Choose a topic from Part 2B:

58. Justice

1. Justice as a virtue in a person, is a habit by which aman has the constant and perpetual will to render to everyone whatis due to him. Justice is the virtue which observes therights of all.

2. Justice is concerned solely about one's dealingswith others. Only in a metaphorical sense can a man have justicetowards himself andfrom himself. In this sense, man'sappetites or tendencies can be regarded as separate and independentagencies, and in their agreement and consistent action under therule of reason there is a likeness or figure of persons getting onwell together, not violating one another's rights, andtherefore living in justice. Thus a just man is, first andforemost, a man who, steadfastly and always, respects the rights ofothers-of God, and of fellowmen. Secondarily, by the metaphor wehave described, a just man is a man of virtue.

3. Justice is one of the four cardinal virtues. It is afundamental virtue. Cicero (De Officiis. i) says that goodmen are called good chiefly by reason of their justice, and that"the splendor of virtue shines out from justice more than fromother virtues."

4. Justice is a moral virtue. That is, it is awill-virtue. It is the rectitude of the will towards the rights ofothers.

5. The good of any virtue has some reference, direct orindirect, to the common good of all men. Therefore, each virtue hasan aspect of "to others." Now, this reference "toothers" is the main characteristic of justice. What isessential to justice shines out through other virtues, andtherefore justice has the character of a general virtue in additionto its own special character as an individual virtue. Justice as ageneral virtue regulating the common good of all under the lawsthat govern men is called legal justice.

6. Yet justice, as the general virtue of legal justice,and as permeating the other virtues with respect to the commongood, is not identified with any of these virtues.

7. Justice keeps its character as an individual virtue,seeking the particular good of each man in his relations with allothers.

8. The special concern of justice as a particular virtueis with external action and external things in which mencommunicate with one another. Aristotle says (Ethic. v)that particular justice has its application in matters that belongto social life.

9. Justice is not concerned, as temperance and fortitudeare, with the appetites called passions of the soul, but with actsand operations which have reference to others.

10. The mean or measure of justice is in external fact. IfI owe five dollars, justice fixes my duty by that fact; I must paythat amount exactly. In virtues which regulate passions, such astemperance, exact factual measurement is not always possible, or,if possible, sufficient. The measure of such a virtue must take ininternal condition as well as external fact. Thus, what istemperate action for one man may be intemperate for another. As aresult of all this, the mean or measure of justice is calledreal, whereas, in the passion-regulating virtues,themean or measure must be determined by sound reason, and istherefore called rational.

11. Justice seeks to preserve "the equality ofproportion" in all the affairs of human life. And thisequality of proportion is found when each person has what is hispart, share, portion, and due. Hence, the act of justice is therendering to each one of what he should have, and has a right tohave. The motto of justice is suum cuique, which means,"to everyone his own."

12. Justice stands foremost among the moral virtues.Cicero (De Officiis. i) says that justice is the mostsplendid of virtues, and that it gives its name to good men. A justman means a man that is thoroughly good.

"God speaks to us without ceasing by his good inspirations."
The Cure D'Ars

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"It is not God's will that we should abound in spiritual delights, but that in all things we should submit to his holy will."
Blessed Henry Suso

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"Shun too great a desire for knowledge, for in it there is much fretting and delusion. Intellectuals like to appear learned and to be called wise. Yet there are many things the knowledge of which does little or no good to the soul, and he who concerns himself about other things than those which lead to salvation is very unwise. "
Thomas á Kempis

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