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61. The Parts of Justice

1. The parts of justice are: (a) the different types orkinds of justice; (b) the directives involved in justice itself asquasi-integral elements; (c) the virtues connected withjustice; these are called its potential parts. Now, thereare two kinds or species of justice, namely, commutativejustice and distributive justice. Commutative justice isthe justice that should exist between man and man; it regulates the"give and take" of persons with persons. Distributivejustice is the justice which is to be exercised by the community(state; government) towards the individual members of thecommunity.

2. Distributive justice is administered according to"the proportion of equality" so that the person of highermerit or higher state receives more than the person of lesser meritor lower state. Thus, a greater honor and emolument is owed to themayor than to a councilman. But commutative justice (the justice ofman to man) is administered by the rule of fact, regardless of themerit or place of the persons concerned. And so the mayor, and thecouncilman, and the simple citizen, must each pay a debt of fivedollars with five dollars. Hence, we discern a difference in themean or measure of the two species ofjustice.

3. There is also a difference in the matter with which thetwo kinds of justice are respectively concerned. Distributivejustice looks to the just bestowal of goods or honors;commutative justice looks to the just exchange of goodsbetween parties.

4. There is a thing called counterpassion, whichis "tit for tat" or "an eye for an eye." Itmeans striking back when struck. It means"gettingeven." Now, while there is a place for counterpassion incommutative justice (its terms are expressed in law as restitution,fines, imprisonment, penalty), there is no place for it indistributive justice.

"The one thing necessary which Jesus spoke of to Martha and Mary consists in hearing the word of God and living by it."
R. Garrigou-Lagrange, OP

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"God looks neither at long nor beautiful prayers, but at those that come from the heart."
The Cure D'Ars

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"For what would it profit us to know the whole Bible by heart and the principles of all the philosophers if we live without grace and the love of God?"
Thomas á Kempis

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