The Moral Virtues and Theological Ethics

By Romanus Cessario | Go to book overview

5. WHAT CAUSES THE MORAL VIRTUES TO DEVELOP

MORAL VIRTUE AND THE THEOLOGICAL LIFE

The pages of the New Testament repeatedly emphasize that the actual happiness of the believer results from a sustained union with the crucified and risen Christ. Jesus himself points out that remaining united with him requires a special action of divine providence in the life of those called to Christian belief. The Gospel of John, for example, puts these words on the lips of Christ: "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day" ( Jn 6:44). Of course, since many other spiritual benefits result from the union of the believer with Christ, one cannot simply equate the whole effect of incorporation into Christ with the practice of virtue. Still, the moral life does remain a principal area where the presence of grace makes itself felt in the individual, especially through the theological virtues. For a variety of reasons, theologians today generally do not speak about the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity as constitutive elements of the moral life. On the contrary, prevailing theological method prefers to study these virtues as special topics in either systematic or biblical theology.

Neglect of the theological virtues in moral theology remains regrettable for several reasons. First, each theological virtue possesses its own objective interest which it develops in the one who possesses the particular habitus. Faith en-

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The Moral Virtues and Theological Ethics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1- the Moral Virtues And Christian Faith 12
  • 2 - Habitus, Character, And Growth 34
  • 3. What is a Moral Virtue? 45
  • 4- Prudence and The Moral Virtues 72
  • 5- What Causes the Moral Virtues to Develop 94
  • 6- Characteristics Of The Virtues 126
  • Conclusion 151
  • Notes 157
  • Index of Subjects 198
  • Index of Names 201
  • Index of Scripture References 204
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