Defining ordinary and extraordinary means: Contemporary American Catholic moral theological reflections
This work reviews and critically evaluates contemporary American Catholic moral theological reflections, both non-magisterial and magisterial, from 1975 to the present. It also considers relevant reflections from papal and papally related literature, and from the older tradition. It examines the following: criteria used in distinguishing between "ordinary" and "extraordinary" means, e.g., benefit and burden; miscellaneous elements employed in regard to these means, e.g., treatment and care; definitions given for these means. Based on the results of the foregoing, it proposes original working definitions of these two main types of means. This work confirms the need, already recognized by some moral theologians, for a broad foundational criterion on which to base contemporary definitions of and distinctions between "ordinary" and "extraordinary" means. It finds the criteria offered thus far to be suggestive but flawed. Accordingly, its own working definitions are grounded in a foundational criterion of "integral human fulfillment in Jesus," a concept taken from the fundamental moral theological system developed by Germain Grisez.
Ward, Mary V, "Defining ordinary and extraordinary means: Contemporary American Catholic moral theological reflections" (1994). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9416678.