The Way of Aquinas: Its Importance for Moral Theology

Studies in Christian Ethics 19 (3):339-356 (2006)
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Abstract

This essay argues that, for Thomas Aquinas, nature always points in the direction of Christ. Therefore, moral theologies that proceed by way of nature in order to move beyond the confines of confessional traditions fail to read Aquinas well. Because Jesus is the Second Person of the Trinity, the exemplar in whom all things are made, nature cannot be a more universal category than Christology. Karl Barth critiqued Roman Catholic moral theology for failing to honour this essential theological point, wrongly attributing the error to Aquinas. However, many contemporary Catholic moral theologians have adopted the very understanding of nature Barth critiques, and are using Thomas to do so. This loses the ecumenical character of Aquinas’s work

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