"L'insegnamento superiore nella storia della Chiesa: scuole, maestri e metodi"
Department of Moral Theology
The different courses in the plan of studies offered by the Department of Moral Theology are based on the universal call to holiness. Special attention is given to the practical consequences of this call for the different charisms in the Church and in the different aspects of the Christian life. Because of this focus, the line of research in morality heavily favors what today is known as “virtue ethics”. Recalling the classical tradition, this field of study has been broadened by many recent developments, and places the practical-operative consideration of the good of human life in its totality at the center of ethical theory. From this perspective virtue ethics tries to distinguish the priorities to be assigned to the various activities that make up one's life as a whole and to clarify the criteria according to which one should govern the use and actualization of human goods; this ordering of priorities and these criteria of rational governance form the essential content of the moral virtues. This approach seems to be the most adequate for the personal formation and for the transmission of Christian morality to our complex society, a society wherein a discussion of “ought” and the varying norms of conduct urgently requires an adequate frame of reference to illustrate what role these have in the lives of human beings.
The Department of Moral Theology offers various courses in the field of moral theology to students of the First Cycle in the School of Theology. It is also in charge of directing the Licentiate and Doctoral Programs in Moral Theology. Furthermore, the members of the Department develop a continuing research on the more important areas of Moral Theology, among which are:
- Fundamental Moral Theology. Its objective is to go deep into the historical and systematic studies of the virtue ethics within the Christian context in order to understand better the universal moral experience and the fullness that it finds in the Christian truth.
- Theological Moral. It reflects on the ethical consequences of human openness to God, the life of grace, and the Trinitarian indwelling, all materialized in the theological virtues.
- Morality of Life. In the light of the Christian moral tradition, it establishes a close dialogue with bioethics in order to give answers to the new challenges from the medical sciences and biotechnologies.
- Social, Political and Family Morality. It aims to illuminate with the light of faith the various ethical aspects of social institutions and Christian action in the world, with a profound respect of the legitimate autonomy of temporal realities. The MCE Project (http://www.mceproject.eu/en/) is an affiliated think-tank geared specifically toward research on themes related to ethics and the economy.
The Licentiate in Moral Theology is a biannual program designed to respond to the different ethical challenges of the contemporary society. The courses and the seminars cover the different areas of Moral Theology: Fundamental Moral Theology; Theological Moral; Sexuality, Matrimony and Family; Bioethics; and Social and Political Morality. Within the general structure of the plan of studies, each student selects his preferred area of specialization where he writes a licentiate thesis. This research, done under the guidance of a professor of the Department, also aims to introduce the student to the methodology of the theological research.
The Doctoral Program in Moral Theology, with a minimum duration of two years, offers the student the possibility of writing a dissertation on a specific area of Moral Theology under the guidance of one of the professors of the Department. This program also prepares the students for teaching at the University level.