Sharing in Christ's Virtues
For the Renewal of Moral Theology in Light of Veritatis Splendor
The encyclical Veritatis splendor (The Splendor of Truth) represents the first document of the magisterium devoted to the foundations of the Catholic moral life. Though it was intended to confront a genuine crisis of moral disintegration and to offer positive directions for carrying out the work of renewing moral theology, it was fiercely criticized by theologians who regarded it as a simplistic and "repressive" document. Now, several years after the publication of the encyclical, Livio Melina offers an original contribution not only to the study of Veritatis splendor and the controversy surrounding it, but also to the field of moral theology as a whole.
In Sharing in Christ's Virtues, Melina proposes a blueprint for organizing moral theology, one that is in harmony with the directions given in Veritatis splendor and one that likewise respects the requirements of both the "theological" and the "scientific" character of the discipline. He describes it as a "Christocentricism of the virtues," which understands the moral life of Christians as a participation in the virtues of Christ by means of the grace of one's ecclesial incorporation in Christ. Melina argues that the renewal of moral theology should result in, first, a search for a more integral and dynamic understanding of human action, and second, a theological "re-dimensioning" of morality to better comprehend the synergy between human action and God's action.
The contents of the book are:
Part One: Toward a Christocentrism of the Virtues: Lines of Renewal
1. Between Crisis and Renewal: The Cultural and Theological Context of Morality Today
2. An Ethics of the Good Life and of Virtue
3. An Ethics Founded on the Truth About the Good of the Person
4. A Morality of Faith: The Salvific Relevance of Moral Action
5. A Christocentric Ethics of the Virtues
Part Two: Ecclesial Sense and Moral Life: Perspectives and Developments
6. Ecclesial Dimensions of Moral Theology
7. The Call to Holiness in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: The Morality and Spirituality of "Life in Christ"
8. Moral Conscience and Communio: Toward a Response to the Challenge of Ethical Pluralism
Livio Melina is professor of moral theology at the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family at the Lateran University in Rome. In addition to numerous articles, he has written and coauthored several books, including La conoscenza morale. Linee di riflessione sul Commento di san Tommaso all'Etica Nicomachea; Morale: tra crisi e rinnovamento; Corso di bioetica. Il Vangelo della vita; Amor conjugal y vocacion a la santidad; Domanda sul bene e domanda su Dio; and Quale dimora per l'agire? Dimensioni ecclesiologiche della morale.
"Melina's thought-provoking and powerful presentation of key themes in moral theology will be welcomed by English readers.... One comes away with an understanding and appreciation of the basis of Christian morality for the twenty-first century. The excellent bibliography lists authors from Aristotle to John Paul II, many not well known in the English literature on moral theology. . . . Melina's work is timely. ..."—Catholic Library World
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