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Cornelius Williams e-mail(Inicie sesión)

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Cornelius Williams e-mail(Inicie sesión)


The author present his work as a reflection on the approaches to moral theology by the light of the encyclical Aeterni Patris. Making a compact synthesis of the development of moral theology, Williams puts forth the Secunda Pars of the Summa Theologiae of Saint Thomas Aquinas as the climax of this development, and, at the same time, as the most original and representative work of the universal Doctor. However, according to the author, the Secunda Pars has been the most ignored part of Saint Thomas repertoire, and many modern theologians have not yet discovered the penetrating attention that St. Thomas has dedicated to the most existential and practical aspects of morality, including in his writings principles which are very fruitful towards solving the same problems which the so-called "situation ethics" tries to solve, although in a way completely incompatible with the Church's doctrine.

The radical transformation in moral theology began in the 16 century with the school of writers dealing with "de legibus" -Vázquez, Suárez, Molina, Sánchez, Lugo, etc.-, giving origin to the birth of casuistry as an independent moral science, not based upon metaphysics and dogma, but rather on jurisprudence, and which could rightly be called post-Tridintine moral theology. This discipline, which lacks the true outlook and basic principles of St. Thomas despite its habit of labelling its manuals "ad mentem Sancti Thomae", continues being the context and underlying source of some recent moral treatises, specilically of Fundamentalmoral by F. Böckle (Munich, 1977), of which the author dedicates a detailed analysis and critical evaluation in the second part of the present work.

According to the author, Prof. Böckle is actually one of the most eminent representatives of the current generation of post-Tridintine moral theology, whose strange reappearance should be above all considered with respect to the attitudes adopted by some moralists to the encyclical Humanae Vitae, rather than to a deepening in the doctrina of the II Vatican Council. To Böckle, explains Williams, it makes little sense to ask oneself for what is true in the field of practical christian life; the only adequate question has to look toward the liberty and autonomy of the human subject. The task of fundamental moral theology, therefore, consists in establishing the conditions and norms for a human, autonomous activity. One is dealing, according to Williams, with what might be called "moral teleologic theology", because it takes its moral criteria exclusively from the appropiateness of one's acts to the end which he has chosen; nowhere does Böckle clearly state which and what kind of end this should be. lt would not be an absolute autonomy, says Böckle, but rather a teonomic autonomy. This strange terminology, which seems to include a contradictio in adiecto, stems from, as Williams informs us, a work of Paul Tillich, even though Böckle never refers to it as a source. The deism of Tillich, the author concludes, is without doubt behind this radical moral subjectivization.

The article ends by saying how the case of Böckle shows how these times, a hundred years after this great encyclical, urge once again a rediscovery of the vigorous anthropological and theological principles of St. Thomas Aquinas, to be able to leave the impasse.


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Detalles del artículo

II. Estudios especulativos