The Development of Moral Theology

The Development of Moral Theology: Five Strands

Charles E. Curran
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 320
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  • Book Info
    The Development of Moral Theology
    Book Description:

    Charles Curran in his newest bookThe Development of Moral Theology: Five Strands, brings a unique historical and critical analysis to the five strands that differentiate Catholic moral theology from other approaches to Christian ethics-sin and the manuals of moral theology, the teaching of Thomas Aquinas and later Thomists, natural law, the role of authoritative church teaching in moral areas, and Vatican II. Significant changes have occurred over the course of these historical developments. In addition, pluralism and diversity exist even today, as illustrated, for example, in the theory of natural law proposed by Cardinal Ratzinger.In light of these realities, Curran proposes his understanding of how the strands should influence moral theology today. A concluding chapter highlights the need for a truly theological approach and calls for a significant change in the way that the papal teaching office functions today and its understanding of natural law.In a work useful to anyone who studies Catholic moral theology,The Development of Moral Theologyunderscores, in the light of the historical development of these strands, the importance of a truly theological and critical approach to moral theology that has significant ramifications for the life of the Catholic church.

    eISBN: 978-1-62616-020-0
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. CHAPTER 1 STRAND ONE Sin, Reconciliation, and the Manuals of Moral Theology
    (pp. 1-30)

    Sin, conversion, and forgiveness constitute significant aspects in the moral life of the Christian. Moral theology as a thematic, critical, and systematic reflection on the Christian moral life must pay serious attention to these realities. These realities have also exerted a significant influence on how moral theology has conceived its own purpose and function. This chapter discusses the historical development of these important realities and how they shaped the discipline of moral theology.

    The nature of sin is central to understanding the message of Jesus and of the Church. Jesus came to redeem us through his gracious love from the...

  5. CHAPTER 2 STRAND TWO Thomas Aquinas and the Thomistic Tradition
    (pp. 31-72)

    Without doubt, Thomas Aquinas is the most significant figure in the history of Catholic theology in general and Catholic moral theology in particular. Aquinas (1225–74) was a Dominican friar who was recognized not only as the foremost Catholic theologian but also as the most influential Catholic philosopher. The genius of Aquinas was to bring together the metaphysics and thought of Aristotle with the Christian understanding as found in scripture and in the fathers of the Church, especially Augustine. His most famous theological work is theSumma theologiae, which he never actually finished before his death. Thomas spent much time...

    (pp. 73-147)

    From early in the history of the Western world until the present day, intellectuals and others have referred to the natural law. Greek poets and historians spoke of a natural law that is divine, universal, and known to all. Natural law has been discussed in a number of different contexts. Philosophers have proposed natural law as a law for how human persons should act morally. Theologians have also dealt with natural law in light of Paul’s Letter to the Romans 2:14: the Gentiles do by nature what the law requires and are a law unto themselves. Theologians discuss natural law...

  7. CHAPTER 4 STRAND FOUR Papal Teaching Office
    (pp. 148-223)

    Catholic moral theology differs from its Protestant sibling by its recognition of the role of what is called the hierarchical magisterium or the teaching office of popes and bishops in the area of morality.

    This unique characteristic of moral theology is explored and developed in this chapter.

    Catholic faith recognizes the unique role of the pope in the Church. According to the Constitution on the Church of the Second Vatican Council, Jesus placed Peter over the other apostles and instituted in him a permanent and visible source and foundation of unity and fellowship. The pope is called the successor of...

  8. CHAPTER 5 STRAND FIVE Second Vatican Council
    (pp. 224-252)

    The second vatican council (1962–65) had a profound effect on the Catholic Church. However, in the fifty years since the Council there have surfaced discordant interpretations of what the Council actually did and how it fits into the life and the history of the Church. The controversy centers on whether one emphasizes the aspect of continuity or discontinuity of the Council with the previous Catholic tradition. In my judgment, there are aspects of both continuity and discontinuity. Vatican II in no way changed or even diminished one of the dogmas or core teachings of the Catholic Church. On the...

  9. CONCLUSION Where Do We Stand Today?
    (pp. 253-288)

    After an in-depth study of the five strands in the historical development of moral theology, the question naturally arises: where do we stand today and in the immediate future?

    This conclusion will first consider the historical development that has occurred in the first four strands. History shows that each of these four strands has been understood quite differently in the course of history. The point was explicitly made in the long discussion of natural law, but it applies to the other strands as well. The understanding of moral theology throughout history is not the understanding of moral theology that exists...

  10. INDEX
    (pp. 289-306)