Pope: Moral theology should address the problems of a globalised society

The "logic of mercy" should counter that of a "throwaway" culture. Ecological awareness should be raised and the value of life defended at a time of new possibilities offered by the development of biomedical sciences.

Feb 10, 2019

VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis on Saturday met students and teachers from Rome’s Alphonsian Academy on the 70th anniversary of its foundation.

In his address, the pontiff said that whilst moral theology faces concrete challenges, the "logic of mercy" must oppose to that of a “throwaway” culture. This requires raising ecological awareness and defending life at a time of new possibilities provided by the development of biomedical sciences.

Francis urges the Academy, whose specialisation is moral theology, to make "an even more convinced and generous commitment to a moral theology inspired by the missionary tension of an ‘outbound’ Church.”

Indeed, “we must always avoid letting ourselves be imprisoned in positions of schools or in judgments formulated ‘far removed from the concrete situations and practical possibilities’ of people and families. Equally, it is necessary to be on guard against an ‘excessive idealization’ of Christian life that is not capable of reawakening ‘trust in God’s grace’.”

"The realities to be heard are first and foremost the sufferings and the hopes of those whom the thousand forms of power of sin continue to condemn to insecurity, to poverty, to marginalization. Saint Alphonsus understood very soon that it was not a world to defend oneself against, even less to condemn, but rather to heal and liberate, in imitation of the action of Christ: incarnating and sharing needs, to reawaken the deepest expectations of the heart, to make sure that everyone, however fragile and sinful, is in the heart of the Heavenly Father and is loved by Christ unto the cross. Who is touched by this love, feels the urgency to respond with love.”

"All words of moral theology must let themselves be formed by this merciful logic, that enables them to be encountered effectively as words of a life in fullness."

Our increasingly globalised world requires overcoming individualistic morality and three quick responses. The first is against “the growing dominance of the logic of ‘the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest’.” The second is against the view that treats “human beings [as] … consumer goods”. And lastly comes “the cry of the earth, violated and wounded in a thousand ways by selfish exploitation.”

"I reflect on the fact that when I administer Reconciliation – even before, when I did so – only rarely does someone admit to having carried out an act of violence to nature, to the earth, to creation. We do not yet have awareness of this sin. It is your task to do this.”

"Moral research is also called to carry out dialogue and shared commitment also in relation to the new possibilities that the development of the biomedical sciences makes available to humanity. There should never lack a frank testimony of the unconditional value of every life, reiterating that it is precisely the weakest and most defenceless life that we are called to take responsibility for in a united and trustful manner.”

“I am sure that the Alphonsian Academy will continue to be committed to a moral theology that does not hesitate to ‘get its hands dirty’ with the concrete reality of problems, especially with the fragility and the suffering of those who most see their future under threat, bearing witness with frankness to Christ, ‘the way and the truth and the life’ (Jn, 14: 6)."--Asianews

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