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ABOUT FREE AND FAITHFUL IN CHRIST. ABOUT FREE AND FAITHFUL IN CHRIST Fr. Augustine Mary Totus + Tuus Maria Dear Francis, I researched Free and Faithful in Christ and I must advise you not to …More
ABOUT FREE AND FAITHFUL IN CHRIST.

ABOUT FREE AND FAITHFUL IN CHRIST
Fr. Augustine Mary


Totus + Tuus Maria
Dear Francis,
I researched Free and Faithful in Christ and I must advise you not to use this work to guide you in your moral deliberations. I provide the following information for you and for any who reads this. It is not that his work has no merit whatsoever, but one must sift carefully through misleading and unclear statements to find something of value.
God's Peace, Fr. Augustine Mary

FREE AND FAITHFUL IN CHRIST: MORAL THEOLOGY FOR CLERGY AND LAITY — By Bernard Haring
VOL. 1 GENERAL MORAL THEOLOGY NEW YORK: CROSSROAD, 1978
VOL. 2, THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE NEW YORK: CROSSROAD, 1979
VOL. 3: LIGHT TO THE WORLD NEW YORK: CROSSROAD, 1981
Bernard Haring said, "moral theology would be absolutely unfaithful to its task if, in its whole content, it did not give particular attention to ecumenism" (General Moral Theology, 3).
Bernard Haring states emphatically that he is committed to biblical ethics, to a relational anthropology, and a defense of human historicity over against the presuppositions of a defensive legalism (cf. General Moral Theology, 7-27, 76-82, 96-101, 127-29).
Bernard Haring's work organizes various moral subjects under categories such as "truth" and "healing" in an ambiguous and non-convincing manner. There is also extensive repetitiveness in the three volumes, especially in regard to his constant attack on legalism. William Werpehowski of Villanova University says the following about Haring's work:
Disparate social, scientific and philosophical materials are considered somewhat haphazardly and, together, serve either to confuse outright or to make very general points that in effect underplay evident substantive differences in those materials. For example, in a chapter on fundamental option, Haring will survey the work of Erikson, Spranger, Kierkegaard, Maslow, and Frankl, celebrating their collective 'outstanding grasp of wholeness' without giving serious attention to deep contrasts in approach (cf. General Moral Theology, 168-81). His undefended aside that these differences are 'more a matter of complementarity than contradiction' (General Moral Theology, 219) only enhances the fear that his procedure will perplex more than enlighten, or at least leave the reader with precious little in the way of synthesis.
Furthermore, Bernard Haring's attitude of 'creative fidelity to the Magisterium' gives one pause to say the least. In his work, The Law of Christ, Haring states,
But what shall we say of an ecclesiastical writer, theologian, or scientist who thinks he has reasons to reject the judgment of the Church's authority, particularly if his own intellectual attitude or position has been affected? . . . .He should first of all carefully study. . . . All further public defense of his position must be studiously and respectfully avoided, unless he is absolutely convinced in conscience that defense of his condemned views is of great importance for the understanding or defense of the faith and for the promotion of Christian piety. (v. 2, 52)
This statement allows for a public defense against a decision of the Magisterium. While couching the statement amidst others such as "complete submission to the doctrinal magisterium" that which is at least tantamount to dissent is permitted.
Haring likes terms such as 'creative fidelity' and 'creative liberty.' They are ambiguous and can easily lead to misinterpretation. Also, Haring's distancing himself from natural law as a basis of moral theology, claiming a new type of biblical morality is questionable. As Lisa Cahill of Boston College states, "On concrete issues, Haring follows neither the traditional natural law method nor a detailed analysis in light of specifically relevant biblical texts or themes. He seems to prefer a commonsense approach to past and present Roman Catholic teaching." Thus we see a departure from rooting his teaching in objective sources.
Finally, Haring's treatment of fundamental option leaves much to be desired. The following quotation from Veritatis Splendor, 65-68 is very helpful in clarifying the ambiguity of Haring:
65.2 Some authors, however, have proposed an even more radical revision of the relationship between person and acts. They speak of a "fundamental freedom," deeper than and different from freedom of choice, which needs to be considered if human actions are to be correctly understood and evaluated. According to these authors, the key role in the moral life is to be attributed to a "fundamental option," brought about by that fundamental freedom whereby the person makes an overall self-determination, not through a specific and conscious decision on the level of reflection, but in a "transcendental" and "athematic" way. Particular acts which flow from this option would constitute only partial and never definitive attempts to give it expression; they would only be its "signs" or symptoms. The immediate object of such acts would not be absolute Good …
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