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The Right and Labor in America
Dreaming the Biosphere
The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One
A Perfect Gibraltar
Plague Among the Magnolias
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Narrative Structures and the Language of the Self
Wolf's Mouth
Restored to Earth
Modern Dance
The Well-Balanced Teacher

Sexual EthicsSexual Ethics

A Theological Introduction

Todd A. Salzman and Michael G. Lawler

Narrated by Trevor Algatt

Available from Audible

Book published by Georgetown University Press

Two principles capture the essence of the Catholic tradition on sexual ethics: that each and every marriage act must remain open to the transmission of life, and that any human genital act must occur within the framework of marriage. In the Catholic tradition, moral sexual activity is institutionalized within the confines of marriage and procreation, and sexual morality is marital morality.

But theologians Todd Salzman and Michael Lawler contend that there is a disconnect between many of the Church's absolute sexual norms and other theological and intellectual developments explicitly recognized and endorsed in the Catholic tradition, especially since the Second Vatican Council. These developments include the shift from a primary static worldview to a historically conscious worldview, one that recognizes reality as dynamic, evolving, changing, and particular. By employing such a historically conscious worldview, alternative claims about the moral legitimacy of controversial topics such as contraception, artificial reproduction, and homosexual marriage can faithfully emerge within a Catholic context. Convinced of the central role that love, desire, and fertility play in a human life, and also in the life of Christian discipleship, the authors propose an understanding of sexuality that leads to the enhancement of human sexual relationships and flourishing.

This comprehensive introduction to Catholic sexual ethics—complete with thought-provoking study questions at the end of each chapter—will be sure to stimulate dialogue about sexual morality between Catholic laity, theologians, and the hierarchy. Anyone seeking a credible and informed Catholic sexual ethic will welcome this potentially revolutionary book.


“The book includes questions to the reader at the end of each chapter and these work well as they challenge the reader to engage both at a theological and personal level. The book is written very clearly and in accessible language making it of use to undergraduates and Church groups examining these issues. Its unpacking of doctrine and ethics is sensitively done but as mentioned the authors are not slow to demonstrate where rethinking urgently needs to take place. They clearly sit within the tradition but a tradition that they see as dynamic and changing.”

The Expository Times

“Salzman and Lawler do good Catholic theology, showing how current magisterial teachings may not be faithful or in accord with Catholic theological understandings or traditions. This book is highly recommended for libraries and classroom use.”

—Aaron Klink, Duke University, Religious Studies Review

“Will help further dialogue within Catholic circles.”

Catholic Books Review

“Salzman and Lawler masterfully critique Catholic teaching in light of the many sexual issues Christianity faces today… This fascinating introduction to sexual ethics is sure to generate much conversation and debate. It is a must for any course on religion and sexuality.”


“Lawler and Salzman's mastery of the long and complex history of Catholic sexual ethics is truly impressive. In this volume, the authors manage to present this history, as well as its contemporary implications, in a clear and accessible manner. They challenge Catholics to think seriously about how experience and culture inevitably shape attitudes about sex. Anyone who doubts the vibrancy of the contemporary Catholic conversations about sex should read this book!”

—Aline Kalbian, associate professor of religion, Florida State University

All titles are published by:
University Press Audiobooks
an imprint of Redwood Audiobooks

University Press Audiobooks