The Fullness of Free Time

A Theological Account of Leisure and Recreation in the Moral Life

Conor M. Kelly

"An inherently absorbing, thoughtful and thought-provoking read throughout"
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An ethical framework and vision of free time for social good—and how to achieve it.

In the work-centric culture of today’s world, it is easy to view free time as indulging laziness or extravagance.Conor M. Kelly, however, argues that free time possesses enormous potential for good if exercised in accordance with theological ethics.

By examining pursuits such as television, digital media use, sports, and travel from the perspective of Catholic solidarity, Kelly demonstrates how individuals can choose new free time activities or restructure current pursuits to be more relational and socially conscious.

The first book to use the Catholic theological tradition to explore the importance of free time, The Fullness of Free Time addresses a crucial topic in the ethics of everyday life, providing a useful framework for scholars and students of moral theology, philosophy, and political theory, as well as anyone hoping to make their free time more meaningful.

Table of Contents



Part I: Preconditions

1. The Necessary Distinction between Leisure and Recreation

2. An Ethical Framework for Everyday Solidarity

Part II: Applications to Leisure

3. Leisure and the Principle of Everyday Solidarity

4. Leisure and the Virtue of Everyday Solidarity

Part III: Applications to Recreation

5. Television

6. Digital Media Use

7. Spectator Sports

8. Travel




About the Author


"In The Fullness of Free Time, Conor M. Kelly provides a way to think about something most consider outside the zone of ethics. With a combination of classic sources on leisure and contemporary takes on television, digital media, sports, and travel, Kelly offers both depth and practical wisdom. This accessible book will help readers assess how their own choices about time contribute to their most important relationships and spur them to consider how to challenge structural inequalities that limit others' ability to do the same."— Julie Hanlon Rubio, professor of Christian social ethics, Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University

"The Fullness of Free Time makes an outstanding contribution to Christian ethics. In it, Conor Kelly overturns our understanding of leisure and recreation. Instead of being private goods, Kelly argues that they are for the common good. Instead of for the privileged few, leisure and recreation should include everyone, especially the poor. Most importantly, instead of mindless fun, leisure and recreation offers us a proleptic taste of heaven."—Jason King, professor of theology, Saint Vincent College and editor, the Journal of Moral Theology

"Jeffreys-Jones packs the narrative with fine-grained details and memorable character sketches. Espionage buffs will want to take a look."—

"An inherently absorbing, thoughtful and thought-provoking read throughout"—Midwest Book Review, 1/25/2021

"Overall, The Fullness of Free Time will provide a valuable resource for moral philosophers, graduate students, or those looking to delve deeper into the ethical underpin- nings of how they spend ordinary time."—Studies in Christian Ethics


Supplemental Materials


About the Author

Conor M. Kelly is an assistant professor of theology at Marquette University. He is a Catholic theological ethicist who works at the intersection of fundamental moral theology and applied ethics. He is the coeditor of Poverty: Responding Like Jesus with Kenneth R. Himes and has published articles in a number of journals, including Theological Studies, the Journal of Moral Theology, Horizons, and the Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics.

296 pp., 6 x 9

ISBN: 978-1-64712-013-9
Oct 2020

296 pp., 6 x 9

ISBN: 978-1-64712-014-6
Oct 2020

296 pp.

ISBN: 978-1-64712-015-3
Oct 2020

Moral Traditions series
David Cloutier, Darlene Weaver, and Andrea Vicini, SJ

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