The word “morality” may scare some people off, but this book should do the opposite. Fr. Servais Pinckaers, an international expert on morality, has written a book in Morality that at least the general reader and students can read and ponder. He is alos the author of The Sources of Christian Ethics (1995), which is for graduate or post-graduate level readers.
Pinckaers divides Morality into two parts, the first being a history of Catholic moral teaching and the second a presentation of moral teaching. He starts his history with Scripture and the Church Fathers, then moves on to when St. Thomas Aquinas worked on moral questions. Other notables during the same period were St. Albert the Great, St. Bonaventure and Duns Scotus, collectively known as the Scholastics.
Pinckaers then discusses the history of the manuals of moral teaching, starting with the Jesuits and continuing to be used and developed until the twentieth century. He discusses what happened in moral theology after the Second Vatican Council and how the Council Fathers wanted moral theologians to take into consideration scripture, patristics, psychology, sociology, science and technology. He also discusses the importance of the Church’s magesterium and conscience.
In the second part, Pinckaers talks about how to better understand morality - that it is not just negative rules and laws that are opposed to happiness and freedom. Instead, he writes that morality helps one to live in true happiness and freedom.
Fr. Pinckaers was born in Belgium and joined the Dominicans. He teaches at the University of Friburg and is on the board of advisors for the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture. He is also featured on EWTN’s Internet website as a commentator on the Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Fides et Ratio. Pinckaers’ Morality is a good place for the layperson to begin learning about Catholic moral theology.