Rev. Peter F. Ryan, S.J.

Professor of Theology, Spiritual Director
Office Hours: 
By appointment only
S.T.D. Gregorian University, Rome, 1996
S.T.L. Gregorian University, Rome, 1991
M.Div. Regis College, Toronto, 1987
M.A. and Ph.L. Philosophy, Gonzaga University, 1985
M.A. English literature, Gonzaga University, 1982
B.A. Political Science, Loyola College in Maryland 1974
Bio / Information: 

A priest of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus, Fr. Ryan was ordained in 1987. Before coming to Sacred Heart Major Seminary, he served as Executive Director of the Secretariat of Doctrine and Canonical Affairs at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Prior to that he served as Professor of Moral Theology and Director of Spiritual Formation at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis; Professor of Moral Theology at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland; and Assistant Professor of Theology at Loyola College in Maryland.

Fr. Ryan is a member of the executive boards of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars and the Courage apostolate, was a senior fellow of the Westchester Institute for Ethics and the Human Person, and is a past president of the Jesuit Philosophical Society.  He is currently working on a book on tentatively titled The Blessed, the Damned, and Personal Vocation: A Christological Eschatology.

The fourth of eight children, Fr. Ryan was raised in Kensington, Maryland. His brother William is a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.


“Sketch of a Projected Book about the Kingdom of God,” with Germain Grisez, in Moral Good, the Beatific Vision, and God’s Kingdom: Writings by Germain Grisez and Peter F. Ryan, S.J., ed. Peter J. Weigel (New York: Peter Lang, 2015), 149–65. ISBN 978-1-4331-2811-0

“Hell and Hope for Salvation,” with Germain Grisez, New Blackfriars 95 (2014): 606–15; available online at

“Indissoluble Marriage: A Reply to Kenneth Himes and James Coriden,” with Germain Grisez, Theological Studies, 72:2 (2011): 369–415.

“The Significance of the Ultimate End for the Feeding of PVS Patients (a reply to Fr. Kevin O’Rourke, O.P.),” in Bioethics with Liberty and Justice: Themes in the Work of Joseph M. Boyle,ed. Christopher Tollefsen (New York: Springer, 2011), 75–93.

“Intellectual Formation for the Proclamation of the Kingdom,” Homiletic and Pastoral Review,111:5 (Feb. 2011): 74–75.

“AMDG: On the Significance for Sound Spiritual Formation of Seeking the Kingdom of God for the Glory of God,” in Seminary Theology II: Theology and Spiritual Direction in Dialogue, ed. James Keating (Omaha, Neb.: Institute for Priestly Formation, 2011), 123–46.

“New Problems concerning Procreation: Symposium on Dignitas Personae, ” National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly, 9:3 (Sept. 2009): 467–70.

“Reply to Fr. John McDermott, S.J.,” Fellowship of Catholic Scholars Quarterly, 31:2 (Summer 2008): 33–34; and 31:3 (Fall 2008): 42–43.

“What Is Our Moral Obligation to the Abandoned Embryo?” (Presidential Address), Proceedings of the Jesuit Philosophical Association, 62 (2008): 7–18.

“Taking Our Bodies Seriously: Holy Communion in the Eucharist and Marriage,” Fellowship of Catholic Scholars Quarterly, 30:2 (Summer 2007): 4–10.

“How to Discern the Elements of Your Personal Vocation,” Fellowship of Catholic Scholars Quarterly, 30:2 (Summer 2007): 11–18; also available at

“Our Moral Obligation to the Abandoned Embryo,” in Human Embryo Adoption: Biotechnology, Marriage, and the Right to Life, ed. Rev. Thomas V. Berg, L.C., and Edward J. Furton (Philadelphia: National Catholic Bioethics Center, 2006), 297–325.

“Secularist and Christian Views of Human Nature and Its Fulfillment: Implications for Bioethics and Environmentalism,” in Human Nature in Its Wholeness, ed. Daniel N. Robinson, Gladys M. Sweeney, and Richard Gill, L.C. (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2006), 57–79.

“The Desire for Fulfillment: Comments on an Issue Raised in the Letter to Families,” in Creed and Culture: Jesuit Studies of Pope John Paul II, ed. Joseph W. Koterski, S.J., and John J. Conley, S.J. (Philadelphia: St. Joseph’s University, 2004), 215–22.

“Second Response” to Cardinal Francis George, “Self-Gift in Generative Love,” in Spiritual Fatherhood: Living Christ’s Own Revelation: Third Annual Symposium on the Spirituality and Identity of the Diocesan Priest, ed. Edward G. Matthews, Jr. (Omaha, Neb.: Institute for Priestly Formation, 2003), 29–31.

“How Can the Beatific Vision both Fulfill Human Nature and Be Utterly Gratuitous?” Gregorianum, 83:4 (2002), 717–54; reprinted in Moral Good, the Beatific Vision, and God’s Kingdom: Writings by Germain Grisez and Peter F. Ryan, S.J., 49–83.

“A Single Ultimate End Only for ‘Fully Rational’ Agents? A Critique of Scott MacDonald’s Interpretation of Aquinas,” American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, 75 (2001): 433–38.

“Must the Acting Person Have a Single Ultimate End?” Gregorianum, 82:2 (2001): 325–56; reprinted in Moral Good, the Beatific Vision, and God’s Kingdom: Writings by Germain Grisez and Peter F. Ryan, S.J., 17–47.

“Fulfillment as Human in the Beatific Vision? Problems of Fittingness and Gratuity,” American Journal of Jurisprudence, 46 (2001): 153–63.

Archdiocesan Moral Theology Course Outlines: A Teacher’s Guidebook for a Course in Moral Theology (Baltimore: Archdiocese of Baltimore Church Leadership Institute, 2001).

“The Value of Life and Its Bearing on Three Issues of Medical Ethics,” in Life and Learning: Proceedings of the Ninth University Faculty for Life Conference, 9 (Washington, D.C.: University Faculty for Life, 2000), 41–57; a differently formatted version:

“Gateway to a Uniquely Georgetown Education: A Fresh Introduction to Ex Corde Ecclesiae,” Fellowship of Catholic Scholars Quarterly, 22:2 (Spring 1999): 15–19, reprinted from The Georgetown Academy (Winter 1999) and reprinted with Ex Corde Ecclesiae by the Cardinal Newman Society.

 “God the Father as Center of Family Life” in God: The Father of Jesus and Humanity: Preparing to Celebrate the Great Jubilee Year 2000 (Benin City, Nigeria: Archdiocese of Benin City, 1999), 46–56.

 “The Catholic University and the Idea of Academic Freedom,” in The Nature of Catholic Higher Education: Proceedings of the Eighteenth Convention of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars,ed. Anthony J. Mastoeni (Steubenville, Ohio: Franciscan University, 1996), 133–56; video of a slightly amended version:

Speaking Engagements: 
Deans’ Retreat and Roundtable on Spiritual-Intellectual Formation: The Dean as Servant of Communion
Monday, May 22, 2017 to Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Institute for Priestly Formation/ ST Benedict Retreat Center, Schuyler, Nebraska

I will give two presentations and be available for spiritual direction

Prayer and Spirituality of the Great Saints
Monday, June 19, 2017 to Saturday, June 24, 2017
Cenacle School of Spiritual Direction (sponsored by the Marian Servants of Divine Providence) 711 South Bayview Avenue, Clearwater, Florida

Notes: Ten hours of teaching on St. Ignatius Loyola and other great saints and their spirituality