Timothy E. O’connell, the author of Principles For a Catholic Morality , attempts to speak plainly and directly about a topic which is, after all ,our own lives as we live them. As a personal synthesis, he tried to make the book blend the worlds of ordinary living and scholarly reflection. O’connell is the director of the institute of Pastoral studies at Loyola, Chicago. He is also the author of ‘ What a Modern Catholic Believes About Suffering and Evil’.

The book ‘Principles For a Catholic Morality’ is not only addressed to students of Theology or to clergy, but also to anyone interested in understanding the living of the Christian life. O”Connell explores the concept of a moral person, the shape and dynamics of a moral world, and the implications not only for the individual Christian but for the community as a whole Theologian Jean Danielou stated, “Christians often confuse the terms ‘religion ‘and ‘revelation’”. She defined religion as a term we use to denote all those efforts of human beings to touch the transcendent, to contact and appease the divinity.

She defines revelation as indicating divine initiative, the actions by which God approaches and touches us. It proclaims not human searching but divine salvation, not human effort, but divine gift. The precise goal of theology is its most specific objective in all that it does, is not truth, but meaning. This is the appropriate incarnation of the perennial experience of faith in the passing flesh of particular cultures. Theology has reflected on revolution both as a gift to and a challenge for the human person.

History, scriptures, and dogmatics all play a role in writing this book. “Surely deserve more than passing attention” and proposes to deal with each, but in reality he attributes to them little importance. His real criterion is stated clearly enough: “meaning” (though it turns out that by this he really means “experience”) “The ultimate test of our discussions will be whether they are meaningful, in the best sense of the word.

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Do they seem faithful to our experience of revelation? Do they speak in terms which resonate with our human experience? He insists that moral theology (which he has just expressly reduced to moral philosophy) “Tests its own conclusions against the experience of mankind”, and adds, “That is what it means to say that our ethics is human” . We use history to mine the past for useful and helpful insights. One of the goals this book tries to achieve is to understand the moral world; this book is about us. “ As Christ was the “image of God” , so man in his earthly existence is to be the “image of the heavenly man. ” It is growth in Christ that Paul recommends to his readers, contemporary and modern.

In this way the Christian lives his life for God . ” These are the words of Joseph Fitmyer. Seeking a Christian morality inevitably leads to meditation on the person of Jesus himself. Christ is the way, and truth to life. He is the revelation of God to human land. “Be human! No more and no less. Christ permits it, and Christ demands it” . (pg 35) Is one of the fundamental premises of the following principles of Christian ethics. The book itself was easy to read and had a good flow to it. Every chapter was connected some ways to the next.

His facts were clear and he had creditable sources to refer to. The book was interesting to me and made some good points. If you wanted to check the facts you can always refer to the scriptures or parts of the bile O’connell refers to. Some additional reading could also be helpful in understanding principals for a Catholic morality. A suggestion Amzon. com gave me that are frequently bought together is the book : Living ,Loving, and Learning by Leo Buscaglia. All in all, it was a good and enjoyable book to read.


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