Catholic Studies Academy

Catholic Studies Academy empowers Catholics to strengthen their faith through the systematic study of philosophy and theology in a flexible and affordable way.
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What is Education?

Few issues so engage the passions of the public as education — and with good reason. Almost everyone values education and almost everyone has an opinion. We are exposed to an endless stream of articles and commentary about the politics of education, the decline in...

The Keys to Effective Writing: Purpose and Concision

You do not need to struggle with writing. In fact, effective writing should be as natural as talking. Unless you are writing for artistic or rhetorical purposes, the best way to improve your writing is to use the method of “effective writing.” This approach has one...

Five More Maxims Against Modern Madness

In a previous post, I explained how Christians — and everyone of good will — can defend authentic truth from the “dictatorship of relativism.” This is an essential task for today’s Christians. It is just as important — and perhaps even more controversial — to hold...

Five Maxims Against Modern Madness

As far back as the nineteenth-century, W. B. Yeats observed, “the center does not hold.” The forces of secularism and industrial capitalism combined with the backlash of Marxism — economic and cultural — have destroyed the unity and cohesion of modern culture. Modern...

Is Christianity Unscientific?

Is Christian faith unscientific? Well, it’s complicated. In a previous post, I discussed the way in which skeptics will sometimes employ “science” to discredit the resurrection of Jesus, and I explained that what was really at stake is not so much science, but...

Reason and the Resurrection?

Only the “unsophisticates” and “children” believe in the resurrection of Jesus — at least that is the view of Richard Dawkins, the world’s best known proponent of atheism. (See below) And Dawkins is hardly alone. Many have come to see the resurrection of Jesus as...

The Real Meaning of Happiness: Excellence, Character, and Rectitude

In a previous post I outlined the errors of what many take to be happiness, namely, creating certain feelings of contentment or satisfaction. I defined this approach as the results-based approach and pointed out that it fails to distinguish between good and bad...


It is safe to say that modern men and women are obsessed with happiness. Of course this is hardly a unique situation. Every generation and community is concerned with happiness in one way or another, although it is important to remember that not every culture has...


Few beliefs are more deeply engrained in the modern mind than the primacy of democracy. Indeed despite the radical divisions and non-stop friction that characterizes modern America, almost everyone agrees on one thing: democracy is always the best form of government....

Discovering Absolute Truth: Plato’s Enduring Legacy

When I introduce students to philosophy, I frequently insist that they read significant passages from Plato’s Republic. This is not because I am a Platonist. Indeed, in the end I am sympathetic to Aristotelian and Thomist criticisms of Platonism taken as a whole....

Episode 051 – The Importance of Theology for Marriage and Family: The Legacy of John Paul II

The Importance of Theology for Marriage and Family: The Legacy of John Paul II Dr. Smith and Dr. Bulzacchelli discuss the legacy of John Paul II and in particular his moral theology. In this episode we cover: - The philosophical project of JP II- The gift of self in...

Episode 050 – Knowing God

Knowing God In this episode, Jason and Dr. Smith discuss knowledge and God. Sometimes people speak of heart knowledge and head knowledge, but what is this really? We discuss:- Knowledge and relationship- Knowledge and emotions- Love and knowledge- Doctrine as God...

Episode 049 – Celibacy and Married Priests

Celibacy and Married Priests In this episode, Jason and Dr. Bulzacchelli discuss the issues of celibacy and married priests, We discuss:- Celibacy in Sacred Scripture- Permanent diaconate and Sacred Scripture- Paul to Timothy about bishops- "One woman man"- Church as...

Episode 048 – Purpose in Being

Purpose in Being In this episode, Jason and Dr. Smith continue their discussion on Metaphysics talking about the aspect of purpose and how it is found in being. We discuss:- Reality, being, and meaning- "Adulting"- Parts and arrangement of reality- Design in nature-...

Episode 047 – Authentic Being And Metaphysics

Authentic Being And Metaphysics In this episode, Jason and Dr. Smith discuss the importance of metaphysics and the connection of being to truth, beauty, and goodness. We discuss:- What is metaphysics- First Causes and the question of 'Why?'- What is being- Meaning and...

Episode 046 – Shavuot and Pentecost

Shavuot and Pentecost In this episode, Jason and Dr. Bulzacchelli discuss the Jewish Festival of Shavuot and the Christian feast of Pentecost. We discuss:- What is the Festival of Shavuot?- The idea of gift- The Torah as gift- Gift and Reception- Waiting and replacing...

Episode 045 – Authentic Goodness

Authentic Goodness In this episode, Jason and Dr. Smith continue their discussion on authenticity, this time addressing Goodness. We discuss:- Authentic Goodness and Ethics- "Shared Ethical Discourse"- Lost Vocabulary- Emotivism- Goodness tied to Reality- Goodness is...

Episode 044 – Authentic Truth

Authentic Truth In this episode, we discuss authentic truth and the philosophical implications of truth lying in reality. We talk about:- The dictatorship of relativism- Feelings and Reality- Like beauty, truth lies in reality- Relativism's view of truth- Unicorns,...

Episode 043 – Authentic Beauty

Authentic Beauty In this episode, Jason and Dr. Smith talk about what makes up authentic beauty. We discuss:- Is beauty in the eye of the beholder?- St. Thomas on Beauty- Beauty and Goodness- Beauty, Form, and Reality- St. Thomas' 3 characteristics of beauty- Beauty...

Episode 042 – What is Easter Joy?

What is Easter Joy? In this episode, Jason, Dr. Bulzacchelli, and Dr. Smith talk about the meaning of Easter Joy. We discuss:- Is Easter joy sentimentalism?- The Eschataological Lens of the Christian- The Kingdom of God and wrong ways to think about it- Easter brings...

Women and the Diaconate?

We’ve been hearing a lot lately about women in the diaconate.  This is a difficult issue that extends well beyond the question of Church discipline and “small-t tradition.”  It touches on dogma, and if we get it wrong, we’ll have a theological disaster to clean up....

The Holy Spirit: Giver of Life and the Paraclete

At Pentecost, we celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and the Virgin Mary in the Upper Room, fifty days after the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  This great feast marks the end of the Church’s most joyful and longest season: Easter. Whatever else...

Don’t Be Ashamed of the Gospel…or the Eucharist

In the contemporary West, we’ve become used to a rather perverse and un-Scriptural idea: that real virtue depends on seeing ourselves democratically. People of good-will, it’s thought, eschew the idea of privilege or advantage and something inherently unfair—an...

He is Risen! And It’s Not a Metaphor

“He is risen!”  This Easter proclamation encapsulates the basis of faith in Jesus Christ.  It’s a sine qua non of the Christian faith.  Without the resurrection of Christ, there’s no Christianity. St. Paul puts it like this: “if Christ has not been raised, then our...

Judas, Peter, and Me

In the Gospels, Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Christ, is depicted as a man generally disposed to underhanded activity.  Though he was entrusted with the treasury by which Christ’s earthly mission had been funded, it’s said that he stole from it for his own purposes...

On Lent and Being Human: Penance, Fasting, and Abstinence

Lent is a penitential season, and among the features of a penitential season in the Judeo-Christian tradition are fasting and abstinence.  Fasting, of course, involves forgoing food.  Abstinence involves forgoing comforts of the body.  Think of fasting as giving up...

Purgatory as Surrender

Once, when I was teaching moral theology, a student who wasn’t Catholic asked me about purgatory.  I explained that, in this life, we retain numerous attachments to earthy goods and concerns, selfish wants, resentments, prideful aspirations that have little to do with...

Purgatory as Judgment

We often imagine that purgatory is a sentence we serve before our admittance into heaven.  But what if purgatory doesn’t follow judgment?  What if purgatory is judgment, subjectively experienced by us? This is precisely the view articulated by St. Catherine of Genoa...

Purgatory Beyond the Images of Flames and Punishment

In the third installment in our series on purgatory, we examined the opinion that purgatory involves actual corporeal fire.  We saw that this odd-seeming view has some basis in a sound understanding of the relationship between the soul and the body, and that it...

Is there Actual Fire in Purgatory?

In Part 2 of my series on purgatory, I talked about St. Paul’s reference to the typology of fire in 1 Corinthians 3:10–15.  Over the centuries, many great theologians and doctors of the Church took this reference, and references to the fires of hell in the New...

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Catholics today need a deeper intellectual formation that meets today's challenges and inspires faith in those they encounter. Contrary to what you will hear from many so-called experts, the primary challenge to faith today is's about the Truth.


Join the Academy

“Three things are necessary for the salvation of man: to know what he ought to believe; to know what he ought to desire, and to know what he ought to do.” St. Thomas Aquinas

Features and Benefits

  • College-level philosophy and theology courses entirely online.
  • Access to reliable experts on philosophy, theology, and catechetics.
  • A community of committed Catholics seeking to deepen their faith through rigorous, intellectual formation.
  • A systematic, college-level curriculum in philosophy and theology.
  • Staffed by professional scholars and experienced teachers.
  • Faithful, rigorous, and independent – CSA is free to maintain the integrity of its mission without compromise.

Students who enroll in CSA will be able to:

DEMONSTRATE familiarity with the major figures and movements of the history of philosophy and theology.
DEFINE and understand philosophical and theological ideas and foundational principles.
REFUTE the most common errors that challenge and subvert the Catholic faith today.
DEMONSTRATE essential truths in philosophy and theology including the existence of God, the objective difference between right and wrong, the real possibility of Hell, the indissolubility of marriage, et cetera.
MEDITATE more deeply on the mysteries of God.
“The Church remains profoundly convinced that faith and reason “mutually support each other”; each influences the other, as they offer to each other a purifying critique and a stimulus to pursue the search for deeper understanding.” Pope Saint John Paul II

Fides et Ratio 100

Dr. Benjamin Smith
Lecturer in Philosophy

Dr. Smith, Lecturer in Philosophy and co-founder, received his M.A. in philosophy from the Catholic University of America and his Ph.D. from the Center for Thomistic Studies. He is steeped in Thomist philosophy and experienced in the analysis and refutation of modern errors. Dr. Smith has more than a decade of full-time experience as a professor and scholar. He has published articles in The Thomist, the Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association, Public Discourse, and the Imaginative Conservative.

Dr. Richard Bulzacchelli, S.T.D.
Lecturer in Theology

Dr. Bulzacchelli, Lecturer in Theology, received the S.T.L. from the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC, and the S.T.D. from the  International Marian Research Institute. He has been a scholar and professor for almost two decades and publishes on a wide range of topics in theology and philosophy. He is the author of two books: Judged by the Law of Freedom: A History of the Faith-Works Controversy and a Resolution in the Thought of St. Thomas Aquinas and Elohim Created: A New Look at the First Creation Narrative.

Jason Gale, M.A., L.Div.
Lecturer in Theology

Jason Gale, Lecturer in Theology and co-founder, earned undergraduate and Master’s degrees in Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville and the Maryvale Institute. He also received an Ecclesiastical License of Divinity (in Catechetics) from the Maryvale Institute. He has published several articles in The Sower Review and The Catechetical Review. He lives with his wife and 5 kids in Dickson, TN. Jason has been in the work of teaching and forming catechists for over 10 years and lectures regularly on catechesis.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is this different from other programs?

Our mission is to model our courses after a 4-year degree program in philosophy and theology. You will have access to the same topics and subjects as you find at a 4-year college or university without the added cost and time constraints. Our lecturers guide you through the material over the course of 12 weeks and after the course is released, you will have access to it for the lifetime of your membership. We take you through a systematic study of philosophy and theology in an abbreviated manner without diluting the content. Most programs out there are usually based on the Catechism, a book of the bible, or are simply topical. We strive to fill that educational gap between the catechesis offered at the parish level and an undergraduate degree.

These elements are foundational for the CSA learning experience:

  • Our approach is systematic, not merely topical
  • Integrates philosophy and theology
  • College-level, academic education, abbreviated but not diluted
  • Independent community of scholars

Meet the instructors and learn more:

How does this work?

The academy works similarly to a magazine subscription. Your monthly subscription gives you

  • access to new material each week (including a theology class and a philosophy class)
  • exclusive material
  • a private forum for only members and the lecturers
  • along with added content throughout the year

Each course is approximately 12 weeks and a new course in theology and philosophy will be available every 3 months. Lectures for new course material will be available weekly during the 12 weeks. Lectures for past courses will be available at any time.


Students will have access to four theology and four philosophy core track courses for a term of 6 months each. Two new courses (one theology and one philosophy) will be rolled out every three months. When you enroll, you are given access to 101 and 102 courses in Philosophy and Theology.

  • Fundamental Theology
  • Introduction to Philosophy
  • Philosophy of the Human Person
  • Introduction to Sacred Scripture

At the end of 6 months, the next courses will be available to you. You will have access to each course for a term of 6 months. We will continue to carry through a systematic track of courses during the duration of your membership.



Scholars and Fellows will have access to all new courses including exclusive courses like Introduction to Practical Theology and lifetime access to all courses in the archives. You will be able to take all courses as your schedule allows and will have immediate access to all new lectures as they are published.

What courses are available now?

On June 1, you will have access to one 12-week course in Philosophy and also one 12-week course in Theology.

  • Fundamental Theology (4-Part Foundation course and 12-week course)
  • Introduction to Philosophy

Currently, our 2 courses available lay the framework and foundation for the study of theology and philosophy. New courses will be available every 12 weeks.

2018-19 Schedule:
June 1, 2018: 2 new courses
September 1, 2018: 2 new courses will be added(4 total)
December 1, 2018: 2 new courses will be added (6 total)
March 1, 2019: 2 new courses will be added (8 total)

Each year will follow this schedule. We will also be adding more mini-courses and lecture series, exclusive audio content (including an expanded WIMP series) and other learning opportunities!

Will I have access to each course forever?


All enrolled students will have access to each course for a total of 6 months. Every 3 months, 2 new courses will be made available to you, and you will have the opportunity to complete each course over a 6-month period. You can upgrade your membership at any time to access any of the course archives.

Scholars & Fellows

All enrolled scholars and fellows will have full access to all courses on the Catholic Studies Academy. Past courses will be available in their entirety and lectures from current live courses will become available each week over the course of 12 weeks.

How soon can I access the lectures?

Each course spans 12 weeks and a lecture will be available each week. On June 1, the very first lecture for Introduction to Philosophy and Fundamentals of Theology will be available to you. Our next 2 courses will become available on September 1 with a new lecture available for you each week.

How many courses will I have access to?

Student Membership

With the Student membership, you will have access to 4 theology course and 4 philosophy course per year. Every 3 months, you will be given access to one new theology and philosophy course. Each course will be available to you for 6 months.

Scholar & Fellow Memberships

With the Scholar and Fellow memberships, you will have access to courses as they become available. Every 3 months, you will have access to a new theology and a new philosophy course. This works out to 4 philosophy and 4 theology course per year.

Can I earn college credits?

The mission of Catholic Studies Academy is to provide a systematic education in theology and philosophy in an affordable and accessible manner. For these reasons, we do not offer credits for courses taken. We do offer certificates for courses completed (Scholars and Fellows only).

Can I purchase individual courses?

Yes – Some of our courses are available for individual or bundle purchase here.

I'm not sure if I have time for a college course?

The estimated time commitment for our courses is about 1-2 hours a week. The weekly coursework is recommended as follows:

  • 30 minutes – Video/Audio lecture
  • 30 minutes-1 hour – Online interaction in the forum
  • 30 minutes-1 hour – Recommended Reading

This work can be done each week or if you have more time one week rather than another, you can easily complete multiple classes in one week.

I'm no philosopher...

That is why you are here. You have a desire to know truth and to explain it in a rational way and be faithful to the Church. If you love wisdom, you are in the right spot!

This sounds a little out of my league

When you begin learning a new subject, it always seems “a little out of your league”. But the learning process takes some time to organize the material in your intellect. However, when you arrive “on the other side”, the material makes sense. In this case, we are asking the highest and most important questions about life.

Will I be under a contractual obligation?

No, you can cancel or upgrade at any time. If you have any questions or need to reach our support team, please email

What courses are offered?

CSA Faculty will be rolling out a new philosophy and a new theology course every 3 months. The content of these courses will eventually give you access to the foundational and elective courses you might find at a faithful, Catholic college/university.

This will include courses in:

Theology – Fundamental Theology, Introduction to Sacred Scripture, Moral Theology, The Sacraments, The Church, Christology, Theology of the Trinity, Various Scripture Courses, etc. Philosophy – Introduction to Philosophy, Ancient Philosophy, Philosophy of the Human Person, Medieval Philosophy, Early Modern Philosophy, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Late Modern Philosophy, Philosophy of God, Ethics, Political Philosophy

What if I have a question or need clarity on a subject?

Students & Scholars: You have access to our online forum which gives you access to not only the professors but also the wider CSA community Fellows: In addition to the online forum, you will have further access to the lecturers for questions and dialogue through email.

Are you an accredited college?

No, we are not an accredited college. Keeping with our mission of affordable and accessible higher ecducation, we will never be accredited by an arbitrary institution.

WIMP – Worst Ideas in Modern Philosophy

Join us as we reveal some of the Worst Ideas in Modern Philosophy that have ruined the world and continue to drag humanity toward hell.


(Signing up for this series will also sign you up for the periodic newsletter from CSA.
Once you register you can update your settings at any time to choose what emails you want to receive.)

WIMP – Worst Ideas in Modern Philosophy

Join us as we reveal some of the Worst Ideas in Modern Philosophy that have ruined the world and continue to drag humanity toward hell.

(Signing up for this series will also sign you up for the periodic newsletter from CSA. Once you register you can update your settings at any time to choose what emails you want to receive.)

Sign up for our free 5-part mini-series

Join us as we reveal the Worst Ideas in Modern Philosophy that have ruined the world and continue to drag humanity toward hell.

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