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Principles of Christian Morality by Heinz Schurmann,Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger,Hans Urs von Balthasar

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A collection of essays by three giants of twentieth-cenutry theology: Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI), Hans Urs von Balthasar, and Heinz Schurmann. Balthasar's and Schurmann's essays were written for the International Theological Commission. Schurmann examines how the New Testament's teaching provides enduring moral norms for Christian conduct. Balthasar presents nine basic principles of the Christian moral life. Ratzinger, who originally wrote this essay as a series of articles for L'Osservatore Romano , addresses the relationship between faith and morality, and the place of the Church's teaching authority with regard to moral issues.

Reviews (2)
Principles of Christian Morality is a challenging and sometimes dense work of continental moral theology. It contains three essays from the 70's, two of which were prepared as part of the work of the International Theological Commission of the Catholic Church, while the third is an amalgamation of newspaper articles written on related themes by the theologian who would later become Benedict XVI. Interestingly, there is little discussion of Christian morality, as such. The focus of the book is on making a relatively conservative/traditional response to the liberal theologians of the 60's and early 70's who were questioning the "binding nature of biblical values and precepts." The uniform response of the authors is the values and precepts of the New Testament are largely normative today (Schurmann), the Church has authority to "make detailed and practical decisions for or against an interpretation on the morality that springs from grace (Ratzinger), and pre-Christian or extra-Biblical ethics that neglect the "concrete categorical imperative" of Jesus Christ are incomplete (Von Balthasar). Perhaps the second edition of this work could be retitled "A Prolegomena to Christian Morality" to better describe the focus of the essays. This is not really an introductory-level text, though, and I write as someone who has navigated my way through a bit of theological prose (and some poetry!) in my time. For readers seeking a more accessible introduction, I recommend reading part III of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: Second Edition before tackling this substantial work. That being noted, the authors all have something to say to the ambitious or prepared reader, and their prose is sometimes quite beautiful.
This volume is a good little work which gives a very basic introduction to the first principles of moral theology. This was the first book I read when I got serious about getting a handle on the Catholic Church's teaching with regard to morals. In short, I think this work is incredibly valuable because it drives home on a single point - the point of morality is a response to love (namely, God's love), and the point of moral theology is the discovery of how best to respond to that love. A short book that can be read in an afternoon, but I would recommend using it as spiritual reading, slowly exploring the book for a few weeks. Well worth the money.

ISBN: 0898700868

Rating: 4.7/5

Votes: 784

Other Formats: docx lrf mobi lrf

ISBN13: 978-0898700862

Publisher: Ignatius Press; First American edition (June 1, 1986)

Language: English

Subcategory: Theology

Pages: 104

Principles of Christian Morality
Christian Books & Bibles
Author: Heinz Schurmann,Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger,Hans Urs von Balthasar
Title: Principles of Christian Morality