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The Old Law and the New Morality
by P.J. Gannon, SJ
 
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Code: 1929291299
Price: 16.80 $16.80
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Who said this? "The Ten Commandments are mere lumber nowadays ... unsuited and inadequate to modern needs."

The answer is George Bernard Shaw -- but it could have been any number of 20th-century skeptics. Today, their once "shocking" views are held by countless millions, and sustained by unceasing propaganda from Hollywood, public schools and the government. Result? A widespread moral meltdown whose catastrophic consequences are just beginning to be felt. Yes, there is hope. But the hour is even later than when P.J. Gannon, SJ, spelled out our stark choices some 65 years ago:"Humanity has really two courses open to it -- to get back to clear thinking and right moral principles, or to continue its perilous drift towards the abyss."

Those "right moral principles" derive from the very Decalogue spurned by Shaw & Co, argues Fr. Gannon, who was one of Ireland's foremost preachers and delivered these essays as sermons to packed Dublin churches in the 1930s. He shows how the Commandments, as interpreted by the Church, provide solid answers to a wide range of moral and social questions -- and why the widespread flouting of any one of them brings disastrous results for the whole of society:

  • How some famous critics of the Commandments betray a messianic ambition to be "a new Moses to mankind"
  • How modern morality makes sins virtuous, and virtues sinful
  • How the Reformation and Enlightenment undermined the "sanity and clarity of the European mind," opening it to gross error
  • How atheism permeates most of today's art and literature
  • How the modern dethronement of God robs man of the basis of his sanity, his self-respect, and his hopes
  • Why dogma and ethics are inseparable, making it impossible to reject Church moral teachings and still claim to be Catholic
  • Why evolutionary theory -- even if true -- does not disprove the necessity of God's existence
  • Why non-Christian "spirituality" soon collapses into atheism
  • How the Fourth Commandment goes beyond child-parent relations in a way that makes sense of its promised reward of long life
  • Why all political systems based on apostasy are in the end driven to the denial of liberty and destruction of personality
  • Why true liberty does not exist outside the Christian tradition (and certainly not in, say, the Moslem!)
  • The criterion by which democracies may be judged legitimate or not. When revolution is and isn't justified
  • Tips for parents: how to guide children through adolescence
  • Proof from history: How societies that exalt unfettered personal freedom inevitably degenerate into tyrannies
  • May a woman jump from a high window to escape a pursuing assault? May a soldier take his life to prevent important information from falling into enemy hands? The answers to these and other thorny questions, according to the mind of the Church
  • The Fifth Commandment: how it applies to war, suicide, the death penalty, self-defense, abortion, euthanasia, sterilization, and other issues
  • How modern conventions of speech and thought have confused the difference between love and lust
  • What many well-instructed Catholics don't know about Church teaching on chastity. The four principles underlying it
  • Why the Sixth Commandment forbids divorce and contraception, no less than adultery
  • Why all deliberate seeking of sexual pleasure outside marriage -- even in thought or word -- is mortal sin
  • The right to private ownership. Why the communal ownership practiced by religious communities cannot be the basis of society in general
  • Why every act of dishonesty is at the expense of the poor -- whether the sinner is rich or not
  • Why the Catholic -- including Jesuit -- teaching on truth is far stricter than that of non-Catholic moralists
  • "Mental reservation" (evasive answers): When permissible? When do they cross the line into lying?
  • The varieties of "bearing false witness," distinguished: lying, calumny, defamation, detraction, gossip, perjury, and others

    Excerpt: On Chastity- "Certainly it is not an easy virtue, particularly in youth, when the blood courses riotously in the veins, the imagination fills with dreams, the stern realities of life are veiled beneath the haze of romance, and as yet all the dark and cruel mysteries of iniquity are unknown. God help the young in their hour of trial! They little know what weighty issues, temporal and eternal, turn on their conduct during adolescence. Not without reason has the Sixth been called 'The Difficult Commandment.' "But that is no excuse for calling it impossible or seeking to abrogate it."

    Hardcover



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