catholicism
  RSOC 160 US Catholics in American Culture
  PMIN 204 The Church
  PMIN 220 Ministry for Peace and Justice

Academic Appointments
  • Associate Professor, Religious Studies Department, Santa Clara University
  • Assistant Professor, Religious Studies Department, Santa Clara University


Research Interests
  • Historical ecclesiology
  • Practical Theology 
  • Theology of the laity
  • Theology of marriage
  • Peace and justice studies


L'Église comme lieu de formation d'une conscience de la concitoyenneté: Étude sur la rédaction en public de la lettre pastorale «Economic Justice for All» (1986). Lille, France: Presses Universitaires du Septentrion, 1999.


“Seduction” in The Encyclopedia of Love in the World Religions. Ed. Yudit Kornberg Greenberg. ABC-Clio (2007), pp. 539-542 of Vol. II.

 “Cathédrales des temps présents : San Francisco” Etudes 4,024 (April 2005) 520-522 .

 Arnold au pays des merveilles.” Projet 279 (March 2004) 77-78.

 “The Americanization of Europe?” “Amerykanizacja Europy?” Horyzonty Wychowania 14 (2/2002) 195-223.



 "Aux USA, la culture populaire des jeunes." Mission de l'Eglise - Le Supplement 136 (July-September 2002) 36-39.

  "Quand la doctrine sociale Catholique rencontre la religion civile Nord-Américaine sur l'économique." Revue d'éthique et de théologie morale- Le Supplément 220 (March 2002) 79-99.

 With Kieran Sullivan, "Preparing for Marriage: What Pastoral Marital Counselors Should Know About Religious Belief, Psychological Health, and Marital Outcome." International Academy for Marital Spirituality (INTAMS) Review 7 (2001) 68-77.

 "Doing Theology in the City." Crosscurrents 51 (1 2001) 83-94.

  "Faithful Sociology: Peter Berger's Religious Project." Religious Studies Review 27 (2001) 10-17.

 "La spiritualité des jeunes Américains: Culture pop et quête religieuse." Christus 187 (2000) 375-82.

  "Zonder Dialoog Geen Communio - Een Initiatief Van Kardinaal Bernardin." Streven 67 (4 2000) 312-20.

  "A Christian Ethos for Multicultural Marriage." International Academy for Marital Spirituality (INTAMS) Review 5 (Spring, 1999) 27-35.

  "A Model for Dialogue: Cyprian of Carthage on Ecclesial Discernment." Theological Studies 59 (1998) 236-53.



Chapters in Books:


“Married in the Eyes of God: a Spirituality for Inter-faith Marriage” in INTAMS Companion to Marital Spirituality. Brussels. Forthcoming.

 "Santa   Clara University and the Jesuit Tradition of Education." In Telling the Santa Clara Story: Sesquicentennial Voices (ed. Russell Skowronek; Santa Clara: City of Santa Clara and Santa Clara University, 2002) 105-118.

 “Amerykanizacja Europy?” in Czlowiek w jednoczacek sie Europie. Krakow: Ignatianum, 2004, 103-114. [Reprint of “The Americanization of Europe?” “Amerykanizacja Europy?” Horyzonty Wychowania 14 (2/2002, 3) 195-223.]



Book Reviews:


“E.-Martin Meunier, Le pari personnaliste – Modernité et catholicisme au XXe siècle.” (Éditions Fides, Collection Héritage et Projet, n° 71, 2007) Catholic Historical Review, forthcoming.

 “Moberly, R.W.L., Prophecy and Discernment.” (Cambridge Studies in Christian Doctrine. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006.) Theological Studies 68/3 (2007) 687-688.

 “Romano, Renee C.: Race Mixing: Black-White Marriage in Post-war America  (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003)” INTAMS Review 12 (2006) 255-256.

 “Aquiline Tarimo, Human Rights, Cultural Difference, and the Church in Africa (Morogoro, Tanzania: Salvatorianum, 2004)” Theological Studies 66/2 (2005) 482-484.

 “Authority in the Roman Catholic Church: Theory and Practice (Edited by Bernard Hoose. Burlington, Vt: Ashgate, 2002).” Theological Studies 65/1 (2004) 200-202.

 “The Essence of Belief.” A review essay of Richard Guillardetz, By What Authority? Liturgical Press. America 190/3 (February 2, 2004) 38-40.

 "Stephen G. Post, More Lasting Unions: Christianity, Family and Society (Religion, Marriage, & Family; Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2000)." International Academy for Marital Spirituality (INTAMS) Review 8 (2002) 131-132.

  "Son of Shanghai." A review essay of Bo Caldwell, The Distant Land of my Father (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2001). America 186 (1 April 2002) 26-27.

  "Marva J. Dawn, Powers, Weakness, and the Tabernacling of God (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2001)." Theological Studies 63 (2002) 214.

  "Connecting with the Gospel Drama." A review essay of Michael Kennedy, S.J., Eyes on the Cross (Crossroad/Herder & Herder, 2001). America 184/6 (26 February 2001) 31-33.

  "John Shelby Spong, Why Christianity Must Change or Die: A Bishop Speaks to Believers in Exile (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1998)." Theological Studies 61 (2000) 59.

  "One Body, Many Activities." A review essay of Thomas O'Meara, O.P., Theology of Ministry (Theological Inquiries; Mahwah, NJ: Paulist, 1999). America 182 (29 January 2000) 25-27.

  "Herbert Anderson, Don Browning, Ian S. Evison, and Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen, eds., The Family Handbook (The Family, Religion and Culture; Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 1998)." International Academy for Marital Spirituality (INTAMS) Review 6 (2000) 134-136.

  "Caroline J. Simon, The Disciplined Heart: Love, Destiny and Imagination (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1997)." International Academy for Marital Spirituality (INTAMS) Review 6 (2000) 126-127.

  "Donald A. Nielsen, Three Faces of God: Society, Religion, and the Categories of Totality in the Philosophy of Emile Durkheim (SUNY Series in Religion, Culture and Society; Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1998)." Religious Studies Review 25 (1999) 382.

  "Peter L. Berger, Redeeming Laughter: The Comic Dimension of Human Experience (New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1997)." Religious Studies Review 24 (1998) 281.

  "Marcel Gauchet, The Disenchantment of the World: A Political History of Religion (trans. Oscar Burge; Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999)." Theological Studies 59 (1998) 548-549.


Selected Essays:

 “Into the Hands of the Father: The invention of ministry to the dying.” Santa Clara Magazine. Winter 2006. pp. 20-23.

 “Finding God in All Things: An Ignatian Environmental Ethic.” Mission. Spring/Summer 2006. pp 22-23.

 “Ethics and Justice as integrating factors in a Santa Clara education.” Thought Paper for Future Directions initiative. Spring 2005. Online at:

 “The Theological Status of Animals as Moral Beings.” Santa Clara Magazine, Spring 2005. Online at:

 Germany’s Unwelcome Guests.” America 190 (May 17, 2004) 16-18.

 "Vatican II Still Resonates 36 Years Later." Santa Clara Magazine 43 (2002) 32.

  "Post-Vatican II Catholics." Explore 5 (Fall 2001) 8-11.

  "Welcoming Workers." America 182 (22 April 2000) 11-15.

  "Communities of Faith for the Life of the Church: An Interview with Mario Fuentes." America 180 (2 February 1999) 10-13.

  "The Horizon of Faith." Issues in Ethics 9 (Winter 1998) 2-5.

  "Gandhi, Prayer and Politics." National Catholic Reporter 34 (13 March 1998) 23.



Selected Presentations:

 “Finding God in All Things: Catholic Environmental Ethics.” Presentation, Clergy Study Week, Diocese of San Jose, May 14, 2007.

 “Community-based Learning to Foster Life-long Civic Engagement” Panel presentation with Laurie Laird, Michael Colyer and Josef Hellebrandt at the WASC Annual Meeting, San Jose Ca., May 20, 2007.

 “When the U.S. Bishops Learned to Speak American: Catholic Social Thought in a New Idiom” Catholic Scholars Series, Notre Dame de Namur University, Belmont, California, March 22, 2007.

 “Service Learning and Catholic Social Teaching: to the mountaintop and back.” Keynote address at the Diocese of Oakland faculty in-service day, September 15, 2006.

 “Finding God in All Things: Ignatian Spirituality and Sustainability” at St. Williams Parish for the Northern Deanery (2), Diocese of San Jose. October 12, 2005.

 “Cyprian of Carthage on Ecclesial Structures of Authority.” Paper presented at the Winter 2004 Teaching Staff Symposium, Hekima College, Nairobi, Kenya.

 “The Loyola Residential Learning Community: Educating the Whole Person.” Paper presented at the Justice Conference Follow-Up Gathering, Loyola University of Chicago, October 11-13, 2002.

 "St. Cyprian of Carthage and Episcopal Authority: The Rule of God." Paper presented at the Conference on the Teaching Authority of Bishops, Jesuit Institute, Boston College, Boston, MA, November 2001.

  "The Evolving Role of the Laity in the Church's Life and Mission." Paper presented at the Catechetical and Liturgical Congress, Diocese of San José, San José, CA, October 2000.

  "Jesuit Spirituality and Ignatian Education." Paper presented to Docents of the de Saisset Museum, students of JoAnn Northrup and Dr. Russell Skowronek's Museum Anthropology class (taped for broadcast by the City of Santa Clara), Santa Clara, CA, October 2000.

  "The Integration of Service-learning into an Ignatian Paradigm of Theological Education." Paper presented to the Faculty of the Jesuit School of Theology, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA, September 2000.

  "The Agony of Ecstasy in Art and Religion." Paper presented at the D'Arcy Gallery at Loyola University of Chicago, in their Art and Religion series, Chicago, November 1999.

 "The Integration of Justice into the Life of the University: Justice as an Academic Subject, as a Research Interest, and as a Communal Practice at Santa Clara University." Paper presented with Marilyn Fernandez and Hersh Shefrin at the Conference on Justice and Jesuit Higher Education, Bannan Center, Santa   Clara University, October 1999.


Professional Memberships:

American Academy of Religion

Catholic Theological Society of America

College Theological Society

Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges 



 Member, Board of Regents, Archbishop Mitty High School, San Jose, Ca. Fall 2007 – present.

 Member, Advisory Board, Renegade Theatre Experiment, San Jose. 2007 – present.

 Member, Advisory Board, Imaginer - Advisors for the Social Enterprise, London. 2006 – present.

 Member, Board of Trustees, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA, 2002-present.

 Acting Director, Bannan Center for Jesuit Education, Santa Clara University, Spring-Summer 2002.

 Member, Board of Directors, Theological Studies, 2001-present.

 Director, Catholic Studies Program, Santa Clara University, 2001-present. (Member, Program Council, 2000-present.)

 Faculty in Residence, Loyola Residential Learning Community, Santa Clara University, 2001-2005.

 Member, Board of Advisors, Graduate Program in Pastoral Ministries, Santa Clara University, 1999-2003.

 Member, Board of Advisors, Arrupe Center for Community-based Learning, Santa Clara University, 1998-2005.

 Member, Board of Directors, Jesuit Volunteer Corps Southwest, 1998-2002.

 Member, Advisory Board, Bannan Institute for Jesuit Education and Christian Values, Santa Clara University, 1998-2001.

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