Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Requiescat in Pace

Servais Pinckaers, O.P.
Professor of Moral Theology
Université de Fribourg

Through the kindness of a reader, I was informed this morning of a notice posted by Fr. Michael Sherwin, O.P., a priest of my Western Dominican Province and instructor in Moral Theology in the Dominican Faculty at Fribourg, that Fr. Servais Pinckaers, O.P., perhaps the formost interpreter of the moral theology of St. Thomas Aquinas, passed away this past Sunday, April 6, in the early morning. He was a distinguished Thomist and a great teacher. The Order and Catholic Moral Theology will miss him greatly.

Fr. Pinchaers was born in Liege, Belgium, in 1925. He entered the Order of Preachers in 1945. He was ordained in 1951 and received a Ph.D. from the Angelicum (where I am currently living) in 1952. He taught moral theology from 1952 to 1965 in Belgium, and from 1965 to 1973 was in pastoral ministry at Leige. In 1980, he began teaching at Fribourg in Switzerland, becoming a full professor of moral theology in 1980, and a senior member of the faculty of theology from 1989 until 1991. He was a member of the International Theological Commission from 1992 until his death.

His publications are many. His L'Evangile et la Morale (1989), in English as The Sources of Christian Ethics (1995) and its shorter version, La Morale Catholique (1991), are central works in 20th-century moral theology. The later has been published as Morality: The Catholic View, with a preface by Alasdair MacIntyre, in translation by Fr. Michael Sherwin, O.P., from St. Augustine's Press. It is a good introduction to his work and can be found on Other works in English include: The Pursuit of Happiness: Living the Beatitudes (1998), and the collection of his essays, The Pinckaers Reader : Renewing Thomistic Moral Theology (2005). Before his death, Fr. Pinchaers had just finished a textual analysis and commentary for the first five questions of the Prima Secundae for the second edition of the Revue des Jeunes' bilingual edition of the Summa Theologiae.

Fr. Pinckaers has served on several Roman commissions, including the Commission that wrote the Catechism of the Catholic Church, contributing to the moral section, and the preparatory commissions for the encyclical Veritatis Splendor.

I ask our readers to join with my fellow members of the Dominican Order in praying for the respose of the soul of this great, learned, and holy friar.

If anyone in Rome is interested in a Mass for his Soul, my email is found linked on this web

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