Contemporary western culture is awash in ideologies that reduce sexuality to an outlet for pleasure, an ecstatic form of release needed for personal fulfillment, or a commodity to be bought and sold. Many Christians living in such a culture find themselves uncertain as to how to respond from within churches torn by controversy, embarrassed by scandal, and thus driven into uneasy silence on sexual matters. Catholic moral theology, itself at the epicenter of this controversy over sexual issues since Humanae vitae, has struggled to respond to the call for renewal issued by the Second Vatican Council.
This book provides a theological foundation for consideration of the moral dimensions of human sexuality from a Roman Catholic perspective. Drawing upon key biblical themes such as covenant, discipleship, and beatitude, it proposes an understanding of covenant fidelity wedded to the virtue of chastity that provides a suitable framework for a Catholic and Christian approach to issues of sexuality in a contemporary context. What is needed to counter dominant cultural ideologies is a vision of sexuality as integral to the human vocation to communion as well as attention to the specific practices that enable persons to grow in moral goodness.
This work represents an original synthesis of biblical categories, the tradition and language of virtue, and a theological understanding of the human person. It is also among the first systematic applications of the renewal of virtue theory in recent decades to issues of sexuality. Scholars, students of moral theology, and religious educators will benefit from this groundbreaking work.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
John S. Grabowski is Associate Professor of Moral Theology and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at The Catholic University of America. In addition to numerous articles and reviews, Grabowski is the author of the foreword to the English edition of Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body.
PRAISE FOR THE BOOK:
"In Sex and Virtue, Grabowski offers a compelling rationale for the virtue of chastity that takes into account the sensibilities and challenges of the contemporary world. Starting with a brilliantly concise and lucid overview of the biblical basis for sex as covenantal and sacramental, he reveals the positive meaning of the virtue of chastity by analyzing it within the context of personalism and virtue ethics. Grabowski's book is a stellar example of the kind of rapprochement between Catholic moral doctrine and contemporary thought envisioned by the Second Vatican Council."——Raymond Dennehy, University of San Francisco
"Sex and Virtue is a splendid result of Grabowski's response to the call of Vatican II to find scriptural support for Catholic moral teaching, especially sexual ethics. Grabowski takes full account of the theological debate that surrounds the issues he treats, but manages to avoid polemics. The reader will not feel awash in debate but will rejoice in being able to follow serenely Grabowski's deft line of argument. The ecumenical potential of this book is tremendous; Christians can only marvel at the resources in scripture for establishing sexual morality—a morality that puts sexuality in service of love, life, and salvation."—Janet E. Smith, Sacred Heart Major Seminary of Detroit
"As a plan for meeting the social and personal challenges to and responsibilities for sexual being, Grabowski's book hangs together well...."—Patrick J. Hayes, Catholic Books Review
"Grabowski's study has much to recommend it. The crisis that erupted in the aftermath of Humanae vitae forced the Church to consider anew the reasons for its teaching.... In Sex and Virtue, Grabowski presents the fruit of these insights in an attractive and compelling way.... Grabowski's study o