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Among all the theological disciplines, perhaps moral theology has felt the impact of the conciliar renewal most. There has been a mass of excellent literature calling for a synthetic presentation. At the same time, a more flexible and dynamic ethic based on the Gospel values of love and freedom, while it has undoubtedly deepened the Christian life of many, has also caused not a little confusion in the minds of many. There are endless discussions on burning issues like contraception and abortion which often do not end in any satisfactory conclusion because the general principles for ethical decision are not clear. There is also a polarization between conservatives and progressives which leaves the neutral observer puzzled. This book is written to clarify the basic issues in Christian ethics in an age of secularism and pluralism. Although it can be taken as a treatise on General Moral Theology, this book is addressed to a wider audience than students of theology. It is meant to be a guide to Christian Living according to Vatican II. It seeks to transcend the unfortunate dichotomy between 'moral' and 'spiritual' theology as the Council clearly wanted when it spoke of the subject of moral theology as the Christian vocation of the faithful, and their obligation to bring forth fruit in charity for the life of the world. While discussing the basic principles of Christian ethics, the main preoccupation has been to discover an approach to moral decision that would safeguard all the moral values in a given situation. The broad orientations for moral guidance today have been brought out in several places. Special attention has been given to the question of moral absolutes as it is central to ethical discourse now. The ecumenical spirit, common preoccupations, and a shared respect for the Word of God have brought Catholic and Protestant moral theology closer. Hence an effort has been made to have a dialogue with the theologians of the Reformed tradition. The strong influence of Protestant ethical writers on current Catholic moral theology has been brought out.
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