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By Germain Grisez / St. Paul’s / 1997
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The Second Vatican Council called for a thorough-going renewal of moral theology, so that it would be centered on Jesus Christ, enriched by Scripture, and grounded in the fundamental truths of Catholic faith. The new approach was to integrate two ways of viewing Christian life—as a calling to divine intimacy, with its fulfillment in God’s coming kingdom, and as a service of love for the life of this world, even during the present age.
The Way of the Lord Jesus responds fully to Vatican II’s mandate. It presupposes and vigorously defends the truth of the Catholic Church’s moral teachings—most of which all Christians handed on until, beginning in the nineteenth century, their consensus was gradually eroded by compromises with secularism. Furthermore, The Way of the Lord Jesus is Christocentric, richly nourished by Scripture, and based on the central truths of faith. Its explanation of Christian moral teachings shows them to be, not rules, but truths about what really is good for human beings. The entire work is shaped by the teaching of Vatican II, explained and richly developed by Pope John Paul II, that God calls each and every Christian to a personal vocation uniquely his or her own—a whole, complete life of good works prepared in advance as his or her own way of holiness (see Eph 2:10).
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Germain Grisez, PhD, is the Harry J. Flynn Professor of Christian Ethics at Mount Saint Mary’s College, Emmitsburg, Maryland. He received his BA at John Carroll University; his MA and PhL from the Dominican College of St. Thomas Aquinas; and his PhD from the University of Chicago. Along with philosopher John Finnis, who teaches at Oxford and Notre Dame, Grisez launched a new, theoretically sophisticated version of natural law theory, sometimes referred to as the “New Natural Law Theory.”