Tuesday, November 30, 2010

How To Turn Vice to Virtue

Fr. James Schall is a remarkable writer. Here he condenses a Reilly essay, which I will condense a bit more--but you can read it all at the link, AND he links Reilly's longer work.

The general steps are these: The first step is sympathy. We do not recognize a natural law in things and especially human things whereby we know what these vices are. We plead sympathy for the one who practices them.

...Everyone wants approval. The tolerance of the vice comes next. It is an exceptional case, but we overlook it. It is purely private. But it is what we want. We cannot accept the distinction between practice and tendency. We have a “right” to practice our vice. The word “right” is so fuzzy, yet powerful in our culture.

If we have a “right,” nothing really can be wrong with our ways. Those who insist that something is wrong “discriminate.” The law must guarantee our “right” to practice what we define as good. To do this, we must eliminate from the world any sign of that understanding whereby certain activities are wrong or unnatural.

The final step makes what was once called virtue to be a vice. Moreover, it is embodied in the civil law. No one can question the legitimacy of the vice-become-virtue. The whole structure of education, work, military, government, and religion must conform to the “new law” now normative for everyone.

It doesn't take all that much to remember the applications of the above steps in this society to all sorts of un-natural vices-now-virtues, and the converse.


Badger Catholic said...

Fantastic explanation.

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