A Journal for The Contemporary Church

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From the Commandments to the Virtues – Changing Emphases in the Christian Moral Life


In its Decree on Priestly Formation of October 1965 the Second Vatican Council enunciated the following directive (par.16): ‘Special attention needs to be given to the development of moral theology. Its scientific exposition should be more thoroughly nourished by scriptural teaching. It should show the nobility of the Christian vocation of the faithful, and their obligation to bring forth fruit in charity for the life of the world.’
This official church statement at the highest level has been of major significance in furthering the renewal of moral theology in the more than 50 years since it was issued. It may not, however, have marked the very beginning of that renewal which had got under way in earlier works on the Christian moral life by such noted moralists as Bernard Haring, Gerard Gilleman and Fritz Tillmann.

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