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Catholic Sexual Ethics: A Summary, Explanation, and Defense. 3rd edition. Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, 2011, 352 pp.

The first edition of this work appeared in 1984; an expanded version of the 1st edition was published in 1996. A second edition was published in 1998. This third edition was prepared by May and includes 9 chapters and a “Pastoral Conclusion.” The chapters are: 1. The Church’s Teaching on Sex; 2. The Biblical Teaching on Sex; 3. Sex in the Catholic Tradition; 4. Patterns of Thinking in Moral Theology; 5. Conscience: Its Meaning, Formation, and Relationship to Church Authority; 6. Chastity, Christian Marriage, and Virginity; 7. Chastity and the “Obligations” (Love-Based Demands of Married Persons);  8. Chastity and the “Obligations” (Love-based Demands of Unmarried Persons). Pastoral Conclusion.

In his “Foreword” to this 3rd edition, His Eminence Donald Cardinal Wuerl declares: “In this volume, we find a reasoned, calm, clear and well thought out response to the questions how shall I live, what are the moral norms that should guide my life, how should I best see the ethics of human sexuality.  William E. May, who revised the chapters of the third edition, offers the fruit of more than three decades of reflection on the teaching of Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI on the gift of human sexuality and the noble purpose of marriage….Years ago, I had the privilege of reviewing the first edition of Catholic Sexual Ethics in 1985.   I rejoiced when the 1998 second edition appeared.  This third edition builds upon the established reputation of this book.  This edition of Catholic Sexual Ethics will be a valuable text for pastors, parents, catechists and students who seek an ever deeper appreciation for the gift of the Church’s moral teaching and the knowledge and confidence to articulate its truth in family life, formation programs and pastoral ministry.”


Copyright ©; William E. May 2011

Version: 29 September 2011

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