The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics

Volume 21, 2001

William McDonough
Pages 191-213

Alasdair MacIntyre as Help for Rethinking Catholic Natural Law Estimates of Same-Sex Life Partnerships

Christian ethics struggles to articulate a method for thinking about homosexuality and the sexual acts of same-sex oriented persons. In 1988, Hanigan suggested a promising "social import" approach and then judged homosexual acts deficient. MacIntyre's Dependent Rational Animals (1999) articulates a fuller social import approach to morality. Although he does not address homosexuality, MacIntyre rejects narrow understandings of family and of "disinterested friendship": we need "communal relations that engage our affections" to grow in "the virtues of acknowledged dependence." How do gay people grow in these virtues? What if Hanigan got the method right, but the evaluation wrong?