Association of Moral Theologians

The mission of the Association of Moral Theologians (formerly the Association of Teachers of Moral Theology) is to support research in Moral Theology and Christian Social Ethics, and thereby to foster the flourishing of these disciplines. It is for researchers and practitioners based in North-West Europe.

Based at Campion Hall, Oxford, the Association holds one conference each year at different academic locations in the UK, Ireland, the European Lowlands (Netherlands, Flanders) and elsewhere on a rotating basis. It aims to invite ‘emerging scholars’ - doctoral students, post-doctoral researchers and other early career researchers - with support available from Association funds, thereby providing a supportive group for new Moral Theologians.

Core Characteristics:

Catholic and Ecumenical: Focused around the Catholic tradition of Moral Theology and Catholic Social Thought, whilst encouraging members and perspectives from different Christian denominations

Interdisciplinary: Includes researchers and practitioners from Moral Theology, Christian Social Ethics, Practical Theology, Christian Moral Philosophy, Systematic Theology, the Social Sciences, etc. who are interested in engaging in moral questions theologically

Dialogical: Fosters open, respectful, face-to-face, peer dialogue on questions in Moral Theology and Christian Social Ethics

Unique Discussion

A distinctive feature of the Association is the unique format of its meetings, designed to foster engaged theological discussion about substantive moral theological topics. The papers are not delivered vocally, as in many academic conferences, but are circulated in advance.

After the author introduces the paper and has had a chance to answer questions for clarification, the author then remains silent for about 20 minutes while the discussion begins. Crucially, the discussion addresses the argument of the paper rather than its author. Even when the Chair permits the author to re-enter the discussion, the aim is not a dialogue between the author and other individuals, but a genuine group discussion about some substantive topic introduced by the paper.

Over the years, the Association’s members and attendees have valued this unique format and method as a formative and creative form of theological dialogue that supports their research.

Refounding the Association

The Association of Teachers of Moral Theology was founded by the well-known moral theologian, Kevin Kelly, together with co-founding members Gerard Hughes SJ and Jack Mahoney SJ, in the late 1960’s, to support those engaged in teaching and research in Moral Theology in the UK and Ireland. It later expanded to include members from the Netherlands, Belgium, and elsewhere.

At the meeting of May 2019 in Hinsley Hall, Leeds, it was decided by vote to refound the association as the Association of Moral Theologians, a new title which better reflected the Association’s purpose to support those engaged in Moral Theology and Christian Social Ethics and to foster the development of these disciplines.


The conference planned for June 2020 has been cancelled due to Covid-19. We are looking into rescheduling the conference in 2021. Please watch this space for more information.