Mausbach, Joseph

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Moral theologian and apologist; b. Wipperfeld, Feb. 7, 1861; d. Ahrweiler, Jan. 31, 1931. After being ordained in 1884, he labored in the pastoral ministry at Cologne until 1892, when he became professor of moral theology and apologetics at the University of Münster, a position he held for 40 years. Having both a profound knowledge especially of St. Augustine and St. Thomas and an acute sensitivity to modern problems, his teaching drew large numbers of students even from other departments. He advocated the admission of women students to the University, and he was influential in the Weimar National Assembly.

In the introduction to Die katholische Moral (Cologne 1901; New York 1914, under the title Catholic Moral Teaching and Its Antagonists ) Mausbach indicated the principles and method that underlie all his work. These include: an examination of the attitudes of scientific Protestant theology toward Catholic morals; a reexamination of the fundamental ideas of Catholic morals, as established in the dogma and in the general consensus of the Church; a comparison of the Catholic and Protestant conceptions of the most important questions of morality; and an attempt to determine whether there were any points of friction or misunderstanding that a more thorough dialogue could eliminate.

Katholische Moraltheologie (3 v. Münster 191518) has appeared in successively revised and augmented editions. The 10th (ed. G. Ermecke, three v. Münster 1961) has been brought up to date by discussions of such contemporary problems as atomic warfare, capital punishment, advertising, automation, tax evasion, and new developments in natural-law theory. Other published works of Mausbach include: Die Ethik des hl. Augustinus (2 v. Fribourg 1909); Naturrecht und Völkerrecht (Frankfurt 1918); Thomas von Aquin als Meister christlicher Sittenlehre (Münster 1925); and Dasein und Wesen Gottes (2 v. Münster 192930).

Bibliography: p. menossi, Enciclopedia cattolica 8:514. g. schreiber, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche 7:199200. k. g. steck, Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart 4:813814.

[m. s. conlan]