Moral Dignity of Man
The Moral Dignity of Man, Fr. Bristow convincingly demonstrates
the insufficiency of contemporary morality especially in dealing with
contemporary moral problems. Only an ethical system that respects the
natural moral law can respect the dignity of the human person. The critical
circumstances which face us today are not evaded: "Ignorance is rife
among younger generations and confusion widespread among their elders.
The Christian moral ethos has been seriously undermined and very often
its principles have become, at best, a matter of debate." Nevertheless,
the author succeeds in portraying Christian moral teaching in a positive
light. There are generous quotations from the Papal encyclicals, especially
Veritatis splendor and Evangelium vitae as well as from
the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The first five chapters are perhaps
the most crucial in that they describe the basic principles in morality:
conscience, the natural law, the dignity of the human person, etc. These
principles are dealt with clarity and respect for Catholic tradition.
There is a useful history of philosophical thinking - with the non-specialist
very much in mind - which reminds us of the author's own philosophical
Bristow succeeds in demonstrating the basic inadequacy of alternative
ethical systems, especially Kantian ethics and utilitarianism. These
chapters provide the reader with the basic "tools" required to analyse
contemporary moral situations in the light of faith and reason. The
remaining chapters deal with family morality (the sacramentality of
marriage, the contraceptive mentality, etc.) and with medical ethics
(abortion, euthanasia, reproductive technology and co-operation in
evil.) This work has succeeded as "an exposition of Catholic moral
doctrine with particular reference to family and medical ethics in
the light of contemporary developments." It is also immensely practical'
Dr Pravin Thevathasan.
us | information