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Newman Lecture Series: The Difficulty of Moral Virtues
The lecture will address the problem of those who have received the divine grace of infused moral virtue, but who often cannot easily perform the appropriate acts.

Two inputs from the early 20th century can help us understand this difficulty of moral virtues. The French theologian Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange O.P. claimed that human reason is capable of directly grasping moral truth, whereas the Polish historian Feliks Koneczny noted very different immediate perceptions of what is morally appropriate and what influences distinct cultures.

According to St. Thomas Aquinas, moral action requires not only theoretical knowledge about the good, but also an immediate grasping of the truth of the matter by practical reason supported by well-ordered emotions and volition (affectivity). This knowledge and affectivity, however, are sometimes disordered, due to an ingrained inclination in the evaluative, sensate judgment of what is perceived to be useful (vis cogitativa). As a result, some people have a habit (connatural inclination) towards what is unnatural. Can this basis for virtue be healed? This question is not easy to resolve, but some suggestions can be offered as to why it is difficult to perform acts of moral virtues. For instance, historical experience shows that changes in ethos sometimes come about when new social pressure begins interpreting some previously accepted acts as dishonorable.

Presenter:
Fr. Wojciech Giertych, O.P. is a Polish Roman Catholic priest in the Dominican Order. He has served in the Prefecture of the Pontifical Household as Theologian of the Pontifical Household during the pontificates of Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis.

Feb 3, 2022 05:30 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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