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Dictionary

A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.

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EXISTENTIAL ETHICS

The theory of conduct which stresses the personal, here-and-now aspect of human behavior; an aspect that is not covered by general laws, since every moral decision is in its way particular and even unique. Existential ethics is a useful complement to "essential ethics." But it becomes situation ethics or moral relativism when it tries to substitute for essential ethics, which is based on universal norms that apply to the human essence everywhere.

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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