John Grabowski, Ph. D.

In addition to his marriage ministry, John is also a Full Professor of Moral Theology at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C, where he has been on the faculty for the last twenty-six years. His main areas of teaching are Moral Theology both method and current debates, Sexual Ethics, Theology of Christian Marriage, Theological Anthropology, the Enlightenment, Feminist Theology, and Virtue Theory. He has directed over 20 dissertations. 

In addition to teaching, among his service to the University, he has served as Director of Moral Theology/Ethics for the School of Theology and Religious Studies (2006-2008 and 2013-2019), as Associate Dean for Graduate Studies for the School of Theology and Religious Studies (2003-2005 and 1999-2002), and Acting Dean, School of Theology and Religious Studies (October 2003). 

His broader professional service includes serving as the Academy of Catholic Theology President and as an Adiutor (Expert) at the 14th General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops,  

He is currently a board member of the Given Institute, the chair of the Archdiocese of Washington Theological Commission, the Theological Consultant to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family and Youth.

You can find out more about his teaching and academic writing at his faculty webpage, his page, or his Amazon author page.  

John's Scholarly Books


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A Catechism for Family Life: Insights from Catholic Teaching on Love, Marriage, Sex, and Parenting (2018)

The purpose of A Catechism for Family Life: Insights from Catholic Teaching on Love, Marriage, Sex, and Parenting is to present the teachings of the Catholic Church as they relate to specific questions in marriage and family life. Many Catholics are under-catechized and have trouble both understanding and articulating Church teaching on sexuality and marriage to an increasingly challenging culture.



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Transformed in Christ: Essays in the Renewal of Moral Theology (2017)

In calling for a renewal of moral theology, the Second Vatican Council also charted a course for the Church’s future. The Decree on Priestly Formation specified the need for “livelier contact with the mystery of Christ and the history of salvation” and called for the discipline to be “more thoroughly nourished by scriptural teaching.” To this can be added the teaching of the Pastoral Constitution on the Church, which found the mystery of the human person disclosed in the person of Christ, and the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church’s recovery of the universal call to holiness.



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Sex and Virtue: An Introduction to Sexual Ethics (2003)

Contemporary western culture is awash in ideologies that reduce sexuality to an outlet for pleasure, an ecstatic form of release needed for personal fulfillment, or a commodity to be bought and sold. Many Christians living in such a culture find themselves uncertain as to how to respond from within churches torn by controversy, embarrassed by scandal, and thus driven into uneasy silence on sexual matters. Catholic moral theology, itself at the epicenter of this controversy over sexual issues since Humanae vitae, has struggled to respond to the call for renewal issued by the Second Vatican Council.


John's Research Articles

Janet E. Smith, John S. Grabowski, J. Budzinski, and Maria Fedoryka, “Self Gift:  The Heart of Humane vitae.” The National Bioethics Quarterly 16 (2016): 449-74.

 “An Analysis of GSUSA’s Policy of Serving Transgender Youth: Implications for Catholic Practice.” With Christopher Gross.  Journal of Moral Theology 5:1 (2016): 86-110.

“Catechesis and Moral Theology: Toward a Renewed Understanding of Christian Experience.”  Nova et Vetera 13:2 (2015):  459-87.

“And So He Revealed His Glory: Cana and the Sacramentality of Marriage.”  The Thomist 78:1 (2014): 37-63.

 “The Luminous Excess of the Acting Person:  Assessing the Impact of Pope John Paul II on American Catholic Moral Theology.”  Journal of Moral Theology 1, no. 1 (2012):  116-47.

Dignitas personae and the Adoption of Frozen Embryos:  A New Chill Factor?”  With Christopher Gross. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 10, no. 2 (Summer 2010):  307-28.

“Called to Holiness: Spirituality for Families in the Light of Ecclesia in America,” Logos: A Journal of  Catholic Thought and Culture, 5, no. 4 (Fall 2002): 75-95.

“The New Reproductive Technologies: An Overview and Theological Assessment.”  The Linacre Quarterly 69 (2002): 100-19.

“Public Moral Discourse on Abortion: The Contribution of Theology,” The Irish Theological Quarterly 64 (1999): 361-377.

“A Theological Analysis of Cloning,” Homiletic and Pastoral Review 98, No. 9 (Spring 1998): 16-21; rpt. Ethics and Medicine 18, no. 3 (1998): 69-72.

“Mutual Submission and Trinitarian Self-Giving.” Angelicum 74 (1997): 489-512.

“Rival Personalisms in 20th Century Catholic Sexual Ethics.” Studia Moralia 35 (1997): 283-312.

“Conceptualism and Consequences: The Legacy of Locke’s Essay.”  Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses 25 (1996): 273-85.

Evangelium Vitae and Humanae Vitae: A Tale of Two Encyclicals.”  Homiletic and Pastoral Review. 97, No. 2 (November, 1996): 7-15.

“Covenantal Sexuality.”  Église et Théologie 27 (1996): 229-52.

“Chastity: Toward a Renewed Understanding.”  The Living Light 32, No. 4 (Summer, 1996): 44-51.

“Shooting Abortionists and the Death of the Pro-Life Ideal.”  New Theology Review 9 (1996): 33-40.

“Clerical Sexual Abuse and Early Traditions regarding the Sixth Commandment.”  The Jurist 55 (1995): 527-91.

“Newton, Hume and the Ethics of the Closed System.”  The Irish Theological Quarterly 61 (1995): 138-58.

“Person: Substance and Relation.”  Communio 22 (Spring 1995): 139-63.

“The Status of the Sexual Good as a Direction for Moral Theology.”  The Heythrop Journal 35 (1994): 15-34.

“Catholic Social and Sexual Ethics: Inconsistent or Organic?”  With Michael Naughton.  The Thomist 57 (1993): 555-78.

John's Scholarly Chapters in Books

“Signs of Hope and Healing in Theology:  A Tale of Two Statements.”  In Humanae Vitae, 50 Years Later: Embracing God’s Vision for Marriage, Love, and Life; A Compendium. Theresa Notare, ed., 349-63. Washington, DC:  CUA Press, 2019.

“Not Just Love: The Anthropological Assumptions of Catholic Teaching on Same-Sex Attraction and Activity.”  In Justice through Diversity.  Michael Sweeney, ed., 615-37.  Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2016.

“Covenantal Sexuality.”  In Divine Providence and Human Freedom.  Kevin A. McMahon ed.  107-25. Lanham, MD:  Lexington Books., 2015.

“Foreword,” with Claire Grabowski.  In The Infertility Companion for Catholics: Spiritual and Practical Support for Couples. Notre Dame, IN: Ave Maria Press, 2012.   ix-xi.

“Body, Theology of.” In New Catholic Encyclopedia Supplement 2009.  Detroit: Gale, 2009.  96-99.

“Contraception, Sterilization, and Abortion and the Ethical and Religious Directives,” in Moral Issues in Catholic Health Care, Kevin T. McMahon, ed.,   68-92. Wynnewood, PA: St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, 2004.

“Natural Family Planning and Marital Spirituality,” in Integrating Faith and Science through Natural Family Planning, Richard J. Fehring and Theresa Notare, eds., 29-45. Milwaukee: Marquette University Press, 2004.

“Foreword” in Pope John Paul II, Theology of the Body (Boston: Daughters of St. Paul, 1997), 19-24. Rpt. As “Pope John Paul II on the Theology of the Body.”  In Marriage. Readings in Moral Theology no. 15, Charles Curran and Julie Hanlon Rubio eds., 72-77.  New York: Paulist, 2009.