(From a 2012 Lent and Easter series of sermons on the Catholic Virtues.)
When John the Baptist was arrested Jesus began his preaching. He said, “Repent and believe in the gospel”. That is, look back on your sins with sorrow and contrition, and believe the good news that God will forgive you and make a new life possible, a new life that involves living a certain way. And so I am talking this Lent about the virtues, beginning with the human moral virtues, cardinal among them prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude. I’ve done prudence, which discerns the true good and the right means to achieve it. Today, let’s think about justice.
Justice is a good thing, and everybody wants it, especially for themselves. To each his due. Each should get what he or she deserves. Human rights demand respect. When I was a child I pledged allegiance to the flag and to the republic, one nation under God with liberty and justice for all. Then, we all sat down to our studies, and if someone was copying off of my test paper, or broke the rules of the game on the playground, I knew justice had been violated. “Not fair!” comes naturally to our lips. It’s less obvious what we owe others, perhaps because of self-interest, but what others are due is often obvious enough if we take the time to put ourselves in their shoes.
For example, you crunch somebody’s fender in the parking lot, and nobody saw it. Do you leave your name and phone number? The virtue of justice says – yes! They didn’t deserve that, my own negligence caused it, I owe them compensation. Or, you are remodeling someone’s kitchen and it turns out to cost less than your originally estimated. Do you stick with your original estimate? Justice says, no! if I had known then what I know now I would have estimated less, so that’s the fair price to charge, otherwise I’d be taking advantage of their ignorance. I owe my customer the truth, and a fair price for a good job.
These are examples of what they call commutative justice, having to do with the exchange of goods and services. Distributive justice has to do with the relations between individuals and groups. Like paying taxes. In justice I should be willing to support the system from which I benefit. Freeloaders are unjust because they are getting something for nothing, forcing others to support them when they could be supporting themselves. So, do you cheat on your taxes by hiding income or claiming deductions that don’t apply to you? Or do you write tax laws to benefit your cronies? These are matters of justice.
A subcategory of distributive justice is social justice, which directs attention to situations where customary ways, or perhaps even the law, deny people what they are due. Racism can do that, even if it is trying to remedy past racism. And there can be established patterns of property ownership, educational opportunities, or cultural expectations that keep people trapped in poverty. Some years ago Archbishop Helder Camara in Brazil said something like “When I feed the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor they call me a communist.” These days, if you inquire into the causes of poverty you might as likely be called a right wing extremist, blaming the poor for their drug addictions and poor work ethic. But exploiting the welfare system to escape work and responsibility is indeed unjust, and doing nothing to change a system that keeps people dependent is also unjust.
Justice is the virtue that respects the right of others and gives them what they are due. This is obviously important, but it is not enough, because although we all seem to have an innate sense of justice, we have big arguments about what people are entitled to. For example, consider this quote:
It’s a little high-flying, but it sounds pretty obvious. I wouldn’t want to tell somebody that they don’t have a right to their own ideas about the meaning of life. Recognize the quote? It’s from a Supreme Court decision, Planned Parenthood vs. Casey, 1992, which struck down restrictions on abortion passed by the Pennsylvania legislature.
The logic here is that if, in your personal concept of the mystery of human life you decide that a the little human being living in the womb is not due the right to keep living, then he or she is not due the right to keep living. Pretty amazing logic. It implies that there is no objective basis for determining matters of justice, of right, of what people are due. It’s all a matter of my personal concept of meaning of the universe, And it implies that if you are strong enough to impose your concept of meaning on someone else, it’s no injustice to impose it. Might makes rights.
Now some say, “so what?” This has always been the case. No human society has ever been anything more than some imposing their concept on others. The rich write the laws, and the winners write the history. There’s a little truth to this. The police and the military are evidence that human society sometimes requires force to maintain itself, history is full of tyrants keeping order by coercion – but we are speaking of justice, of what is right, of what one is due, not merely of what one may happen to want and can force on others.
Is it possible, is there an objective basis for knowing what is right and just? I think so. Frankly, I think the Supreme Court was just blowing smoke. But discerning justice requires a high degree of objectivity. One must be able to step back from one’s own desires and recognize them for what they are – fickle, limited, personal, not necessarily grounded in reality or binding on other people. To be that objective isn’t easy, because it requires a concept of existence that doesn’t put oneself at the center of the universe. Which is why I would submit that it is extremely difficult, maybe well-nigh impossible, to give others their due unless I give God His due; what we mean when, in response to “Let us give thanks to the Lord our God”, we say “it is right and just.”
Return to Web Site Log (BLOG) page
Return to HOME PAGE
Hover-Link Footnotes: For the convenience of those readers using devices that lack a mouse, these footnotes are provided for all webpages, in case any webpage contains any hover-links. (If you don't have a mouse, you can't "hover" over a link.)
Monday, March 11, 2013
Converted Page to SBI! Release 3.0 BB 2.0.
Please note the language and tone of this monitored Website. This is not the place to stack up vulgar one-liners and crude rejoinders. While you may support, oppose or introduce any position or argument, submissions must meet our standards of logical rigor and civil discourse. We will not participate in merely trading insults, nor will we tolerate participants merely trading insults. Participants should not be thin-skinned or over sensitive to criticism, but should be prepared to defend their arguments when challenged. If you don’t really have a coherent argument or counter-argument of your own, sit down and don’t embarrass yourself. Nonsensical, immoral or merely insulting submissions will not be published here. If you have something serious to contribute to the conversation, back it up, keep it clean and keep it civil. We humbly apologize to all religious conservative thinkers for the need to even say these things.
Never be lukewarm.
Life itself demands passion.
He who is indifferent to God has already forfeited his soul.
He who is indifferent to politics has already forfeited his liberty.
In America, religion is not mere window dressing and citizenship is not a spectator sport.
Do not allow our common destiny as a whole people to just happen without your input.
Welcome to my website.
Catholic American Thinker Free E-zine Subscription
General Commentary Pages
Various unrelated topics that stirred thought and provoked writing (or quoting) at one time or another. The Everything Else Bucket.
Work at home jobs that have had me. A long, costly and unsuccessful run at work from home jobs that didn't work for us.
Truth versus Agenda addresses the simplest of problems greatly complexified. Truth versus Agenda examines the contest between reality and its opposition.
Vic has Iron Weights for sale; Mama says they have to go. Lots of iron weights for sale; all have to go at once, in one sale.
The challenge describes Capitalism as illusory and Marxism as solid. The mixture of religion just adds to the confusion of all good realists.
Indifferentism and Moral Relativism eats away at Catholic Culture. Catholicism stands against Indifferentism. Where do you stand?
My poor old truck is again starting to look like a poor old truck. After half-a-million miles, we're now approaching another decision time; another paint job, or a new truck.
Battle Line: Where the advancing secular army meets Judeo-Christian moral norms. The Secular Position (or Agenda) involves Proactive, Aggressive Anti-Theism, and not merely "neutral" Atheism.
A return to the American Ideal means a severe reduction in Government. To return to positive growth and progress means, necessarily, purging our nation from all Marxist-Socialist philosophical influence and a return to the American Ideal.
Why this hatred of Palin? What galls modern women of the Left about Sarah Palin? The blind hatred of Palin we’re seeing expressed is not merely because of hatred and intolerance of the pro-life religious moral standard.
A Palin Parker Ticket? My Dream Candidates for 2012. Why a Palin Parker ticket is better than any professional politician Republican ticket you can come up with for 2012.
Elitism Vs Palinism: Why the Left and the Elites Loath and Fear Sarah Palin. It isn’t just Marxism Vs Palinism; it’s also established intellectual elitism vs Palinism. The elite need someone to look down upon.
How is it that opposing amnesty for millions of illegal aliens is "arrogant"? If my pro-Catholic, pro-American, anti-alternative-ethos position is "arrogant," then, exactly what is the position of those who claim superiority or even equality with it?
Here we see Bush family class captured in a simple private citizen’s photo. George W. (and Mrs.) Bush quietly demonstrate Bush family class without hoopla or fanfare.
Marxists love crisis, and they love an oil spill crisis most of all. Marxists even create and drive crisis. Their favorite crisis of all must be the Oil Spill Crisis, which is even better than a Banking Crisis.
American Military Assault Weapons originally intended in the 2nd Amendment. To miss the point of the 2nd Amendment is to miss the point of the whole Constitution.
For God and Country – More Thoughts on America, and on National Existence. For God and Country: Comparisons of martyrdom and heroism, Sovereign Nationhood Vs. Internationalism, distinct people-hood Vs. the Global Village, and Godliness Vs. godlessness.
The Godless Left leads the young and naive to their utopian Hell. For an honest comparison of the effects on youth, we need to look to the history of the Godless Left versus the Religious Right.
The Rabbi Meir Kahane Open Letter to the World is a must read. No decent world history course is complete without the Rabbi Meir Kahane Open Letter to the World.
Aleksandr I.Solzhenitsyn warns the American Worker and American organized labor. Solzhenitsyn speaks to us as a worker from the “Worker’s Paradise” of Communism; words of warning for all who understand the meaning of the word Liberty.
World Revolution returns with a vengeance: the rebirth of Marxism. Marxist world revolution returns, and faces far less opposition than in 1848 or the period between the Great Wars.
Our argument against public despair, hopelessness and pessimism re the future. Despair is a mortal sin, the opposite of the virtue of hope; it is a sin unto the death of the soul, a repudiation and rejection of God’s grace.
On Threats to America's National Existence. A look at the nature of our national existence, what makes us America, physical threats to that, and the possibility of just going out of existence.
On the ethics of language: English dictionary Vs. Political-Correctness taboos. Language evolves, yet morals are (or should be) fixed. This poses questions re the ethics of language.
Thinking Catholic direction: threats to America, Church, Ethos, even History. The Thinking Catholic Direction is multi-faceted, facing threats to American National Existence, Catholic Liturgy, our common Guiding Ethos - emphasis changes to meet the threat of the moment.
Catholics learn and practice Glossalalia, in the Life In The Spirit seminars. Life in the Spirit seminars, fueling the Catholic Charismatic renewal, bring tongue-speaking "Glossalalia", and being "Slain in the Spirit", to Catholicism.
The website is going on hold for at least the next five weeks. Business calls, and I must respond. Will be traveling, and not taking the laptop this time.
Current Website Status. Still too busy for individual responses to questions, comments & criticisms.
Our 2006 Ohio Voter Guide. The choices are quite clear, and the 2006 Ohio Voter Guide was easy to produce.
On carrying my Lord, Jesus Christ, in my pocket. As a Eucharistic Minister, I am on occasion carrying the Lord Jesus in my pocket. It's a wondrous thing.
A 2006 Christmas and Hanukkah wish. May the Holy Days we celebrate remind us all of who we are, and how we are different from other peoples.
Current Democratic Party platform reveals anti-Semitic streak among Liberals. In their voting, their speechifying, and in the slant of their controlled mainstream media reporting, the current Democratic Party Platform is made clear to all observers.
The "Left", and The DaVinci Code, The Passion, and Cartoons of Mohammed. You can tell a lot about a movement by its public words. The Passion? "Unreservedly Bad." The DaVinci Code? "Unreservedly Good." Anything to do with Islam? "No Comment."
Who's driving the Health Care bus? Health insurance companies "grading" doctors? Health insurance companies grading doctors: a legitimized conflict of interest. A preparatory step toward the nationalization of the health insurance industry?
On the forced use of medical boiler plate language rather than simple notes. The "little dictators" from insurance companies and government bureaucracies force MDs to use stilted, verbose, medical boiler plate language in their own documentation.
Home For Christmas 2008. Website Getting Active Again
Hydrogen power could be, and should be, the wave of our automotive future. Any move toward hydrogen power is a move toward a cleaner and more efficient fuel, and away from our dangerous dependency on oil.
Thoughts in remembrance of 09/11/2001, five years later. The changing shape of the war, the changing shape of the enemy.
The Jewish Shabbat. Description of Jewish Shabbat (Sabbath) from my Holy Land item supplier.
Kerry lies again, and then lies about his lies, in concert with the SLIMC. There he goes again! Kerry lies again and again about American servicemen and veterans; he just can't help himself.
Kerry's Lies: The Old, Vietnam-Era Anti-War Chickens are Comming Home to Roost. POW Lawsuit Could Force Kerry To Come Clean - by George "Bud" Day, Chairman, Vietnam Veterans Legacy Foundation.
What's going on with Mel Gibson? Is he really an anti-Semite? I am surprised that Mel Gibson is an alcolholic. But I am never surprised at any words that come out of the mouth of any drunk.
Still Worrying Over NuVo Consequences. The Holidays have gone by, several days have passed, and the SANE NuVo Initiative still stands pat.
The Dem's October Surprise involves another flip-flop of their public "standard". The clearly pro-sodomy Party that openly seeks the "Gay" vote goes Victorian for another pre-election October Surprise ploy.
Some Problems with NuVo: the so-called Null-Vote Initiative. A "philosophical" movement aimed at keeping religious conservatives from voting? Seriously? Let me state my problems with NuVo.
Come, let us sit and reason together. Jews and Christians of various stripe and spot can say to each other, 'Come, let us sit and reason together.' But we can't do that with the Moslems.
Regarding SANE works dropping NuVo: Nul Vote Initiative dies with a whimper. If you can't really present a good argument, sit down. On SANE Works dropping the NuVo Initiative: a program that works hard to SOUND pro-American while ACTING to oppose American National Existence.
Even experts grossly underestimate the Marxist zeal of the American Left. The sharp Left turn happened in the Hoover-FDR era, and the Marxism of the American Left has been deepening ever since.
Thinking American, in a nutshell: When one has lots to say, but time is limited. The older I get, the busier I get. Answering multiple questions as a thinking American, but in a hurry.
"We are an Easter People, and Hallelujah is our Song." (John Paul the Great) Our absolutely unique and singular Easter story, and the incredible force with which it struck human history.
Witnessing, grieving and weeping for our dieing culture. What might it take to call a whole people back from the brink of cultural death?
If we have an inherent right to something, then, who must supply it? Rights and Responsibilities exist in paired sets; a right does not exist in the absence of a related responsibility. If indeed we have a right to our job, then, someone must provide it. Who?
So how come we have all these homeless people if our system is so great? The strong "Utopian Idealist" firmly believes that absolute worldly perfection is actually possible. Therefore, there should never be any such thing as a hungry or homeless person.
Taking a look at Illegal Imigration and Tax Problem solutions. In our view, the minimum wage and income tax have outlived their usefulness, and only contribute to the illegal alien problem.
First journal / blog entries when the thinking catholic blog first opened up. Notes to readers about what I was doing.
On-going WebSite work and planned WebPages as of 09/07/2006. Adding items to book store.
Vic's busted finger status - life goes on. Another busted finger status report, since the original one rolled off of the 50-entry BLOG update records.
Website Status as of 02/05/2009. No more Bookstore; no more Contact Me; no more complexity.
Website Status 03-09-2009. Just a note to bring you up to date on website status 03-09-2009.
Website Status 04/06/2009. Busy driving daily now; most website work will be weekend and as available.
The Plastic Bags and Eco Doom theory: will plastic bags end life as we know it? Plastic Bag and Eco Doom predictions tell us that plastic grocery and garbage bags will still be buried in the land fills and dumps a thousand years from now. Well … so what?
Farewell Smokey Biorseth; Rest In Peace. Hello Coal Biorseth; Welcome Home. As we were laying our beloved Smokey Biorseth to rest in his grave beside the lilies, a carbon-copy of Smokey, in younger form, emerged from the lilies.
Honky Biorseth really runs this house. If you want to know what's in any cabinet in the house, just ask Honky Biorseth.
Kill the illegal alien marketplace, and illegal aliens will leave on their own. Why should we "imagine" life with no Mexico? Shouldn't the Mexicans be trying to imagine no such thing as the USA?
More Marxist infiltration of higher education. Public school and the media are not the only places dominated by Marxist thought; even Catholic institutions are infected.
Of Families and Fortunes, and Inheritance Vs. Redistribution. Families and Fortunes are despised by Marxists, because Marxism demonizes the family, demonizes fortunes, and even demonizes profit.
Website Status Update 11/09/10. Just a Website status update; where we are and where we’re going.
Regarding the 2010 Tax Deal Pledge Breaker: Pledge? What Pledge? How can Republican deal makers even face us? We need to hang a Tea Party target on all professional politicians for 2012.
Pray for peace in Jerusalem, and for deliverance of Israel from harm. To pray for peace in Jerusalem is to pray for deliverance from Obama.
A tale of Promised Financial Melt-Down Debt Ceiling Nonsense and Happy Marxists. Everyone, on both sides, believes the Debt Ceiling Nonsense. Why?
God and Nature: on the Nature of Things, established by the Creator of Things. God and Nature: on man’s Perversion of the Nature of Things, even with the best of intentions.
Our Ohio voter Guide for the 2012 Election. The 2l012 Ohio Voter Guide – The Choices Have Never Been Clearer, or more critical.
Evangelization enters the animal kingdom with the first bear prayer. It is fitting that the first bear prayer would be a prayer of thanksgiving.
Is the Internet down in Lithuania? Sudden loss of Lithanian traffic suggests the internet is down in Lithuania.
The rise of the Femi Nazi Green Beret, and the decline of military victory. The first Femi Nazi Green Beret will be awarded out of fairness, not excellence.
Food Insurance: Is this stuff really any good? All of us conspiracy-theorizing, global-calamity doomsday-preppers need their Food Insurance.
We just had to try to do Robert Irvine's Plastic Wrapped Baby Back Ribs. Put plastic wrapped baby back ribs in the oven? What? Are you nuts?
Thoughts on the first Eucharist, established by the Last Supper. The first Eucharist was recognized by the Apostles for what it was on that holiest Holy Thursday.
Tea-Party-Candidates-04-18-2014. The Constitution is not going to be restored to legal preeminence unless we replace leadership incumbents of BOTH PARTIES.
Ecce homo; Behold the man. Ecce Homo. Behold the Innocent Lamb, who takes away the sins of the world.
If you can't find the page you're looking for, try the