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Moral Theology 5132B / Religious Studies 2238G

MONDAY / WEDNESDAY  11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
Room 108, St. Peter's Seminary

 Instructor: Richard Corneil, Ph.D. cand.

 Office: Aquinas House
Office hours by appointment
519-432-1824, ext. 280 


An exploration of the fundamental concepts of the Catholic moral tradition in light of the Second Vatican Council: scriptural foundations, conversion and discipleship, the role of the Magisterium, natural law and the law of Christ, conscience, the moral act, sin and virtue. (From St. Peter’s Seminary Catalogue) 


This course will assist students to grow in the following knowledge, skills, and attitudes:

1. To know and understand the basic terminology and concepts of the Catholic moral tradition.
2. To be able to trace the basic historical trajectory of the Catholic moral tradition from the time of the early church through the era of the manuals and concluding with the Vatican II years.
3. To understand the role of key figures in the development of the Catholic moral tradition.
4. To develop a basic understanding of how the Catholic moral tradition contributes to the public mission of the church, including ecumenical and inter-faith dialogue.

1. To read critically the literature in the field with a view toward developing the abilities to follow arguments, teach, and intelligently discuss issues of morality.
2. To help the student reflect critically on the moral dimensions of human experience so that they will develop an intelligent and affective grasp of the moral issues and values that promote human dignity.

1. To challenge the student to recognize that moral theology is not simply a system of ideas and doctrines but it must also be lived and applied in a personal, pastoral, and prudent way.


1. Library Assignment 10% - Due January 31, 2011
2. Essay Proposal/Bibliography 10% - Due February 14, 2011
3. Presentation of Research 20% - Due March 7 and 9, 2011
4. Research Paper 30% - Due March 28, 2011
5. Final Exam 30% - Written exam during the scheduled exam period

Note on Preparation and Participation: While formal lectures make up a good portion of the course, student contributions through discussion, group work, and presentations also play a large and important role. Thus it is expected that students faithfully prepare for each session by doing the required reading and by making an effort to understand the key themes and issues introduced in the readings. 


1. David M. McCarthy and M. Therese Lysaught, Gathered for the Journey: Moral Theology in a Catholic Perspective
2. The Bible (It is assumed that students own or have access to one).
3. Other primary source handouts to be provided, as needed.


Week 1 -
Jan. 3/5

The Christian Moral Life

- Gathered, Introduction and Chapter 1

Week 2 -
Jan. 10/12

Sin as the Mystery of Lawlessness

- Handout TBA

Week 3 -
Jan. 17/19

Three Eras: Penitentials, Manuals and Vatican II

- Handout TBA

Week 4 -
Jan. 24/26

Scripture and the Moral Life

- John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor (The Splendor of Truth), paragraphs 6-27 only.

Available at:

- Gathered, Chapters 2 and 5
- Collection of passages from Scripture TBA

Week 5 -
Jan 31/Feb.  2

Discipleship Library Assignment Due Jan. 31

- Gathered, Chapter 4
- Augustine, Confessions (handout)

Week 6 -
Feb. 7/9

Natural Law

Gathered, Chapters 6 and 7 

Week 7 -
Feb. 14/16

Virtue Essay Proposal/Bibliography Due Feb. 14

Gathered, Chapters 8 and 9
- Handouts TBA 

Feb. 21 - 25 Reading Week (No Classes) 
Week 8 - Feb.28/Mar. 2


- Handout TBA 

Week 9 -
Mar. 7/9

Presentations on both days 

Week 10 - Mar. 14/16 

Living the Christian Moral Life

Gathered, Chapters 10 and 11
- Handout TBA 

Week 11 - Mar. 21/23 

Living the Christian Moral Life

- Gathered, Chapters 12 and 13
- Handout TBA

Week 12 - Mar. 28/30 

Living the Christian Moral Life 

- Gathered, Chapters 14 and 15
- Handout TBA

Week 13 - Apr. 4/6



All essays/assignments have due dates. The Instructor will grade essays/assignments turned in on time promptly with appropriate written comments. Essays/assignments turned in late will be graded down 10% a day with few, if any, written comments. Unless otherwise specified, late is considered anytime after the beginning of class on the due date. Assignments may not be left at King’s, or submitted electronically (unless a specific arrangement has been made).

For a serious reason, a student may approach the professor before the due-date, and may be granted an extension at the discretion of the professor. Any medical reasons will be confirmed by proper documentation as approved by the Dean’s Office.

No electronic devices will be allowed during tests or examination, unless approved in advance by Students Services King’s or UWO.

Please consult the Instructor if you have any questions.


Students are responsible for knowing the University’s academic policies and regulations and any particularities of their own course of study. These can all be found at the University’s website ( Ignorance of these policies is not an excuse for any violation thereof. The following policies are particularly important to note:

Plagiarism: Students must write their essays and assignments in their own words. Whenever students take an idea or a passage from another author, they must acknowledge their debt by quotation marks and/or footnotes. Plagiarism is a major academic offense. Students may be required to submit their work in electronic form for plagiarism checking.

Selection and Registration of Courses: Students are responsible for ensuring that their selection of courses is appropriate and accurately recorded, that all prerequisite course(s) have been successfully completed, and that they are aware of any anti-requisite course(s) that they have taken.