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Keeping Current: Somebody’s Calling: The Liturgy, Discernment, and Christian Discipleship

Authors
Publisher
Catholic Theological Union through the Paul Bechtold Library
Publication Date
Disciplines
  • Ecology
  • Philosophy
  • Religious Science

Abstract

n e w T H e o l o G y r e v I e w • f e b r u a r y 2 0 0 7 1�� d a w n � m. � n o t h w e h r, � o. s. f. By the Power of the Holy Spirit Discernment of Spirits and Moral Choice Dawn M. Nothwehr, O.S.F. Catholics need to reclaim the significant role of the Holy Spirit in moral decision making. The Holy Spirit’s activity permeates the Catholic moral tradition via the process of discernment of spirits that complements moral reasoning (ratio practica). Ministers need to become familiar with the activity of the Spirit in the moral life. In our pluralistic, fearful, ecologically threatened world, Catholics need to reclaim the significant role of the life-giving and communion-building Holy Spirit in empowering, sustaining, and enabling them to make moral decisions. As I will explain, the sociology of religion shows some trends that clarify why there is increased attention to the role of the Holy Spirit in morality today. Indeed, the good news is that the Holy Spirit’s activity of inspiring virtue and giving gifts permeates the Catholic moral tradition to its core. In fact, the process of discern- ment of spirits complements moral reasoning (ratio practica) and mutually engages the moral life and the spiritual life within the life of faith. Because they are frequently asked to assist the faithful in deciding moral issues, ministers need to become familiar with a process of uncovering and recognizing the activity of the Spirit in the moral life. A Turn to the Holy Spirit—Why Now? Though the Holy Spirit has been recognized as a powerful force in the moral life from biblical times forward, at various times throughout the church’s Dawn M. Nothwehr, O.S.F., is associate professor of ethics at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. Her latest book is The Franciscan View of the Human Person: Some Central Elements. history moralists have reduced its flame to a smoldering wick or allowed the Spirit’s flame to burn brightly. Some social

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