William E. May

Curriculum Vitae

William E. May

Address: 3156 Gracefield Road, Apt 410, Silver Spring, MD 20904

Home Phone: 301 244 5686; Cell phone: 240  418 5913


William E. May is the Emeritus Michael J. McGivney Professor of Moral Theology at the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family at The Catholic University in Washington, D.C., where he taught from 1991 to 2008. From 1971 through 1991 he taught moral theology at The Catholic University of America.

Before entering academic life Professor May was for many years, 1954 through 1969, an editor of philosophical and theological works, principally for the Bruce Publishing Company of Milwaukee, where he worked from 1955 through 1968, and then for Corpus Instrumentorum, a division of the World Publishing Company, from 1969 through 1970.

Professor May received his doctorate in philosophy from Marquette University in 1968 with a study of the metaphysics of Henri Bergson. He is the author of more than a dozen books. The Third and substantively Revised Edition of Catholic Sexual Ethics: A Summary, Explanation, and Defense was published in August 2011 (Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, 2011)—the First and Second Editions (1984 and 1998) were co-authored by May with Ronald Lawler OFM Cap and Joseph A.Boyle, Jr. Father Lawler died five years ago and Professor Boyle was not able to work on the new edition. The revised Second Edition of his An Introduction to Moral Theology, published originally by Our Sunday Visitor in 1991 and enlarged in 1994, was published in August 2003. Among his other books are: Marriage: The Rock on Which the Family Is Built (San Francisco: Ignatius, 1995); and Catholic Bioethics and the Gift of Human Life (2nd ed.Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor Press 2000); Standing with Peter: Reflections of a Lay Theologian on God’s Loving Providence (Bethune, N.C.: Requiem Press, 2006); and Theology of the Body in Context: Genesis and Growth (Boston: Pauline Books & Media, 2010).

He is the translator of Ramón García de Haro’s Marriage and Family in the Documents of the Magisterium (San Francisco: Ignatius, 1993), the translator of Livio Melina’s Sharing in Christ’s Virtues (Washington: The Catholic University of America Press, 2001), and the editor of several volumes, among them The Church’s Mission of Evangelization (Steubenville, OH: Franciscan University of Steubenville, 1996). He is the author of more than 220 essays, which have appeared in such journals as American Journal of Jurisprudence, The New Scholasticism, The Thomist, Anthropotes, Scripta Theologica, Faith & Reason, National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly, The Linacre Quarterly, etc.

Professor May, at the appointment of Pope John Paul II, served on the International Theological Commission from 1986 through 1997. Pope John Paul also appointed him a “peritus” for the 1987 Synod of Bishops on the vocation and mission of the lay faithful in the Church and in the world. In September 2003 the Holy Father appointed him a consultor to the Congregation on the Clergy. In 1991 he received the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal. He has also received the Cardinal Wright Award from the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars (1979), the Thomas Linacre Award from the National Federation of Catholic Physicians Guilds (1983), the St. Dominic Medal from the Dominican House of Studies, Washington, D.C.  (2001), the Paul Ramsey Award in Bioethics from the Center for Bioethics and Culture (2007), and in June 2012 the University Faculty for Life will honor him with the Smith Award for Outstanding Contributions to Pro-Life Scholarship . He served as Visiting Professor of Moral Theology at the Institute for the Psychological Sciences, Crystal City, VA (1998-2002), the Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College Alexandria, VA (1996-2004); from 1991-2004  he was Visiting Professor of Moral Theology at the Università della Santa Croce, Rome, Italy, he has also served as Visiting Professor at the School of Bioethics of the Ateneo Pontificio Regina Apostolorum, Rome, Italy.

Since 1958 he has been married to Patricia Keck May. They are the parents of seven children, four boys and three girls, and are now the grandparents of sixteen grandchildren.

Copyright © William E. May 2011

Version: 30th September 2011