Bernhard Häring

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Bernard Häring, CSsR (10 November 1912 – 3 July 1998) was a German Catholic moral theologian, and a Redemptorist priest.

Bernhard Häring (1912-1998)
Bernhard Häring: Signatur 1963


Häring was born at Böttingen in Germany to a peasant family. At the age of 12, he entered the seminary. Later, he took vows as a Redemptorist, was ordained a priest, and sent as a missionary to Brazil. He studied moral theology in obedience to his superiors.

During World War II, he was conscripted by the German army and served as a medic. Although forbidden from performing priestly functions by the Nazi authorities, he brought the sacraments to Catholic soldiers.

In 1954, he came to fame as a moral theologian with his three volume, The Law of Christ. The work received ecclesiastical approval but was written in a style different from the Manual Tradition. It was translated into more than 12 languages.

Between 1949 and 1987, he taught Moral theology on Alphonsian Academy in Rome.

He served as a peritus at the Second Vatican Council from 1962 to 1965, and was on the mixed commission which prepared the pastoral constitution, Gaudium et Spes.

Häring taught at various universities including the University of San Francisco, Fordham, Yale, Brown, Temple, and the Kennedy Institute for Bioethics at Georgetown.

A prolific writer, Häring produced about 80 books and 1,000 articles.

He died of a stroke at the age of 85 at Haag in Oberbayern, Germany.

Häring established himself as a leader in moving Catholic moral theology to a more personalist and scripture-based approach.

Dialogical approach to Catholic moral theologyEdit

Bernard Häring, presents a dialogical approach to Catholic moral theology in his trilogies The Law of Christ and Free and Faithful in Christ. In this approach, morality follows the pattern of faith necessitating a dialogue. This approach to morality rests on the person's conscience that acknowledges God as basis of value. "God speaks in many ways to awaken, deepen and strengthen faith, hope, love and the spirit of adoration. We are believers to the extent that, in all of reality and in all events that touch us, we perceive a gift and a call from God." [1]

Selected worksEdit

  • — (1967) [1961]. The Law of Christ. Moral Theology for Priests and Laity. Ireland: Mercier Press. [German 1954]. 3 Vols.
  • — (1977). Blessed Are the Pure in Heart: The Beatitudes. ISBN 9780816421251.
  • — (2006). The Christ: God-With-Us.
  • — (1968). The Christian Existentialist. New York, New York University Press.
  • —. Church on the Move.
  • —. Dare to Be Christian: Developing a Social Conscience.
  • —. Discovering God's Mercy: Confession Helps for Today's Catholic.
  • —. Embattled Witness: Memories of a Time of War.
  • —. The Ethics of Manipulation.
  • — (1979). The Eucharist and Our Everyday Life. ISBN 9780816422104.
  • — (1966). Road to Renewal. Staten Island, N.Y., Alba House.
  • — (1969). Shalom, Peace. Garden City, N.Y., Image Books.
  • — (1978). Free and Faithful in Christ. ( 3 Vols.)


  1. ^ BERNARD HÄRING, Free and Faithful in Christ, I, Slough 1978, 64.

External linksEdit