Returning from the UK

Listen to Scala students talk about the experience on the trip to Ampelforth Abbey and Oxford University in the UK.

Aquinas and Thomism on Faith and Reason

Sunday, February 12th, 2017, 6:30-8:30

Guest: Thomas Joseph White

Director of the Thomistic Institute, Dominican House of Studies

A Hidden Wholeness: Martin Luther King, Jr. and Thomas Merton on Civil Rights

Sunday, February 26th, 2017, 6:30-8:30

Guest: Albert Raboteau

Professor of Religion, Princeton University

A Genealogy of Violence: René Girard in Dialogue

Sunday, March 26th, 2017, 6:30-8:30

Guest: James Bernard Murphy

Professor of Government, Dartmouth College

Is Western Culture Facing a New Totalitarianism?

Monday, March 13, 2017, 5:30-7:30

Guest: Carlo Lancellotti

Professor of Mathematics, City University of New York

Intentional Community Living in College and Beyond

Tuesday, February 20, 6:00 p.m.

Leah Libresco, author of “Arriving at Amen: Seven Catholic Prayers Even I Can Offer,” will lead the group in a discussion of their goals for thick community after college—how does each person attending want to praise God with others? We will use a series of prompts to review examples of others that we admire and can imitate, to use the works of mercy as a guide to planning specific events, to discussing particular logistical preparations (cooking for crowds, making new friends welcome) that Leah has found useful in her own life. We will close by discussing what skills students feel like they need to develop in order to be able to open their lives to greater community (overcoming shyness, more experience with daily prayer, cooking), and how they can work on developing these strengths while in college (or graduate school).

The Practice Turn in Studies of Religion

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Professor Robert Wuthnow, Gerhard R. Andlinger `52 Professor of Sociology and Director of Center for the Study of Religion, Princeton University

Religion is commonly understood as something that people practice, whether in the presence of others or alone and through worshipful acts, contemplative moments, and small gestures of devotion. But what does practice mean?  Over the past quarter century, practice approaches have been richly generative in the study of religion, focusing attention on the acts and utterances through which individuals and groups express themselves religiously in ordinary life. In emphasizing practice, scholars have shifted decisively away from essentialist arguments that grandly purport to explain what religion is and why it exists. Practice approaches instead attend to the habits, routines, improvisations, and adaptations that bring religion down to earth and into the messiness of everyday social interaction. This talk will suggest some of ways in which this “practice turn” is posing new questions and opening new lines of inquiry.

Exploring Spiritual Aesthetics in the Henry Clay Frick Collection

Friday, February 16th, 2018

Aesthetics, including painting and decorative arts, are an often-underappreciated component of liberal arts education. At this Scala event in New York City, we will enjoy a guided tour and private meeting with a docent of the Frick Collection. The Frick Collection is known for its old Master paintings and outstanding examples of European sculpture and decorative arts. The collection was assembled by the Pittsburgh industrialist Henry Clay Frick (1849–1919) and is housed in his former residence on Fifth Avenue. One of New York City’s few remaining Gilded Age mansions, it provides a tranquil environment for visitors to experience masterpieces by artists such as Bellini, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Gainsborough, Goya, and Whistler. The museum opened in 1935 and has continued to acquire works of art since Mr. Frick’s death.

“The Bruderhof: A Community in the Spirit of the Sermon on the Mount and the Radical Reformation”

Monday, February 13th, 2018

Guests: Heiner and Kirstie Mommsen, Cheryl Johnson, and Peter Hinkey.

Discussion topic: Bruderhof founder Eberhard Arnold was fond of the analogy of the Church as an embassy of the coming Kingdom: present in the world, but subject to the justice of the coming Kingdom and representative of it. Four members of the Bruderhof, an intentional Christian community of families dedicated to supporting each other and serving their local community, will share their personal and community history. They will use their community’s experience and witness as a starting point for thinking about how the Church (in the broadest sense) can respond to the challenges of the 21st century.


Judging the Truth: Moral Intolerance or the Dictatorship of Relativism?

“Thou shalt not judge.”  For our contemporary culture, and especially for the typical university culture, this is the first and greatest commandment –it may be the only one. The great sin of our age, the capital vice of postmodernity, is to be judgmental.  The aim of this talk is therefore to address whether and what sense being judgmental is really a vice or a sin, and how this is related to contemporary claims about truth, tolerance, and moral relativism.  Why are claims of objective moral truth so intimidating, or even threatening, to our contemporaries?  And how can we speak to them about objective truths without being accused of being judgmental?

Fr. Dominic Legge, O.P., is the Assistant Director of the Thomistic Institute and Assistant Professor in Systematic Theology at the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. He holds a J.D. from Yale Law School, a Ph.L. from the School of Philosophy of the Catholic University of America, and a doctorate in Sacred Theology from the University of Fribourg in Switzerland. He entered the Order of Preachers in 2001, after having practiced constitutional law for several years as a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice. He has also taught at The Catholic University of America Law School and at Providence College. He is the author of The Trinitarian Christology of St. Thomas Aquinas (Oxford University Press, 2016), and is a weekly co-host of EWTN Radio’s Morning Glory show.

Thursday, October 19th

Seminars take place at Professor Mooney’s home near Princeton’s campus. Dinner is included. To find out more about these events, please email us at

“Augustine: From Friendship to a New Republic”

Prof. Peter Brown

Philip and Beulah Rollins Professor of History, Emeritus

Although he is most known for his spiritual conversation narrative and his views on the city of God and the city of man, Augustine was deeply committed to spiritual friendships and community life in a monastery. In this seminar, renowned biographer of Augustine and historian of late antiquity, Professor Peter Brown, will discuss lesser-known aspects of Augustine’s life in a monastic community and how that shaped his views of friendship, politics, and eternal life.


Peter Brown, the Philip and Beulah Rollins Professor of History, is credited with having created the field of study referred to as late antiquity (250-800 A.D.), the period during which Rome fell, the three major monotheistic religions took shape, and Christianity spread across Europe. A native of Ireland, Professor Brown earned his B.A. in history from Oxford University (1956), where he taught until 1975 as a Fellow of All Souls College. He joined the Princeton faculty in 1986 after teaching at the University of London and the University of California, Berkeley. Professor Brown’s primary interests are the transition from antiquity to the Middle Ages and the rise of Christianity, and he has pursued them through investigations into such diverse topics as Roman rhetoric, the cult of the saints, the body and sexuality, and wealth and poverty. He is the author of a dozen books, including Augustine of Hippo (1967, 2000), The World of Late Antiquity (1971), The Cult of the Saints (1982), The Body and Society (1988), Power and Persuasion in Late Antiquity: Towards a Christian Empire (1992), Authority and the Sacred: Aspects of the Christianization of the Roman World (1995), The Rise of Western Christendom (1996, 2003), and Poverty and Leadership in the Later Roman Empire (2002). Professor Brown has received honorary degrees from numerous universities, including the University of Chicago (1978), Trinity College, Dublin (1990), Wesleyan University (1993), Columbia University (2001), Harvard University (2002), and Kings College London (2008) . He has been the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship (1982), a Guggenheim Fellowship (1989), and the Mellon Foundation’s Distinguished Achievement Award (2001). In 2008, he won the Kluge Prize of the Library of Congress.

Friday, September 29th

Seminars take place at Professor Mooney’s home near Princeton’s campus. Dinner is included. To find out more about these events, please email us at