Conditions May Apply

Relativity without Relativism

Is sexual activity morally right or wrong? Most people would say, “It all depends.” The church says it depends on whether you are alone or with someone, whether you and that someone are of different sexes and married, whether you can responsibly bring a new child into the world, and so forth. In other words, the church teaches that the morality of sexual activity is related—or relative—to various conditions. Is this moral relativism? Or is it moral absolutism, for the church teaches that...

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About the Author

Edward Vacek, SJ, is professor of moral theology at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry.

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