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Posted February 15, 2015

Book: Searching for a Universal Ethic
Edited by John Verkman and William C. Mattison III
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. Grand Rapids. 2014. Pp. 327

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

In this volume twenty-three major scholars comment on and critically evaluate In Search of a Universal Ethic, the 2009 document written by the International Theological Commission (OTC) of the Catholic Church. That historic document represents an official Church contribution both to a more adequate understanding of a universal ethnic and to Catholicism's own tradition of reflection on natural law.

The essays in this book reflect the ITC document's complementary emphasis of dialogue across traditions (universal ethic) and reflection on broadly applicable ethnical guidance within the Christian tradition (natural law). Among other things, the document situates the natural law ethical tradition within the larger search for a universal ethic. Among with its insightful essays, Searching for a Universal Ethic offers --- for the first time in published form - the Vatican's official English translation of in Search of a Universal Ethic.

An Excerpt from the Book:


Are there objective moral values which can unite human beings and bring them peace and happiness? What are they? How are they discerned? How can they be put into action in the lives of persons and communities? These perennial questions concerning good and evil are today more urgent than ever, insofar as people have become more aware of forming one single world community. The great problems that arise for human beings today have an international, worldwide dimension, inasmuch as advances in communications technology have given rise to closer interaction among individuals, societies and cultures. A local event can have an almost immediate worldwide repercussion. The consciousness of global solidarity is thus emerging, which finds its ultimate foundation in the unity of the human race. This finds expression in the sense of planetary responsibility. Thus, the question of ecological balance, of the protection of the environment, resources and climate, has become a pressing preoccupation faced by all humanity, and whose solution extends far beyond national boundaries. Likewise, threats of terrorism, organized crime and new forms of violence and oppression that weigh upon societies have a global dimension. The accelerated developments of biotechnologies, which sometimes threaten the very identity of man (genetic manipulation, cloning . . . ), urgently call for an ethical and political reflection of a universal breath. In this context, the search for common ethical values experiences a revival of relevance.

Table of Contents:

Background and Context
An introduction to the document In Search of a Universal Ethic: A new look at the natural law
Revisiting natural law: an ongoing challenge
The situation of natural law in Catholic theology

In Search of a Universal Ethic
On Islam and Islamic natural law: a response to the international theological commission's In Search of a Universal Ethic: A new look at the natural law.
Some questions for the international theological commission document on natural law
Natural law, legal authority, and the independence of law: new prospects for a jurisprudence of the natural law
The role of natural law and natural right in the Search for a Universal Ethic
Hume and Moore: an ambiguous legacy
Ecocide and Christian natural law
In Search of a Universal Ethic: a new look at the natural law by the International Theological Commission

A New Look at the Natural Law
Natural law as a source of inspiration: unpacking In Search of a Universal Ethic: a new look at the natural law
Seeing the whole: how Protestants help us read the natural law
Can't we all just get along?
From a heart of stone to a heart of flesh: toward epideictic rhetoric of natural law
The natural law, global justice, and equality
The political common good: from the nation-state to a global perspective?
Teleology, divine governance, and the common good: thoughts on In Search of a Universal Ethic: a new look at the natural law
Natural law as a "work of reason": understanding the metaphysics of participated theonomy
Part of the "New Look" at the natural law: the use of "orientation" alongside "inclination."
Pragmatic and Christological foundations of natural law
Reasonable faith and natural law