FLETCHER, Joseph
(1905-91)

American Episcopalian moral theologian, best known for his exposition in the 1960s of an approach to moral problems characterised as ‘Situation Ethics’. This was widely welcomed as evidence of intelligent Christian engagement with ‘the real world’. Others, both fellow Christians and rejectors of Christianity saw it as a ‘sell-out’ of the true authority of the Church and moral law. In full accord with the official views of the wider Anglican Communion, he supported the use of contraceptive methods of birth control. He went on to extend the Christian freedom lovingly to act out moral responsibility in other ways too. For instance, he provided justification, in certain circumstances, for euthanasia and abortion. In the following twenty years, many at the Hastings Centre he was much involved with medical and bio-ethics, including attempts to define what constitutes ‘humanhood’


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