Vision Quest

New Wine, New Wineskins
A Next Generation Reflects on Key Issues in Catholic Moral Theology
Edited by William C. Mattison III
Sheed & Ward, $24.95, 224 pp.

Younger theologians find themselves at a cultural distance from their older colleagues. The key difference seems to be that the older theologians are generally priests or members of a religious order, while their juniors are much more likely to be married laypeople. Even the exceptions to this trend exhibit the sensibilities of their age groups, as older lay theologians take for granted the “Catholic culture” of their ordained and religious peers, while younger ordained and religious theologians join their more numerous lay colleagues in a search for formation in a fragmented society.

A group of younger moral theologians interested in the need for formation hold summer meetings at Notre Dame to discuss the vocation of the theologian and the status of moral theology in the academy. In New Wine, New Wineskins, eight of these scholars propose a new approach to their field that highlights the importance of virtue and holiness as fundamental to moral theology. Such an approach, they argue, rejects the “left-right” battles over the role of proportionalist moral reasoning, by which the morality of an act is determined in part by the context in which it occurs. Animating this group’s work is their embrace of the vocation of teaching theology through a variety of scholarly avenues. What difference, they ask, can the notion of the theologian as believer make for doing moral theology?

Christopher Steck’s essay...

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About the Author

Nancy A. Dallavalle is associate professor of Religious Studies and vice president for Mission and Identity at Fairfield University.