The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly

Volume 13, Issue 1, Spring 2013

Critiques of the New Natural Law Theory

Rev. Kevin L. Flannery, SJ
Pages 79-104

Thomas Aquinas and the New Natural Law Theory on the Object of the Human Act

The author offers, first, an account of St. Thomas Aquinas’s Aristotelian-inspired understanding of the object of a moral act and of what morally that species contributes to the act of which it is a part. Then, with special (but not sole) attention to two passages in Aquinas cited frequently by the proponents of the new natural law theory—that is, Summa theologiae 2-2.64.7 and the commentary on Peter Lombard’s Sentences—the author argues that a close analysis of Aquinas’s remarks on objects and intentions does not support the claim that the new natural law theory is Thomistic. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 13.1 (Spring 2013): 79–104.