Virtues

New Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, left, stands with his mentor, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in the Rose Garden of the White House, Monday, April 10, 2017, during Gorsuch's public swearing ceremony. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Obergefell and the Apotheosis of Judicial Will

With the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court, many social conservatives breathed a sigh of relief. From what we know of his record, Justice Gorsuch does seem to be a worthy successor to Justice Antonin Scalia. Even if Gorsuch is somewhat less distinguished as a legal mind than Scalia, he is clearly [...]

Dignitas: The Manners of Humility

Accounts vary, and a few say that the story about our civil Founders is apocryphal, but it would seem that the story is true. As one of the more jovial national patriarchs, Gouverneur Morris, a native of New York City, but representing Pennsylvania, willingly accepted a challenge from Alexander Hamilton during the Constitutional Convention in [...]

The Crises of Saints

We don’t have to go very far to recognize that there are abundant crises in our world today. We find crises of various proportions in every corner of the globe and in virtually all sectors of society. Check the news online, read the various blogs, twitter feeds, social media, or turn on the radio or [...]

Lenten Meditations on Politics

Lent is a time of personal transformation, so it is a time of inwardness. It nonetheless has an outward-turning aspect. Man is social, and God is other than ourselves, so in addition to fasting to help us put our attachments in their place, Lent encourages prayer and almsgiving to increase our love of God and [...]

Two Noble Ends of an Authentic Education

The Oracle of Delphi foretold countless fortunes, futures, prophecies and mysteries over many centuries and is the same ancient fount of wisdom who declared Socrates to be the wisest man in the world. A great sign above the entrance to the Temple at Delphi exhorts all who enter her sacred halls to “know thyself,” for [...]

The Role of the Virtues in Character Education

In Aesop’s fable of the miller, his son, and the donkey, the trio are criticized by passersby as they make their way to town, first for not riding the donkey, then for making the young son walk, then for leaving the elderly father to walk, and then for overburdening the donkey. After each critique, they [...]

Chastity: The Seventh Lively Virtue

When Satan, in Milton’s Paradise Lost, insinuates himself into the garden of Eden, he encounters a perfect riot of beauty: lush grapevines hanging over grottoes and heavy with fruit, grassy meadows full of browsing cattle and sheep, streams splashing their way over the rocks, and flowers literally pouring forth at the bidding not of dainty [...]

Temperance: The Sixth Lively Virtue

Temperance, alas, is a virtue with a bad reputation.  It calls to mind photographs of the flint-jawed Carry Nation, crusading against alcohol, until finally her cause carried the day and Prohibition, speakeasies, bootlegging, and organized crime swept the land. I’m not being quite fair to that old temperance movement.  Drunkenness was a scourge for a [...]

Zeal: The Fourth Lively Virtue

When Dante and Virgil enter the fourth ring of the winding path up Purgatory Mountain, they meet a band of souls weeping and racing at once, “galloping for good will and righteous love.”  Before they can ask a single question, they hear these heartening words: “Come on, come on, don’t let time slip away for [...]

Meekness: The Third Lively Virtue

We all know the account in Luke about the boy Jesus, who when he was twelve years old accompanied his parents to Jerusalem for the Passover, as was their custom.  But this time he stayed behind in the city after the feast was over, and they, believing that he was somewhere in their caravan of [...]

Solicitude: The Second Lively Virtue

About the distance of an earthly mile we’d gone already, and in little time, because our wills were eager – when we heard Spirits coming our way, flying above, heard them but never saw them, graciously welcoming to the wedding feast of love. The first voice called aloud as it flew by, “They have no [...]

Humility: The First of the Lively Virtues

When Thomas Aquinas asked how it was that Satan believed, in his pride, that he could be like God, he denied that even the devil could be so blind as actually to believe that he could be God. For Satan understood by natural knowledge that that was impossible.

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