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“At the beginning of the new Millennium, the poverty of billions of men and women is ‘the one issue that most challenges our human and Christian consciences.”

Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 2004, #449.

Moral Perspectives    Minimize
The following articles are part of an ongoing series written by Dr Brian Lewis which explores understandings of conscience and morality in the Christian tradition. Deeper insights into the Scriptures and church traditions open up new possibilities in ecumenical and philosophical thinking in the search for a more comprehensive moral worldview.

The ‘morning-after’ pill & victims of rape 

By Brian Lewis Christian Tradition,It has long been the popular impression that the so-called morning-after pill operates as an abortion-causing agent. It came as something of a surprise, then, when the Archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Meisner, recently changed his earlier assessment of the morning-after pill after learning from scientists that new versions of this
drug act as contraceptives rather than as abortifacients.
. by jef safi \ pictosophizing, flickr cc


Lay people share teaching

By Brian Lewis Christian Tradition, the Bible and the Magisterium or teaching office of the Church, though necessarily linked with one another, vary greatly in terms of importance to Christian faith. To offset the danger of an undue emphasis on the third factor, a distortion of truth by no means unknown in our past, particularly in the field of morality, Vatican II made the point that 'the teaching office is not above the word of God, but serves it' (Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, n.10). This service to God's word has been exercised and understood in different ways down the history of the Church.Photo Courtesy K Sawyer Photography, clickr CC


Why Guilt?

By Brian Lewis Guilt is something associated with conscience. It results from a “bad conscience”. Most people would agree with that, but it is important to distinguish further between a superficial or false guilt, arising from childhood experiences, and authentic guilt, which belongs when maturity is reached.Courtesy "jef safi", flickr CC


The Phoenix abortion debate

The Phoenix abortion debateBy Brian Lewis In November, 2009, an abortion was approved by the ethics committee of the large and long established St. Joseph’s Catholic Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, but the case did not come to public notice until May, 2010. The lively and sometimes acrimonious debate that followed the publication of this case well illustrates the often extremely complex nature of moral argumentation and for this reason it may be of interest to outline it here.Photo:jef safi - Flikr flickr CC. Courtesy 'mickyg9' 



Some Reflections on Unbeliving

By Brian Lewis The canonisation in Rome of the first Australian saint, St. Mary of the Cross MacKillop, on Sunday, 16th October, on the one hand has led to unprecedented manifestations of joy and pride on the part of her supporters but on the other has occasioned a spate of negative appraisals. At the risk of stating the obvious, it would seem to me to be appropriate to offer a clarification of some of the main issues involved.  

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Matters of Life and Death

Euthanasia in AustraliaBy Brian Lewis The Christian tradition has always upheld that human life is sacred from conception to death and must therefore be respected and preserved. The question arises concerning the extent of this obligation of care and preservation. Are there limits to the duty to preserve life and if so how are these limits to be determined?

Photo courtesy 'Hilarywho', flickr, CC

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The Euthanasia Debate

Euthanasia in AustraliaBy Brian Lewis A distinction needs to be made between the morality of voluntary euthanasia on the one hand and the impact of legislation on the other.
Gurardian of Time', AlicePopkorn, flickr
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Practical Ethics

By Brian Lewis An ethics class has being given a ten-week trial in ten NSW primary schools from 20 April 2010. This class will be held during Scripture time for children whose parents do not wish them to attend religious classes. The move has roused considerable debate in the community and faced strong opposition from some of the churches. Ethics can be theoretical or practical or both.
Photo courtesy "Takver", flickr, CC






The Primacy of Conscience

By Brian Lewis Delving into the Christian tradition about the role of conscience, Dr Lewis defends the primacy of conscience in seeking and adhering to the moral truth of our being (27 July 2009).



Conscience in Christian Thought

Conscience in Christian ThoughtBy Brian Lewis Conscience is not merely a guide of how to act, but is a call to live more fully and authentically (18 July 09).Photo courtesy mellybean - flickr


The Principle of 'Double Effect'

The Principle of 'Double Effect' By Brian Lewis The principle of the 'double effect' was developed as a means of reconciling apparently conflicting moral duties. (5 May 09)



Resolution of Conflict Situations

Resolution of Conflict SituationsBy Brian Lewis Many people find it difficult to resolve apparent conflicts between moral principles in deciding a course of action. Here Dr Brian Lewis indicates how one might resolve such conflicts. (5 May 09) Photo courtesy sagesnow at flickr



Benedict XVI in Africa and the Debate Over Condoms

Benedict XVI in Africa and the Debate Over Condoms By Brian Lewis Pope Benedict's visit to several countries in Africa caused enthusiasm among Africans, but in the West debate focused on his views on condoms. Brian Lewis examines the issues and arguments that condoms in certain circumstances can reduce infection. (15 April 09).


The Main Ethical Theories'

By Brian Lewis One of Australia's senior moral theologians, Brian Lewis, here outlines the main ethical theories underlying choices in public policy today. He examines duty-based theories, consequentialism - including utilitarianism and proportionalism - and person-centred theories. (15 May 09) Photo Loca Luna Flikr CC




Religion and Morality

By Brian Lewis Dr Lewis argues that morality is about the conditions for genuine human flourishing, but that it is not always easy to know what moral living implies. Morality 'is essentially a human truth, to be discovered by human endeavour and moral reasoning'.

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