Writings of
Tad Dunne

Below are materials under four headings:

New Works

Last update: November 17, 2017. Permission to copy anything here will be freely given.
Email me at: tdunne@sienaheights.edu

Click on the individual titles below:

New Works

Dominicans, Contemplation & Veritas

The Christian tradition of contemplative prayer is intimately connected to the Dominican commitment to veritas. This is borne out by a historical review of five methods of prayer: a methodical ascent toward God, a finding God in all things, the uniquely Christian contemplation of God's goodness, a contemplation of events in the life of Christ, and a contemplation of the world as God contemplates it. Recent explorations by Martin Heidegger and Eric Voegelin of how cultures symbolize the drama of life and the descriptions of this drama presented by the bishops of Vatican II have recovered the veritas of a saving drama of the world as God contemplates it. 13 pages.

We Love You Matty

Reflections on "Meeting Death with Faith" (subtitle). The reflections center around the death of Matty Ventresca, who, at birth, was born with a damaged heart and was expected to live no more than 10 years. He died after nine years, but lived in death's shadow in ways that many adults do well to learn. The contents include accounts of how people of different cultures and religions regard death, how all people not only imagine the reality of death but also assert certain truths about remains an awesome mystery. The book was originally published in 1991 and is no longer in print. The version here is available for copying and distribution without permission. 138 pages.

Prayers at Anchor

Six prayers at anchor to get our bearings.
Plus 12 Kyries composed for Pope Francis' Year of Mercy ('15-'16) at a local parish. 18 pp.

Prayers under Sail

A few dozen short prayers while sailiing in calm seas or troubled waters. 18 pp.

The Field and Functions of the Arts

A definition of the field of the arts as including aesthetic movements that occur within the affective-imaginal realm of self-awareness, in both their creators and their publics. These movements promote and provide direction to the self-transcending events at every level of consciousness. Key functions of the arts are identified: how artworks mean, what makes their images of human living "honest," and how they "heal" a fractured self-awareness. 8 pages.


An account of the historical development of secularism, followed by reflections on the need for a "mutual exposure of horizons" between secularists and religious believers. 13 pages.

Still Learning

A link to 28 adult education lectures, arranged in four sections: Intelligence, Strategies, Communicating, and Faith. Lonergan's mind is evident throughout.



Being a Teen

A guide for teenagers to know "how to be" and "how not to be." 14 pages.

Boundary Crossers

A lecture given to graduating seniors at Siena Heights University. 8 pages.

Guilt and Healing

Three distinct kinds of guilt, and their corresponding kinds of healing, based on the works of the Freudian psychologists Karen Horney and Claudio Naranjo.
9 pages.

Image of God in Death

Eight questions about what God is like, given the reality that we all die. Based on the life of Matty Ventresca, who was born with half a heart, and died at nine years old. This account is taken from ch. 3 of my We Love You Matty: Meeting Death with Faith. 38 pages.

Spiritual Care for the Dying

An exploration of how those who care for the dying might attend to their faith, charity, and hope. 8 pages.


Contemplation for Love

An adaptation of Ignatius' "Contemplation to Attain Love," to incorporate being in love both with God and neighbor. 6 pages.

The Cultural Milieus of the Spiritual Exercises

The effect on the composition of the Spiritual Exercises of reform movements in the Church, a military attitude toward spirituality, and avoidance of mentioning the Holy Spirit. 13 pages

Extremism in Ignatius Loyola

An account of how Ignatius keen sense of moderation in practical matters was the fruit of an extreme vigilance over interior movements of thoughts and feelings. 11 pages.

Realism in Ignatius Loyola

An account of how Ignatius' intellectual realism grounded his sense of objectivity and enabled him to identify "grace," "thoughts," and "desire" as key categories in a spiritual theology. 16 pages.

Rules for Discerning Inspirations

Rules for testing which interior inspirations are likely from God and which are not. 6 pages.

Rules for Discerning Stories

Rules for testing which stories represent the movements of God in history and which do not. 4 pages.

Spirituality and the Arts

A correspondence over several years with Jerry Graham, SJ, about spirituality and the arts, with particular emphasis on Jesuit spirituality. 77 pages.

Spiritual Wisdom: Letters of Ignatius Loyola

A collection of passages from the letters of St. Ignatius Loyola. 19 pages.


Philosophy / Theology


College & the Christian Vision

Three Christian doctrines suitable for inclusion in academic study: Human progress & decline, the mysterious nature of the real, and the connection between the mission of the college and personal vocation. 13 pages.

The Common Good

A lecture on the history, the philosophy, and the current political, social, and economic thinking about the common good. 10 pages.

Consciousness in Christian Community

An exploration of the ground of Christian community in a "common consciousness" as defined by Lonergan. 12 pages.

Critical Thinking

Based on an assertion that people do not want to think. Developed with emphasis on the four biases identified by Lonergan, plus a bias of "secularism." 11 pages.


An analysis of the functions of desire as it relates to spirituality. Originally published in The New Dictionary of Catholic Spirituality, ed. Michael Downey. Liturgical Press, 1993, pp. 265-269. 5 pages

Ethics & Religion

An introduction to an integration of religious and secular views on ethics. Includes an exercise in preparing a personal advance directive form on the end of life. Key elements: Good as self-absorption vs self-transcendence. Religion and moral impotence. Comparisons of religious and secular ethical criteria. Finding common ground. 13 pages.


An analysis of the meaning of "experience" as it relates to spirituality. Originally published in The New Dictionary of Catholic Spirituality, ed. Michael Downey. Liturgical Press, 1993, pp. 365-377. 16 pages.

Jesus Founder

An essay on vision and mission in Christian higher learning based on a survey of 15 Christian-based colleges. Included is a proposal to include Jesus the Nazarene as the source and founder of the college's mission. 16 pages.

A Philosophy of Art

An analysis of how artists make artistic decisions and how these decisions can be affected by biases. 34 pages.

Technology & the Human Condition

Lectures and history. Aligns historical technological advances with three fundamental developments in the Human Condition: Jasper's Axial Period, Modern Science, and Praxis in Human Studies. Particular attention to the growing links between technology and political economies. 97 pages.

Thinking about God

A college-level lecture on the six modes of thinking that have emerged in history. It serves as a preparation for studying religious beliefs. 11 pages.

Scholarship and the Bible

A college-level lecture addressing the question, "How does a community of faith ensure that readers of the Bible correctly grasp the significance of their reading?" Includes brief explanations of Lonergan on community, hermeneutics, horizon, conversion, and the self-correcting process of learning, with additional emphases on Doran's psychic conversion and Voegelin's saving tale. Incorporates a hermeneutics that combines personal inspiration and author-engagement. Sketches the resolution of differences in a dialectical forum. 23 pages.

Science & Religion

An account of the emergence of modern science and how the knowledge it brings relates to religious knowledge. Particular emphasis is given on how the human sciences affect people's ordinary religious beliefs. 10 pages.

The Question of God

How the question of God arises from wonder about our historicity, our nature, our personal existence, and our religion. 13 pages.

Why the Christian Story Endures

An account of how the emblematic (mythical/symbolic) factor of the Christian Story invites readers to take seriously the events of history and the events of the heart. 27 pages.


Christian Theological Ethics

A brief history covering (I) Scripture (2) Turn to Philosophy, (3) Ethical Systems, (4) Faith & Works, (5) Turn to the Subject, and (6) 20th Century Issues. 59 pages. Updated May 2016

Doing Better: The Next Revolution in Ethics

Marquette University Press, 2010

Table of Contents

Study Guide with references to
The Lonergan Reader
(University of Toronto Press, 1997).

Exercises for noticing the norms in consciousness. Part of an effort to provide a common ground for assessing any ethical principles and moral views.

A Glossary of Ethics

Definitions of basic terms. 12 pages

Method in Ethics

An extension of Lonergan's generalized empirical method into the field of ethics. Covers moral knowing, objectivity, metaphysics, existential dimensions, method in ethics, and education in ethics. 97 pages.

Moral Objectivity

A discussion of what objectivity means in moral opinions and decisions. 20 pages

The Next Evolution of Ethics

Text of a presentation on the revolution that a generalized empirical method can bring about in ethics. 9 pages.

The Open Ethicist

Defines "open" as being open to learning about learning, choosing how we choose, and letting our lives be led by love. These definitions are meant respectively to clarify what intellectual, moral and affective conversions mean for anyone concerned about method in ethics. This treatment is a modified version of chapter 7 in my Doing Better: The Next Revolution in Ethics. 36 pages.

Lonergan Studies

Lonergan on Being in Love

"Being in Love": An article published in 1995, plus six addenda on later materials regarding a "5th level." 26 pages.

Lonergan's Generalized Empirical Method

An entry in the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Covers the main ideas in Lonergan's works, with special emphasis on ethics. 29 pages.

Lonergan's Method in Theology

A short introduction for students. 8 pages.

Lonergan: Sources of Key Terms

A list of 61 key terms, followed by the main primary sources. 9 pages.

Lonergan & Spirituality

An introduction to how key ideas in Lonergan's work relate to spirituality. (1985 original out of print) 242 pages.


I grew up in Detroit and now live in Royal Oak, MI with my wife, Dorothy Seebaldt. Under the direction of Fred Crowe, I wrote my doctoral thesis on Lonergan's development of the ideas of community and progress. The doctorate was awarded by St. Michael's College / University of Toronto.

I was then hired to teach theology at Regis College/ University of Toronto. Some years later I accepted the position of Director of Novices for the Detroit Province of the Society of Jesus for five years. I then left the Jesuits and taught at University of Detroit Mercy; Marygrove College, and currently in totally online courses at Siena Heights University.

I'm interested ethics, art, music, and the works of Lonergan. I published several books and articles in these subjects. I also provide occasional drawings for America magazine.