Saturday, February 03, 2018

Germain Grisez (1929-2018) - RIP

Matthew E. Bunson, "In Memoriam: Germain Grisez, Great Defender of Humanae Vitae (1929-2018)" (National Catholic Register, February 2, 2018):
Germain Grisez, professor emeritus of Christian ethics at Mount St. Mary’s University and one of the most articulate defenders of the Church’s teachings against contraception and in defense of natural law, died Thursday morning after a bout of cancer. He was 88.

Grisez served as professor of moral theology at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, from 1979 to 2009. He wrote dozens of books and articles in philosophy and moral theology and became one of the most revered Catholic theologians for his defense of Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae (The Regulation of Birth), which upheld the Church’s teachings on contraception at a time of great confusion and open dissent in Catholic universities.

He also left a lasting legacy in the area of natural law, while his magnum opus, the three-volume The Way of the Lord Jesus, became one of the main texts in the study of moral theology, especially its eloquent explanation of Catholic teaching on such key topics as abortion, contraception and chastity.

Russell Shaw, who was a longtime friend and collaborator with Grisez, including co-authorship of an ethics textbook, Beyond the New Morality: The Responsibilities of Freedom, told the Register, “Germain Grisez was a towering figure in contemporary Catholic thinking about morality. As a co-founder of the school known as the ‘New Natural-Law Theory,’ he was highly influential in his lifetime and has left a legacy that will shape reflection in the fields of ethics and moral theology far into the future.”

“As a scholar, he was a model of intellectual integrity,” Shaw added. “As a Christian, he was a faithful son of the Church and a devoted family man and friend. I was privileged to know and sometimes collaborate with Germain for well over half a century. He will indeed be greatly missed.” Read more >>
Not long after my reception into the Catholic Church, Prof. Grisez welcomed me to the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars and presented me with a relic of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. I shall never forget his charity, his courageous defense of Humanae Vitae, and his natural law arguments.

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