The Critical Calling

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434 pp., 6 x 9
ISBN: 9781589010833 (1589010833)

ISBN: 9781589014343

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February 2006

Moral Traditions series


Table of Contents

The Critical Calling
Reflections on Moral Dilemmas Since Vatican II
Richard A. McCormick, SJ
Foreword by Lisa Sowle Cahill

When Richard A. McCormick's The Critical Calling was first published, Andrew M. Greeley commented that "in years to come scholars will look back on Father McCormick's work and say, 'This was a man who knew what he was talking about!'" In this reissue, with a new foreword by Lisa Sowle Cahill, both first-time readers and those opening the pages for a return visit with an honored friend will find Greeley's characterization remains valid.

Father McCormick begins The Critical Calling with his personal affirmation of the work of Vatican II: "I believe the Council was a work of the Spirit—desperately needed, divinely inspired, devotedly and doggedly carried through." Yet, he stresses this was no uncritical endorsement of everything the Council did and said. Part One includes a discussion of fundamental moral theology that looks at the relationship between the church hierarchy and individual moral decision making and several chapters addressing issues precipitated by actions involving Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI. Part Two focuses on practical and pastoral questions that touch on contemporary concerns ranging from abortion to AIDS, divorce, homosexuality, and teenage sexuality.

Cahill suggests that "those who lived through the tumultuous 1960s and '70s" as well as "those who came to maturity after the Council" will find this book to be an accurate and evocative reflection of the passions that imbued all those early debates and a helpful explanation why those passions ran so high. All readers will benefit from the wise insights into the controversies of that era and the more recent struggles, challenges, and debates that confront today's church.

Richard A. McCormick, SJ (1922-2000) was one of the leading U.S. Roman Catholic moral theologians of the 20th century. He was the John A. O'Brien Professor of Christian Ethics in the Department of Theology at the University of Notre Dame until his retirement in 1999, and a former senior research scholar of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics. Father McCormick was well-known for his annual Moral Notes published in the Jesuit quarterly Theological Studies from 1965 to 1984.
James F. Keenan, SJ, Series Editor
"Richard McCormick was a moral theologian of the very first rank, demonstrating all the qualities he said we should expect of Catholic moral theology of the future. He was eminently insightful, realistic, scientifically informed, straightforward, ecumenical, and catholic in every sense of the word. The book is an impressive representation indeed of all that Father McCormick contributed to the Church over the past three decades and more."—Richard P. McBrien, Crowley-O'Brien Professor, University of Notre Dame

Table of Contents
Foreword by Lisa Sowle Cahill

Part I: Fundamental Moral Theology

1. Moral Theology since Vatican II: Clarity or Chaos?

2. Dissent in the Church: Loyalty or Liability?

3. Moral Argument in Christian Ethics

4. The Chill Factor in Contemporary Moral Theology

5. Bishops as Teachers, Scholars as Listeners

6. L'Affaire Curran

7. Pluralism in Moral Theology

8. Catholic Moral Theology: Is Pluralism Pathogenic

9. Matters of Free Theological Debate

10. Fundamental Freedom Revisited

11. Theology in the Public Forum

Part II: Practical and Pastoral Questions

12. The Consistent Ethic of Life: Is There a Historical Soft Underbelly?

13. Divorce, Remarriage and the Sacraments

14. "A Clean Heart Create for Me, O God." Impact Questions on the Artificial Heart

15. Genetic Technology and Our Common Future

16. Sterilization: The Dilemma of Catholic Hospitals

17. Homosexuality as a Moral and Pastoral Problem

18. AIDS: The Shape of the Ethical Challenge

19. Therapy or Tampering? The Ethics of Reproductive Technology and the Development of Doctrine

20. If I Had Ten Things to Share with Physicians

21. Nutrition-Hydration: The New Euthanasia?

22. The Physician and Teenage Sexuality