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Title: The Basic Goods Theory and Revisionism
Subtitle: A Methodological Comparison of the Use of Scripture as a Source of Moral Knowledge
Author(s): SALZMAN, Todd A.
Journal: Louvain Studies
Volume: 26    Issue: 2   Date: summer 2001   
Pages: 117-146
DOI: 10.2143/LS.26.2.907

Abstract :
It would not be too much of an exaggeration to say that since the 1960s a schism has developed in Catholic moral theology that has profound implications for the Catholic Church today. The schism is evident in the work of two groups of moral theologians, the one known as revisionists and the other, those who have developed a new natural law theory, what we will refer to as the Basic Goods Theory (BGT). The term “revisionism” designates the school that is commonly referred to as proportionalism. Revisionism, however, is a broader term that deals with the entire revision of Catholic moral theology, and does not focus exclusively on the normative ethical realm. The BGT has been developed by Germain Grisez, John Finnis, and Joseph Boyle and includes, but is not limited to, Russell Shaw and William May. Both groups have attempted to respond to Vatican II's call for a renewal in Catholic moral theology, but have done so in very different ways. Whereas the BGT has developed a quite complex ethical theory to explain and justify specific moral norms including the absolute norms taught by the Magisterium, revisionism's theory has sometimes challenged those teachings. These attempts at renewal have been the subject of scholarly, and sometimes even acrimonious, debate between the two schools of thought as well as the object of official magisterial pronouncements.

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