It is with sadness but also hope in the risen Lord that we announce the death yesterday afternoon of our dear friend and Dean Emeritus David L. Schindler (September 16, 1943–November 16, 2022).
We have much to be grateful for in Dr. Schindler’s 30-year commitment to our institution: his prodigious and profound scholarly work, his teaching and mentorship of hundreds of students, his collegial friendship, and his visionary leadership. During his time as Provost/Dean, Dr. Schindler oversaw a reformulation of the curriculum, an expansion of the faculty, the initial process of civil accreditation, the launch of the Ph.D. program and the M.T.S. specialization in Biotechnology and Ethics, and the Institute’s move to its home in McGivney Hall.
Formerly a Weaver Fellow (1972-73) and a Fulbright Scholar (1974-75, Austria), Dr. Schindler taught in the Program of Liberal Studies at the University of Notre Dame (1979-92), where he received tenure in 1985, and at Mount St. Mary’s University (1976-79), where he received tenure in 1978. Since 1982 he has been editor-in-chief of the North American edition of Communio: International Catholic Review, a federation of journals founded in 1972 by Hans Urs von Balthasar, Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI), Henri de Lubac, and other European theologians. He served as editor of the series “Ressourcement: Retrieval and Renewal in Catholic Thought” with Eerdmans Publishing Company. Dr. Schindler published over eighty articles (translated into nine languages) in the areas of metaphysics, philosophical issues in bioscience and technology, gender, and the relation between theology/philosophy and American culture. He was the author of Heart of the World, Center of the Church: Communio Ecclesiology, Liberalism, and Liberation (T&T Clark and Eerdmans, 1996); Ordering Love: Liberal Societies and the Memory of God (Eerdmans, 2011); Freedom, Truth, and Human Dignity: The Second Vatican Council’s Declaration on Religious Freedom: A New Translation, Redaction History, and Interpretation of Dignitatis Humanae, with Nicholas J. Healy, Jr. (Eerdmans and Humanum Academic Press, 2015); and The Generosity of Creation (Humanum Academic Press, 2018). His edited collections included Love Alone is Credible: Hans Urs Von Balthasar as Interpreter of the Catholic Tradition (Eerdmans, 2008); and (with Doug Bandow) Wealth, Poverty, and Human Destiny (ISI, 2003). Other edited collections included Beyond Mechanism: The Universe in Recent Physics and Catholic Thought (1986); Act and Agent: Philosophical Foundations of Moral Education, with Jesse Mann and Frederick Ellrod (1986); Catholicism and Secularism in America (1990); and Hans Urs Von Balthasar: His Life and Work (1991). Dr. Schindler was appointed by Pope John Paul II as a consultor to the Pontifical Council for the Laity from 2002 to 2007.
As this long list of his accomplishments suggests, Dr. Schindler’s theological and philosophical contribution was both wide and deep. Particularly important was his trenchant critique of American liberalism, unmasking its pretentions to offer an empty political and juridical form, free of theological or metaphysical presuppositions, which individuals and private groups could ostensibly fill with whatever comprehensive view they might choose. His work exposed liberalism’s imposition of its own tacit anthropological outlook and standards for theological or metaphysical legitimacy. This decades-long work on the problematic of American culture bore fruit in a profound metaphysics of the person, freedom, love, and the nature of being as gift.
Both Dr. Schindler’s insights and his example will continue to bear fruit in the lives and work of colleagues and students who found in him a guide to an ever-deeper understanding of and love for the order of creation, the “mystery of the Incarnate Word,” and man’s “supreme calling” to holiness in the Church.
Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace. Amen.
The Funeral Mass for Dr. Schindler will be celebrated on Friday, December 2, at 2:00 p.m. at St. Jerome Catholic Church (5205 43rd Ave., Hyattsville, MD 20781).
A public viewing will precede the Mass from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. at St. Jerome’s.
In lieu of flowers, the Schindler family invites you to consider a donation to:
The Community of Saint John (465 Langen Rd., Lancaster, MA, 01523)
The Monastic Sisters of Bethlehem, of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, and of Saint Bruno (393 Our Lady of Lourdes Camp Rd., Livingston Manor, NY 12758)