Josef Fuchs on Natural Law

cover art
282 pp., 6 x 9
ISBN: 9780878403820 (0878403825)

October 2002
LC: 2002023641

Moral Traditions series


Table of Contents

Josef Fuchs on Natural Law
Mark Graham
Appointed by Pope John XXIII to the Pontifical Commission on Population, Family, and Birth, Fuchs ultimately found himself disappointed in his three years of service and spent the next thirty years exploring a broad array of issues pivotal to a reconstruction of Roman Catholic natural law theory. This is the first full-length analysis of Fuchs's efforts.

Beginning historically by looking at Fuchs's writings and beliefs before the Pontifical Commission appointment, including his defense of natural law during the "situation ethics" debates of the 50s and 60s, the concept of personal salvation, and the status of "nature" and "human nature," Graham moves to the intellectual conversion that inspired Fuchs to reconsider his concepts following the commission appointment. From there, Graham engages in a sustained critique of Fuchs's natural theory, addressing both the strengths and weaknesses to be found there and suggest possible avenues of development that would make a positive contribution to the ongoing quest to rehabilitate the Roman Catholic natural law theory that continues to dominate the landscape of moral theology today.
Mark Graham is assistant professor of theology and religious studies at Villanova University.
James F. Keenan, SJ, Series Editor
"A significant critical study of a very important figure in Catholic moral theology. . . . a very enlightening analysis of the intellectual development of one of the most influential Catholic moral theologians in the last half of the twentieth century."—Theology Today

"All persons interested in understanding the dramatic developments in Roman Catholic moral theology during the twentieth century owe a great debt to Mark Graham. [He] has produced an impressive work of theological scholarship. It is an important book in its own right and will serve to keep the legacy of Josef Fuchs alive to all persons engaged in Christian ethical reflection."—Journal of Religion

Table of Contents

Part I: The Preconversion Period (1941-66)

1. Natural Law and the Confrontation with Situation Ethics

2. A Fuller Account of Natural Law

3. The Intellectual Conversion: The Pontifical Commission on Population, Family, and Birth, 1963-66

Part II: The Postconversion Period (1966-Present)

4. Theological Anthropology and Natural Law

5. The Core of Fuch's Mature Natural Law Theory: Natural Law and Recto Ratio

6. Natural Law, Christian Faith, and Moral Norms