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Situation Ethics
(2,812 words)

1. History of the problem. The term “situation” was introduced into the language of moral theology by T. Steinbüchel. It became a sort of technical term when “situation ethics” was condemned by Pius XII (Allocutions of 23 March and 19 April 1952: AAS 44 [1952], pp. 270ff., 413ff.; Instructio S. Officii, 2 February 1956; AAS 48 [1956], pp. 144f.; DS 3918-21).

There is a situation ethics, in the sense of the condemnations here mentioned, when one bases oneself on the concrete circumstances of a moral act to regard as good or justifiable moral decisions whic…

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Waldemar Molinski, “Situation Ethics”, in: Sacramentum Mundi Online, General Editor Karl Rahner, SJ. Consulted online on 23 February 2024 <>
First published online: 2016

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