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In this magisterial volume Charles E. Curran surveys the historical development of Catholic moral theology in the United States from its 19th century roots to the present day. He begins by tracing the development of pre-Vatican II moral theology that, with the exception of social ethics, had the limited purpose of training future confessors to know what actions are sinful and the degree of sinfulness.
Curran then explores and illuminates the post-Vatican II era with chapters on the effect of the Council on the scope and substance of moral theology, the impact of Humanae vitae, Pope Paul VI's encyclical condemning artificial contraception, fundamental moral theology, sexuality and marriage, bioethics, and social ethics.
Curran's perspective is unique: For nearly 50 years, he has been a major influence on the development of the field and has witnessed first-hand the dramatic increase in the number and diversity of moral theologians in the academy and the Church. No one is more qualified to write this first and only comprehensive history of Catholic moral theology in the United States.
1. The Nineteenth Century
2. The Twentieth Century before Vatican II
3. Twentieth-Century Social Ethics before Vatican II
4. The Setting of Moral Theology after Vatican II
5. The Aftermath of Humanae vitae
6. The Aftermath of Vatican II and Other Developments
7. Fundamental Moral Theology
8. Sexuality and Marriage
10. Social Ethics
Conclusions: Looking Backward and Forward
About the Author