More than 50 participants from 16 parishes at the year-long faith formation programme led by Father Garcia, and organised by the Singapore Pastoral Institute and Wonderfully Made! ministry. Photo by Dr Victor Loh
SINGAPORE – What does the colugo, also known as the flying lemur, have to do with moral theology? Over 50 participants found the answer from moral theologian Father David Garci, OP (right), when he taught them the foundations of moral theology.
Father Garcia used analogies from mammals found in tropical jungles, mountaineering in stormy weather and a whole gamut of human experiences, to explain that moral laws were not laws arbitrarily created and imposed on unsuspecting citizens by Church authorities, nor even by God. Rather, they were discoveries and descriptions of laws which depicted what best encouraged human nature to thrive.
Wonderfully Made! (WM!) Ministry and the Singapore Pastoral Institute jointly organised these ongoing faith formation sessions. These are attended by mostly young adults comprising religious, catechists, medical students, teachers, lay ministry leaders, parish youth and adult coordinators from 16 parishes in the archdiocese.
This one-year modular formation programme entitled “The Inner Compass: Navigating Ambiguity” is held at the Catholic Welfare Services Building on Waterloo Street.
It aims to equip participants with the conceptual tools necessary to understand a range of moral issues that Catholics are challenged to live out, and that even committed church-goers typically struggle to explain to others.
The programme is divided into four modules, each lasting six weeks. The first two modules, which have just been completed, were on the ‘Foundations of Moral Theology’ (Module 1, Aug 11-Sep 22) and ‘Love, Sex, Marriage and the Family’ (Module 2, Oct 12-Nov 24).
In these modules, Father Garcia uncovered the truths on topics such as the use of contraceptives, homosexuality, cultural filters, fallen human nature, and exposed the philosophical roots of widely held dogmas of the day. All the while he stressed that the Church does not impose, but rather dutifully proposes, her understanding of how moral laws support, encourage and help the human person to prosper and flourish.
From the feedback given, one participant summarised the programme succinctly: “The course helped me to look at morality with new eyes, away from merely obeying laws, to truly understanding the underlying rationale; that of living the freedom, love and fullness of life that Christ meant for us.”
Another said that the programme “has helped me to deepen my understanding of relationships and helped me to grow towards cultivating a purer love in my own life”.
The next two modules in this series are ‘Bioethics’ (Module 3) and ‘Social Justice’ (Module 4).
By Dr Victor Loh