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Chapter 1: Introduction to Moral Theology and to This Book


This chapter explains briefly what moral theology is, how it is related to faith, and how it is related to other theological disciplines. It also explains why renewal is needed in moral theology and how this book is intended to help in that work.1

Moral theology reflects upon faith to seek understanding of its implications for Christian life. Vatican II calls for a renewal in moral theology, whose development both before and since the Council has been unsatisfactory. Christian moral principles must show how Christian life, centered in Jesus, should be lived in response to the Christian’s total vocation, which is both to life in this world and to life everlasting.

1. A convenient, brief introduction to theology: G. F. van Ackeren, S.J., “Theology,” New Catholic Encyclopedia, 14:39–49. A fuller introduction, including but not limited to historical considerations: Yves M.-J. Congar, O.P., A History of Theology (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1968).