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The Future of Catholic Theological Ethics

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The Future of Catholic Theological Ethics

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Location: Heythrop College, University of London, Kensington Square, London W8 5HN

An International Day Conference at Heythrop College, University of London

In his ground-breaking new publication, Reframing Catholic Theological Ethics (Oxford University Press, 2016), Joseph Selling offers an ethical method that reorients Catholic understandings of theological ethics.  Catholic moral theology, he says, has been based on an approach which over-emphasises the role of normative ethics, thus confining moral responsibility to questions about whether a person is following or disobeying moral rules.

This important conference offers Catholic theological ethicists an opportunity to engage with Professor Selling’s work through such themes as ‘human motivation’, ‘intention’ and ‘virtue’, and also through Thomistic and New Testament approaches.  We are delighted to have such distinguished speakers as Joseph Selling himself, Lisa Sowle Cahill, Edward Vacek, SJ, Nicholas Austin SJ, and Mathew Illathuparampil.

Conference Program

9.00   Registration and coffee

9:30   Welcome

9:40   Professor Joseph Selling: Reframing Catholic Theological Ethics

10:15  Session I: From Act to Motive: Prof. Lisa Sowle Cahill (Boston College); Prof Edward Vacek SJ (Loyola University, New Orleans)

11:30  Coffee

12.00  Session II: Attitudes and Virtues: Dr Nicholas Austin SJ (Heythrop College); Dr Mathew Illathuparampil (Rector, St. Joseph Pontifical Seminary,Mangalapuzha, Kerala, India)

13.15  Lunch

14:15 Short Paper Sessions  ( See below)

15:30  Tea

16:00 Reports from the Short Paper Sessions

16:20 Musical interlude (Schola Cantorum directed by Ms Martina Jelinkova, Heythrop College)

16:40 Panel discussion: ‘The Future of Catholic Theological Ethics’ chaired by Professor Tina Beattie (Roehampton University)

17:30  Pause

17:40 – 18:30   Book Launch and Wine Reception

Conference Fee (including lunch and refreshment)

Standard:  £ 25
Students:   £ 5
Unwaged:  £ 10
Heythrop Students and Staff: free

Copies of Joseph Selling’s, Reframing Catholic Theological Ethics (Oxford University Press, 2016) will be available at a discounted price.

If you require accommodation, please contact Campus Services on 020 7795 4163 or email for further information.

Short Papers 2:15 to 3:30pm


Reframing Catholic Theological Ethics from a Scotistic Perspective, Dr Nenad Polgar (University of Vienna, University of Zagreb)

A collaborative ethic: An attempt to revise standards for defining ethical language,  Ms Stephanie Macgillivray, (MA Graduate in Contemporary Ethics, Heythrop College)

The Bandwidth of the Golden Mean, Prof Jan Jans (Tilburg University, The Netherlands)


Joseph Selling and Ecumenical Dialogue, Canon Dr Peter Sedgwick (previously Lecturer in Christian Ethics at the Universities of Birmingham and Hull)

Moral Reasoning: An Ecumenical Dimension, Prof Jacqui Stewart


‘My conscience is clear’ (1 Cor 4,4): Pauline inspirations in the discussion on the foundations of moral theology, Prof Marian Machinek (Warminsko-Mazurski University, Poland)

Mercy: An Exploration in Virtue, Ms Mary Catherine O'Reilly-Gindhart (PhD Candidate, University of Glasgow)

Joseph Selling’s Method and Pastoral Discernment in Pope Francis’ Amoris Laetitia, Dr Anna Abram, Heythrop College


selling-book.jpgReframing Catholic Theological Ethics by Joseph A. Selling may be purchased here:

There is currently a 30% online discount available - details here.






Special issue of 'Religions' journal

Conference presenters are invited to publish their papers in a special issue of 'Religions' (an international, open access scholarly journal, publishing peer reviewed studies of religious thought and practice). The Editor has written to potential conference presenters as follows:

Dear Colleagues,

Religions (ISSN 2077-1444, feels honored to be the publishing venue of the “The Future of Catholic Theological Ethics” conference.

Religions is an international, open access scholarly journal, publishing peer reviewed studies of religious thought and practice. It is indexed in the ATLA Religion Database, Web of Science, Scopus, etc. Religions is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE),  and, accordingly, submissions are peer reviewed rigorously to ensure that they conform to the highest standards in their field.

Religions publishes regular research papers, reviews, communications and reports on research projects. It is currently issuing Volume 7. 407 articles have been published so far, 8 articles have been cited 10 times or more (h-10 index). The number for abstract reviews and PDF downloads per month is 2872 and 2933, respectively (data as of July 2016). For detailed information, see

We wish the 2017 conference will be a fabulous success. We cordially invite the conference participants to publish their extended conference papers on our journal.

To submit your work, please click on the following link:

On behalf of the editorial team,

Kind regards,
Jie Gu
Senior Assistant Editor

MDPI Branch Office, Beijing
Religions Editorial Office
Tel. + 86 10 81521170

Contact Name: Dr Anna Abram
Contact Email: