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The Good Life: Ethics and Christian Tradition

Faculty of Theology >> Theology (General)

Minimize schedule Course schedule for the session: Winter 2017
Section Schedule Day Location Professor
THO 3166 000
Course offered in English
January 09 - April 08 Thursday 09:00 - 12:00 GIG201 Mark E. Slatter
Section Schedule Day Location Professor
THO 3166 W00
Course offered in English
January 09 - April 08 Thursday 09:00 - 12:00 Online Mark E. Slatter

This course is an introduction to Catholic theological ethics.  Areas of study include some of the basic concepts of ethical decision making in general and theological ethics in particular.  Among the topics that will be explored are: moral integrity (what is it exactly, and is there a specifically Christian way of approaching this?); feeling and value (aren’t our feelings more of a nuisance than a guide?); the good, happiness, and beauty (at the end of the day, are these the bottom line for most of our reflexive moral decisions?); the conscience (what is it? Are there “false consciences”?); moral development (are there “universal” patterns for personal growth? Is personal development inevitable?  What are some of the obstacles to personal growth?); virtue ethics (why the resurgence of interest in the topic?  Isn’t this more about the appearance of being good than doing the good?); Scripture and ethics (How on earth does the bible inform ethics?  Isn’t this, in point of fact, more of a problem to moral deliberation?); Jesus (what does it mean to imitate Christ?  What possible influence can Jesus have on how and why I make ethical decisions?)  The overall course philosophy is to foster the conditions for having insights into ourselves.  


Learning Outcomes for students include developing the analytic tools to differentiate the texture of their own moral questions and horizons; the ability to differentiate and assess the often unrecognized theological dimensions of ethical issues; to make ethical judgements with the aid of a specific moral theological reasoning; and to apply moral judgments to their own situations and group/public contexts.   


Regular class attendance, weekly readings, one article précis and brief analysis (5-7 pages), one research paper        (8-10 pages), and the final exam (oral or written; oral is encouraged).


Article précis                                         30%

Research paper                                      40%

Final exam                                            30% 

Mandatory Reading

A compilation of obligatory weekly class readings is available at the Multiservice Office at USP and online at the course’s site on BlackBoard Learn

Important Information


Richard Gula, Reason Informed by Faith.  New York: Paulist Press, 1989. 

Important texts and authors from the bibliography will be referenced throughout the course.