Fall 1971

Page 4


Norbert J. Rigali

On Christian Ethics Does Christianity have anything to add to a "natural ethics?" The author explores a pivotal issue of the christian life.

Contemporary theological thought has been moving toward the position that there is no distinctively Christian ethics. The impulses generating this movement are diverse, and demythologizing and secularizing trends are probably the most obvious ones. One of numerous examples of the movement can be read in James F. Bresnahan's interpretation of "Rahner's Christian Ethics" in the special issue of America devoted to the German theologian (October 31, 1970). From Rahner's transcendental philosophical anthropology, mediated by his doctrines of the "supernatural existential" and "anonymous (or implicit) Christianity," Bresnahan concludes to a certain nondistinctiveness of Christian ethics. The nature of man, unlike that of things, includes both "essence" as the "limits and directions" of freedom and "personhood" as "the capacity to be.¡a self-aware and free, self-disposing 'subject.' " The will of God that all men be offered salvation in Christ has its created consequence (the supernatural existential) in eveiy 227

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