Romanus Cessario, O.P.


Date and place of birth: 1 April 1944, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Priestly ordination: 27 May 1971 (Order of Friars Preachers)
Appointment to the Academy: 16 December 1999
Scientific discipline: Systematic Theology
Academic title: Professor 

Academic awards and distinctions
Visiting Professor, Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family; Associate Editor, The Thomist; Editor, Moral Philosophy and Moral Theology Series, Fordham University Press; Rédacteur, Pierre d’angle; Senior Writer, National Catholic Register; Advisory Board, Center for Thomistic Studies, University of St. Thomas; Ramsey Colloquium, Religion and Public Life Institute; Society of Christian Ethics; American Maritain Association; The International Boethius Society (Charter member); Medieval Academy of America; Catholic Theological Society of America.

Summary of scientific research
The main theme of my research has been in the area of sacramental and moral theology, and on the relationship of the moral life with other truths of Catholic and divine faith. Building on the studies done in the immediate post-conciliar period by my mentor Dominican Father Colman O’Neill, my earliest research (1980s) concentrated on Christian satisfaction, the sacrament of Reconciliation, and the Eucharist. After a period of teaching moral theology, I undertook research on the moral and theological virtues and their pertinence to contemporary issues in Christian ethics. To complement these initiatives, I returned to the Thomist commentatorial tradition and in particular to the anti-nominalist writings of the fifteenth-century Dominican John Capreolus.

Main publications
Christian Satisfaction in Aquinas (Washington, DC: University Press of America, 1982); The Godly Image: Christ and Salvation in Catholic Thought from Anselm to Aquinas, Studies in Historical Theology VI (Petersham, MA: St Bede’s Publications, 1990); Meeting Christ in the Sacraments by Colman E. O’Neill, O.P. and revised by Romanus Cessario O.P. (New York: Alba House, 1991); The Moral Virtues and Theological Ethics (Notre Dame/London: University of Notre Dame Press, 1991); Le Virtù. Volume 19 of Manuali di Teologia Cattolica (AMATECA), Sezione sesta: La persona umana (Milan: Editoriale Jaca Book, 1994), Spanish edition: Las virtudes (Valencia: Edicep, 1998), English edition: Virtues, or the Examined Life (New York: Continuum, 2002); Perpetual Angelus. As the Saints Pray the Rosary (New York: Alba House, 1995); Christian Faith and the Theological Life (Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1996); A Love That Never Ends. A Key to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. With J.A. DiNoia, B.G. O’Donnell, P.J. Cameron (Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor Press, 1996); Jean Capreolus en son temps (1380-1444) (Mémoire Dominicaine, numéro spécial, 1), edited with Guy Bedouelle and Kevin White (Paris: Les Éditions du Cerf, 1997); Veritatis Splendor and the Renewal of Moral Theology. Studies by Ten Outstanding Scholars, edited with J.A. DiNoia, O.P. (Chicago: Midwest Theological Forum, 1999); Le thomisme et les thomistes (Paris: Les Éditions du Cerf, 1999), English edition: A Short History of Thomism (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2005); John Capreolus (1380-1444): Treatise on the Virtues, edited and Introduction with Kevin White (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2001); Introduction to Moral Theology (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2001); Boston’s Cardinal. Bernard Law, the Man and His Witness, edited with a Biographical Essay by Mary Ann Glendon (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2002). Articles, Book Chapters, etc. ‘Theology at Fribourg’, The Thomist 51 (1987): 325-366; ‘The Meaning of Virtue in Catholic Moral Life: Its Significance for Human Life Issues’, The Thomist 53 (1989): 173-96; ‘Casuistry and Revisionism: Structural Similarities in Method and Content’, in ‘Humanae Vitae’: 20 Anni Dopo. Atti del II Congresso Internazionale di Teologia Morale, Vol. III (Milano: Edizioni Ares, 1990): 385-409; ‘Christian Satisfaction and Sacramental Reconciliation’, Communio 16 (1989): 186-196; ‘Aquinas on Nature and Grace’, in Catholicism and Secularization in America, ed. David L. Schindler (Notre Dame, IN: Communio Books, 1990): 207-10; ‘La tradition thomiste et l’oeuvre de l’Esprit: les dons d’intelligence et de science’, Nova et Vetera 65 (1990): 259-267; ‘Christ and Reconciliation’, Faith & Reason 17 (1991): 15-50; ‘Lacordaire et les États-Unis’, in Lacordaire, son pays, ses amis et la liberté des ordres religieux en France, ed. Guy Bedouelle (Paris: Les Éditions du Cerf, 1991): 333-347; ‘A Thomist Interpretation of Faith: The Gifts of Understanding and Knowledge’, in Novitas et Veritas Vitae. Aux Sources du Renouveau de la Morale Chrétienne. Mélanges offerts au Professeur Servais Pinckaers à l’occasion de son 65e anniversaire, ed. Carlos-Josaphat Pinto de Oliveira (Fribourg: Editions Universitaires, 1991): 67-102; ‘Incarnate Wisdom and the Immediacy of Christ’s Salvific Knowledge’, in Problemi teologici alla luce dell’Aquinate (Atti del IX Congresso Tomistico Internazionale). Studi Tomistici 44 (Città del Vaticano: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1991): 334-340; ‘St. Thomas Aquinas on Satisfaction, Indulgences, and Crusades’, Medieval Philosophy & Theology 2 (1992): 74-96; ‘Virtue Theory and the Present Evolution of Thomism’, in The Future of Thomism, eds. Deal W. Hudson and Dennis Wm. Moran (Notre Dame, IN: American Maritain Association, 1992): 291-299; ‘An Observation on Robert Lauder’s Review of G.A. McCool, S.J.’, The Thomist 56 (1992): 701-710; ‘Lacordaire and the United States’, The Catholic Historical Review 78 (1992): 197-206; ‘Boethius, Christ, and the New Order’, Carmina Philosophiae 1 (1992): 53-64, reprinted in New Directions in Boethian Studies, ed. Noel Harold Kaylor, Jr. and Philip Edward Philips (Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, 2006); ‘Is Aquinas’s Summa Only About Grace’, in Ordo Sapientiae et Amoris. Hommage au Professeur Jean-Pierre Torrell OP à l’occasion de son 65e anniversaire, ed. Carlos-Josaphat Pinto de Oliveira (Fribourg: Editions Universitaires, 1993): 197-209; ‘Moral sexual cristiana dentro de una estructura más amplia’, AnáMnesis 3 (1993): 5-25; ‘Le Père Garrigou-Lagrange (1877-1964)’, Sources 20 (1994): 206-208; ‘Early Dominican Confessional Practice’, New Blackfriars 75 (1994): 425-428, [French trans. ‘Les Premiers Dominicains et la confession’, Mémoire Dominicaine 5 (1994): 283-286]; ‘The Church, Higher Education and Global Concerns’, Josephinum Journal of Theology 2 (1995): 25-33; ‘Moral Absolutes in the Civilization of Love’, in The Splendor of Truth and Health Care, Proceedings of the Fourteenth Workshop for Bishops, Dallas, Texas, ed. Russell E. Smith (Braintree, MA: The Pope John XXIII Medical-Moral Research and Education Center, 1995), reprinted in Crisis 13 (May, 1995): 18-23; ‘Boèce, le Christ et la civilisation européenne’, Pierre d’angle 1 (1995): 51-60; ‘Toward Understanding Aquinas’ Theological Method: The Early Twelfth-Century Experience’, in Studies in Thomistic Theology, ed. Paul Lockey (Notre Dame, IN: Center for Thomistic Studies, 1995): 17-89; ‘Epieikeia and the Accomplishment of the Just’ in Aquinas and Empowerment: Classical Ethics for Ordinary Lives, ed. G. Simon Harak (Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 1996): 170-205; ‘The Spirituality of St. Thomas Aquinas’, Crisis 14 (July/August 1996): 14-16; ‘Evangelization and Our Present Circumstances: In Praise of Virtue’ in The Church’s Mission of Evangelization, ed. William E. May (Steubenville, OH: Franciscan University Press, 1996): 129-152; ‘Éloge des vertus chrétiennes pour un temps de crise’, Pierre d’angle 2 (1996): 53-71; ‘Saint Thomas, Durand de Saint-Pourçain et Capreolus: Le Débat sur la foi’ in Jean Capreolus en son temps (1380-1444), ed. Guy Bedouelle, Romanus Cessario, and Kevin White (Paris: Les Éditions du Cerf, 1997): 159-164; ‘Christian Virtue and Public Morality’, Rivista Teologica di Lugano 2 (1997): 27-42; ‘À nos lecteurs: sur le paradoxe de l’existence chrétienne entre foi et modernité. La foi comme Dieu l’a révélée’, Pierre d’angle 3 (1997): 18-26; ‘On Bad Actions, Good Intentions, and Loving God: Three Much-Misunderstood Issues about the Happy Life that St. Thomas Clarifies for Us’, Logos 1.2 (1997): 100-124; ‘Assent and Dissent’, ‘Atheism’, ‘Bishop’, ‘Celibacy, Priestly’, ‘Deacon’, ‘Holy Orders’, ‘Ministry’, ‘Modernism’, ‘Priest’, and ‘Priesthood of Christ’ in Encyclopedia of Catholic Doctrine, ed. Russell Shaw (Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division, 1997); ‘Theological Literacy and Theological Science’ in Boston Theological Institute Newsletter, vol. 27, no. 24 (18 Mar 1998): 1-2; ‘More Good News’, Catholic Dossier 4.2 (March-April 1998): 54-55; ‘The Holy Spirit, Spirit of Truth, Person of Love’, Catholic International, May 1998: 220-224; ‘Tommaso d’Aquino (santo)’, ‘Garrigou-Lagrange Reginald’, in Dizionario di Mistica, ed. L. Borriello et al. (Città del Vaticano: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1998); ‘The D.E.S. Motto and the Benedictine Tradition: A Thomistic Connection’, Delta Epsilon Sigma Journal 43 (1998): 88-90; ‘St. Therese, Seminarians and the Future’, Catholic Dossier 4.6 (November-December 1998): 14-16; ‘John Poinsot: On The Gift of Counsel’, in The Common Things: Essays on Thomism and Education, ed. Daniel McInerny (Mishawaka: American Maritain Association, 1999): 163-178; ‘The Reason for Reason: Fides et Ratio’, Crisis 17 (January 1999): 16-19; ‘Thomas Aquinas: A Doctor for the Ages’, First Things (March 1999): 27-32, reprinted in The Second One Thousand Years. Ten People Who Defined the Millennium, ed. Richard John Neuhaus (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2001): 28-39; ‘Reply to Professor Gilbert Morris’, First Things (June/July 1999): 7; ‘Fides et Ratio. Un appel à la vérité et à la réconciliation’, Pierre d’angle 5 (1999) 32-38; ‘What the Angels See at Twilight’, Communio 26 (Fall 1999): 583-594 [French translation: ‘Ce qui les anges voient au crépuscule’, Communio 25 (nov.-déc. 2000): 41-51]; ‘Custodia condicional de la vida humana. Un principio moral de Juan Pablo II’, in El Dios y padre de Nuestro Señor Jesucristo, ed. José Luis Illanes et al. (Pamplona: Servicio de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Navarra, 2000): 427-432; ‘Infallible Teaching and the Gift of Divine Truth’, Catholic Dossier 6.3 (May-June 2000): 5-8; ‘Un “salut civil”? Vie et famille dans la doctrine catholique’, Pierre d’angle 6 (2000): 185-97; ‘Sacramental Confessions and Addictions’ in Addiction and Compulsive Behaviors, Proceedings of the Seventeenth Workshop for Bishops, Dallas, Texas, ed. Edward J. Furton (Boston, MA: The National Catholic Bioethics Center, 2000): 125-139; ‘Schönborn, Christoph’, New Catholic Encyclopedia, Jubilee Volume: The Wojtyla Years, pp. 406-407; ‘Towards an Adequate Method for Catholic Bioethics’, The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 1 (2001): 51-62; ‘Gilson, Étienne (1884-1978)’, in The Dictionary of Historical Theology, ed. Trevor A. Hart (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2001), pp. 227-229; ‘En partant d’une chanson de Gershwin...’, Pierre d’angle 7 (2001): 41-47; ‘Duplex ordo cognitionis’, Doctor Communis II, n.s., Atti della II Sessione Plenaria, 22-24 Giugno 2001 (Vatican City, 2002): 102-109; 141-142; ‘The Theological Virtue of Hope (IIa-IIae qq. 17-22)’, in The Ethics of Aquinas, ed. Stephen J. Pope (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2002), pp. 232-243; ‘The Sacramental Mediation of Divine Friendship and Communion’, Faith & Reason 27 (2002): 7-41; ‘Consequentialism’, New Catholic Encyclopedia, 2nd ed., 4: 159-160; ‘Casuistry’, with E. Hamel, New Catholic Encyclopedia, 2nd ed., 3: 219-221; ‘Mary in the Dominican Tradition’, Nova et Vetera, English Edition, 1 (2003): 27-42; ‘Entendre les Mystères. Musique liturgique et foi théologale’, with Jonathan Gaspar, Pierre d’angle 9 (2003): 135-50; ‘Cooperation, Veritatis splendor, and the Luminous Mysteries’, in Walk as Children of Light: The Challenge of Cooperation in a Pluralistic Society: Proceedings of the Nineteenth Workshop for Bishops, Dallas, Texas, ed. Edward J. Furton (Boston, MA: The National Catholic Bioethics Center, 2003): 47-67; ‘Life and Family as Themes in Catholic Social Thought’, in Indubitanter ad Veritatem. Studies Offered to Leo J. Elders, S.V.D. in Honor of the Golden Jubilee of his Ordination to the Priesthood, ed. Jörgen Vijgen (Budel: Damon, 2003): 69-79; ‘Aquinas on Christian Salvation’, in Aquinas on Doctrine. A Critical Introduction, ed., Thomas Weinandy, Daniel Keating, John Yocum (London: T&T Clark International, 2004): 117-37; ‘Response’ in Book Symposium, Nova et Vetera, English Edition, 2 (2004): 208-10; ‘Mel Gibson and Thomas Aquinas: How the Passion Works’, ZENIT, 9 April 2004. Available from [German translation: ‘Wie die Passion Christi die Erlösung bewirkt – Mel Gibson und Thomas von Aquin’, Una Voce – Korrespondenz 34 (2004): 131-38]; ‘Conditional Stewardship of Life: A Moral Principle of John Paul II’, in Moral Issues in Catholic Health Care, ed., Kevin T. McMahon (Overbook, PA: Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary, 2004): 120-38; ‘Sex, Lies, and Freud’, Logos 7.3 (2004): 47-59; ‘Mel Gibson et saint Thomas d’Aquin: Un regard théologique sur La Passion du Christ’, Pierre d’angle 10 (2004): 185-94; ‘Why Aquinas Locates Natural Law within the Sacra Doctrina’, in St. Thomas Aquinas and the Natural Law Tradition. Contemporary Perspectives, ed., John Goyette, Mark S. Latkovic, and Richard S. Myers (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2004): 79-93; ‘The Light of Tabor: Christian Personalism and Adoptive Friendship’, Nova et Vetera, English Edition, 2 (2004): 237-247, reprinted in L’Antropologia della Teologia Morale Secondo L’Enciclica ‘Veritatis Splendor’. Atti del Simposio promosso dalla Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede, Roma, settembre 2003 (Città del Vaticano: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2006): 92-101; ‘Mel Gibson’s Movie & Thomas Aquinas’s Modes: How the Passion of the Christ Works’, Saint Austin Review 4 (2004): 27-32, [Dutch translation: ‘Mel Gibson en Thomas van Aquino over de Passie van Christus’, in Doctor Humanitatis, vol. 1, De actualiteit van Sint-Thomas van Aquino, ed. Jörgen Vijgen (Hoofddorp: Uitgeverij Boekenplan, 2005)]; ‘Mel Gibson’s “Passion” & Aquinas’s Five Modes: How the Passion of Christ Works’, The Premier International Fan Website, Mel Gibson’s ‘The Passion of the Christ’. Available from; ‘Walk According to the Light. An Illustration from North America’, in Camminare nella Luce. Prospettive della teologia morale a partire da ‘Veritatis Splendor’, ed., Livio Melina and José Noriega (Rome: Lateran University Press, 2004): 401-407; ‘Capreolus on Faith and the “Theologal” Life’, in Essays in Medieval Philosophy and Theology in Memory of Walter H. Principe, CSB: Fortresses and Launching Pads, eds., James R. Ginther and Carl N. Still (Aldershot, Hants; Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2005): 135-141; ‘Duplex Ordo Cognitionis’, in Reason and the Reasons of Faith, eds., Paul J. Griffiths and Reinhard Hütter (New York: T&T Clark, 2005): 327-338; ‘“Worthy of the Temple”: Liturgical Music and Theologal Faith’, with Jonathan Gaspar, Nova et Vetera, English Edition 3 (2005): 673-688; ‘Catholic Hospitals in the New Evangelization’, The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 5 (2005): 675-686; ‘Person & Being: Theological and Psychological Considerations’, Doctor Communis, Atti della IV Sessione Plenaria 25-27, Giugno 2004 (Vatican City, 2006): 75-84; ‘“Circa res ...aliquid fit” (Summa theologiae II-II, q. 85, a. 3, ad 3): Aquinas on New Law Sacrifice’, Nova et Vetera, English Edition 4 (2006): 295-312; ‘The Sacred, Religion, and Morality’, Doctor Communis VII, n.s., Atti della V Sessione Plenaria, 24-26 Giugno 2005 (Vatican City, 2006): 173-186; ‘Johannes Capreolus’, in Thomistenlexikon, eds. David Berger & Jörgen Vijgen (Bonn: Nova & Vetera Verlag, 2006): 302-311; ‘The Sacred, Religion, and Morality’, Logos 9.4 (2006): 16-32; ‘Catholic Considerations on Palliative Care’, The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 6 (2006): 639-650; ‘Moral Theology on Earth: Learning from Two Thomases’, Studies in Christian Ethics 19 (2006): 305-322; ‘Hommage au Père Servais-Théodore Pinckaers, OP. The Significance of His Work’, Nova et Vetera, English Edition 5 (2007): 1-16; ‘The Theological Heritage of Pope Benedict XV’, Nova et Vetera, English Edition, 5 (2007): 37-40.


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