The Pinckaers ReaderBack in the 1980’s one of my teachers in Toronto, Walter Principe, CSB, noted my interest in St Thomas’s moral teaching and encouraged me to read the work of Servais Pinckaers, OP. In honesty I never got around to that much — my “commentator time” had been given over to Santiago Ramirez — but I knew that, at some point, I would need to read Pinckaers.
The people over at Catholic University of America Press have made that easier, with the publication of The Pinckaers Reader: Renewing Thomistic Moral Theology, a new volume containing 20 of Pinckaers’s studies, translated into English. Here is the blurb from the CUA site:
Servais Pinckaers, O.P., is one of the preeminent Catholic moral theologians of his generation. His highly acclaimed works, among them The Sources of Christian Ethics, offer a thoroughly Thomistic and contemporary vision of the Christian moral life. They reflect the philosophical and spiritual prowess of a moral theologian who is estranged neither from philosophical ethics nor from dogmatic theology, neither from Scripture nor from spirituality.
The first collection of its kind available in any language, this volume features the twenty most significant essays written by Pinckaers since his highly praised Sources. The essays offer profound reflections that are only possible by a contemporary moral theologian who knows the thought of Aquinas from lifelong study. Rather than taking a simply historical approach to Aquinas, Pinckaers seeks the basis of the intelligibility of the moral life, providing rich spiritual and theological insights along the way. He plumbs the depths of fundamental moral theology in these essays, where he treats Thomistic method and the renewal of moral theology, beatitude and Christian anthropology, moral agency, and passions and virtues, as well as law and grace. Such a detailed treatment of key issues in fundamental moral theology and Christian philosophical anthropology will certainly demand attention from every theologian and advanced student interested in Aquinas and in a virtue approach to Christian ethics.
Pinckaers’s work has been an important source for the revival of interest in virtue-oriented moral theology in recent years and will continue to be a major source for debates over the place of Scripture and the Holy Spirit in moral theology.
John Berkman is Associate Professor of Moral Theology and Area Director of Moral Theology/Ethics at The Catholic University of America. Craig Steven Titus is Research Fellow and Lecturer in the Department of Ethics and Moral Theology at the University of Fribourg and Visiting Professor at the Institute for the Psychological Sciences. The essays are translated by Sr. Mary Thomas Noble,O.P., Craig Steven Titus, Michael Sherwin, O.P., and Hugh Connolly.