Richard A. McCormick and the Renewal of Moral Theology

  • by C.S.Sp. Odozor Paulinus Ikechukwu

  • 272 pages, 6.00 x 9.00

  • Paperback | 9780268172596 | July 2017

  • eBook (PDF) | 9780268091514 | July 1995

  • Hardcover | 9780268016487 | July 1995


In a career that spanned the periods before, during, and after the Second Vatican Council, Richard A. McCormick, S.J. (1922–2000), was one of the major American theologians who demonstrated broad interest in Christian theological ethics and has written extensively on the issues of fundamental and special theology. When the Second Vatican Council directed that attention should be paid to the renewal of moral theology, McCormick answered that challenge. In this study Paulinus Ikechukwu Odozor, C.S.Sp., examines McCormick’s thought and work in detail and sets it against the backdrop of larger developments that have taken place within the Church and the field of moral theology.

Odozor begins by establishing McCormick’s contribution to the renewal of moral theology and reconstructs McCormick’s theological program by situating him within various social, theological, and professional contexts. He then goes on to show whether and to what extent McCormick has been consistent and coherent in his moral theological discourse. To effectively pursue the aims of this study, Odozor divided it into seven chapters. The first chapter delineates the parameters of pre-Vatican II moral theology and situates McCormick and his work in a larger context by defining the historical, social, and ecclesial contexts of his formation. The next five chapters take up themes central to understanding McCormick’s work, including the nature of Christian ethics, the Church as moral teacher, proportionate reasoning, anthropology, and casuistry. In addition to his insightful analysis of McCormick’s contributions to the field, Odozor includes a sensitive treatment of the complex interactions between McCormick as an individual scholar and the world in relation to which his identity as a scholar was formed and transformed.