Video: William Mattison on virtue ethics, moral theology, and the Sermon on the Mount

Author: Todd Boruff

“What difference can faith make for morality when people today recognize that people of various or no faith can live a virtuous, honorable, moral life?” asked William Mattison, associate professor of theology in the College of Arts and Letters.

Mattison is a Catholic moral theologian with particular interest in virtue. His latest book, The Sermon on the Mount and Moral Theology: A Virtue Perspective (Cambridge University Press, 2017), examines the approach to morality that Jesus presents in Chapters 5-7 of the Gospel of St. Matthew and compares it to conceptions of happiness found in the works of classical philosophers such as Cicero and Aristotle.

His next book will focus on the implications of truly virtuous living leading to true happiness.

“Really what that means is that part of how we live in this life is a foretaste of, or a very participation, in eternal life,” he said. “That's an extraordinary claim, and we really need to better substantiate that.”

Mattison is excited about the many possibilities for research in Catholic moral theology as well as its real-world applications.

“There are so many avenues to contribute to broader conversations that aren't limited to the Church but also simultaneously to contribute to how the people of God live out their lives in the context of their faith," he said.

You can also watch this video on YouTube.