Germain Grisez


Germain Grisez

Germain Gabriel Grisez (born 1929) is a prominent and influential Catholic moral theologian. Grisez's lengthy masterpiece is his three-volume "Way of the Lord Jesus". Grisez moves ably between the spheres of philosophy and theology, articulating a new form of natural law thinking, consonant with the teachings of the Roman Catholic magisterium.

In the first of the three volumes, "Christian Moral Principles", Grisez outlines his basic moral theory and discusses various issues pertaining to Christianity. In brief, Grisez argues that there are several intrinsic goods that it is reasonable for humans to pursue. These include human life, friendship and knowledge. These goods are incommensurable, or so radically different that one good is neither worth more, nor less, nor the same as another good. Grisez also argues that persons, in making free choices, constitute their moral identities, and offers arguments for the existence of free will.

Philosophically, Grisez is a harsh critic of proportionalism, also called revisionism (not to be confused with utilitarianism). The school of moral theology that he adheres to is called the Basic Goods Theory. Both BGT and proportionalism were reactions to Pope Paul VI's papal encyclical, "Humanae Vitae". They both revise in different manners and degrees the method of Principle of Double Effect to determine the morality of specific actions.

He also critiques Catholic theologians who express dissent from some of the teachings of the ordinary magisterium of the Roman Catholic church.

Along with philosopher John Finnis, who teaches at Oxford and Notre Dame, Grisez launched a new, theoretically sophisticated version of natural law theory, sometimes known as "New Natural Law" theory. The theory is adumbrated in Finnis' landmark "Natural Law and Natural Rights", and developed in other works by Joseph Boyle, Robert P. George and William May.

Grisez is currently a theology professor at Mount Saint Mary's University in Emmitsburg, MD.

External links

* [http://www.ewtn.com/library/HOMELIBR/GRISEZ.TXT The Making of a Moral Theologian] 1996 article on Grisez's personal and professional life, including his work for Cardinal O'Boyle of the Diocese of Washington D.C., authored by Russell Shaw, co-author of book listed below.
* "Personal Vocation: God Calls Everyone by Name" [http://www.tcrnews2.com/LayVocations.html ZENIT interview from 2003]
* [http://www.catholicsocialscientists.org/cssr2002/Article--Lund-Molfese.pdf Biotechnology and Human Dignity in the Thought of Germain Grisez] , by Nicholas C. Lund-Molfese, describes the necessity of the Christian virtue of hope in choosing the good of the human person in so-called "hard cases."
* [http://www.zenit.org/english/visualizza.phtml?sid=38825 Thoughts on "Humanae Vitae," Then and Now] on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of the publication of the Papal Encyclical that reaffirmed Catholic teaching on artificial birth control.
* Photo and remarks on the 2005 "Center for Bioethics and Culture Network"'s [http://www.thecbc.org/redesigned/research_display.php?id=203 Paul Ramsey Award Winner]


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