From Valor to Virtue: The Moral Development of the Brave by Father Michael Pacella III

Father Michael Pacella’s first book, From Valor to Virtue, is a must-read for all law enforcement and military personnel. It is a no-holds-barred approach to one of the most difficult topics of our times: the issue of virtue. Written in an easy to understand language, Father Pacella tackles the complex issue of attaining a mature moral development.

Without getting lost in over simplification, Father Pacella leads the reader through the important elements of personal growth in today’s world of moral relevancy. He is candid and bold in his assessments and many of the chapters will challenge the reader’s own perception of what is right and wrong and what it takes to be a virtuous leader.

Law enforcement officers and military personnel should add this book to their reading collection. It is a fast-paced and in-depth look into the character of virtue. It can be read as a personal topic or shared in a small group setting. Either way, it is a powerful message.

Here is an excerpt from the book:

“In the twentieth century, the moral development of the brave and in our society as a whole has seemed to have lost its underpinnings with the exception of a few isolated cases, such as Mother Saint Teresa. Part of the problem of low moral results has to do with a lack of understanding the concept of moral capacity. The other part of the problem has to do with expectations, for if we do not expect that mankind can improve, then we will not even pursue or expect the possibility. These issues and many others must be addressed if the present-day culture is going to deal successfully with the ills of society. We are in desperate need of moral development, but we are stuck because we don’t emphasize it or believe it to be possible. “Stuck” is probably not the right word, for our moral condition is not stable but digressing.

Many people equate moral development or virtue with organized religion, which is not the case. What I am presenting is not a religious proposal, for when we compare the higher rational animal (man) with lower level animals, we see that moral decisions are part of everyone’s life. A dog does not have to decide whether or not to rob a bank, only a human has to grapple with that moral issue. A cat does not have to wrestle with the issue of divorce, but humans regularly and (unfortunately) increasingly face that issue.

Humans are not solely instinctual animals, but rational beings who can do good. A horse did not develop a procedure for a heart transplant. A goldfish does not send help to an area ravaged by floods. What’s more, it is not only “church” people who do those “good” things for individuals or society. Humans have the capacity to do good, just like they do to run fast or think well. Both capacities must be developed if they are to become all that they can be. Unfortunately, we have chosen to develop the runners and honor the academics while ignoring the moralists.”

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Joseph B. St. John