Matthew Cuddeback

Assistant Professor

Contact Information:

St. Catherine of Siena Hall 113


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

Brief Biography:

I was born, baptized, and raised in Maryland. I am married to Francesca, and we live in Providence with our children. We attend Sunday Mass at St. Pius V parish. I have taught philosophy at The Catholic University of America, James Madison University (1997-1999), and, since 1999, at Providence College.

Area(s) of Expertise:

I am a Catholic philosopher who takes inspiration from St. John Paul II’s encyclical “Fides et Ratio" (“Faith and Reason”). Here are three leading passages for me. (1) "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). (2) John Paul invites philosophers to work “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). (3) 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).

In my teaching I strive to hand on this “great tradition” and its liberating insights: man is made to the image of God; man is made to find joy in the truth; man is made to seek, know, love, worship, and praise God in communion with others. St. Thomas Aquinas has been my guide in my appreciating and handing on this tradition.

My teaching focuses on the anthropological and natural-law grounds of the Catholic Church’s teaching on marriage, the family, human sexuality, contraception, artificial reproductive technology, natural family planning (NFP), and abortion. I explore the following teachings of John Paul II: the family founded on the marriage of man and woman is the sanctuary of life and love, the first and basic expression of man's social nature, and the first and fundamental structure for "human ecology" (Centesimus Annus, §§38-39; Letter to Families, §7); a "culture of life" is one in which every person--the weak, needy, vulnerable, elderly, unborn--is welcomed and loved (Evangelium Vitae, §18; Letter to Families, §§21-22); man finds himself through a sincere gift of himself (Letter to Families, §11); Jesus Christ fully reveals man to himself (Redemptor Hominis, §10).

Selected Publications:

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

Cuddeback, M. (2013) In R. Cessario, C. S. Titus, P. Vitz (Ed.), Personal Unity. Philosophical Virtues and Psychological Strengths (Sophia Institute Press, 2013)

Cuddeback, M. (2009) In Bernard N. Schumacher (Ed.), 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, M. (2009) Thomas Aquinas on Divine Illumination and the Authority of the First Truth. Nova et Vetera.(7), 579-602 (available for download at "personal website"--click below).

Selected Presentations:

Cuddeback, M. Diocesan marriage preparation (parish based) (2017 - present). Diocese of Providence, RI, - "God's Plan for Human Sexuality" , 2020

Cuddeback, M. Faith Formation Convocation. Diocese of Providence, Bryant University, Smithfield, RI - "How to Teach the Theology of the Body to Teens" March, 2018

Cuddeback, M. The Fourth Annual Antigone Lectures. Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville, AL - "What Can Thomas Aquinas Say to Today's Undergraduate?" November, 2017

Cuddeback, M. St. Pius V Young Adults weekly meeting. , Providence, RI - "A Father Creates Life" September, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Detailed CV
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Personal website