Summer 2019

Moral Theology and the Problem of Modernity

David L. Schindler

The purpose of this article is to ponder the meaning of conscience in moral theology. My question concerns the relation between moral truth and pastoral practice as interpreted in light of Amoris laetitia [= AL], against the backdrop of Veritatis splendor [= VS]. Cardinal Marc Ouellet argues that AL introduces new pastoral practices while leaving intact the main doctrinal teaching of VS regarding “intrinsically evil acts.” Professors Michael Lawler and Todd Salzman [= L&S] insist on the importance, in light of AL, of recognizing what Josef Fuchs terms the primacy of “subject-orientation” over “object-orientation,” and thus the importance of the subject’s “creative hermeneutic process of understanding” in moral matters. I wish to evaluate the arguments of these theologians in terms of the Catholic tradition and in light of what may be called the problem of modernity, which I understand here to concern the relative priority of subject (subjectivity) over object (objectivity) in the constitution of moral truth.


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