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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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Towards a Convergence of Method

Towards a Convergence of Method

(p.187) 8 Towards a Convergence of Method
Reframing Catholic Theological Ethics

Joseph A. Selling

Oxford University Press

We have seen that the discipline of moral theology up until the Second Vatican Council was dominated by a behavioural, normative approach. Yet in the century preceding the Council, Catholic social teaching had already begun to demonstrate a certain diversity of method. The suggested adaptation of a goal-oriented approach that I have made in this study is thus not entirely new. What is new is the attempt to spell out what that method might look like by describing the ends of ethical living in terms of complementary virtues. This final chapter suggests that the two methods can be combined to present an approach that more accurately corresponds to the way in which persons actually go about responding to ethical issues. While the faith community can provide a fertile basis for formulating our ends or goals, the ongoing work of formulating norms to guide decisions about behaviour remains indispensable.

Keywords:   Vatican II, behavioural model, intentionality, end, goal, theological ethics, moral method, normative ethics

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