Vices, bad. Virtues, good. Right? Not according to G.K. Chesterton. He’d say, when compared, “the virtues wander more wildly, and the virtues do more terrible damage.” How is that possible?! That’s what happens when they become isolated from the other virtues—especially prudence. Listen as Richaél Lucero breaks down how this can happen. And why it has a negative effect on a positive thing like a virtue. Plus why the Church Fathers would agree with Chesterton.
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how to become more like Christ by cultivating the seven virtues in your life with the help of the Holy Spirit.
“The virtues gone mad”
The modern world is not evil; in some ways the modern world is far too good. It is full of wild and wasted virtues. When a religious scheme is shattered (as Christianity was shattered at the Reformation), it is not merely the vices that are let loose. The vices are, indeed, let loose, and they wander and do damage. But the virtues are let loose also; and the virtues wander more wildly, and the virtues do more terrible damage. The modern world is full of the old Christian virtues gone mad. The virtues have gone mad because they have been isolated from each other and are wandering alone. Thus some scientists care for truth; and their truth is pitiless. Thus some humanitarians only care for pity; and their pity (I am sorry to say) is often untruthful.G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy
Church Fathers speak on the *connectedness* of the virtues
The virtues are connected and linked together, so that whoever has one, is seen to have several.St. Ambrose, Commentary on Luke
The virtues that reside in the human mind are quite inseparable from one another.St. Augustine, On the Trinity
…one virtue without the other is either of no account whatever, or very imperfect.St. Gregory the Great, Moralia in Job (Commentary on Job)
The virtue of compassion on mad in today’s world
Compassion leads to the gas chamber.Flannery O’Connor
For example, Mr. Blatchford attacks Christianity because he is mad on one Christian virtue: the merely mystical and almost irrational virtue of charity. He has a strange idea that he will make it easier to forgive sins by saying that there are no sins to forgive. Mr. Blatchford is not only an early Christian, he is the only early Christian who ought really to have been eaten by lions. For in his case the pagan accusation is really true: his mercy would mean mere anarchy. He really is the enemy of the human race — because he is so human.G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy
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