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51. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 24 > Issue: 2
David Cloutier Composing Love Songs for the Kingdom of God?: Creation and Eschatology in Catholic Sexual Ethics
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THE VATICAN II MANDATE TO TREAT TOPICS IN MORAL THEOLOGY IN A WAY that will "shed light on the loftiness of the calling of the faithful in Christ" points the way to an alternative approach, in which sexuality and the lofty calling to the Kingdom are not simply kept separate. Such an approach would be a genuinely eschatological narration of marriage and sexuality. In this essay I argue three points: First, as a background story, the characterization of the shift in the tradition on sexual issues from a "negative" to a "positive" view of sexuality is both inaccurate and theologically rather empty. Second, four writers (Pope John Paul II, Germain Grisez, Lisa Cahill, and Herbert McCabe) all manifest this shift, but their construals of eschatology differ significantly—indicating that future debate about sexual ethics will have to take place among competing narrations of eschatology rather than in terms of competing moral theories about how to justify certain norms. Finally, I gesture toward potential implications for sexual norms in light of eschatological approaches to marriage and sexuality.
52. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 24 > Issue: 2
Aline H. Kalbian Integrity in Catholic Sexual Ethics
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TOTALITY AND COMPLEMENTARITY ARE PROMINENT TERMS IN CATHOLIC discussions of sexuality and gender. In this essay I explore these terms as they relate to the concept of integrity. I argue that although these terms were originally intended to describe the importance of physical integrity or wholeness, recent moves toward a more personalistic sexual ethic have rendered them problematic. More precisely, although these two terms appear to have integrity as their goal, uncertainty about the object of integrity results in fragmentation.
53. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 24 > Issue: 2
Ted A. Smith Redeeming Critique: Resignations to the Cultural Turn in Christian Theology and Ethics
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IN THIS ESSAY I BEGIN BY NAMING A "TURN TO CULTURE" THAT MARKS A wide range of works in contemporary theology and ethics. I describe how the turn plays out in books by Stanley Hauerwas and Delores S. Williams and argue that their idealist versions of the turn uncritically replicate core features of the dominant cultures they try to criticize. I explain how their idealism in conceiving the oppositional cultures to which they turn constructs those cultures as "others" to the culture being criticized, wholes unto themselves, and symbols that directly participate in some ultimate good or truth. I then gesture toward a more critical, self-conscious performance of the turn to culture. I argue that turns to culture should not obscure but rather thematize the role of the critic in making the turn. I use the work of Pierre Bourdieu and Walter Benjamin to argue that self-conscious critique will involve a set of resignations to reflexivity rather than otherness, to a hodgepodge of highly mobile practices rather than a single, unified tradition, and to regarding cultural artifacts as mixed allegories rather than pure symbols.
54. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 24 > Issue: 2
Aaron Stalnaker Spiritual Exercises and the Grace of God: Paradoxes of Personal Formation in Augustine
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AUGUSTINE'S MATURE, ANTI-PELAGIAN UNDERSTANDING OF HUMAN AND divine willing might appear to conflict with his advocacy (in numerous sermons, for example) of human striving to "make progress in righteousness" through various practices of personal reformation. In this essay I consider exercises such as reading and listening to scripture, fasting, and Eucharistie worship; I argue that although deep tensions exist in Augustine's account, ultimately they are not contradictions. Furthermore, recent attempts to retrieve "spiritual exercises" or askesis for contemporary ethical reflection would do well to grapple with Augustine's thought and practice in this area.
55. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 24 > Issue: 2
Paul W. Schroeder International Order and Its Current Enemies
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IN THIS ESSAY I PROPOSE SEVERAL SWEEPING PROPOSITIONS ABOUT INternational order: that it is structurally prior to international peace and justice and required for it; that in the anarchical society of international politics any order must be based on the principle of voluntary association and exclusion, with their attached rewards and sanctions; that such a working order has been emerging over centuries and has resulted in an undeniable growth of world peace, though without ending war; and that this emergent international order is now under attack from various directions. One such attack—not the worst or most dangerous in the long run but very grave at present—is the current foreign policy of the United States, which directly denies or indirectly subverts the principles and trends that have led to the emergence of a promising international order.
56. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 24 > Issue: 2
Glen H. Stassen Just Peacemaking as Hermeneutical Key: The Need for International Cooperation in Preventing Terrorism
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DATA SHOW THAT THE STRATEGY OF ARGUING THAT A WAR IS UNJUST, or that we should oppose all wars, always loses the national debate that occurs before a war. Data also show, however, that articulating an alternative to the war fares much better. Facing this reality requires us to develop an additional ethic besides just war and pacifism—an ethic that articulates specific alternatives to a war.
57. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Susan A. Ross Women, Beauty, and Justice: Moving Beyond von Balthasar
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IN THIS ESSAY I CONSIDER POSSIBLE CONTRIBUTIONS OF FEMINIST THEOLogy to theological aesthetics and ethics by comparing the work of Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905—88), the predominant figure in theological aesthetics, with that of Elizabeth Johnson and Sallie McFague. Balthasar's emphasis on contemplation and obedience in response to the unexpected revelation of God's glory contrasts with the practicality, mutuality, and creativity of feminist theological ethics. On the other hand, feminist theology's emphasis on appropriate language and images for God suggests an implicit aesthetics. The artistic work of contemporary African women in crisis situations sheds further light on both Balthasar and feminist theology and brings into relief the relationship of beauty and justice. Although Balthasar's emphasis on the transcendent glory of God may leave him with an undeveloped ethics, feminist theology's agent-oriented approach could benefit from greater attention to contemplation and a transformed understanding of obedience. These conclusions urge greater appreciation and development of the aesthetic and imaginative dimensions of feminist theological ethics.
58. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Cristina Traina Touch on Trial: Power and the Right to Physical Affection
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AGAINST THE BACKGROUND OF THE NEAR-PROHIBITION OF TOUCH IN RElations between unequals, this essay addresses very different questions: When do more-powerful people owe touch to less-powerful people as a consequence of their moral responsibility to care and nurture? How are we to understand morally the enjoyment that powerful adults receive from such contacts with their charges? This essay draws on psychological literature on touch to argue that touch is a condition of human flourishing. Consequently, in many circumstances (especially the nurture of children) the obligation to care not only permits but requires physical affection. It argues as well that the lines separating required, permitted, and forbidden touch are somewhat culture-dependent but nevertheless can be adjudicated. Finally, it suggests how traditional theologies and ethics of embodiment might support and be developed by these claims, showing that a positive ethic of touch shares the same theological foundations as the existing ethic of protection.
59. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Alex Mikulich Mapping "Whiteness": The Complexity of Racial Formation and the Subversive Moral Imagination of the "Motley Crowd"
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THIS ESSAY MAPS SOCIAL HISTORICAL AND SOCIAL SCIENTIFIC INTERPREtations of Whiteness to develop an understanding of the complexity and rootedness of Whiteness as a social construction. Mapping Whiteness helps clarify historical pitfalls in the interpretation of racial formation, including the problems of essentialism, dualism, and assimilationism. A social historical perspective retrieves the multiethnic and multiclass reality of the "motley crowd" —sailors, slaves, and commoners whose religious and radical praxis subverted the dominant political and economic forces of the revolutionary Atlantic. The subversive praxis of the motley crowd suggests an alternative moral imagination, moored by Black Catholic political theology, that affirms the historical complexity of racial formation, critiques and subverts White privilege, and celebrates the need to extend multiple struggles for social, political, and economic liberation.
60. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Jonathan Rothchild Ethics, Law, and Economics: Legal Regulation of Corporate Responsibility
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ECONOMICS AND LAW HAVE HISTORICALLY ATTENUATED THE CONTRIBUtion of ethics in their putative separation of fact and value. In this essay I argue that reconceptualizing the relationships between law, economics, and ethics reveals the shortcomings of positions that disavow ethics. In the first section I contend that thinkers must reread Adam Smith as an economist and a moral philosopher to appreciate his extended treatment of sympathy, conscience, and social justice. In the second section I appropriate the work of Amartya Sen to examine the entanglement of fact and value in deliberating economic choices, including moral motivations and social evaluations that problematize reductive images of economic actors. Finally, I interrogate legal regulation of corporate governance with respect to the Enron scandal and the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act. I argue that legal regulation is a necessary but not sufficient resolution to corporate misconduct because it too enervates ethics and bifurcates fact and value.