Morality: The Catholic View

Paper $12
Translated by Michael Sherwin, O.P., introduction by Alasdair MacIntyre, 152 pages, 6" x 9", paperbound, 6" x 9", introduction, notes, index

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Morality: The Catholic View

Pinkcaers, Servais, O.P.

Fr. Servais Pinckaers’s work is well on its way to being accepted as the work on Catholic moral thinking for the coming generation of laymen and students. Pinckaers sharply distinguishes this view of morality from modern “moralities of obligation,” which regard the moral life primarily as obedience to rules that limit human freedom and curb human desires. Pinckaers sees moralities of obligation as the logical outcome of a new understanding of human freedom. Instead of regarding freedom as the capacity to engage in excellent acts of virtue (freedom for excellence), the modern view understands freedom as the radical ability to do good or evil indifferently (freedom of indifference). Pinckaers argues convincingly that this view of freedom and the morality of obligation that flows from it have impoverished the Catholic understanding of the moral life. This work offers the reader a compelling itinerary of moral development, rooted in the theology of St. Paul and the morality of the Gospels.

Now, for a new generation of students, the book is made available in a quality paperbound version.

In addition, under the direction of Fr. Michael Sherwin, a teacher’s edition of the work is to be published, which will greatly aid the teacher in high school or home school to help his or her students to gain the most from this seminal work.

“As Alasdair MacIntyre notes in the preface, the work of Pinckaers attracted strong and fully justified notice in this country with the publication in English of his The Sources of Christian Ethics. As Pinckaers himself notes in the text, excellently translated by Michael Sherwin, the interest should in no way be limited to Roman Catholics. Morality recasts the earlier book in an argument that is both lower and upper case “catholic,” and is accessible to readers and teachers outside the limited circle of moral theologians and academic ethicists. Pinckaers contends that Christian morality is not first of all about obligations but about happiness, understanding that the happiness of union with God is our natural destiny made possible by grace. The Sermon on the Mount is at the center of an approach to morality that turns on the distinction between “freedom for excellence” and “freedom of indifference,” the former understood as human flourishing and the latter as a “neutral” capacity to choose between controversies. The proposal of Morality is thoroughly Christ-centered, humanistic, and faithful to the magisterial teaching of the Church. Warmly recommended.” – First Things

“[A] mature, grounded view of morality, of law, of freedom, of happiness – yet one that is fresh, stimulating, renewing. In the book’s preface, Alasdair MacIntyre remarks that Father Pinckaers “is an extraordinary author and this is an extraordinary book." . . . If that struck me as a bit of marketing pitch when I first opened the book, I was happily relieved of the notion by the time I finished the final page. MacIntyre speaks the plain truth.” – National Catholic Register