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Moral Theology 

Theology that focuses on development of moral principles and norms and their application to human actions in general and to particular situations. Moral theology provides a systematic framework for casuistry and has reflected the concerns of casuistry. Traditional moral theologies broadly assumed the theology of Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274). Roman Catholic texts began with a consideration of the ends of human action, considered how we come to know and do the good, focused on the principles and norms of action, addressed particular cases, and placed decision-making in the larger context of the sacramental life of the church (especially sacramental confession). The content of moral theology was shaped by an understanding of the end of human life as the beatific vision. Union with God was understood to be realized in the cardinal and theological virtues. The principles and norms of action were developed in terms of the Ten Commandments or the virtues themselves. Contemporary Roman Catholic moral theologies address the same questions but with a traditional focus on sacramental confession. Without the requirement of sacramental confession, Anglicans never developed a clearly accepted body of teaching that could be called a system of Anglican moral theology. Significant contributions to Anglican moral theology date from the period of the English Reformation, most notably Richard Hooker and Jeremy Taylor. Anglican moral theology was renewed in the wake of the Oxford Movement, most notably by Kenneth Kirk. See Beatific Vision; see Cardinal Virtues; see Casuistry; see Theological Virtues. 

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.
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