God and Morality: Francisco Suarez's Reading of Thomas Aquinas

Jul 2, 2020
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Stephen L. BrockPontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome

Registration is full. Please contact us if you would like to be put on the waitlist.

This master class is open to current graduate students. It will take place online on Zoom. Others interested in participating should contact us.

Are wrong actions wrong only because the law of God forbids them, or does it forbid (at least some of) them because they are wrong in themselves?  Francisco Suárez famously answers this Euthyphro-like question in a way that steers between rationalism and divine voluntarism. He takes it to be Saint Thomas Aquinas’s way, and so do many after him.

In this master class, Fr. Brock will challenge this reading of Aquinas and argue that, on his view, the very question is misleading.  A crucial and neglected factor in Thomas’s position is his conception of the common good of the universe.


  • Suarez, Francisco, De Legibus bk. 2, ch. 6.
  • Brock, Stephen L., The Light That Binds: A Study in Thomas Aquinas's Metaphysics of Natural Law (2020, Pickwick Publication), selections.


Stephen L. Brock is a priest of the Prelature of Opus Dei.  He is Ordinary Professor of Medieval Philosophy at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome. He earned a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Chicago and a PhD in Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto.  Brock writes widely on Thomas Aquinas and action theory, ethics, and metaphysics. He is the author of The Philosophy of Saint Thomas Aquinas. A Sketch (Wipf & Stock, 2015), Action & Conduct: Thomas Aquinas and the Theory of Action (T&T Clark, 1998), and most recently, The Light that Binds: A Study in Thomas Aquinas's Metaphysics of Natural Law (Pickwick Publications, 2020).  He is currently a visiting scholar in the Philosophy Department at the University of Chicago.