Appeared in Summer 1992, Vol. XVIII, No. 2

The purpose of this inquiry is to examine the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas and a select group of exceptionally important theologians — Duns Scotus, Suarez, Alphonsus Liguori — and representatives of the “Dominican,” “Jesuit,” and “Redemptorist” manualist traditions from the time of St. Thomas until Vatican Council II on the existence of moral absolutes. The expression, “moral absolutes,” refers to moral norms proscribing specific sorts of human actions describable in non-evaluative language, for example, a norm proscribing adultery, understood as genital intercourse between a married person and someone other than that person’s spouse as always wrong, with no exceptions.

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