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Title: The%20Church%20and%20Moral%20Teaching

The Church and Moral Teaching
  • pp. 118 - 123

  • The Church is the continuation in history of the
    mission of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
  • Richard Gula outlines 3 tasks of the Church in
    guiding moral life
  • The Church shapes moral character.
  • The Church guards and maintains moral tradition.
  • The Church is a community of moral deliberation
    whenever and wherever moral issues emerge.

1) The Church shapes moral character
  • The Church has an impact on our moral vision.
  • Its position on moral and ethical issues is
    reported in its own publications, press, T.V.,
    internet, churches, Catholic schools, and
    Catholic homes.
  • The Church is most effective through its rituals
    and symbols, its art and architecture, symbol and
    stories, the Bible and liturgy, social outreach
    programs and interactions with other Christians.

  • These actions touch our imagination and shape our
    vision of the world.
  • They allow us to see this world immersed in Gods
  • Liturgy is the common tool through which the
    Church teaches (more than formal teaching).

2) The Church Guards and maintains moral tradition
  • The Church has a large body of moral teachings to
    assist in forming our consciences.
  • Moral teachings are found in Church documents but
    the teachings are carried out by people
  • - the faithful, theologians, priests and pastoral
    ministers, the teaching authority of the Church

The Faithful
  • The baptized, parents, family, friends, culture,
    catechism, schools, tradition (introduce us to
    moral tradition)
  • Food banks, soup kitchens, Society of St. Vincent
    de Paul, volunteering, international missionary
    and service work
  • We guard and maintain the moral tradition by
    giving witness to the justice and mercy of God.

  • Theologians interpret moral tradition
  • They bridge the gap between moral tradition and
    present time by researching and interpreting
    moral issues.
  • They are not official teachers in the Church
    they instead present ancient messages using ideas
    and imagesa that are useful today.

Priests and Pastoral Workers
  • Priests, deacons, pastoral assistants,
    administrators and catechists.
  • They strive to make teachings accessible to
    ordinary believers.
  • Ordained ministers (priests and deacons) carry
    out sacraments for the community.
  • The sacraments give us the grace to respond in
    faithful and committed action with our lives.

The Teaching Authority of the Church
  • Magisterium is the teaching office of the Church
  • Bishops of the world (includes Cardinals and the
  • They delegate to priests and catechists they
    give a teaching mission to theologians
    (imprimatur and nihil obstat) publish
    definitions of faith, promulgate degrees of
    ecumenical councils, encyclicals, apostolic
    letters etc.

2 levels of the Magisterium
  • Ordinary normal daily teachings of the bishops
    and the pope through encyclicals and apostolic
  • Extraordinary 1) ecumenical councils (pope and
    the college of Bishops gather and deliberate
    pronouncing a solemn degree e.g. Vatican II. 2)
    Pope speaks ex cathedra as head of the Church.
    Only happened twice in history. These are
    considered infallible statements.

3) The Church is a community of moral
  • Ethical positions emerge in response to events in
    a community and in the world.
  • Bishops consult experts in the field and try to
    stay tuned to the moral climate of the time.
  • The Church strives to use media outlets to
    dialogue, debate and collaborate.

Check out these websites
  • http//
  • http//
  • http//
  • These sites contain official teachings and
    publication by the bishops.

Discussion Question
  • What impact do Gospel values have on society,
    politics and ethics?