The Moral Virtues and Theological Ethics

By Romanus Cessario | Go to book overview

6. CHARACTERISTICS OF THE VIRTUES

DISTINCTIVENESS OF CHRISTIAN TEACHING

The Fathers of the Church liked to stress that grace appears not only in the saints' words, but also on their faces. This is as much to say that the moral virtues effect recognizable changes in every aspect of a person's life. Those moral theologians who wrote about virtue usually considered certain related questions as part of their standard exposition, with three in particular receiving attention: first, whether virtue observes a mean; second, whether the virtues are connected; and, third, whether all the virtues exist more or less equally in a given individual. While common experience might induce us to hesitate in the face of these queries, especially those concerning the connection and equality of the moral virtues,1 both pagan philosophers and Christian moralists alike have traditionally taught that the moral virtues observe a mean and are concatenate. This final chapter introduces these corollaries to a theology of the moral virtues.

New Testament teaching on the power of Christ in the moral life compels theologians to explore the characteristics of virtue. St. Paul reminded his converts in Galatia of the integrity of life which Christian life demands. Apparently, certain recidivist members of the community had returned to practices inconsistent with Paul's preaching on the moral and theological unity of Gospel faith. "Are you so foolish?"

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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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