Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Master of Arts Thesis - Federico Dundas

Yesterday Federico Dundas presented his Master of Arts thesis, "The New Law in Servais Pinckaers' Theology."  His presentation was attended by Federico's fellow members of The Saint John's Society, seminary faculty, and undergraduate and theology students.

Federico explained that the work of Pinckaers explicitly reconnected moral theology to the Gospels.  Pinckaers' main point is that as Christians we receive the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit enables us to live a moral life.

Federico Dundas before his presentation.
According to Federico, the New Law in his title refers to "the gift of the Holy Spirit by which we become able to live Jesus' teachings."  Pinckaers places this gift of the Holy Spirit at the center of moral theology.

The new law, explained, Frederico, has two key characteristics.  First, it is interior.  The law and the power it gives a person to live a moral life is written in a person's  heart.  The second characteristic is freedom.  The new law does not violate a person's human freedom.  It gives a person liberation from sin.

At the end of his presentation, Frederico explained why Pinchaers' approach to moral theology is relevant today.  He listed the following points:

1 - Faith in Christ is at the core of Catholic morality.
2 - Catholic morality is based on the work of the Holy Spirit.
3 - Catholic morality leads to an inner transformation and inner liberation.  Beauty is an essential characteristic of it.
4 - Catholic morality is essentially Christ-centric.
5 - The centrality of the New Law in moral theology provides a clear understanding of the moral system by which the different aspects of moral life can be connected.
6 - Catholic morality can be rooted in the Scriptures.

Before beginning his talk, Federico acknowledged and thanked the faculty members who worked with him on his thesis.  Brother Jonah Wright, OSB, served as his director, and Father Jeremy Driscoll, OSB, served as his reader.  He also expressed his gratitude to Father Jerome Young, OSB, from whom he first learned about Father Servais Pinackaers, and to Mrs. Nancy Holt, who serves as the English standards reader for all of the Master of Arts theses.

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