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Exploring faith and morals

"Morals and faith must mesh!" - a closing phrase from a stimulating evening led by Fr Alexander, with a questioning group of parishioners, bibles in hand.

We invited two parishioners to give their impressions of the evening, first, Marie O'Grady, from St Peter's :

"The first talk in this year’s series of Summer Lectures on moral theology given by Fr Alexander was on the subject of ‘Is the Church’s Moral Law Based on Reason rather than Scripture?’. Staged in the parish room, this was very well attended in spite of being held during the holiday season. With approx 40 parishioners there, the evening proved to be both lively, informative, interesting and, in some instances, challenging. Fr Alexander spoke on the subject bringing in insights from both theologians and secular philosophers and inviting questions and comments from the audience. There was a lively exchange of views and it proved to be a very thought-provoking evening, offering for those taking part, an opportunity to deepen their knowledge and understanding of their faith."

It can be added that, while many cradle Catholics may not be accustomed to question the reasons or origins of our moral rules, these days shifts in social and church thinking need to be understood.

The relationship between faith and morals was outlined – and the intrinsic links with our faith. The sanctity of marriage, the social damage of adultery, the changing attitude in some churches to practising homosexuals - and wider issues, all clearly and frankly discussed in this illuminating evening.

As Marie noted, there were three more sessions to brighten Monday evenings, when the lower parish room became an arena for challenging, straightforward discussion.

A summing up

John Hutchings attended all four sessions: "It was with some apprehension that I attended the first evening of Fr Alexander's four sessions on 'the foundations of Catholic moral theology'. Awesome title, whatever to expect and will I last the evening trying to keep up with a moral theologian??

But already having savoured Fr Alexander's engaging sense of humour, his literary knowledge and his unambiguous style of delivery I knew I could give it a 'go' without being too far out of my depth, maybe!

“Try everything once and the fun things twice” is a motto I recommend to the faint hearted, and myself of course! Now that the four session have been completed I am looking forward to those planned for the autumn. I was NOT disappointed as Fr Alexander fulfilled my expectations, and left me wanting MORE!

We asked Father Alexander for some references to his books on Moral Theology - the two relevant titles are: 'Foundations of Moral Theology' and 'Narrative Theology and Moral Theology: the Infinite Horizon'.

This quotation from 'Foundations' is part of the extracts available on the internet.
"Moral theology is not an utterly straightforward subject; even the term itself is controversial, for it claims that morals are part of theology, the subject that deals with God; thus moral theology claims to be distinct from ethics/ which is a branch of philosophy that aims to work out what is right or wrong without reference to God, This is just one example of the different approaches to the subject that we will meet time and again. There are various schools of thought in moral theology, all of which try to find answers to the challenges the subject faces, not all of which (indeed, perhaps none of which) are entirely successful. For moral theology, perhaps more than any other branch of theology, is faced with challenging questions which demand answers. Sometimes different approaches are used to find similar answers; sometimes the answers themselves differ, either in emphasis or widely."
The books may be in the public library, but he suggests going to Google books, searching for Alexander Lucie-Smith and using the following internet references: (for Foundations etc) - http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=LSOP0DjeE98C&printsec=frontcover&dq=%22Alexander+Lucie-Smith%22&hl=en&ei=_q1GTIK6DI6l4Qbu37n7CQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CDcQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q&f=false (for Narrative Theology etc - http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=pEcgjFvlI6cC&printsec=frontcover&dq=%22Alexander+Lucie-Smith%22&hl=en&ei=ELVGTO3gM5WT4gbE58T7CQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CC0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false