When Richard A. McCormick's "The Critical Calling" was first published, Andrew M. Greeley commented that "in years to come scholars will look back on Father McCormick's work and say, 'This was a man who knew what he was talking about!'". In this reissue, with a new foreword by Lisa Sowle Cahill, both first-time readers and those opening the pages for a return visit with an honored friend will find Greeley's characterization remains valid. Father McCormick begins "The Critical Calling" with his personal affirmation of the work of Vatican II: "I believe the Council was a work of the Spirit - desperately needed, divinely inspired, devotedly and doggedly carried through". Yet, he stresses this was no uncritical endorsement of everything the Council did and said. Part One includes a discussion of fundamental moral theology that looks at the relationship between the church hierarchy and individual moral decision making and several chapters addressing issues precipitated by actions involving Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.
Part Two focuses on practical and pastoral questions that touch on contemporary concerns ranging from abortion to AIDS, divorce, homosexuality, and teenage sexuality. Cahill suggests that "those who lived through the tumultuous 1960s and '70s" as well as "those who came to maturity after the Council" will find this book to be an accurate and evocative reflection of the passions that imbued all those early debates and a helpful explanation why those passions ran so high. All readers will benefit from the wise insights into the controversies of that era and the more recent struggles, challenges, and debates that confront today's church.
Richard A. McCormick, SJ (1922-2000) was one of the leading U.S. Roman Catholic moral theologians of the 20th century. He was the John A. O'Brien Professor of Christian Ethics in the Department of Theology at the University of Notre Dame until his retirement in 1999, and a former senior research scholar of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics. Father McCormick was well-known for his annual Moral Notes published in the Jesuit quarterly Theological Studies from 1965 to 1984.
Foreword by Lisa Sowle CahillPreface Part I: Fundamental Moral Theology 1. Moral Theology since Vatican II: Clarity or Chaos? 2. Dissent in the Church: Loyalty or Liability? 3. Moral Argument in Christian Ethics 4. The Chill Factor in Contemporary Moral Theology 5. Bishops as Teachers, Scholars as Listeners 6. L'Affaire Curran 7. Pluralism in Moral Theology 8. Catholic Moral Theology: Is Pluralism Pathogenic 9. Matters of Free Theological Debate 10. Fundamental Freedom Revisited 11. Theology in the Public Forum Part II: Practical and Pastoral Questions 12. The Consistent Ethic of Life: Is There a Historical Soft Underbelly? 13. Divorce, Remarriage and the Sacraments 14. "A Clean Heart Create for Me, O God." Impact Questions on the Artificial Heart 15. Genetic Technology and Our Common Future 16. Sterilization: The Dilemma of Catholic Hospitals 17. Homosexuality as a Moral and Pastoral Problem 18. AIDS: The Shape of the Ethical Challenge 19. Therapy or Tampering? The Ethics of Reproductive Technology and the Development of Doctrine 20. If I Had Ten Things to Share with Physicians 21. Nutrition-Hydration: The New Euthanasia? 22. The Physician and Teenage Sexuality Index