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In Feminism And Christian Ethics Lisa Sowle Cahill argues that feminist ethics has much to offer Catholicism For one the main issues that concern feminist ethics are basically the same ones that make up Catholic identity That is how women and men define themselves in society what means are available to them for attaining their ends- in short inter personal and social relations Second the founding principles that guide feminist ethics are rooted in the tradition of natural law a tradition well known to Catholicism So while the approach of feminist ethics has been to scrutinize traditions which seek to oppress women by supporting unequal social structures the guiding principles behind feminist ethics still remain well lodge in natural law As Cahill says it is in the founding principles of natural law where feminist ethics and Catholicism meet And it is also here where lies the main contribution of feminist ethics for the future of Catholicism Cahill shows us how recent studies done on Aquinas natural law disclose that Aquinas based his ethics on very general principles That is to say Aquinas understood the complexity of life and unlike what most believe he was cautious about generating a rigid ethics that would oppress individuals Aquinas believed that moral discourse to be truly ethical must first and most importantly begin with an understanding of the structures of society and the culture under which individuals live Hence Aquinas looked forward to developing a contextual ethics and was cautious about generating the types of absolutes and universal principles that were later integrated into his theology Although Aquinas believed that universals were still possible he nevertheless believed that these could only come after considering everything that makes up human existence Thus given Aquinas understanding of society as a vehicle that brings people together to strive for the common good a reconciliation is very plausible in this area As Cahill says natural law beyond all things believes in
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