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The Catholic Moral Tradition Today: A Synthesis (Moral Traditions and Moral Arguments Series) [Paperback]

By Charles E. Curran (Author)
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Item description for The Catholic Moral Tradition Today: A Synthesis (Moral Traditions and Moral Arguments Series) by Charles E. Curran...

The Catholic tradition has always tried to explain its theology in a coherent and systematic way, but the great changes and tensions existing within Catholic moral theology today have made it difficult to develop systematic approaches to what was once called fundamental moral theology. Now a leading scholar active in this field for forty years offers a synthesis of Catholic moral theology set in the context of the broader Catholic tradition and the significant developments that have occurred since the Second Vatican Council.

Charles E. Curran's succinct, coherent account of his wide-ranging work in Catholic moral theology points out agreements, disagreements, and changes in significant aspects of the Catholic moral tradition. His systematic approach explores major topics in a logical development: the ecclesiological foundation and stance of moral theology; the person as moral subject and agent; virtues, principles and norms; conscience and decision making; and the role of the church as a teacher of morality.

Curran's work condenses and organizes a large amount of material to show that the Catholic theological tradition is in dialogue with contemporary life and thought while remaining conscious of its rich history. Of great interest to theologians for its broad synthetic scope, this book is also a thorough introduction to the Catholic moral tradition for students and interested readers, including non-Catholics.

Citations And Professional Reviews
The Catholic Moral Tradition Today: A Synthesis (Moral Traditions and Moral Arguments Series) by Charles E. Curran has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -

  • Univ PR Books for Public Libry - 01/01/2000 page 9

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Georgetown University Press
Pages   255
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.99" Width: 6.02" Height: 0.75"
Weight:   0.84 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 5, 1999
Publisher   Georgetown University Press
Age  22
ISBN  0878407170  
ISBN13  9780878407170  

Availability  0 units.

More About Charles E. Curran

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Charles E. Curran, a Roman Catholic priest of the Diocese of Rochester, New York, is Elizabeth Scurlock University Professor of Human Values at Southern Methodist University. He was the first recipient of the John Courtney Murray Award for Theology and has served as president of the Catholic Theological Society of America, the Society of Christian Ethics, and the American Theological Society. In 2003, Curran received the Presidential Award of the College Theology Society for a lifetime of scholarly achievements in moral theology, and in 2005, Call to Action presented him with its leadership award. He is the author of "Loyal Dissent: Memoir of a Catholic Theologian, The Moral Theology of Pope John Paul II" and "Catholic Social Teaching, 1891-Present," all published by Georgetown University Press.

Charles E. Curran currently resides in Dallas, in the state of Texas. Charles E. Curran has an academic affiliation as follows - Southern Methodist University.

Charles E. Curran has published or released items in the following series...

  1. Moral Traditions
  2. Moral Traditions (Paperback)
  3. Reading in Moral Theology
  4. Readings in Moral Theology

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Ethics & Morality
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > Roman Catholicism
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Catholic
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Catholic Moral Tradition Today: A Synthesis (Moral Traditions and Moral Arguments Series)?

A summary statement of moral theology from a leading, but dissenting, theologian  Jan 6, 2007
This synthetic account of Roman Catholic moral theology moves naturally through a series of topics, from the ecclesial context of morality, through Curran's own theological stance and preferred model, and then into topics such as the person, virtue, principles, and conscience. Curran treats sympathetically those people and positions with whom he disagrees - - though he is deeply critical of the "manuals" guiding priests in taking confessions, which take an inappropriately rigid and legalistic approach to moral questions. Though grounded firmly in theological debates, this book is accessible to the general reader with an interest in such things.

Curran makes a strong case for the Roman Catholic tradition to moral theology, but emphasizes the community of believers and the role of dissent within the Church much more than the teaching magisterium would like. That's the sort of thing that got Curran into trouble with the Church. These disputes lurk behind many chapters, and come to the forefront in a chapter on church teaching and a very personal afterword.

This book has multiple purposes. Sometimes these purposes fit together well, and sometimes they don't fit together so well. The passages that address each of Curran's goals also vary in quality and in readability. This variation means that the book often juxtaposes interesting and boring stretches in a frustrating way.

To be specific: sometimes this book reads as a textbook, in which Curran makes summary assertions about things without really arguing or explaining them. It's clear that those assertions reflect a lifetime of study in this area, but the statements just kind of lie there, doing nothing. These sections tend to be dry, even boring.

At other times this book simply provides a critical review of the literature. It's clear that Curran has picked up some baggage over the years, and sometimes he discusses it. This wasn't particularly helpful for a general reader such as myself, but it would probably be valuable for a college course or a serious moral theologist. These passages are written in a readable but academic style.

Finally, sometimes this book provides a more personal summary of Curran's own stance, reflecting a lifetime of reflection. These are the most successful parts of the book, and tend to reflect the kind of explanation and argumentation lacking in the "textbook" passages. They are also written in a more lively style, and clearly engage Curran's passion. The best of these is discussion of dissent, where Curran has to justify his own dissent while also making a case for obedience to the magisterial teaching role of the Church.

The more personal passages include an agenda for the future development moral theology. Curran grounds these in the community of the Church, and calls for a greater understanding of how the community of faithful - - and not just the teaching office of the magisterium - - has a role to play in moral theology.

In short, if you're browsing this site for books on Catholic moral theology, you probably already know that you want to read this book. It's not perfect, but I can confirm that, yes, those of you browsing this page do want to read this book.
This book is THOROUGHLY Catholic, contrary to some reviews  Jan 26, 2005
Curran is truly Roman Catholic. The Church's moral teachings have changed drastically over the centuries, especially since 1891, and there is little reason to expect that it will cease to change. Curran's positions reflect the majority opinion among Catholic Moral theologians, most of whom are still "official" and work in Catholic schools. The trend is in Curran's direction in the vast part of Moral Theology today and hierarchical teaching will likely come around, eventually. I can think of only two or three designated "moral theologians" (Grisez and Finnis and ?) who still fully agree with the Pope (who is, we must remember, a human being) and are widely published. Curran may not be right on everything, but he also does not claim to be. This book reflects a balanced portrayal of the tradition and current teachings, but he is not afraid to position himself variously on some contentious issues. More people should write like this: with integrity and honesty.

A review of this book posted in 2000 that refers to Veritatis splendor as "the real story" and suggests that Catholics ought to ignore Curran's book has clearly not read or has grossly misunderstood this book. Go read Veritatis splendor and you'll easily note its inherent self-contradictions (physical goods cannot, by definition, be extrinsic) and its statements that ignore earlier papal teachings (especially Pius XII, "The Prolongation of Life", 1957). Further, that review claims Curran has been censored by the Vatican. This is misleading. The most prominent and respected Catholic moral theologians signed a letter in support of Curran's positions, including Bernard Haring, most of them still teach in Rome (which awarded Curran two doctorates) and Catholic universities around the world. He was singled out and fired from the Catholic University of America, against the wishes of 95% of the faculty, for teaching the mere POSSIBILITY of dissent from hierarchical teachings designated "noninfallible". He was probably singled out because he wrote the dissenting opinion after Humanae vitae appeared and surprised everyone, even some cardinals who thought that the Pope would go the other way. Over 400 Catholic Moral Theologians signed that too.

The critical reviewer also claims that Curran blends "relativism, consequentialism, [and] proportionalism." This is totally absurd. Curran devotes a chapter to refuting these positions!!! The reviewer has probably read only Veritatis splendor and assumed that its gross caricature of Curran (whose positions were found important enough by the Vatican to try to refute) is actually Curran's position. Only those who think the Pope is God would fail to see that John Paul II has misunderstood the positions he is supposedly refuting.

I wonder how much of Vatican II the highly critical reviewer is committed to, or if that person has even read Curran or simply seen his controversial name and posted a meaningless and thoughtless review? It was hardly a review actually, only a statement of opinion, and a very limited minority opinion at that.
Enlightening Discussion of Fundamental Moral Theology  Jan 15, 2001
This small book is a masterpiece. It is enlightening and thoughtprovoking and invites all Catholic readers to a critical examination of major moral themes and topics. It is a wonderful introduction to the fundamental moral theology of the Catholic church. Adequately presents dialogue going on among modern moral theologians and critizes some narrow views of the Vatican that will most likely change in the years to come.
Immoral Tradition  Sep 8, 2000
Be forewarned. The "Catholic" here is a wooly blend of relativism, consequentialism, proportionalism and plain old pique from a theologian censured by the Vatican. For the real story, buy John Paul II's Veritatis Splendor.

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