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Reframing Catholic Theological Ethics$
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Joseph A. Selling

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198767121

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198767121.001.0001

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From Trent to Vatican II

From Trent to Vatican II

(p.84) 4 From Trent to Vatican II
Reframing Catholic Theological Ethics

Joseph A. Selling

Oxford University Press

If scholastic theology paved the way for the development of (moral) theology for the coming centuries, nothing changed the way that the church as a believing community defined itself as fundamentally as the Council of Trent (1545–63). In response to the Protestant Reformation, the Catholic Church addressed its shortcomings, defined a number of its teachings, and laid down a programme for educating its clergy and standardizing its practices. The construction of the seminary system for training clergy played a significant role in shaping the structure of the church for the next four centuries. Included in that process was the establishment of a theory and practice of moral theology that became synonymous with the ‘handbook tradition’. In order to understand that tradition and to comprehend how Vatican II called for a renewal of moral theology, it is necessary to explain its roots and the elements that needed to be addressed.

Keywords:   moral theology, theological ethics, handbook tradition, Council of Trent, Vatican II, theological renewal

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