Vocation to Love: Supererogation in Aquinas

James Dominic Rooney*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


Thomas Aquinas’s account of religious vocation has been interpreted as involving a qualified duty, where ordinary people fall short of living up to the moral ideal of becoming a monk or nun. Such an account of religious vocation makes a hash of Aquinas’s thought and misses important aspects of his ethics. Aquinas holds that religious life is praiseworthy, but not morally required, because there are multiple sources of normativity. I conclude by proposing that, while elements of Aquinas’s notion of supererogation might be shared with other traditions in virtue ethics, his theological commitments are central to his notion of supererogation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-172
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Systematic Theology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Religious studies


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