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Book Release: An Ethics of Mercy

(cover back text)


On the Way to Meaningful Living and Loving

“A small step, in the midst of great human limitations, can be more pleasing to God than a life which appears outwardly in order but moves through the day without confronting great difficulties.” (Pope Francis I, Amoris Laetitia).

Sexual experimentation, living together, raising children outside of marriage, remarriage after divorce, and same-sex relationships…. : these behaviours have become common in the wider society as well as among Christians and Catholic Christians. Not only do they think and act differently than the official Church teaching but they do so convinced that they are acting rightly. This challenges ethics to respond by what can be called an ‘ethics of mercy’, by meeting people where they are and helping them to grow towards the fullness of live and love. Such a pastoral and educational ethics of growth should dare to stand within the tension between what is desirable and what is attainable, without surrendering the ‘provocative’ idea of conjugal covenant as the basis for the family.

Mercy is needed not only after ethics but in ethics. In harmony with Pope Francis’s plea for ‘the logic of pastoral mercy and discernment’ (Amoris Laetitia), this book seeks a middle way between merciless rigourism and relativising subjectivism. It proposes an ethics of redemption that accompanies people on their way to meaningful living and loving, grounded in a spirituality that springs from the salvation offered in Jesus, the incarnation of God’s mercy.

“Burggraeve’s book provides an excellent reading for reflection and debate about issues of marriage and family life among Catholics. But it also offers ample orientation and encouragement for anyone who is searching for ‘meaningful living and loving’ in turbulent times.” (Thomas Knieps-Port le Roi).

Roger Burggraeve, sdb (1942) is professor emeritus of theological ethics at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium), where he taught, among others, the course An Ethics of Growth for Difficult Pastoral and Educational Situations. For 37 years he was also part-time collaborator and team member of the Salesian youth pastoral Centre ‘Eigentijdse Jeugd’ (Youth Today) in Dilbeek (Brussels, Belgium).

Leuven, Peeters, 2016, 299 p.

Roger Burggraeve