While Roman Catholic feminist ethicists typically endorse moral realism and crosscultural standards of justice, they also have been influenced by the postmodern interrogation of abstract reason and moral universalism. As theologians writing after the Second Vatican Council, they are increasingly sensitive to the communal and ecclesial dimensions of morality and of Christian ethics, and to the integral relation of Christian faith and ethics. This essay will consider two approaches to Catholic feminist ethics that differ in the relative weight they give (...) to constructive work for social justice, or to the grounding of ethics in prayer and mysticism. Using critical feminist reappropriations of the theology and ethics of Aquinas as examples, this essay will argue that the two approaches are overlapping and interdependent. (shrink)
: he commercialization of biotechnology, especially research and development by transnational pharmaceutical companies, is already excessive and is increasingly dangerous to distributive justice, human rights, and access of marginal populations to basic human goods. Focusing on gene patenting, this article employs the work of Margaret Jane Radin and others to argue that gene patenting ought to be more highly regulated and that it ought to be regulated with international participation and in view of concerns about solidarity and the common good. (...) The mode of argument called for on this issue is more pragmatic than logical, emphasizing persuasion based on evidence about the reality and effects of control of genetic research by profit-driven biotech companies. (shrink)
Several discourses about theology, church, and politics are occurring among Christian theologians in the United States. One influential strand centers on the communitarian theology of Stanley Hauerwas, who calls on Christians to witness faithfully against liberalism in general and war in particular. Jeffrey Stout, in his widely discussed "Democracy and Tradition" (2004), responds that religious people ought precisely to endorse those democratic and liberal American traditions that join religious and secular counterparts to battle injustice. Hauerwas, Stout, and many of their (...) interlocutors envision liberal U.S. culture as the context of Christian social ethics. The ensuing debate rarely incorporates Catholic scholars, feminist scholars, scholars of color, or international and liberationist voices. Their inclusion could enhance an understanding of the role of the church in society, and support a common morality in the face of global pluralism. More importantly, it could broaden the scope of discourse on religion and politics to envision global Christian social ethics. (shrink)
In response to Gilbert Meilaender 's innovative interpretation of Augustine and of Roman Catholic teaching, the author suggests that Meilaender attributes to Augustine a more positive view of sexual pleasure than the texts will support, that modern Roman Catholic teaching suggests that love should have priority over procreation as a meaning of sex; and that the moral logic of Meilaender's argument does not require a rejection of all reproductive technologies. Nonetheless, the author agrees that a more critical attitude should be (...) adopted toward the reasons for which technologically assisted reproduction is promoted and undertaken, as well as toward its social impact. (shrink)
For at least two decades, the role of theology in public matters has been governed by what might be termed a “liberal consensus”. This consensus, shared by policymakers, theologians, philosophers, and the public, has two parts. First, that law and public policy need to be considered in terms of individual liberties and rights. Second, that the only appropriate “public” language in which to justify, qualify, and reconcile liberties and rights should be neutral, secular, and rational. The thesis of this chapter (...) is that such a framing of the issues is outmoded. To begin with, the “secular” sphere is not neutral, since all participants inevitably come from communities which have identity. Therefore, it is appropriate to use religious narratives and language, or those of any moral tradition, as long as they are not propounded dogmatically or in a way that undermines democratic process and participatory politics. (shrink)
There is a broad recognition that moral norms are most usefully justified not as mere transcriptions of biblical rules, or even as sophisticated references to key narrative themes, but rather as coherent social embodiments of a community formed by Scripture.
on reproductive technologies and the OTA report, Infertility , both use "rights" language to advance quite different views of the same subject matter. The former focuses on the rights and welfare of the embryo, and the protection of the family, while the latter stresses the freedom and rights of couples. This essay uses the work of Alasdair Maclntyre and Jeffrey Stout to consider the different traditions grounding these definitions of rights. It is proposed that a potentially effective mediating language could (...) be that of "human nature", and argued that donor methods raise more serious moral objections than homologous ones. Keywords: Infertility, Vatican, dualism, nature, Stout CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Recent years have witnessed a concern among theological bioethicists that secular debate has grown increasingly "thin," and that "thick" religious traditions and their spokespersons have been correspondingly excluded. This essay disputes that analysis. First, religious and theological voices compete for public attention and effectiveness with the equally "thick" cultural traditions of modern science and market capitalism. The distinctive contribution of religion should be to emphasize social justice in access to the benefits of health care, challenging the for-profit global marketing of (...) research and biotechnology to wealthy consumers. Second, religion and theology have been and are still socially effective in sponsoring activism for practical change, both locally and globally. This claim will be supported with specific examples; with familiar concepts like subsidiarity and "mid- dle axioms"; and with recent analyses of "participatory democracy" and of emerging, decentralized forms of global governance. (shrink)
A central point at issue in Christian reflection on war and peace is the extent to which the quality of God's Kingdom can characterize Christian existence in history and the extent to which it must be supplemented by a perceived obligation to seek justice, even if by coercion.
Roman Catholic social ethics traditionally has affirmed moral objectivity, universal moral goods, and progressive social reform - premises that guide just war theory. In recent decades these guiding values have been challenged by contemporary critical philosophies, confessional or communitarian religious ethics, and the fact of cultural pluralism. I A the middle of this century, thinkers like John Courtney Murray gave Catholic ethics a more historical turn, while retaining an essentially realist and meliorist approach to morality and politics. Now this confidence (...) and optimism are questioned anew by ethnopolitical violence, the ambiguities of humanitar- ian intervention, and uncertain attempts at reconciliation and restoration. Such developments show that the central quandary of Christian and po- litical ethics is not the achievement of agreement on basic human goods ; it is the expansion of the circle of solidarity in which basic goods are shared in practice. I will suggest that Christian symbols can help evoke the sense of human solidarity that is necessary to sustain peace, and that transformative efforts toward peace in violence-torn societies can be successful. (shrink)