“Classical Moral Theology” Facing the Challenge of Contemporary French Phenomenology

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The first presentation of the day was by Fr. Martin McKeever, CSsR. He spoke on the theme: “Classical Moral Theology” Facing the Challenge of Contemporary French Phenomenology. The paper was mainly to do with the relationship between philosophy and theology. Its main point is that we need to reflect seriously, but very specially on phenomenology. A key idea of phenomenology can be rendered as “the modes of presence”. Accordingly, there are various “modes of presence” in our lived reality. Phenomenology began with Edmund Husserl. Basically, his was a problem of “meaning” or of “sense”. He responded to the crisis of meaning of his day through phenomenology.

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In responding to the crisis of moral theology today, especially with regard to moral methodology, the paper contends that phenomenology will help to resolve it. In illustrating this point, the paper takes the potential fecundity of an encounter between the term ‘conscience’ as it is used in moral theology and how a moral theologian might re-think of this term in the light of phenomenology, especially, contemporary French phenomenology.

Fr. Vimal Tirimanna, CSsR

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