Recreating a true home: John Cuddeback at work

By Dr. Jeff Mirus (bio - articles - email) | Jul 23, 2015

Professor John Cuddeback, head of the Philosophy department at Christendom College, is particularly interested in family life and the importance of the “household”. Drawing on sources both philosophical and practical, Cuddeback maintains a website devoted to the philosophy and practice of creating and maintaining a sound household, called Bacon from Acorns (baconfromacorns.com).

Cuddeback has been doing this for a little over two years. Each Wednesday, for example, he posts a telling quotation with a brief reflection on the principles of householding it embodies. In addition, visitors can download the lectures Cuddeback has given for the Institute of Catholic Culture, articles he has written for other publications, and even a basic course called “Household 101”. The website is well-designed and illustrated; it draws you in.

An excellent example of Dr. Cuddeback’s writing can also be found at Principles (www.getprinciples.com), which is essentially a bi-monthly online magazine from Christendom College offering “clear thinking on contemporary issues.” This project is in its infancy, ably edited by history professor Christopher Lane, publishing one article in each “issue” since May. Upcoming will be an essay on Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudate Si’, but the current issue is devoted to a superb essay by Cuddeback entitled A Father’s Presence in the Home.

Written in the wake of the Obergefell decision of the US Supreme Court, “A Father’s Presence in the Home” looks back at the history of the family and notices something of signal importance: The trend of breaking up the family began during the industrial revolution with the removal of men into factory jobs. Cuddeback points out that the wrenching necessity of leaving home-based occupations morphed over time into preoccupation with “careers”. This tended to eliminate the presence of the husband and father in the household, not only physically for many hours each day, but psychologically and affectively as well. Now, the author notes, we talk about the need for women to “leave home” to embrace their own careers.

No wonder the Supreme Court sees nothing in marriage and family to preserve! Fortunately, however, Cuddeback has a knack for offering feasible solutions to the problems he identifies. His work is rooted in the great philosophers, whom he mines with consummate ease to offer a sound analysis. Yet his writing is always clear and practical. In the best philosophical tradition, it is not for specialists. It is for all of us.

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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  • Posted by: koinonia - Jul. 24, 2015 7:00 AM ET USA

    Thank you Dr. Mirus for the commentary. Dr. Cuddeback's contributions are welcome and important. As you point out about his message: "It is for all of us." Thank you as well for your contribution as an original visionary along with Dr. Carroll and those early visionaries who worked to make Christendom College a reality.

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Jul. 23, 2015 9:29 PM ET USA

    The industrial revolution caused the word "procreation" to be replaced by the word "reproduction." A reproduction is an image or copy of something, whereas procreation connotes co-creation. Co-creation is exactly what human beings do as part of their mandate from God to fill, subdue, and steward His creation. If we want to move society in the Catholic direction, we should insist on proper terminology: "conjugal act" instead of "sex", "homosexual" instead of "gay", "sex" instead of "gender", etc.