Author Topic: Justice and Mercy  (Read 355 times)

Offline james03

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Justice and Mercy
« on: April 02, 2017, 07:33:14 PM »
I have long held that a major problem in current "catholic" social teaching is that people don't understand the difference between Justice and Mercy.  Furthermore, Justice is a Cardinal Virtue that we must not offend.  So for example we have the term "Social Justice".  Taken literally, this would mean handicapped people starve to death.  The correct term would be "Social Mercy", but leftists don't like the fact that the choice is left to the granter of Mercy, which causes psychological pain in their insecure psyche's.

I've refined it even more.  What is being proposed in many cases is Mercy at the cost of an injustice.
"But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God (Jn 3:18)."

"If what they are saying is true, the problem is not that they are the ones saying it: the problem is that we are not the ones saying it."
 
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Offline Carleendiane

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Re: Justice and Mercy
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2017, 11:10:15 AM »
Great point you have here James. Often, these words are used improperly. Only because Mercy is from a higher source which must not be referrenced. Justice, well that is a matter for our man courts. Mercy is more a matter of the heart and generosity of those who wish to bestow it, but the source of all Mercy is God.
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Offline clau clau

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Re: Justice and Mercy
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2017, 11:14:16 AM »
That reminds me of a Priest who once said to my brother "The justice of God is mercy".

My brother objected.   But Father, "The justice of God is justice, the mercy of God is mercy".  Father would not have it though.

That Priest is dead now so I suppose he knows the truth ...
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Offline Non Nobis

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Re: Justice and Mercy
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2017, 03:21:10 PM »
Although the application of mercy (the particular choice of who and what) is left to the grantor, remember that mercy is not optional in general (like alms-giving; it is optional here and now, but required through life).

St. Thomas says:

http://www.newadvent.org/summa/3030.htm

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of all the virtues which relate to our neighbor, mercy is the greatest, even as its act surpasses all others, since it belongs to one who is higher and better to supply the defect of another, in so far as the latter is deficient.

Quote
The sum total of the Christian religion consists in mercy, as regards external works: but the inward love of charity, whereby we are united to God preponderates over both love and mercy for our neighbor.


and also (emphasizing that justice must be safeguarded when mercy is applied):

Quote
Hence Augustine says (De Civ. Dei ix, 5) that "this movement of the mind" (viz. mercy) "obeys the reason, when mercy is vouchsafed in such a way that justice is safeguarded, whether we give to the needy or forgive the repentant." And since it is essential to human virtue that the movements of the soul should be regulated by reason, as was shown above (I-II:59:4 and I-II:59:5), it follows that mercy is a virtue.

It would be a further argument to say that the individual is required to be merciful, but not the state.

In literature, I always think of inspector Javert in Les Miserables as a good example of one who loved justice without mercy, and he was a representative of the state.  Mercy does look at the individual people, the degree of their guilt, their excuses, and their needs.
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Offline Chestertonian

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Re: Justice and Mercy
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2017, 03:23:11 PM »
God doesn't owe us anything though.  He doesn't have to be merciful to us
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Offline Non Nobis

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Re: Justice and Mercy
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2017, 04:02:07 PM »
God doesn't owe us anything though.  He doesn't have to be merciful to us

Christ died for us, in effect PROMISING us mercy even though He didn't OWE it. Mercy does not mean ignoring our sin, but forgiving it if we go to Him.
Children say that people are hung sometimes for speaking the truth.

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Offline james03

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Re: Justice and Mercy
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2017, 01:27:41 AM »
Quote
It would be a further argument to say that the individual is required to be merciful, but not the state.
If it were required (how?), then it would no longer be mercy.

Of course, there are consequences.  If you want to live solely by Justice, then you are living under the Law, and you will be judged under the Law in Justice.  Not a good plan, but you are free to try if you want.
"But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God (Jn 3:18)."

"If what they are saying is true, the problem is not that they are the ones saying it: the problem is that we are not the ones saying it."
 

Offline james03

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Re: Justice and Mercy
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2017, 01:30:33 AM »
Quote
Christ died for us, in effect PROMISING us mercy even though He didn't OWE it. Mercy does not mean ignoring our sin, but forgiving it if we go to Him.

Our Faith in Christ is Justice.  You can't read Romans unless you accept that.  That in a nutshell is the New Covenant.  Christ did not promise everyone Mercy, only those Justified through Faith in Him.
"But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God (Jn 3:18)."

"If what they are saying is true, the problem is not that they are the ones saying it: the problem is that we are not the ones saying it."
 

Offline Heinrich

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Re: Justice and Mercy
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2017, 09:59:38 AM »
Quote
It would be a further argument to say that the individual is required to be merciful, but not the state.
If it were required (how?), then it would no longer be mercy.

Of course, there are consequences.  If you want to live solely by Justice, then you are living under the Law, and you will be judged under the Law in Justice.  Not a good plan, but you are free to try if you want.

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Offline james03

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Re: Justice and Mercy
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2017, 02:55:25 PM »
Yeah, just remember the butchery of tens of millions.  It's even worse, they had no mercy nor justice.
"But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God (Jn 3:18)."

"If what they are saying is true, the problem is not that they are the ones saying it: the problem is that we are not the ones saying it."
 

Offline Bernadette

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Re: Justice and Mercy
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2017, 03:32:30 PM »
God doesn't owe us anything though.  He doesn't have to be merciful to us
And yet: He is, anyway. He's really something, isn't He?  :) God's mercy is perfectly just, and his justice is perfectly merciful. It's a paradox, but there you have it. We're not really meant to understand it perfectly, this side of Heaven.

Still praying for you and your family, James.  :pray3:
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Offline james03

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Re: Justice and Mercy
« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2017, 04:10:49 PM »
Quote
God's mercy is perfectly just, and his justice is perfectly merciful. It's a paradox, but there you have it.

I don't know if it is a paradox, perhaps.  The Passion of Christ is Mercy AND Justice.  I can see Justice with zero Mercy, but I do not accept the existence of any Mercy that is unjust.  For the simple reason that just because you are OWED doesn't put any obligation on you to collect.  And just because you are under no obligation to PAY, doesn't make it an offense against Justice if you decide to pay.  Buried in here is the bedrock premise of private property and true Catholic social teaching.
"But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God (Jn 3:18)."

"If what they are saying is true, the problem is not that they are the ones saying it: the problem is that we are not the ones saying it."
 

Online Quaremerepulisti

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Re: Justice and Mercy
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2017, 06:07:44 PM »
God doesn't owe us anything though.  He doesn't have to be merciful to us

This, Chestertonian, sums up in a nutshell all the difficulties you have been having, as you have been stating in your various posts.  While the two statements are correct as they stand, the implication is false.  God doesn't act as He does out of obligation (such would be contrary to His nature), and thus it is true God doesn't "owe" any creature anything strictly speaking.  However, while it is true His mercy is not something owed to us, it is nevertheless impossible for Him to do otherwise, for He is Mercy itself by nature.  Thus, despite the fact we can make no claim on God, we can and should have absolute confidence in His Mercy.

 
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Offline james03

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Re: Justice and Mercy
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2017, 12:00:36 PM »
The missing piece is Charity. 
"But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God (Jn 3:18)."

"If what they are saying is true, the problem is not that they are the ones saying it: the problem is that we are not the ones saying it."
 

Offline Nazianzen

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Re: Justice and Mercy
« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2017, 06:26:53 AM »
I have long held that a major problem in current "catholic" social teaching is that people don't understand the difference between Justice and Mercy.  Furthermore, Justice is a Cardinal Virtue that we must not offend.  So for example we have the term "Social Justice".  Taken literally, this would mean handicapped people starve to death.  The correct term would be "Social Mercy", but leftists don't like the fact that the choice is left to the granter of Mercy, which causes psychological pain in their insecure psyche's.

I've refined it even more.  What is being proposed in many cases is Mercy at the cost of an injustice.

God provided an abundance of goods, sufficient for all.  All men have a right to a sufficiency.  It is unjust if they lack that sufficiency.  Hence, social justice.

The fact that the left has expropriated this term and perverted it to support Communism is beside the point.  It's still justice, not mercy, that is in view when speaking of these things.  See Leo XIII for the sound doctrine.

Almsgiving is a private initiative which may (and often is) replacing what ought to have been provided in strict justice by others.  But again, that's  beside the point - it's still charity.