New CUA book of Rhonheimer’s essays

Catholic University of America Press has published a collection of Fr Martin Rhonheimer's essays, entitled The Perspective of the Acting Person: Essays in the Renewal of Thomistic Moral Philosophy (link/PDF). The volume was edited by William F. Murphy, Jr., of the Pontifical College Josephinum. Here's the blurb, thanks to CUA Press:

The Perspective of the Acting Person introduces readers to one of the most important and provocative thinkers in contemporary moral philosophy. In this collection of essays Martin Rhonheimer examines the central themes of natural law, moral action, and virtue emphasized by John Paul II's 1993 encyclical Veritatis Splendor. Rhonheimer's work follows the general direction taken by the encyclical through an almost unprecedented rigor of philosophical argumentation and level of engagement with both European and American scholarship.

Rhonheimer argues extensively, from the texts of Aquinas, against aspects of more traditional interpretations of the Angelic Doctor. He maintains that their deficiencies helped precipitate both the postconciliar crisis in moral theology and the rise of revisionist approaches. He addresses not only the central topics of natural law and moral action but also the reasonableness of Christian morality, the relation between nature and reason, and that between metaphysics and ethics. All are considered from the distinctively moral perspective of the agent. Rhonheimer also responds to critics of both Veritatis Splendor and his own work and critiques works by revisionist moral theologians.

The collection focuses on Rhonheimer's fundamental ethical theory, establishing the theoretical bases for his more applied works in areas such as sexual ethics, political philosophy, social ethics, and medical ethics. A detailed introduction by William F. Murphy, Jr., sketches Rhonheimer's intellectual biography and the development of his thought, and summarizes key content from the essays. Finally, a detailed bibliography of Rhonheimer's work is included, which further enhances the volume's value to moral philosophers and theologians.


  • Introduction by William F. Murphy Jr.
  • Is Christian Morality Reasonable? On the Difference between Secular and Christian Humanism
  • Norm-Ethics, Moral Rationality, and the Virtues: What's Wrong with Consequentialism?
  • "Intrinsically Evil Acts" and the Moral Viewpoint: Clarifying a Central Teaching of Veritatis Splendor
  • Intentional Actions and the Meaning of Object: A Reply to Richard McCormick
  • Practical Reason and the "Naturally Rational": On the Doctrine of the Natural Law as a Principle of Praxis in Thomas Aquinas
  • The Moral Significance of Pre-Rational Nature in Aquinas: A Reply to Jean Porter (and Stanley Hauerwas)
  • The Cognitive Structure of the Natural Law and the Truth of Subjectivity
  • The Perspective of the Acting Person and the Nature of Practical Reason: The "Object of the Human Act" in Thomistic Anthropology of Action
  • Practical Reason and the Truth of Subjectivity: The Self-Experience of the Moral Subject at the Roots of Metaphysics and Anthropology
  • Review of Jean Porter's Nature as Reason: A Thomistic Theory of the Natural Law
  • Bibliography
  • Index

Mark Johnson

Mark Johnson is an associate professor of Theology at Marquette University, and founded on Squarespace in November of 2004. He studied with James Weisheipl, Leonard Boyle, Walter Principe, and Lawrence Dewan, at the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies (Toronto, Canada).