The Fellowship of Catholic Scholars was founded in the summer of 1977 by a group of clerics and lay people who were interested in encouraging and sustaining scholarly work in complete harmony with Catholic faith and practice. From the beginning, the archbishop or bishop of the diocese where the annual meeting was held was encouraged to use it for the ongoing formation or catechesis of some members of the particular church. Although Grisez was not entirely happy with the organization—he had wanted an association whose membership was limited to people engaging in scholarly work and whose meetings would be open only to its members—he was one of the Fellowship’s founding members.
While the Fellowship’s initial leaders were preparing its first annual meeting, Grisez was completing his service at Campion College in Regina, Canada, and getting ready to begin outlining The Way of the Lord Jesus, volume one, Christian Moral Principles. Asked to contribute a paper, he wrote one that in important respects anticipates that volume. Vatican II called for renewal in Catholic moral theology, and by the late 1970s, many Catholic moral theologians and catechists were trying, in diverse ways, to bring it about. In this paper, Grisez accepted all that he regarded as consistent with faith in the principles widely shared by those promoting renewal, and used those principles to criticize the widespread attempt to do away with every moral norm excluding a specific kind of human act as always wrong.
The paper was published in the Fellowship’s Proceedings and is copyright © 1978 Fellowship of Catholic Scholars; all rights reserved. Without asking Grisez, the editor italicized many sentences he wished to emphasize.
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On 22–23 October 1982, the Center for Pastoral Renewal in Ann Arbor, Michigan, held an ecumenical conference, “Christianity Confronts Modernity,“ in which Grisez was invited to participate. For a workshop on Christian ethics, he prepared a draft to use as a starting point for discussion, and the group reached considerable agreement. Afterwards, he revised his draft into a summary of that agreement.
That summary was published as an appendix in a volume based on the conference, Summons to Faith and Renewal, and is copyright © 1983 Servant Books, Ann Arbor, Michigan; all rights reserved.
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Having been elected President of the American Catholic Philosophical Association for 1983–84 and thus being responsible for its 1984 convention, Grisez decided that the plenary sessions would focus on practical reason, and he chose to use one of those sessions for his presidential address. On this occasion, he offered a philosophical treatment of what the faith of Christians can contribute to their practical reasoning—a topic he had treated theologically in The Way of the Lord Jesus,volume one, Christian Moral Principles, chapter 24, question E.
The address was published in the Association’s Proceedings and is copyright © American Catholic Philosophical Association 1984, all rights reserved.
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In 1985, Prof. Monica Hellwig, who was to be President of the Catholic Theological Society of America in 1986, was planning the program for that year’s meeting. Hellwig and Grisez were acquainted: for several years before 1972, both had taught at Goergetown. So, he asked her if he might organize a workshop session in which he and the Rev. Charles E. Curran, then still teaching at the Catholic University of America, would discuss some topic. Both Hellwig and Curran agreed to the proposal, and the session was held at the CTSA meeting in Chicago, 12 June 1986.
The topic chosen was neither one of the most important nor one of the more volatile about which Grisez and Curran disagreed. Nevertheless, the workshop was so well attended that it had to be moved at the last minute from a small meeting room to the largest space available. Curran spoke from notes and was short of time to finish his presentation; Grisez handed out a one-page outline and went through it with time to spare. The discussion was chaired fairly, and Grisez was entirely pleased with the outcome.
Soon after that encounter, Grisez was invited to speak on “The Uniqueness of Christian Ethics” at the Pacific Regional Meeting of the Society of Christian Ethics, held in Los Angeles, 6 March 1987. For that occasion, Grisez revised and expanded the one-page handout he had prepared for the encounter with Curran into a four-page outline. That presentation also was well received.
Grisez publishes both outlines here, copyright © 2012, and reserves the right to make and distribute copies for sale. But he hereby grants everyone the right to print out and distribute without charge copies of the work provided the source is identified and this copyright information included.
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During the second phase of the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC II), that body met in 1993 in Venice, Italy, and agreed to a document, published in 1994, purporting to express extensive, though not complete, agreement on moral beliefs, teachings, and pastoral practices. During 1997, certain Anglican and Roman Catholic scholars, none of whom had been involved in preparing the ARCIC document, told Grisez that they were considering publishing a joint statement expressing various misgivings about that document and invited his help. He studied the document, wrote thirty-one pages of comments, and sent copies to all the interested scholars. While the comments were acknowledged, nothing, so far as he knew, ever came of that effort.
Grisez for the first time publishes his comments here, copyright © 2012, and reserves the right to make and distribute copies for sale. But he hereby grants everyone the right to print out and distribute without charge copies of the work provided the source is identified and this copyright information included.
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As part of the Catholic Church’s Jubilee celebrated in the year 2000, the Institute of Bioethics at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, the Department of Philosophy of the University of Calabria, and the Department of Bioethics at the University of Bari organized a conference—The Rights of the Person in the Bioethical and Juridical Perspectives—that was held in Rome on 7–8 September 2000. Grisez was invited to present a thirty-minute paper in a session on bioethics and the Islamic, Jewish, and Christian religions.
Because he was teaching that fall, Grisez left for Rome on September 6th and returned home on the 9th. As often happens at meetings in Rome, earlier sessions were allowed to run overtime, and Bishop Michael L. Fitzgerald, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, who was chair of the late-afternoon session in which Grisez had been invited to participate, asked him, just before he was about to begin speaking, to cut his presentation in half. Grisez declined, but finished in slightly fewer than the thirty minutes he had agreed to.
Since the proceedings of that conference were not published, Grisez offered the very compact paper to the editor of the National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly, who accepted it without change. It is copyright © 2001 National Catholic Bioethics Center; all rights reserved.
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