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Can the Relationship between Fact and Moral Norm, as indicated in Humanae Vitae be Further Explained?

Francis Etheredge

A Dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the degree
of MA in Catholic Theology of the Pontifical University of Maynooth

Maryvale Institute 2001

To Pope John Paul II and St. Thomas Aquinas


I am indebted to Fr. George Woodall, my adviser, for his criticism; and for the wisdom of his insistence on the methodological requirements of a research dissertation in the field of moral theology.  Fr. Richard Conrad OP has been an exemplary teacher.  There have been many facets to his help.  In particular, his sustained criticism of my style, the provision of reference material, a general availability to discuss the work in progress and again a wise insistence on the requirements of the MA1.  Mr. Martin Higgins has also proof read parts of this work, made various suggestions to improve its readability2 and continues to answer many questions on grammar.  What clarity and development this dissertation now possesses is a reflection of their detailed comments; indeed, it demonstrates to me the direct relationship between dialogue and development.  My thanks also to Ruth Harding for her work as the librarian of the Maryvale Institute and to Abbot Francis and his Benedictine Brothers of Prinknash Abbey for allowing me access to their monastic library.  My wife Catherine has been exceptionally generous with her help and helpful with her counsel.  Our parents and many others have also been very helpful.  Without this wide range of support, encouragement and tuition, this M.A. would not have been a practical possibility.  Finally, thanks be to God for the opportunity to do this work.

Scripture citations are generally from the Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition, 1966  All Documents of the Second Vatican Council are called by their Latin name.  Vatican Council II, A. Flannery (ed), new revised edition 1992.


CCC Catechism of the Catholic Church.  English edition, 1994.
CTS Catholic Truth Society
FC Pope John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio.  CTS edition, 1981.
HV Pope Paul VI, Humanae Vitae.  CTS revised edition, 1970.
ST St. Thomas Aquinas Summa Theologiae.  All references prefixed with ST are to A Concise Translation by T. McDermott, 1992.
  References to the Summa Theologica without the prefix ST are to the Literal Translation by the Fathers of the English Dominican Province.
VS Pope John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor.  CTS edition, 1993.

1 He also proof read the whole manuscript and made further criticism (4/07/01).    Back
2 Introduction, Initial Conclusions, Objections, Conclusion, Appendix II (23/04/01) and Abstract (18/07/01); and again the Introduction (10/07/01); and then, following a criticism by R. Conrad (4/07/01), he proof read sections (i) - (ii) of Chapter 2 (12/07/01).    Back

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