MR 129 Introduction to Christian Ethics: Roots, Renewal, and Relevance for Today

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Module Level


Time Allowance

24 lectures


Continuous Assessment 40% (Tutorials 20%; Quizzes on Readings 20%); Essay and Exam 60%

Module Aims

  • To understand more fully the sources of morality available within the Christian tradition
  • To critique the ways in which we make moral decisions and consider some of the factors affecting human decision-making
  • To demonstrate the relevance of the Christian moral message in today's world
  • To consider the application of the above to specific moral issues such as war and peace, climate change, incarceration and punishment, racism, and end-of-life medical decision making
  • To be able to integrate this within a broader theological framework, with particular reference to the other theological modules covered in semester one.

Learning Outcomes

  • Be familiar with the sources of moral wisdom used within the Catholic tradition, including Scripture, Tradition/Magisterium, Reason, and Experience.
  • Identify the major approaches to moral decision making
  • Display an understanding of the key historical moments in the renewal in Catholic theological ethics
  • Apply the above to specific issues such as war, climate change, incarceration and punishment, racism, and end-of-life medical decision making
  • Read and critique the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Pastoral Letter on racism.


  • Dolores L. Christie, Moral Choice: A Christian View of Ethics (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2013).
  • Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, Samaritanus Bonus [On the Care of Persons in the Critical and Terminal Phases of Life], 2020. Available at
  • Pope Francis, Laudato Si [On Care for Our Common Home], 2015. Available at:
  • Pope Francis, Fratelli Tutti [On Fraternity and Social Friendship], 2020. Available at:
  • Patrick T. McCormick and Russell B. Connors, Jr., Facing Ethical Issues: Dimensions of Character, Choices & Community (New York: Paulist Press, 2002)
  • United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love [A Pastoral Letter Against Racism], 2018. Available at