Necessary Justice

To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.
—Proverbs 21:3

Justice is often listed as the first of the four cardinal virtues. It has been called the mother of all virtues by Lactantius and Leo XIII, but that title is also claimed for gratitude (Cicero), humility (Augustine and Cassian), charity (Jerome), prayer (Isaac the Syrian), discretion (Abba Moses and Benedict), obedience (Augustine—yes, again), sobriety (Origen), good will in the soul (Albert the Great), reverence (von Hildebrand), courage (Winston Churchill), patience (Hindu tradition), appreciation (Chinese tradition), jihad-patience-sacrifice (Islamic tradition), and frugality (inscription on the State National . . .

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Thomas S. Buchanan is a member of the Orthodox Church and lives in Chester County, Pennsylvania, with his wife and three children. He is a senior editor of Touchstone.

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