HANDBOOK of MORAL THEOLOGY

by

Dominic M. Prummer, O.P.

Translated from the Latin by

REVEREND GERALD W. SHELTON, S.T.L.

 

Nihil Obstat : Rev D. Thomas H. Bird, S.T.D., Ph.D.

Censor Deputatus.

Impriatur:

* FRANCJSCUS

Archiepiscopus Birmingamiensis ,

Birmingamix, die as Decembris 1955.

 

 

PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION

In the sphere of the practical sciences summaries are extremely useful, for it is characteristic of man that no matter how great his diligence in completing his studies he gradually forgets the knowledge he has laboured to acquire. Consequently repetition is so necessary that we may rightly regard it as the mother of his studies. However, the standard Manuals which are usually so diffuse are not very suitable for this purpose, which is more easily achieved by summaries whose clarity and brevity prevent such works from being either obscure or verbose. Thus there exists an eager demand for summaries of Moral Theology already published. I, myself, have received many and earnest requests to produce a summary of my own Manual of Moral Theology. It is in deference to such requests that I am now publishing this small book written some time ago which by following the same method presents in a nutshell the teaching contained in the larger work. It would seem unnecessary to state explicitly what is abundantly clear to everyone already — namely, that no cleric can acquire a sufficient knowledge of Moral Theology from this summary alone. For even when considering important questions, I have been obliged by the claim of brevity to treat of them less fully by omitting the various proofs, arguments and examples. My sole intention has been to produce an acceptable vade-mecum which might prove a faithful companion for the young cleric and help him to prepare easily for the necessary examinations, and which at the same time might provide a refresher course for the older priest — especially the confessor — in the doctrine studied in the schools in his earlier days and so essential for his everyday requirements.

With filial reverence I dedicate this work with all its virtues and failings to our father, St. Dominic, who seven hundred years ago, entered into the glory of Heaven after a life of apostolic labour.

Author.

Fribourg, Switzerland, August 4, the Feast of St. Dominic, 1921,

 

 

PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION

Within the space of barely one year five thousand copies of our Vademecum have been sold, ample evidence of the pleasure which it gave and continues to give to many clerics. This is all the more noteworthy in view of the fact that there existed already many excellent works of a similar character written by men of outstanding repute. In this second edition, numbering ten thousand copies, I have tried to expand the teaching without increasing the overall size of the book. In the Appendix will be found two recent documents from the Roman Curia which seem useful for the priest’s ministry in the confessional. May God again favour the publication of our Vade-mecum with His protection, and may it prove a faithful guide to clerics both in learning and applying their Moral Theology.

Fribourg, Switzerland, January 6, 1923.

Author.

 

PREFACE TO THE FIFTH EDITION

In this fifth edition I have added the more important replies and declarations of recent date. Some of these could not be inserted in the text by reason of technical difficulties 1 ; hence their present position in the Appendix.

May God grant that this fifth edition redound to His glory and be of benefit to its readers.

Fr. Englebert M. Munch, O.P.

Berlin, October 27, the Feast of Christ the King, 1940.

For the sake of brevity the canons of the Code of Canon Law are indicated by the single letter “c”; for example (c. 100) refers to the hundredth canon of the Code of Canon Law.

1- In the present translation all these replies and declarations have been incorporated in the text.

 

 

PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION

Within the space of barely one year five thousand copies of our Vade-mecum have been sold, ample evidence of the pleasure which it gave and continues to give to many clerics. This is all the more noteworthy in view of the fact that there existed already many excellent works of a similar character written by men of outstanding repute. In this second edition, numbering ten thousand copies, I have tried to expand the teaching without increasing the overall size of the book. In the Appendix will be found two recent documents from the Roman Curia which seem useful for the priest’s ministry in the confessional. May God again favour the publication of our Vade-mecum with His protection, and may it prove a faithful guide to clerics both in learning and applying their Moral Theology.

Author.

Fribourg, Switzerland, January 6, 1923.

 

PREFACE TO THE FIFTH EDITION

In this fifth edition I have added the more important replies and declarations of recent date. Some of these could not be inserted in the text by reason of technical difficulties 1 ; hence their present position in the Appendix.

May God grant that this fifth edition redound to His glory and be of benefit to its readers.

Fr. Englebert M. Munch, O.P.

Berlin, October 27, the Feast of Christ the King, 1940.

 

For the sake of brevity the canons of the Code of Canon Law are indicated by the single letter “ c ” ; for example (c. 100) refers to the hundredth canon of the Code of Canon Law.

1 In the present translation all these replies and declarations have been incorporated in the text.

 

CONTENTS

 

Preface to the First Edition

Preface to the Second Edition

Introduction to Moral Theology

Definition, Method, and Division of Moral Theology

PART ONE

TREATISE I – The Ultimate End of Man

TREATISE II – Human Acts

Chapter I. Nature and Kinds of Human Acts

Chapter II. Internal Principles of the Human Act

Art. 1. Knowledge required for Human Acts

Art. 2. Voluntary Acts

  1. Violence
  2. Fear
  3. Passion or Concupiscence
  4. Certain Pathological States of the Body

Chapter III. Morality of Human Acts

Art. 1. Nature and Kinds of Morality

Arr. 2. Principles or Sources of Morality

Art. 3. Extent of Morality

Chapter IV. Merit in Human Acts

TREATISE III

Law

Chapter I. Definition and Kinds of Law

Chapter II. Divine Law

Art. I. Eternal Law

Art. 2. Natural Law

Art. 3. Divine Positive Law

Chapter III. Human Law

Art. 1. The Author of Human Law

Art. 2. The Content of Human Law

Art. 3. The Subjects of Human Law

Art. 4. Promulgation and Acceptance of Law

Art. 5. Obligation of Human Law

Art. 6. Fulfilment of Law

Art. 7. Interpretation of Law

Art. 8 . Cessation of Law

Art. 9. Civil Law and its Obligations

TREATISE IV

Conscience

Chapter I. Definition and Kinds of Conscience

Chapter II. The True Conscience and the False Conscience

Chapter III. The Lax Conscience

Chapter IV. The Perplexed Conscience and the Scrupulous Conscience

Chapter V. The Certain Conscience and the Doubting Conscience

Art. 1. The Certain Conscience

Art. 2. The Doubting Conscience

Chapter VI. Various Moral Systems

Chapter VII. The Education of Conscience

TREATISE V

Sin in General

Chapter I. The Nature of Sin

Chapter II. Kinds of Sin

Chapter III. Species of Sins

Chapter IV. Numerical Distinction of Sins

Chapter V. Causes of Sin

Chapter VI. Effects of Sin

Chapter VII. Internal Sin

Chapter VIII. The Capital Sins

  1. Pride and Vainglory
  2. Avarice

3 – Lust

4 – Envy

5 – Gluttony

6 – Anger

  1. Sloth

TREATISE VI

Virtue in General

Chapter I. Nature and Kinds of Virtue

Chapter II. The Acquired Moral Virtues

Chapter III. The Infused Virtues

TREATISE VII

Theological Faith and Contrary Vices

Chapter I. Nature of Theological Faith

Art. 1. The Act of Faith

Art. 2. The Virtue of Faith

Chapter II. Necessity of Theological Faith

Art. 1. Necessity of Faith as a Means of Salvation

Art. 2. Necessity of Faith from Precept

Chapter III. Vices Contrary to Faith

Art. 1. Paganism and Judaism

Art. 2. Apostasy and Heresy

Art. 3. Dangers to Faith

$ 2. Attendance at non-Catholic Schools

TREATISE VIII

Theological Hope and Contrary Vices

Chapter I. Nature of Theological Hope

Chapter II. Necessity of Theological Hope

Chapter III. Contrary Vices and Sins

TREATISE IX

Theological Charity and Contrary Vices

Chapter I. Charity towards God

Art. 1. Nature and Properties of Charity

Art. 2. Necessity of Charity

Art. 3. Vices Contrary to Charity towards God

Chapter II. Charity to Self

Chapter III. Charity to the Neighbour

Art. 1. Existence, Extent, and Order of the Precept of Charity to the Neighbour

Art. 2 . External Acts of Charity to the Neighbour

Art. 3. Sins Against Charity to the Neighbour

TREATISE X

The Virtue of Prudence and Contrary Vices

Chapter I. The Virtue of Prudence

Chapter II. Contrary Vices

TREATISE XI

The Virtue of Justice and Contrary Vices

SECTION I

Rights and the Virtue of Justice

QUESTION I

Rights

Chapter I. – Definition and Kinds of Rights

Chapter II. – Objects of Ownership

Chapter III. – Subjects of Ownership

Art. 1. Property Rights of the Married

Art. 2. Property Rights of Children

Art. 3. Property Rights of Clerics

Chapter IV.

Titles to Ownership

Art. 1. Occupancy

Art. 2. Finding Lost Property

Art. 3. Accession

Art. 4. Prescription

QUESTION II

The Virtue of Justice in Itself

Chapter I. Definition of Justice

Chapter II. The Parts of Justice

QUESTION III

Injustice and Restitution

Chapter I. Injustice in General

Chapter II. Taking the Property of Another

Art. 1. Nature and Gravity of Theft in General

Art. 2. Particular Forms of Theft

Art. 3. Taking not Theft

Chapter III. Unjust Damage

Art. 1. Unjust Damage in General

Art. 2. Co-operation in Unjust Damage

Art. 3. Physical Injury

  1. Capital Punishment
  2. Killing the Unjust Aggressor
  3. Duelling
  4. War
  5. Killing the Innocent
  6. Craniotomy
  7. Abortion

Art. 4. Verbal Injury

  1. Verbal Injury in Court
  1. Verbal Injury Outside Court

Chapter IV. Restitution, or. Reparation of Violated Rights

Art. 1. The Obligation of Restitution in General

Art. 2. Grounds of Restitution

  1. Possession in Good Faith
  2. Possession in Bad Faith
  3. Possession in Doubtful Faith

Art. 3. The Manner and Circumstances of Restitution

Art. 4. Causes Excusing from Restitution

QUESTION IV

Contracts

Chapter I. Contracts in General

Art. 1. Definition and Kinds of Contract

Art. 2. Requisites for Contract

Art. 3. The Effect or Obligation of Contract

Chapter II. Particular Contracts

Art. 1. Gratuitous Contracts

  1. Gifts in General
  2. Gifts inter vivos and Gifts mortis causa
  3. Last Will and Testament
  4. Intestate Succession

Art. 2. Onerous Contracts

  1. The Commodity and the Obligation of the Seller
  2. The Price and the Obligation of the Buyer

Art. 3. Aleatory Contract

SECTION II

Potential Parts of the Virtue of Justice

QUESTION I

The Virtue of Religion — or the First Three Commandments of the Decalogue

Chapter I. The Nature of Religion

Chapter II. Acts of the Virtue of Religion

Art. 1. Devotion

Art. 2. Prayer

Art. 3. Adoration

Art. 4. Vows

Art. 5. Oaths

Art. 6. Adjuration

Art. 7. Sanctification of Sundays and Feasts

Chapter III. Vices Contrary to the Virtue of Religion

Art. 1. Superstition in General

Art. 2. Idolatry

Art. 3. Divination

Art. 4. Vain Observance

Art. 5. Magic and Sorcery

Art. 6. Magnetism, Hypnotism, Spiritualism

Art. 7. Tempting God

Art. 8. Blasphemy

Art. 9. Sacrilege

Art.10. Simony

QUESTION II

The Virtues of Piety, Reverence and Obedience — the Fourth Commandment

Chapter I. Piety

Chapter II. Reverence

Chapter III. Obedience

Chapter IV. Piety, Reverence and Obedience as Practised by Parents Children, etc.

QUESTION III

Virtues Related to Justice: Gratitude, Revenge, Politeness, Generosity, Epikeia

Chapter I. Gratitude

Chapter II. Revenge

Chapter III. Politeness

Chapter IV. Generosity

Chapter V. Epikeia or Equity

TREATISE XII

The Virtue of Fortitude and Contrary Vices

Chapter I. Definition of Fortitude

Chapter II. Acts of Fortitude

Chapter III. The Integral and Potential Parts of Fortitude

Chapter IV. Vices Contrary to Fortitude

TREATISE XIII

The Virtue of Temperance and Contrary Vices

Chapter I. The Nature of Temperance

Chapter II. The Parts of Temperance in General

Chapter III. The Subjective Parts of Temperance and their Contrary Vices

Art. 1. Abstinence and Fasting

Art. 2. The Vice Contrary to the Virtue of Abstinence — Gluttony

Art. 3. Sobriety and its Contrary Vice — Drunkenness

Art. 4. Chastity and Virginity

Art. 5. The Vice Contrary to Chastity — Impurity

Chapter IV. Potential Parts of Temperance

PART TWO

The Sacraments in General and in Particular

TREATISE I

The Sacraments in General

Chapter I. Nature and Existence of the Sacraments

Chapter II. Number and Kinds of the Sacraments

Chapter III. Efficacy and Effects of the Sacraments

Chapter IV. The Institution of the Sacraments

Chapter V. The Minister of the Sacraments

Art. 1. The Minister himself: his Faith and State of Grace

Art. 2. The Attention and Intention of the Minister of the Sacraments

Art. 3. The Obligation of Administering and Refusing the Sacraments

Art. 4. Simulation and Pretence in Conferring the Sacraments

Chapter VI. The Recipient of the Sacraments

Appendix. Sacramentals

TREATISE II

Baptism

Chapter I. Nature, Institution, Kinds of Baptism

Chapter II. The Matter and Form of Baptism

Chapter III. The Effects of Baptism

Chapter IV. Necessity of Baptism

Chapter V. The Minister of Baptism

Chapter VI. The Subject of Baptism

Chapter VII. The Ceremonies of Baptism

TREATISE III

Confirmation

Chapter I. Definition and Effects of Confirmation

Chapter II. The Matter and Form of Confirmation

Chapter III. The Minister and the Subject of Confirmation

Chapter IV. The Ceremonies of Confirmation

TREATISE IV

The Holy Eucharist

SECTION I

The Holy Eucharist as a Sacrament

Chapter I. Definition and Institution of the Holy Eucharist

Chapter II. The Matter and Form of the Holy Eucharist

Art. 1. The Matter of the Holy Eucharist

Art. 2. The Form of the Holy Eucharist

Chapter III. The Effects of the Holy Eucharist

Chapter IV. The Recipient of the Holy Eucharist

Art. I. The Person of the Recipient

Art. 2. Dispositions for the Reception of Holy Communion

Art. 3. Obligation of Receiving Holy Communion

Art. 4. Frequent Communion

Chapter V. The Minister of the Holy Eucharist

Art. 1. The Consecration and Administration of the Holy Eucharist

Art. 2. The Reservation of the Blessed Sacrament

SECTION II

The Holy Eucharist as a Sacrifice

Chapter I. Nature and Effects of the Sacrifice of the Mass

Art. 1. The Nature of the Sacrifice of the Mass

Art. 2. The Value, Effects and Fruits of the Mass

Art. 3. The Application of the Mass

Chapter II. The Obligation of Celebrating Mass

  1. Obligation Arising from the Priesthood
  2. Obligation Arising from the Pastoral Office
  3. Obligation Arising from Benefice
  4. Obligation Arising from Stipend Received
  5. Obligation Arising from Promise
  6. Obligation Arising from Obedience

Chapter III. Liturgical Requisites for the Celebration of Mass

Art. 1. The Time of Celebration

Art. 2. The Place of Celebration

Art. 3. The Sacred Utensils

Art. 4. The Rubrics of the Mass

TREATISE V

Penance

Chapter I. The Nature of Penance

Art. 1. The Virtue of Penance

Art. 2. The Sacrament of Penance : its Nature and its Effects

Chapter 2. The Proximate Matter of the Sacrament

Art. 3. The Form of the Sacrament

Chapter 4. The Effects of the Sacrament …..

Art. II. The Subject of the Sacrament of Penance

  1. Contrition
  2. Nature. Kinds and Effects of Contrition in General
  3. Attrition
  4. Qualities of Contrition and Attrition
  5. The Purpose of Amendment
  6. Confession
  7. The Nature and Necessity of Confession
  8. The Qualities of Confession
  9. The Repetition of Confession
  10. The Sacramental Penance
  11. Definition and Necessity of Penance
  12. Acceptance, Fulfilment and Commutation of the Penance

III. The Minister of the Sacrament of Penance

  1. The Power of the Minister
  2. The Sacred Orders of the Minister, and Jurisdiction in General
  3. The Jurisdiction of Religious, and Jurisdiction for Confessions of Religious
  4. Restriction of Jurisdiction
  5. Absolution from Reserved Cases
  6. Duties and Obligations of the Confessor

Before Confession

In the Act of Confession

After Confession

Obligation of Correcting Errors

Errors affecting the Validity of the Sacrament

Errors affecting the Integrity of the Sacrament

Errors affecting the Duties of the Penitent

The Sacramental Seal

  1. Various Classes of Penitents
  2. Penitents who are in the Occasions of Sin
  3. Penitents who have contracted Habits of Sin
  4. The Recidivist
  5. Misuse of the Sacrament
  6. Enquiring the Name of an Accomplice
  7. Absolution of an Accomplice
  8. Solicitation

Chapter I.

Chapter II

TREATISE VI

Ecclesiastical Punishment

Ecclesiastical Penalties in General

Ecclesiastical Censures in General

Art. I. Definition and Kinds of Censure

Art. 2. The Author of Censures

Art. 3. The Subject of Censures

Art. 4. The Cause of Censures

Art. 5. Causes which Excuse from Censure

Art. 6. Absolution from Censures

Chapter III. Particular Censures

Art. I. Excommunication

Art. 2. Interdict

Art. 3. Suspension

Art. 4. Other Ecclesiastical Penalties

Chapter IV. Censures of the Present Day

Art. 1. Excommunications of the Present Day

  1. Sins which incur Excommunication Most Specially Reserved to the Holy See
  2. Sins which incur Excommunication Specially Reserved to the Holy See

III. Sins which incur Excommunication Simply Reserved to the Holy See

  1. Sins which incur Excommunication Reserved to the Ordinary
  2. Sins which incur Excommunication Not Reserved

Art. 2. Forms of Interdict of the Present Day

Art. 3. Forms of Suspension of the Present Day

  1. Suspension Reserved to the Holy See
  2. Suspension Reserved to the Ordinary

III. Suspension Reserved to the Major Superior of a Religious Order

  1. Suspension Not Reserved

TREATISE VII

Indulgences

Chapter I. Indulgences in General

Chapter II. Conditions for Gaining Indulgences

Chapter III. Some Particular Indulgences

  1. Plenary Indulgence at Death
  2. Indulgence attached to the Papal Blessing
  3. Indulgence attached to a General Absolution
  4. Indulgence of a Privileged Altar
  5. Indulgences attached to Rosaries
  6. Indulgence of the Stations of the Cross

TREATISE VIII

Extreme Unction

Chapter I. The Nature of Extreme Unction

Chapter II. The Effects of Extreme Unction

Chapter III. The Subject and the Minister of Extreme Unction

TREATISE IX

Holy Orders

Chapter I. The Nature of Holy Orders

Art. 1. Definition and Effects of Holy Orders

Art. 2. The Matter and Form of Holy Orders

Chapter II. The Minister of Holy Orders

Art. 1. The Minister of Valid Ordination

Art. 2. The Minister of Lawful Ordination

Chapter III. The Subject of Holy Orders

Art. 1. Conditions required by Divine Law

Art. 2. Conditions required by Ecclesiastical Law

Chapter IV. Irregularities and Impediments

Art. 1. Irregularities in General

Art. 2. Particular Kinds of Irregularity

Art. 3. Impediments to Ordination

Appendix. Incidental Requirements for the Reception of Orders

TREATISE X

Marriage

Chapter I. Nature and Kinds of Marriage

Chapter II. Marriage as a Sacrament

Chapter III. The Properties of Marriage

Art. 1. The Unity and Indissolubility of Marriage

Art. 2. Divorce

  1. Perfect Divorce
  2. Imperfect Divorce

Chapter IV. The Benefits of Marriage

Chapter V. The Obligation of Marriage

Chapter VI. Preparation for Marriage

Art. 1. Betrothal

Art. 2. Preliminary Investigation and Publication of the Banns

Chapter VII. The External Celebration of Marriage

Art. I. The Valid and Lawful Celebration of Marriage in Ordinary Cases

Art. 2. The Valid and Lawful Celebration of Marriage in Extraordinary Cases

Art. 3 . The Rite of Celebration and the Registration of Marriage

Chapter VIII. Impediments to Marriage

Art. I. Definition and Kinds of Impediment

Art. 2. The Prohibitory Impediments

Art. 3. The Diriment Impediments

  1. The Impediments of Error and of Servile Condition
  2. The Impediments of Duress and Fear

III. The Impediment of Abduction

  1. The Impediment of Impotency
  2. The Impediment of an Existing Bond
  3. The Impediment of Age

VII. The Impediment of Disparity of Worship

VIII. The Impediments of Sacred Orders and of Religious Profession

  1. The Impediment of Crime
  2. The Impediment of Consanguinity
  3. The Impediment of Affinity

XII. The Impediment of Public Propriety

XIII. The Impediment of Spiritual Relationship

XIV. The Impediment of Legal Relationship

Art. 4. Dispensation from Impediments

Art. 5. Rectification of Invalid Marriages

Chapter IX. Civil Marriage and Divorce

Art. 1. Civil Marriage

Art. 2. Civil Divorce

Appendix

 

INTRODUCTION TO MORAL THEOLOGY

  1. Definition of moral Theology. The words “Moral Theology’’ mean nothing more than the theological consideration of human behaviour, but as a science it may be defined: that part of Theology which by a series of practical judgements directs human acts towards their supernatural end under the guidance of revelation.

Moral Theology is a genuine science, because it derives its conclusions from principles of faith and reason ; it is a science which directs and not merely describes human acts. This direction is completely objective and is based on the formation of practical judgements; it is therefore to be distinguished from the subjective guidance of conscience. It has for its purpose the attainment by man of his supernatural end.

  1. Method. Three methods are used in this science:
  2. The scholastic or speculative method, which considers carefully the various moral truths, proving and defending them against their adversaries but without ignoring completely their practical application; 2. the casuistic method, which is chiefly concerned with passing judgement on individual moral cases; 3. the ascetical method, which has for its chief subject the practice of the virtues as the means of achieving Christian perfection. The best method is one which makes use of all three without sacrificing either clarity or brevity.
  3. Division. It is the duty of the moral theologian: 1. to pass judgement on all human acts in relation to man’s supernatural end; 2. to discuss the external means required for the attainment of this end. These means arc the graces of God bountifully bestowed on us chiefly through die sacraments. Hence moral Theology may be divided conveniently into two parts : 1. The Morality of Human Acts ; 2. The Sacraments. Accordingly the following represents a brief survey of this division of moral Theology : —

PART ONE

  1. Man’s ultimate end and his happiness.
  2. Human acts and the passions.
  3. Law.
  4. Conscience.
  5. Sin in general.
  6. Virtue in general.
  7. Faith and contrary vices.
  8. Hope and contrary vices.
  9. Charity and contrary vices.
  10. Prudence and contrary vices.
  11. Justice and contrary vices. An additional treatise on contracts.
  12. Fortitude and contrary vices.
  13. Temperance and contrary vices.

 

PART TWO

  1. The Sacraments in general and the Sacramentals.
  2. Baptism.
  3. Confirmation.
  4. Holy Eucharist.
  5. Penance, and an additional treatise on Censures and Indulgences.
  6. Extreme Unction.
  7. Holy Orders.
  8. Marriage.

 

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