Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Saving Your Brother: Part 3

As usual, Bro. Thomas, OP does not disappoint. Here is his comment on Part 2 of our discussion on fraternal correction. I think he says in a much better way what I was trying to say about this.
  • The virtue of prudence is what's needed. Prudence is the cultivated ability of knowing and doing the appropriate action at the right time in the right way.

    This particular virtue is cultivated alongside the other virtues, but needs extra attention. It requires, for example, a certain amount of past experience. In this case, past experience of offering fraternal correction. Some of those experiences may have ended well while others may have made things worse. Being able to evaluate past action--what worked and what went wrong--is key to the virtue.

    This is why, incidentally, we generally offer respect to our elders who, presumably, have much more experience than we do ourselves. We learn from their success and their mistakes, and we esteem the ones we find to be the most prudent and the most wise.

    Additionally, prudence requires a certain imaginative talent, which is to say one must be able to reasonably prognosticate the results of the various options for action one is discerning. This, once again, requires reflection on past experience and the type of results attained. The prognostication need not be absolutely certain, but simply reasonable.

    Prudence is the queen of the virtues precisely because it is the ability to know the right thing to do and to do it with ease.

    Much of morality depends on prudence because, as St. Thomas says, the more concrete a moral situation is, the more difficult it is to provide an absolute rule for action. In this case, what is the nature of the offense that needs correction? What kind of person is giving the correction? What kind of person is receiving it? How is it delivered? When is it delivered?

    Bottom line, we will likely make many mistakes in fraternal correction as we grow in prudence and learn how to do them right and well.

Thanks Brother Thomas!

Pax Christi,

1 comment:

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