The Roman Catholic teaching on peace and war, as found in the documents of the universal church and of the American bishops, is found to be consistent with traditional Catholic approaches to ethical theory, eschatology, and ecclesiology. Mediation in ethical theory recognizes that the gospel is mediated through reason and the sciences to particular conclusions and insists on the importance of structures and institutions. An eschatology recognizing the tension between the now and the not yet argues against both pacifism and (...) a noncritical acceptance of the status quo. Catholic ecclesiology has traditionally accepted a pluralism of specific approaches in social ethics and understands the prophetic role of the church within such a "big" ecclesiology. (shrink)
Over a long career of teaching and writing in the area of moral theology Charles E. Curran has experienced large areas of agreement with John Paul II on issues of social justice even while in other areas of personal and sexual issues the two are in serious disagreement. This phenomenon of agreement/disagreement has suggested to Curran that the pope is guilty of using a double methodology in his moral theological writing. Curran's book, The Moral Theology of (...) Pope John Paul II, seeks to uncover and substantiate the root of their agreements and disagreements. This article seeks to evaluate Curran's theory. This analysis is done in two parts: first, an examination of the evidence that Curran presents to support his charge against the pope, and second, an examination of the alternative possibility that it is Curran who has the double methodology rather than the pope. (shrink)
This article analyzes six ethical principles at work in the Pastoral Letter of the Roman Catholic Bishops on the United States economy. The first three principles derive from the Thomistic tradition with its attempt to avoid the extremes of collectivism and individualism. Human beings are by nature social and called to live in political society. The principle of subsidiarity guides the role of the state. Distributive and social justice furnish the criteria for a just distribution of human goods. The fourth (...) ethical principle which is a later development in the Catholic tradition recognizes human rights including economic rights. In keeping with recent emphases in Catholic teaching the fifth principle insists that the goods of creation exist to serve all and stresses the social aspect of property. The sixth principle enunciates a preferential option for the poor and has come to the fore in the light of recent liberation theology. (shrink)
There is general agreement about the very broad outlines of a just tax structure in the Roman Catholic tradition, and these are sketched in part I. There has been, however, no sustained, systematic, in-depth treatment of the question. Part II develops those aspects of the Roman Catholic ethical tradition which ground a just tax structure-the role of the state in working for the common good, distributive justice with its proportional equality, the universal destiny of the goods of creation to serve (...) the needs of all. In addition, some attention is given to the historical practice of tithing, the state's obligation to care for the poor, and the moral obligation to pay just taxes. Part III proposes the goals which should govern a just tax structure in the Roman Catholic perspective and defends these goals against other possible interpretations. (shrink)
The turbulence of CharlesCurran's academic career in the past decade stands in sharp contrast to the equanimity and intellectual balance of his writings during that strained-filled period. Here is a collection of the most important of those writings.
This chapter discusses the opening to the world in the Vatican II document Gaudium et Spes, the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World. The approach of Gaudium et Spes differs from the earlier method of Catholic social teaching, which employed primarily a natural law approach. Gaudium et Spes introduces a more biblical, faith-centered, Christological approach to life in the world. In discussing the document itself, some of the problems in the document are also mentioned, especially its overly (...) optimistic approach and its somewhat one-sided anthropological outlook. The discussion also points out the many subsequent developments building on Gaudium et Spes that occurred later, including the greater emphasis on the particular as illustrated in liberation and feminist theologies, the preferential option for the poor, and the importance of historical consciousness and the resultant pluralism in Catholic approaches to life in the world. The chapter develops by considering three significant methodological issues—a more theological approach to life in the world, a more personalist approach, and a more inductive approach. (shrink)
IN THIS ESSAY I RESPONT TO THE QUESTION OF HOW THEOLOGICAL ETHICS are theological by moving it in a direction that attends to the specifically Christian contribution to ethics. I begin with three somewhat related presuppositions or questions—on human wisdom, audience, and the relationship with other types of ethics—that indicate how I understand the discipline of Christian ethics. I follow with a discussion of quandary ethics before moving to a systematic overview of and approach to Christian ethics. I conclude with (...) a challenge to raise the distinctive contributions that the Christian tradition makes to the discipline of ethics and its hearers today. (shrink)