Building Catholic Character in Students: Practice Justice in all its forms

catholic book character

The Catholic Book of Character and Success: Chapter Notes

Chapter Ten: Practice Justice in all its forms.

  • You cannot have a good character without being just.
  • One sense of justice is equivalent to having a good and an upright character.
  • However in terms of habit, we speak of justice as a habit of the will.
  • Justness inclines towards giving individuals their dues.
  • It means discharging our duties towards those who are owed it.
  • It means rendering to others what they have a right to receive from us.
  • This means rendering to God, service and honour.
  • To our parents we owe filial love and helpfulness.
  • To others, what we owe them in service, debt or material goods.
  • Therefore being just means being true to our obligations to others.
  • The degree to how just one is, is found through an examination of conscience in how far or little we fulfil our duties to others.
  • If you habitually render to others what belongs to them in service, work, honour, truth, then you have the habit of justice.
  • If you habitually cut corners, shirk duties, defraud others of what you owe them then you lack the virtue of justice.
  • Certain virtuous elements combine to form justice.
  • Truthfulness is part of justice and we owe truth, unless bound by lawful confidences or secrets, to all who we deal with.
  • Truthfulness applies to actions as well as words.
  • Craftiness, cunning and slyness are all unjust; they sow great harm to the perpetrator in eating away at the foundations of character.
  • Fidelity and faithfulness to one’s promises and engagements is a virtue of justice.
  • To be dependable requires self-discipline and self-sacrifice.
  • Neither make promises hastily or break them easily.
  • Be slow to give your word, yet once given be resolute in being faithful to it.
  • Firmness and strength in resisting evil are virtues of justice.
  • Be gentle and kind, but firm as a rock on questions of principle.
  • There are many gentle folk and many good fighters: however when in possession of both, that is the mark of a great character.
  • If you are easy going, grow a backbone so as to resist evil when it comes.
  • If you are more hard and unyielding, learn to combine it with gentleness.
  • Obeying the law forms part of the virtue of justice.
  • Despite the unpopularity of some laws in recent times, authority of the State comes from God and is therefore sacred.
  • If laws are felt to be unjust, work with strength to repeal them, but don’t succumb to the thought that you can pick and choose laws to obey.
  • Nevertheless, any secular law which is contrary to God’s commandments must not be obeyed, being in itself fundamentally unlawful.
  • Trying to measure out justice without friendliness, kindness or generosity, is a sure way to fall short of the measure we owe people.
  • The surest way to measure out justice to our brothers and sisters is to give a little more than what is due.
  • Therefore prudently be generous, openhanded, friendly and kind in all your dealings.
  • Our natures are naturally selfish and self-centred therefore we must make conscious efforts to be thoughtful towards others.
  • Use the Golden Rule in treating others as you would wish to be treated yourself.
  • Finally, gratitude is an important part of justice. Be grateful to others who are just towards you.

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