Virtues: 7 Habits of Champions #3–Justice

The Virtues: Seven Habits of Champions
Marcellino D’Ambrosio, Ph.D.

Show #3 – Wisdom

A. Justice
1. Moral virtue. Has to do with the will (Prudence an intellectual virtue)
2. Colors every act of a human person: just or unjust
3. All have an innate sense of justice

B. Presupposes two concepts
1. Rights
a. Where does the idea come from that human beings have rights?
b. Do animals have rights? Plants? Environment? Speciesism.
c. Human beings have a privileged place in the world. People are made in the image & likeness of God. When you mess with a human person, you mess with God.
d. God has endowed people with rights. Your offenses against people, are offenses against God.
e. “Natural law” don’t need revelation for this idea. All great religions
f. I can’t just do what I want
2. Duties
a. Give people their due.
b. Not the virtue of justice when it is done out of fear of prosecution
c. Justice gives people their due with gladness, promptness, with satisfaction, not begrudgingly.

C. First duty of justice is to God: virtue of Religion
1. Someone has given me something, I need to repay the person.
2. This person has dignity, I need to treat them right.
3. Human person
4. Pagan Philosopher of ancient Greece and Rome: there is a creator and we are obliged to worship him.
5. We owe everything to God, need to give him worship
6. Sin is injustice. Every sin is unjust.
7. Each of 10 commandments are about Justice
a. 1st 3 thing to God
b. 4-10 are about justice to others
8. This is how we understand the redemption, why Christ had to die.
a. Caricature of vindictive justice
b. St. Anselm satisfaction theory: restitution. Human beings had to undo what they’d done. Make it right. No one had the sufficient dignity to do. Only man should have done it but only God could have. Not how much he suffered, but how much he loved.
c. His love and obedience tested to the max is what redeemed us
d. Supreme act of justice. That’s why we call it justification

D. Patriotism: subvirtue of Justice
1. After God, one of the greatest sources of blessings is from our country
2. Our language
3. Educational system, security.
4. Cultural heritage
5. We owe our country a debt of gratitude.
6. Paying taxes. How glad you are taxes. Prudence helps us determine
7. JFK: Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.
8. Serve country: taxes, military service, teachers, community service

E. Piety
1. Reverence owed to your parents. Not just honor and respect.
2. Obligation to care for elderly parents. Original context of 4th command
3. Even when after birth they did not do what they needed to do. We got our bodies through them. Provided for us.

F. Gratitude
1. Owe debt of gratitude to anyone who gives us something.
2. Unjust to refuse a gift.
3. Don’t return a gift right away. Say thanks with enthusiasm. Later, look for
4. We don’t know
5. Ex of dad dying from cancer. Determined that everyone got their due. Priest get a gift. Home health nurse get a tip.

G. Commandment #5: Taking Life, Abortion
1. Right to life. Taking life is injustice
2. Abortion: unjust, imprudence and foolish.
3. Out of control in sexual life. Passions cloud their judgment. Make true justice impossible.
4. You can’t have 1 cardinal virtue without the others. Come as a package.
5. Have to develop all of them together.

H. Justice is a wonderful thing, but not enough
1. If God had given us just what we deserved, we’d be in hell
2. God goes beyond justice. Charity. Self-giving love that is not deserved.
3. God wants us to be
4. Scarlet & the Black a recommended movie. Gestapo murderer. Temptation just to give a person his due is overcome.

This outline appears in the Virtues & Christian Character, Christian Lifestyle and Prayer & Spirituality sections of The Crossroads Initiative Library.

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio

From a colorful and varied background as a professor of theology, a father of five, business owner, and professional performer Marcellino D’Ambrosio (aka “Dr. Italy”) crafts talks, blog posts, books, and videos that are always fascinating, practical, and easy to understand.  He is a TV and radio personality, New York Times best-selling author, and speaker who has been leading people on a journey of discovery for over thirty years.  For complete bio and video, visit the Dr. Italy page.