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The Moral Theology Of Pope John Paul II (Moral Traditions Series) [Hardcover]

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Pages   262
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 5.75" Height: 8.5"
Weight:   1.1 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Publisher   Georgetown University Press
ISBN  1589010426  
EAN  9781589010420  

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Pope John Paul II is the second longest serving pope in history and the longest serving pope of the last century. His presence has thrown a long shadow across our time, and his influence on Catholics and non-Catholics throughout the world cannot be denied. Much has been written about this pope, but until now, no one has provided a systematic and thorough analysis of the moral theology that underlies his moral teachings and its astonishing influence. And no one is better positioned to do this than Charles E. Curran, widely recognized as the leading American Catholic moral theologian.

Curran focuses on the authoritative statements, specifically the fourteen papal encyclicals the pope has written over the past twenty-five years, to examine how well the pope has addressed the broad issues and problems in the Church today. Curran begins with a discussion of the theological presuppositions of John Paul II's moral teaching and moral theology. Subsequent chapters address his theological methodology, his ethical methodology, and his fundamental moral theology together with his understanding of human life. Finally, Curran deals with the specific issues of globalization, marriage, conscience, human acts, and the many issues involved in social and sexual ethics.

While finding much to admire, Curran is nonetheless fiercely precise in his analysis and rigorously thoughtful in his criticism of much of the methodological aspects of the pope's moral theology---in his use of scripture, tradition, and previous hierarchical teaching; in theological aspects including Christology, eschatology, and the validity of human sources of moral wisdom and knowledge; and in anthropology, the ethical model and natural law. Brilliantly constructed and fearlessly argued, this will be the definitive measure of Pope John Paul II's moral theology for years to come.

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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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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Curran is Curran is Curran  Jan 16, 2006
For anyone outside the "inner circle" of Catholic moral theology, Fr. Charles Curran has long been the champion of the ax to grind, sexual license obsessed, do what I want then find a justification for it- Christian. He taught at Catholic University until he was formally stripped (of his approbation to teach in a Catholic University) by then Cardinal Ratzinger, head of the CDF (now THE POPE Benedict XVI- hello!)At the time "Rome" and Ratzinger bent over backwards to try and allow Curran to redeem himself in a respectable graceful manner. That did not come to fruition. The ruling of Rome was upheld in an American court of law in a law suit against the Church and University. Curran, an undoubtedly dear man and brilliant mind, has been rubbing against the grain for the last 30 years with a proportionalist (theology of compromise) moral method. It is an academically & philosophically complex manner of "dumming down" Christian morality. Though he and others deny it, their long held positions have been consistently discredited in official teaching, including John Paul II's 1993 Encyclical Veritatis Splendor which was dedicated to the renewal of Moral Theology. Curran's analyses are often insightful and fascinating, however they are also often painfully consistent in their criticism of orthodox Church doctrine. If you are looking for a polemic, I recommend the book (though I often disagree with his assertions, I own many of his works); if you enjoy disagreeing with the Church teaching on morality every chance you get, here's one of the big guns to assist and confirm you; if you are simply up for a challenge to your undying loyalty to the late JP II, here it is. Be warned however, if you have no time for "unorthodox, liberal or dissenting" voices, this author most probably won't be for you.
Well done  Dec 9, 2005
Curran is an outstanding scholar by all accounts and this book continues to show this. I can think of few others better positioned to write a clear-headed, scholarly, and critically astute commentary on the impact of the last Pope.

I am aghast that another reviewer considers Curran to lack the "mental age and spiritual maturity" to write this book. Rome did award him two doctorates after all. Curran is widely respected in the field and has been writing (almost 40 books?) since the 60s. He's met with John Paul II and wrestled theologically with Ratzinger, now Pope Bendict XVI, several times, only to be censured as an example to other canonized theologians who still rightly teach that conscientious catholics can dissent from noninfallible teaching. Most good Catholic moral theology is now coming from Catholic scholars at noncatholic schools, where a climate of fear remains since Curran's dismissal such that theological critique, academic freedom, and creativity is rare. You can read about "the Curran Case" and its impact in many books.

This book is another important contribution to Catholic Moral Theology by one who loves the church but refuses to simply repeat the party line. Another reviewer revealed his ignorance by stating: "Curran has long been the champion of the ax to grind, sexual license obsessed, do what I want then find a justification for it- Christian." Holy cow... anyone who has actually read Curran knows that he is far from "sexual license obsessed." He is no "cafeteria Catholic." That reviewer makes it sound like Curran's some kind of wacko libertarian while his actual sexual views are far more conservative than many conservatives.

Curran merely argues that the heirarchical teaching on many sexual issues is based on a highly disputable and oft criticized (and by many "official" catholic teachers) version of natural law theory that reduces the human person to its biological functions. When looking at the whole person and the relationships in which that person has responsibilties it is ludicrous to maintain that human reason cannot, in some rare case, decide to intervene in a biological function. Further, this universalistic kind of teaching is operative at the general level, and even Aquinas affirmed that as you move to the specific or particular there are always exceptions to the rule. Neoscholastic natural law theory is indeed eccentric in its use of the Sacred Doctor. The authority claimed by recent popes on moral matters is a blip on the 2000 year historical screen in which it was for a long time canonically allowed that consciencious Catholics could dissent from noninfallible papal teachings so long as a good number of canonized theologians of "good repute" held to a contrary position (consult the moral manuals of the early 18th century, for example).

This book does precisely what moral theologians are supposed to do: step back and try to think critically, thematically, and systematically about some set of doctrine or teaching with the intent to explore its moral, theological, and ecclesiological consistency. Curran does just that, and with a love for the Church that cries out for a reasonable understanding of the best of the Catholic tradition, restating that something isn't morally right simply because the Pope said it. The popes are supposed to teach what is right and good because it is right and good. As humans, they can get it wrong, have in the past, and have admitted it. What sense, then, does it make to say, "if a pope says it it must be right"??? What happened to the Church?
not tall enough  May 6, 2005
Imagine an eight-year-old trying to explain his father's ideas. This book is like that. Pope John Paul II was a man of great philosophical and theological depth and profound life experience. Curran just doesn't have the mental age or spiritual maturity to be interpreting the late pope. John Paul's encyclicals, e.g. Veritatis Splendor, will be beacons lighting the path of Christians long after Curran's name has been forgotten (it is pretty much forgotten already).
An exceptional look at an exceptional man  Apr 5, 2005
Curran provides an insightful, clear, and highly readable look at the moral theology of one of the greatest religious leaders of our time. Although it is a scholarly book, non-scholars will benefit greatly from the book's comprehensive look at Catholic social teaching and thought. A timely reflection on the late Pope's contribution to Christian ethics.

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