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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Theological Sexual Ethics
Module Code TP126
School 59
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: John Murray
Semester 2: John Murray
Autumn: John Murray
Module TeachersJohn Murray
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 7.5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Coursework Only
A new essay title/topic will be written over the summer, to be submitted for the Autumn/Month 8 resit exam board.

This module explores Christian theological and philosophical understandings of marriage and sexual ethics in the context of the dignity of the human person, drawing from biblical and theological sources, virtue ethics and natural law theory.

Learning Outcomes

1. Develop an appreciation of marriage as a social institution and religious sacrament, and demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a number of key themes and issues in Christian sexual ethics.
2. Argue and reference an informed point of view on sexual ethics supported by relevant theological and philosophical sources.
3. Demonstrate a clear, coherent and sound understanding of marriage and Christian sexual ethics through a written assignment.
4. Reflect critically and creatively upon the dialogue between their own life experience and the Christian tradition’s understanding of marriage and sexual ethics, with a view to developing and maintaining a coherent world view.
5. Engage in personal reflection on marriage and sexual ethics in a manner that is aware of, and engaged with, the contemporary cultural context.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture24No Description
Online activity24No Description
Directed learning50No Description
Assignment Completion50No Description
Independent Study39.5No Description
Total Workload: 187.5

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Cultural and historical context.

Conscience and religious authority in Christian moral decision making.

The biblical vision of relationships, marriage and sexuality.

‘Theology of the Body’ as a modern approach to the traditional teaching.

Revisionist approaches

Responsible parenthood, NFP, and contraception.

Marriage as a sacrament and community of love and life.

Same-sex relationships

Divorce and remarriage.


Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
EssayAn essay of 2,500 words (for the main text) on one of a number of optional titles given by the lecturer.100%n/a
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Lawler, Ronald, and Joseph Boyle and William E. May: 2011, Catholic Sexual Ethics: A Summary, Explanation and Defense, 3rd Edition, Our Sunday Visitor, Huntington, Indiana,
  • Curran, Charles E.: 2005, The Moral Theology of Pope John Paul II, 3-5, Georgetown University Press, Washington, D.C.,
  • Curran, Charles E. and Richard McCormick (eds.): 1993, Readings in Moral Theology No. 8: Dialogue about Catholic Sexual Ethics, Paulist Press, New Jersey,
  • Ellison, Marvin M. and K.B. Douglas (eds.): 2014, Sexuality and the Sacred: Sources for Theological Reflection, 2nd edition, Westminster John Knox Press, Louiseville, Kentucky, USA,
  • Farley, Margaret: 2007, Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics, Continuum, New York,
  • John Paul II, with Michael Waldstein (translator and introduction): 2006, Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body, Pauline Books and Media, Boston,
  • McDonagh, Enda and MacNamara, Vincent, (eds.): 2011, An Irish Reader in Moral Theology: The Legacy of the Last Fifty Years, Volume II: Sex, Marriage and the Family, Columba, Dublin,
  • Smith, Janet E.: 1991, Humanae Vitae: A Generation Later,, University of America Press, Washington, D.C.,
  • Wells, Samuel: 2010, Introducting Christian Ethics, chapters 10 and 11, Wiley-Blackwell, Malden, MA,
  • West, Christopher: 2009, Theology of the Body for Beginners (Revised Edition), Ascension Press, West Chester, Philadelphia,
Other Resources

32570, Online document, World Council of Churches, 2006, 'Churches' response to human sexuality', http://bit.ly/1ew7mSe,
Programme or List of Programmes
BATRSBA in Theology and Religious Studies

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