Saint John the Evangelist Seminary

A Commitment of the Evangelical Catholic Church for Academic Formation

Est. 2006





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Saint John the Evangelist Seminary


MT 501: Fundamental Moral Theology (3CH) 
Course Syllabus


Bishop James Wilkowski


Course Description:

Provides an introduction to the traditions of Catholic moral theology. The course emphasizes a systematic approach to moral thinking, including magisterial and historical development of the Catholic idea of moral goodness. Students will gain a broad theological understanding of human freedom, human nature, conscience, moral norms and systems, sin and virtues.


This course intends to accomplish these aims by focusing on the moral tradition developed by St. Thomas Aquinas. By way of introduction and background, some attention will be given to the philosophical, e. g., the metaphysical and epistemological presuppositions of Thomistic moral analysis, especially as these
bear upon moral psychology, moral action, the human person and Christian virtue.


Required Texts:
Cessario, R. The Moral Virtues and Theological Ethics. ND Press, 1991.
Pinckaers, S. The Sources of Christian Ethics. CUA Press, 1995.
Veritatis Splendor, John Paul II, 1993.

Selections from the Summa Theologiae, Thomas Aquinas (in English)



Course Outline, Topics and their Order:

What is Moral Theology?

Principles of a Catholic Anthropology

The Call to Beatitude
      ST I-II, 1-5
      Veritatis Splendor Part I

Sin: Its Consequences and Implications

The Psychology of the Human Person

The Shape of Human Freedom
      ST I-II, 11-17
      Pinckaers, 354-399.
      Oesterle, “When Are Actions Voluntary/Free.”

The Moral Act
      ST I-II, 18-21
      Veritatis Splendor II
      Pieper, Living the Truth: Part II Reality and the Good.

Habits and Virtues
      ST I-II 55-58
      Pinckaers, “Virtue is Not a Habit.”


Intellectual and Moral Virtues
      ST I-II, 59-62
      Cessario, “Chapter 5: What Causes the Moral Virtues to Develop,” 94-125.

Theological Virtues and Gifts
      ST I-II, 68-70
      Paul Wadell, The Gifts of the Spirit. Selections.

Natural Law and the New Law of Grace
      ST I-II, 90-114





Per Session: (1 – 2 pages) typed papers achieving one of the following: a synopsis of the materials addressed during the week (What was said? What is its significance?); a comparison and contrast with a previous perspectives offered (X’s thesis differed from or affirmed the perspective argued in Y); a brief
reflection on the promise and limitations of the approach taken in readings (I found the approach to the issue taken from the perspective of reason alone to be helpful or limiting because . . .). Papers will be evaluated especially on their capacity to display critical thinking. Due weekly.

50% Two (3 - 5 pages) review essays. One on Pinckaers due at mid-term; one on Cessario due at the end of the course.


MTS Candidates:  MTS Students are expected to produce a research paper 12 pages in length on a
mutually agreed upon subject. Due at the end of the course




Saint John the Evangelist Seminary
An Online Academic Program


The Evangelical Catholic Church: A Welcoming Community of Faith Rooted in the Catholic Tradition

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