Romanus Cessario, O.P.
First published in 1991, The Moral Virtues and Theological Ethics introduced readers to an approach in Christian ethics that was not then much in vogue. Although the Second Vatican Council had marked a departure from the legalistic code of proper conduct for Catholics (known since the Catholic Reformation as “casuistry”), few Catholic theologians had yet begun to explore an ethics based on moral virtues rather than one based on narrow, prescriptive rules.
At the forefront of studies that would begin to recover virtue ethics—the ethical teaching of the church in the patristic, monastic, and scholastic traditions— The Moral Virtues and Theological Ethics has been widely used to introduce both students and scholars to the relatively “new” idea of virtue ethics, now a dominant principle in Catholic moral theology.
Following a brief new preface, the text of the six chapters in the original edition remains unchanged. However, Romanus Cessario, O.P., has substantially updated the citations in the notes to account for recent literature on the subject and has written a new chapter that accommodates his original study to the current ethos of moral theology. He draws on documents of the Catholic Church since 1991 to enrich the contemporary discussion of moral virtues and the dynamics of living a happy life. This second edition will inspire a new generation of readers, especially students and teachers of moral theology.
“In this second edition, Cessario presents a brief but thorough introduction to Christian virtue theory, specifically as expounded by Aquinas in his Summa Theologiae. What is new here is a consideration of recent papal teaching (John Paul II’s Veritatis Splendor and Benedict XVI’s Deus Caritas Est) as it relates to virtue theory. . . . The book is meant to be studied, not merely read, and so is most appropriate for graduate and advanced [students]. " — Choice
“Cessario has written an excellent book that deserves to be studied carefully. It should be required reading both for scholars of Aquinas and for contemporary Christian theologians and ethicists." — Journal of Religion
“An unusually important, stimulating, and incisive book.” — The Thomist