Wednesday, November 07, 2007


Just after I posted the previous I began to read Servais Pinckaers' Morality: the Catholic View. This is an excellent, very accessible introduction to Catholic moral theology recommended to me by Dr. Mark Ginter of St. Meinrad's Seminary. I intend to use it in a class I'm teaching.
Here is Pinckaer's commentary on the passage from Romans I just cited and surrounding texts:

1. The Christian life is true worship. It is a liturgy where we offer to God as a living sacrifice our bodies and our persons, discerning what is good and pleasing to him. The term 'body' (soma) employed here evokes the body of Christ, offered in the Eucharist and the body that forms the Church (12:1-2). One can, therefore, refer to the liturgical dimension of Christian morality.

2. Shaped by faith, moral teaching takes place within the context of the faithful's participation in the body of Christ. They are members of this body and have received a multitude of gifts and ministries that they exercise for the good of all (vv. 3-8). this is the ecclesial dimension of the apostolic moral teaching, which returns to the fore in I Corinthians (ch. 12).

3. This ecclesial unity and generosity are the work of charity. Paul describes charity througha collection of characteristics that form a prototypical passage composed of brief, well-chosen notes that in Greek have an assonance and rhythm that facillitate memorization. With these successive brushstrokes, St. Paul paints for us the face of the Christian (vv. 9-12)....

4. The picture is completed by a passage full of energy that calls to mind the Sermon on the Mount: the invitation to bless one's persecutors, to seek out what is humble, and to conquer evil with good. This is the summit of Gospel agape (vv. 14-21).

Pinckaers is very big on the idea that the moral life is not simply an obedience to rules, but a result of the activity of the Holy Spirit in one's life.

It always amazes me when I run across a very important author that I haven't read in my 23 years of formal theological training!

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