Roman Catholic Contemporary Tradition Of Moral Theology Theology Religion Essay

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An Introduction to Moral Theology was originally written in December of 1990 by William E. May. It was published by Our Sunday Visitor, Inc. in 1991, merely prior to the Encyclical Letter of John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor, which was published in 1994. Later in 1994, May published his revised edition most likely to integrate and react to the elucidations provided by Veritatis Splendor. With the 2nd edition, published in 2003, he farther expanded his work and provides a really clear and thorough analysis of Christian moral divinity.

May maintains a strong accent on the Christian moral rules purported by Germain Grisez and his comrade moral theologists John Finnis and Joseph Boyle. May maintains fidelity to the Roman Catholic Magisterium and offers a strong foundation that stems from his ain expertness including his cognition of bioethics.

William May is decidedly main-stream and possesses a sound and loyal attachment to the station Vatican II reconnection with Aquinian moral rules. If there is a unfavorable judgment of May ‘s book, it is that he possesses such a deep and profound apprehension of the development of modern moral divinity, including the myriad of revisionist writers and their assorted schools of idea, that he is capable and slightly prone to lose a novitiate in the complexness. His book may break function the alumnus pupil who possesses a nucleus apprehension of moral divinity, instead than the neophyte or broad humanistic disciplines undergraduate.

May demonstrates repeated trueness to the theories and instructions of Germain Grisez and frequently defends them in combination with John Finnis and Joseph Boyle. May, Grisez, Finnis and Boyle have besides collaborated in printing other plants. May besides brings other writers and theologists into his comparative analysis including: Martin Rhonheimer, Joseph Fuchs, Richard Gula, Charles Curran and Timothy O’Connell among many others. May dauntlessly pits their positions on moral divinity against Aquinas ‘ Summa, Veritatis Splendor and the paperss from Vatican II, particularly when screening out the complex definitions of natural jurisprudence. Although fearless in his pursuit for fidelity to Roman Catholic tradition and the Magisterium, he is both thorough and contextually feel for to the opposing thoughts presented by the revisionists and proportionalists, indicating out their positive parts every bit good as their serious theological defects. May is non timid and he rapidly rejects their unfaithfulness to the foundational underpinnings of Roman Catholic divinity while at the same time trying to understand why they have chosen a contrary stance to Aquinas, Veritatis Splendor, or similar station Vatican II magisterial readings.

Human Dignity and Free Human Action

In May ‘s first edition, he listed two sorts of human self-respect stating, “ Harmonizing to Catholic tradition, as found in Aquinas and in the instructions of Vatican Council II, there is a double self-respect proper to human existences: one is intrinsic and an gift or gift ; the other is besides intrinsic, but is an accomplishment or acquisition. ”[ 1 ]Mentioning to Dignitatis Humane, which was published in 1965, but more notably, mentioning Veritatis Splendor, May is motivated to add a 3rd sort of human self-respect in his alteration that he calls,

[ A ] strictly gratuitous gift from God himself, who gives this to us when, through baptism, we are ‘re-generated ‘ as God ‘s really ain kids and given the career to go sanctum, even as the heavenly Father is holy, and to be colleagues with Christ, his confederates in delivering the universe. This self-respect is a hoarded wealth entrusted to us, and we can lose it by freely taking to make what is soberly evil.[ 2 ]

In maintaining with his recognized mainstream Roman Catholic divinity, May incorporates John Paul II ‘s renewed focal point on moral absolutes, together with the theological virtuousnesss presented in Veritatis Splendor, and inculcates this vision into in his two alterations. May was already a advocate of Aquinas and he spends a great trade of clip, giving an full subdivision of his book on natural jurisprudence in Aquinas as developed in the Summa Theologiae. He contrasts Aquinas with Ulpian ‘s definitions of natural jurisprudence and so focuses on Aquinas ‘ instruction of natural jurisprudence in the Summa Contra Gentiles. His Revised Edition adds a subdivision on natural jurisprudence from Vatican II and so in his Second Edition he besides adds subdivisions to his book to include the divinity of John Paul II every bit good as Martin Rhonheimer. May ‘s divinity is strong on moral duty and their resulting norms. One illustration is how he interweaves the instruction on natural jurisprudence from Aquinas with the divinity expressed by Grisez, Boyle and Finnis ; concluding, “ It is the natural jurisprudence which is perfected, fulfilled, [ and ] completed by the evangelical jurisprudence of love, of a more-than-human sort of love, the love that God himself has for us. [ When we are ] concerned with our life as moral individuals in Christ, we shall seek to cognize how the evangelical jurisprudence of love fulfills and completes the natural jurisprudence. ”[ 3 ]

As already noted, May is non diffident about placing and assailing the revisionist theologists and opposing them against Veritatis Splendor and the instructions of the Magisterium. He reviews and sheds light upon the Hagiographas of a myriad of the post-Vatican II revisionists including: Louis Janssens, Josef Fuchs, Richard Gula, Richard McCormick, Timothy E. O’Connell, Franz Bockle, Charles E. Curran, Bernard Haring, Franz Scholz, Peter Knauer, and Bruno Schuller. May defends moral absolutes utilizing strong and carefully documented statements as they are described in the Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church and Veritatis Splendor by John Paul II. He finally concludes,

Revisionists, in their statements based on the “ integrity ” or “ entirety ” of the human act, focal point on the agent ‘s “ remote ” or “ subterranean ” terminal or “ farther purpose, ” i.e. , on the good that the agent hopes to recognize by taking to make x here and now, or the immorality that the agent hopes to avoid by taking to make x here and now. But they fail to take earnestly – so, they even ignore – the moral significance of the ten that is chosen to recognize this terminal and the fact that the agent freely wills this ten as a chosen means, for it is the “ proximate ” terminal of his will move and the “ present purpose ” that shapes his moral being. Revisionists are therefore led to redescribe human actions in footings of their anticipated consequences. [ aˆ¦ ] Second, it falsely redescribes actions in footings of their awaited consequences and by making so fails to uncover and at times even conceals what moral agents are in fact choosing and making [ accent added ] .[ 4 ]

On Human Action and Virtue

May provides a solid and clear apprehension of human action and free pick. May ‘s first edition ( 1991 ) is virtually null of a treatment on the virtuousnesss. He does reference virtuousnesss and frailties in his subdivision, The Basic Understanding of Law in the Summa Theologiae, but his end is targeted towards a treatment of goods and wonts within Eternal Law and Natural Law. His revised ( 1994 ) and 2nd ( 2003 ) editions add a subdivision dedicated to the virtuousnesss. He reflects on Grisez, Aquinas and their treatment of virtuousness, but less as an direction on the virtuousnesss and more as a response to Veritatis Splendor ‘s accent on the virtuousnesss and their importance and consequence on free human action and formation of scruples in the moral life. May has a brief treatment on the Cardinal Virtues and specifically side-steps the Theological Virtues stating,

I will non here see his [ Aquinas ‘ ] instruction on the theological virtuousnesss of religion, hope, and charity and his instruction that, with charity, God infuses supernatural moral virtuousnesss of prudence, justness, fortitude, moderation, etc. These facets of his instruction are good set Forth by Romanus Cessario in The Moral Virtues and Theological Ethics and Virtue or the Examined Life. An first-class brief history of Thomas ‘s instruction on the virtuousnesss can be found in T. C. O’Brien ‘s article on virtuousness in the New Catholic Encyclopedia.[ 5 ]

Turning so to the Cardinal Virtues, May foremost reflects on Aquinas ‘ treatment of appetencies and how they contribute to the formation of the Cardinal Virtues. May provinces,

This text prepares the manner for Aquinas ‘s division of the moral virtuousnesss honing the appetencies into the classical “ central ” virtuousnesss, viz. , those of prudence ( honing one ‘s practical ground ) , justness ( honing the appetency of the will ) , moderation ( honing the concupiscible appetency ) , and fortitude ( honing the choleric appetency ) .[ 6 ]

In happenstance with and in defence of Germain Grisez, May sees a relationship between moral virtuousnesss and moral rules. He finds that a virtuousness is kindred to a good wont, mentioning equity and justness, and asseverating that one ‘s personality is affected by each of the committednesss and moral norms practiced by that individual. May provinces,

Some today oppose a “ virtue-based moralss ” to a “ normative ” or “ principle-based moralss. ” This argument is in my sentiment misplaced. The undermentioned transition from Grisez indicates the proper relationship between virtuousnesss and moral rules: “ What, ” he asks, “ is the connexion aˆ¦ between moral rules and virtuousnesss? Do we hold two distinct, possibly even viing, attacks to morality – an moralss of moral truth versus an moralss of virtuousness? Not at all. Take the Golden Rule. One who systematically chooses reasonably and works systematically to transport out such picks is a just individual – a individual, that is, with the virtuousness of equity or justness. A virtuousness is nil other than an facet of the personality of a individual integrated through committednesss and other picks made in agreement with relevant moral norms derived from the relevant manners of duty. In other words: life by the criterion of equity makes a individual carnival.[ 7 ]

This averment of May besides coincides with Veritatis Splendor and how John Paul II positions human Acts of the Apostless as moral Acts of the Apostless and how they express the morality of the single individual. John Paul II provinces,

Human Acts of the Apostless are moral Acts of the Apostless because they express and determine the goodness or immorality of the person who performs them. They do non bring forth a alteration simply in the province of personal businesss outside of adult male but, to the extent that they are calculated picks, they give moral definition to the really individual who performs them, finding his profound religious traits.[ 8 ]

Natural Law, Central to May ‘s Moral Theology

William May dedicates his longest chapter ( chapter 3, of 55 pages ) of his 2nd edition ( 2003 ) on natural jurisprudence. He concentrates on several countries of natural jurisprudence, including the instructions of Aquinas, Ulpian ‘s definition, the Summa Contra Gentiles, Vatican II, the instruction of John Paul II, and the divinity of Germain Grisez, John Finnis and Joseph Boyle. He besides discusses countries of understanding between Rhonheimer and Grisez, Finnis, and Boyle and so turns to countries of dissension between them and Rhonheimer. Finally he reviews the relationship between natural jurisprudence and virtuousness.

Kevin Flannery, who reviewed May ‘s 1994 alteration for The Thomist, agrees and remarks, “ The nucleus of the book is chapter two in which May discusses the natural jurisprudence theory of Thomas Aquinas and its development by Grisez, Finnis and Boyle. Anyone interested in a quick, accurate debut to natural jurisprudence theory as understood in its cardinal tradition could make no better than to read these 63 pages. ”[ 9 ]

May ‘s incorporation of Rhonheimer ‘s place on natural jurisprudence did non come until the 2nd edition was published in 2003. The nucleus of his usage of Rhonheimer supports Grisez et Al. observing that as held by Aquinas, natural jurisprudence is a work of practical ground. He opposes the moralists that deny moral absolutes and accepts that natural ground of course apprehends the goods that are to be pursued and done. As May provinces, “ Rhonheimer agrees with Grisez et Al. in keeping that harmonizing to Aquinas – and world – our cognition of the truths of natural jurisprudence is non derived from metaphysics or anthropology or any bad cognition. With them, he opposes those who maintain the antonym, explicitly admiting his debt to Grisez on this affair. ”[ 10 ]

Rhonheimer disagrees with Grisez et Al. in three major countries stated compactly by May as, “ ( a ) the differentiation between the perceptive-practical and descriptive-reflexive degrees of practical ground ; ( B ) the relationship between natural jurisprudence and virtuousness ; and ( degree Celsius ) the motion from the first or common rules of natural jurisprudence to its ‘proximate ‘ or ‘immediate decisions. ”[ 11 ]

May besides notes extra dissension of Rhonheimer with Grisez et Al. and indicates that this is his ain sentiment as good, observing that Rhonheimer does non demo how proximate decisions are found to be true in visible radiation of anterior rules. May provinces,

Rhonheimer does non, nevertheless, explicitly demo how the primary rules of natural jurisprudence service as premises in the visible radiation of which one can demo the truth of the “ proximate and immediate ” decisions. In this, he seems to follow Aquinas himself. As we have seen, Grisez, Finnis, and Boyle argue – right in my sentiment – that one must demo clearly how the alleged “ proximate decisions ” are shown to be true in the visible radiation of anterior rules.[ 12 ]

In his revised editions, May includes a concise subdivision on the instruction of John Paul II and most significantly as it is expressed in Veritatis Splendor. May demonstrates that one of John Paul II ‘s chief points is that, in order to esteem the self-respect of our neighbour, one must forbear from destructing or damaging the goods of our neighbour and even, “ care for the existent goods perfective in him. ”[ 13 ]

In add-on and in understanding with Aquinas who states, “ Hence it is clear that the goodness of the homo will depends much more upon ageless jurisprudence than upon human ground ”[ 14 ], May emphasizes the nucleus of John Paul II ‘s ideas on natural jurisprudence stating, “ The highest jurisprudence is God ‘s Godhead, ageless jurisprudence. The natural jurisprudence is our human, intelligent engagement in this ageless jurisprudence, which we can come to cognize through the exercising of our practical logical thinking. ”[ 15 ]May so directs his reader to the Catechism of the Catholic Church ( nos. 1950-1960 ) for farther lucidity on ageless and natural jurisprudence. Here, is where the transition mentioning to Leo XIII, Libertas praestantissimum, 579, is encountered in the Catechism that states,

The natural jurisprudence is written and engraved in the psyche of each and every adult male, because it is human ground enacting him to make good and prohibiting him to transgress… But this bid of human ground would non hold the force of jurisprudence if it were non the voice and translator of a higher ground to which our spirit and our freedom must be submitted.[ 16 ]

Harmonizing to May ‘s convincing and methodical presentations, John Paul II, the Second Vatican Council, Grisez et al. , Aquinas, and May himself all agree, “ natural jurisprudence that is perfected, fulfilled, and completed by the evangelical jurisprudence of love, of a more-than-human sort of love, the love that God himself has for us. ”[ 17 ]

Moral Absolutes and the Battle with the Revisionists

May contested the revisionists long before the visual aspect of Veritatis Splendor and the re-centering of Catholic moral divinity on the principles of Aquinas. In his 1980 digest of essays entitled Principles of Catholic Moral Life[ 18 ]May, together with William Cardinal Baum, compiled a series of essays that were unambiguously Thomistic and criticized the proportionalist and consequentialist thought that had developed in several theological circles. In May ‘s ain part to the volume, he provided an essay entitled, The natural jurisprudence and Objective Morality: A Thomistic Position. He states, “ Today [ circa 1979 ] a important figure of Roman Catholic moral theologists find it necessary to dissent from important instructions of the Roman Catholic Church on moral inquiries. The Magisterium of the Church teaches that some specifiable kinds of human Acts of the Apostless are wicked and contrary to the rules of the natural jurisprudence. ”[ 19 ]

Harmonizing to May, the root cause of the revisionists rejection of moral absolutes stems from the Majority Report which was a papers dated, “ ( 27 May 1966 ) of the ‘majority theologians ‘ of the Pontifical Commission on Population, Family and Birth, in which they sought to explicate why, if prophylactic intercourse is morally good, however assorted other masturbatory Acts of the Apostless between partners are non. ”[ 20 ]May, mentioning to Documentum Syntheticum, ( in Hoyt, p. 72 ) , farther high spots the impressions of the revisionist theologists of the Majority Report that province, “ Infertile connubial Acts of the Apostless constitute a entirety with fertile Acts of the Apostless and have a individual moral specification [ viz. , the fosterage of love responsibly toward generous fruitfulness ] . ”[ 21 ]May points out that the theologists of the Majority Report say,

that the moral “ object ” of their act – is ‘the fosterage of love responsibly toward a generous fruitfulness. ‘ [ They define ] this [ as ] evidently something good, non bad. aˆ¦ Revisionists, aˆ¦ claim that the specific moral absolutes defended in the Catholic tradition and affirmed by the magisterium isolate partial facets of human Acts of the Apostless and, on the footing of such stray facets, render decisive moral judgements about them. Their claim is that ground, objectiveness, and truth require that an action be evaluated as right or incorrect merely as a entirety that includes all the fortunes and motives, considered in relation to all the ‘premoral ‘ ( but morally relevant ) goods and bads involved in that entirety.[ 22 ]

May so goes on to demo that from this line of believing the revisionist theologists including those he names: Franz Bockle, Charles E. Curran, Josef Fuchs, Bernard Haring, Louis Janssens, Richard McCormick, Timothy E. O’Connell, Richard Gula, Franz Scholz, and Bruno Schuller, develop the theories of proportionate good, the penchant rule, and the denial of moral absolutes. Another group of theologists sometimes called the minority study theologists including Germain Girsez, John Finnis, Joseph Boyle, and others, including William May himself, keep fast to the instructions of Aquinas, and support moral absolutes. In the 2003 2nd edition of his book, May besides points out that in their apprehension of the object of a human act, the minority study theologists coincide with both the Catechism of the Catholic Church and John Paul II in Veritatis Splendor. May clearly provinces,

With this apprehension of the “ object ” of a human act in head, it is easy to hold on John Paul II ‘s decision, viz. , that “ One must reject the thesis, feature of teleological and proportionalist theories, which holds that it is impossible to measure up as morally evil harmonizing to its species – its ‘object ‘ – the calculated pick of certain sorts of behaviour or specific Acts of the Apostless, apart from consideration of the purpose for which the pick is made or the entirety of the foreseeable effects of that act for all individuals concerned ” [ no. 79 ; californium. no. 82 ] .[ 23 ]

May clearly points out that in Veritatis Splendor, John Paul II refutes the teleologisms of consequentialism and proportionalism declaring that they, “ are non faithful to the Church ‘s learning when they believe that they can warrant, as morally good, calculated picks of sorts of behavior contrary to the commandments of the Godhead and natural jurisprudence ‘ ( californium. no. 75 ) . ”[ 24 ]

Morality and Sin

May focuses on three major countries in his treatment of wickedness: “ ( 1 ) the nucleus significance of wickedness, ( 2 ) the differentiation between person and minor wickedness and the footing of this differentiation, and ( 3 ) the consequence of wickedness on our moral life. ”[ 25 ]

In his treatment on the nucleus significance of wickedness, he turns foremost to scripture, get downing with the Old Testament. Harmonizing to May, “ The Old Testament systematically regards wickedness as a wicked rebellion against the Lord. ”[ 26 ]Here he reflects on the words to depict wickedness such as unfaithfulness, adultery, folly, and abomination. Mentioning to Sirach, May states, “ The consistent instruction of the Old Testament is that wickedness is rooted in human freedom and consists in an maltreatment of God ‘s gift of free pick. ”[ 27 ]He so turns to David and Psalm 51 and high spots what he calls a beautiful sum-up of wickedness in the Old Testament with the transition,

Have clemency on me, O God, harmonizing to thy steadfast love ; harmonizing to thy abundant clemency smudge out my evildoings ( pesha ‘ ) . Wash me exhaustively from my wickedness ( ‘awon ) , and cleanse me from my wickedness ( hatta ‘ T ) ! For I know my evildoings ( pesha ‘ ) , and my wickedness ( hatta’t ) is of all time before me. Against thee, thee merely, have I sinned ( hatta ‘ ) , and done that which is evil ( ra ‘ ) in thy sight ( Ps 51: 1-4 ) .[ 28 ]

This is the beginning for the words used by the priest during Mass, when standing at the side of the communion table, he washes his custodies, stating softly, “ Wash me, O Lord, from my wickedness and cleanse me from my wickedness. ”[ 29 ]

Turning to the New Testament, May finds words to depict wickedness like harmatia and harmatma ( freely chosen workss or to take to miss-the-mark ) , nominal aphasia ( anarchy ) , adikia ( unfairness ) , and skotos ( dimmed seeing or sightlessness ) . For May, these words “ show that wickedness is an resistance to the truth of God, to Jesus Christ – who is the manner, the truth, and the life – to one ‘s fellowmen, and to the truth of being a human individual. ”[ 30 ]

The 3rd country that May discusses in his subdivision on wickedness is Catholic moral tradition. He reflects on facets of St. Augustine and Aquinas every bit good as Gaudium et Spes, and Dignitatis Humanae. He besides considers some of the active theologists and their contrary positions, including Keane, Curran, Haring, McCormick, and others. True to May ‘s Orthodox position of Godhead jurisprudence, he understands that God directs all of creative activity with charity and wisdom. In this context he concludes,

[ T ] he highest norm of human life is the Godhead jurisprudence – ageless, nonsubjective, and cosmopolitan – whereby God orders, directs, and governs the full existence and all the ways of the human community by a program conceived in wisdom and love. [ aˆ¦ ] Man has been made by God to take part in this jurisprudence, with the consequence that, under the soft temperament of Godhead Providence, he can come to comprehend of all time more progressively the unchanging truth ( Dignitatis humanae, no. 3 ; californium. Gaudium et spes, nos. 16-17 ) .[ 31 ]

May so goes on to blossom a clear and articulate treatment of mortal wickedness and minor wickedness. He uses many beginnings including encyclical and magisterial dictums, Bible, council instructions, and particularly observations from John Paul II. Within this context, he carefully considers and so clearly rejects the cardinal option theories. Finally, at the terminal of his chapter on wickedness, May refers his readers straight to the Catechism of the Catholic Church where he clearly embraces its definitions of wickedness, including mortal and minor wickedness, which states,

God has consigned all work forces to disobedience, that he may hold mercy upon all ( Rom 11:32 ) . Sin is an vocalization, a title, or a desire reverse to the ageless jurisprudence ( St. Augustine, Faust 22: PL 42, 418 ) . It is an discourtesy against God. It rises up against God in a noncompliance reverse to the obeisance of Christ. Sin is an act contrary to ground. It wounds adult male ‘s nature and injures human solidarity. The root of all wickednesss lies in adult male ‘s bosom. The sorts and the gravitation of wickednesss are determined chiefly by their objects. To take deliberately-that is, both cognizing it and willing it-something soberly contrary to the Godhead jurisprudence and to the ultimate terminal of adult male is to perpetrate a mortal wickedness. This destroys in us the charity without which ageless blessedness is impossible. Unrepented, it brings ageless decease. Venial wickedness constitutes a moral upset that is rectifiable by charity, which it allows to exist in us. The repeat of sins-even minor ones-engenders frailties, among which are the capital wickednesss.[ 32 ]

In his latest ( 2003 ) revised edition of An Introduction to Moral Theology, May includes an appendix to his book, Christian Moral Life and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. He refers his readers to the Catechism and this appendix frequently, indicating out that the premier beginning for most definitions within moral divinity are best sought at that place.

In his reappraisal of May ‘s book in the New Oxford Review ‘s, Justin Gullekson agrees with the observations above sing May ‘s mainstream Roman Catholic place on wickedness and provinces,

Sin and moral absolutes: These subjects are taken up [ by May ] with relish. The curate, manager of spiritual instruction or unsettled ballad individual will happen May ‘s extended intervention of these affairs helpful, particularly because he identifies certain theological places with their corresponding expounders. This book battles the muss people make of their lives when they have been moving harmonizing to the false subjective norms of free pick ( “ if it feels O.K. , do it ” ) and alleged scruples ( “ if it ‘s non a wickedness for you, it ‘s no wickedness ” ) .[ 33 ]

Jesus Christ, Our Moral Foundation

May points out that Jesus Christ is cardinal and foundational in Christian morality. He supports this with subdivisions from Gaudium et Spes, Veritatis Splendor, Bible ( particularly from Paul ‘s letters ) , and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. As he frequently does throughout his book, May so turns to joint places from Germain Grisez. He points to Grisez ‘s treble apprehension of how Jesus divinizes humanity, bring forthing brotherhood with God. The first is, “ our brotherhood with him in Godhead life as kids of God, [ the 2nd is ] the bodily brotherhood between Jesus and his faithful, the members of his Church [ and the 3rd is ] integrity between Christ and the Christian in human Acts of the Apostless. ”[ 34 ]

The sacraments, and particularly the Eucharist within the Mass and Baptism are cardinal to one ‘s brotherhood with Christ and humanity ‘s sharing in His consecrating grace. The Mass is to the full a engagement in Christ ‘s act of redemption and Baptism is the bestowment of one ‘s career to non merely be within God ‘s household and a member of the Mystical Body of Christ, but besides to presume a greater duty to populate a moral life as a member of His Mystical Body.

In alliance with Aquinas, Veritatis Splendor, and Grisez, May turns to a treatment of the blessednesss, and how they provide, “ manners of Christian response [ to ] specify ways of moving that grade a individual whose will, enlivened by the love of God poured into his or her bosom, is inside disposed to move with assurance aˆ¦ ”[ 35 ]

May turns once more to Grisez. Here he enfolds the gifts of the Holy Spirit as found in Isaiah with the blessednesss bring forthing eight “ manners of Christian response ”[ 36 ]as follows,

1. To anticipate and accept all good, including the good fruits of one ‘s work, as God ‘s gift – [ aˆ¦ ]

2. To accept one ‘s limited function in the Body of Christ and carry through it – [ aˆ¦ ]

3. To set aside or avoid everything which is non necessary or utile in the fulfilment of one ‘s personal career – [ aˆ¦ ]

4. To digest dauntlessly whatever is necessary or utile for the fulfilment of one ‘s personal career – [ aˆ¦ ]

5. To be merciful harmonizing to the universal and perfect step of clemency which God has revealed in Jesus – [ aˆ¦ ]

6. To endeavor to conform one ‘s whole ego to populating religion, and purging anything which does non run into this standard – [ aˆ¦ ]

7. To react to evil with good, non with opposition, much less with destructive action – [ aˆ¦ ]

8. To make no evil that good might come of it, but suffer evil together with Jesus in cooperation with God ‘s delivering love – .[ 37 ]

By digesting the blessednesss in this manner, utilizing Grisez ‘s ideas, May demonstrates how, in kernel, the blessednesss are really moral foundational norms or virtuousnesss for humanity provided straight by Christ.

The Church, Teacher of the Truth

The concluding two chapters of the 2nd edition of An Introduction to Moral Theology discuss the Church ‘s magisterial authorization as instructor and so specifically turns to Veritatis Splendor. May high spots six subjects from John Paul II found in Veritatis Splendor. These are: “ ( 1 ) the relationship between human freedom and the truth ; ( 2 ) the confidant, inseparable integrity of religion and morality ; ( 3 ) the inseparable relationship between regard for personal self-respect and a refusal to prosecute in per se evil Acts of the Apostless ; ( 4 ) the absolute demand for God ‘s grace to take a morally unsloped life ; ( 5 ) the service of moral theologists ; and ( 6 ) the duties of bishops. ”[ 38 ]

As May points out, Veritatis Splendor clearly rejects the teologisims of consequentialism and proportionalism. John Paul II states that these theories “ are non faithful to the Church ‘s instruction. ”[ 39 ]John Paul II so goes on to turn to his Episcopal equals saying, “ Each of us knows how of import is the instruction, which represents the cardinal subject of this Encyclical and which is today being restated with the authorization of the Successor of Peter. ”[ 40 ]He challenges the bishops to stay argus-eyed, both in their responsibility to proclaim truth, but to besides forestall “ iniquitous adult male [ from going ] beguiled by false philosophy. ”[ 41 ]

May points out that many theologists, including the revisionists, reacted to Veritatis Splendor in assorted ways. Joseph Selling, Jan Jans, Richard McCormick, Gareth Moore, Louis Janssens, Josef Fuchs, and Bernard Hoose responded with unfavorable judgment while others such as Martin Rhonheimer, Joseph DiNoia, and Brian Johnston provided support and counter statements against the revisionists.[ 42 ]William May is clearly in line with those who support Veritatis Splendor as are his comrades Grisez, Boyle and Finnis. In his solid support of Veritatis Splendor every bit good as his support of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, as noted in the Appendix that May added to his 2nd edition, May demonstrates his clear strong belief to the Roman Catholic Magisterium.


An Introduction to Moral Theology by William E. May is a faithful, clear, complex and thorough intervention of the topic of Moral Theology consistent with the Roman Catholic position. As this paper demonstrates, May compresses a broad scope of subjects and issues into this one book and succeeds in discoursing each one in great item.

The development of this work from 1991 through 1994 to the most current 2003 2nd edition has resulted in a text complicated by its efforts to maintain its original construction, while adding several new subdivisions and chapters. This was probably a consequence of adding the moral divinity and magisterial lucidity of John Paul II that were addressed in Veritatis Splendor. Published in 1994, Veritatis Splendor generated a myriad of responses and reactions from the revisionists and their oppositions. May, who is really competent in his apprehension of these assorted theologists on both sides of the fencing, draws from this cognition and efforts to turn to all the issues every bit briefly as possible. As a consequence, there is a complex breadth and comprehensiveness of information compressed into his book and many of the treatments are likely beyond the apprehension of the novice pupil of moral divinity. This writer can non non urge May ‘s book for such a novice pupil.

This book could good function those who possess a basic apprehension of the moral instructions of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, coupled with a working apprehension of station Vatican II moral divinity and Veritatis Splendor. The text compresses the instructions from Aquinas to Veritatis Splendor into one concise volume, with rigorous fidelity to the Magisterium. It accomplishes all of this piece supplying a comprehensive list of mentions and definitions in the 2003 2nd edition. May ‘s An Introduction to Moral Theology would be a perfect text for a alumnus pupil prosecuting advanced cognition of Roman Catholic moral divinity.



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