Thursday, April 3, 2014

Distinction: Right/Wrong vs. Virtuous/Vicious

Instead of thinking about issues in terms of "right and wrong," "good and bad," think of them in terms of "virtuous and vicious."

Instead of: is this action right/wrong?
This: is this action virtuous or vicious? That is, will it make me more virtuous or vicious, more human, in the image of God, more free, more noble, more happy, more integrated—or will it make me more like the beasts?

Society often draws us to make the choice against virtue. It pressures us to follow this way, which it claims will make us more free, more noble, more happy, more integrated. But see for yourself the results.

Catholicism has the virtue of being able to see the true, the good, and the beautiful in all things. But actually, most people simply do not have sufficient reflective abilities to do so. For them, and I count myself among them, we should stick to what is explicit—Christ. That's safe and plenty a challenge (if we want a challenge or rather are we just kidding ourselves?). Does society mention Christ? Only as the calling card of fundamentalists. So there you go. Don't follow society. It's quite clear. Stick to what the Church teaches, and you'll be safe.

There are others who think themselves intellectual enough to see the true, good, and beautiful amidst the muck of society. For them, I wish good luck. For myself, I have learned from the Saints that often what I believe is true, good, and beautiful is hardly ever what it seems. My judgments about things are most often and most likely wrong precisely because I have not been sharpened in holiness. Because I haven't been purified, I do not see properly, think properly, feel properly. Everything is slightly ... off.

So it's easier for me to think about things in this way: rather than right/wrong, is it virtuous or not? This is also particularly helpful for people with scruples.

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