Feminist Ethics and Natural Law

cover art
416 pp., 6 x 9
ISBN: 9780878407279 (0878407278)

April 1999
LC: 98-44651

Moral Traditions series



Feminist Ethics and Natural Law
The End of the Anathemas
Cristina L. H. Traina
Heated debates over such issues as abortion, contraception, ordination, and Church hierarchy suggest that feminist and natural law ethics are diametrically opposed. Cristina L.H. Traina now reexamines both Roman Catholic natural law tradition and Anglo-American feminist ethics and reconciles the two positions by showing how some of their aims and assumptions complement one another.

After carefully scrutinizing Aquinas's moral theology, she analyzes trends in both contemporary feminist ethics, theological as well as secular, and twentieth-century Roman Catholic moral theology. Although feminist ethics reject many of the methods and conclusions of the scholastic and revisionist natural law schools, Traina shows that a truly Thomistic natural law ethic nonetheless provides a much-needed holistic foundation for contemporary feminist ethics. On the other hand, she offers new perspectives on the writings of Josef Fuchs, Richard McCormick, and Gustavo Gutierrez, arguing that their failure to catch the full spirit of Thomas's moral vision is due to inadequate attention to feminist critical methods.

This highly original book proposes an innovative union of two supposedly antagonistic schools of thought, a new feminist natural law that would yield more comprehensive moral analysis than either existing tradition alone. This is a provocative book not only for students of moral theology but also for feminists who may object to the very notion of natural law ethics, suggesting how each might find insight in an unlikely place.
Cristina L. H. Traina is an assistant professor of religion at Northwestern University. She received a PhD in theology from the University of Chicago Divinity School.
James F. Keenan, SJ, Series Editor
"The interpretation of both the Roman Catholic natural law tradition and Anglo-American feminist ethics is sharp and illuminating. The aim of the whole offers a creative contribution to both traditions and an interesting perspective on the specific authors."—Margaret A. Farley, Gilbert L. Stark Professor of Christian Ethics, Yale University Divinity School