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The Structure of Theological RevolutionsHow the Fight Over Birth Control Transformed American Catholicism$
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Mark S. Massa

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190851408

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190851408.001.0001

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“A Period of Crisis”

“A Period of Crisis”

(p.50) 3 “A Period of Crisis”
The Structure of Theological Revolutions

Mark S. Massa

Oxford University Press

Utilizing Thomas Kuhn’s argument that a “period of crisis” always follows the discovery that the accepted model of science no longer is useful, this chapter examines the famous critique of the 1968 encyclical by theologian Richard McCormick. The author notes that at the time the encyclical was released, the older micro-tradition of neo-scholastic natural law was already acknowledged by the specialists trained to pass it on as no longer useful, and the period of crisis that always followed such a recognition had arrived. The most basic model undergirding the arguments of the pope was now rendered obsolete, and a newer paradigm was needed to take its place.

Keywords:   Richard McCormick, Charles Curran, Catholic teaching nonreception, neo-scholastic collapse, John Rock, oral contraception, Majority Report

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