Thursday, April 11, 2013

Putting the "Equal" Back in Justice

Dr. Helen brings to our attention a new book by Thane Rosenbaum, Payback: The Case for Revenge. The part of the book description that caught my eye:

Revenge, Rosenbaum argues, is not the problem. It is, in fact, a perfectly healthy emotion. Instead, the problem is the inadequacy of lawful outlets through which to express it. He mounts a case for legal systems to punish the guilty commensurate with their crimes as part of a societal moral duty to satisfy the needs of victims to feel avenged. Indeed, the legal system would better serve the public if it gave victims the sense that vengeance was being done on their behalf. Drawing on a wide range of support, from recent studies in behavioral psychology and neuroeconomics, to stories of vengeance and justice denied, to revenge practices from around the world, to the way in which revenge tales have permeated popular culture—including Hamlet, The Godfather, and Braveheart—Rosenbaum demonstrates that vengeance needs to be more openly and honestly discussed and lawfully practiced.

University of Chicago Press

Aquinas does list a virtue whose name is translated as "vengeance."

I don't expect liberals and others with mushy-headed ideas about "love" to accept Rosenbaum's case.

The Chronicle of Higher Education
Where ‘An Eye for An Eye’ Should be the Letter of the Law
CWR: Bergoglio and the Ultimate Questions
Rome Reports: 50th anniversary of Pope John XXIII's 'Pacem in Terris' Encyclical Garrigou-Lagrange bibliography online - here

Rite vs. Particular Church

I don't have time to get links (see the Vatican II Document on the Eastern churches), but it is the case that the language used to refer to churches of rites other than Roman has changed in the past 50 years. Referring to different "rites" of the Church was inadequate, since the rite is used by the local Church and not the highest reality. But it is not evident to me that replacing "rite" with "particular Churches" is an improvement. This may be a useful sociological designation replacing the earlier category or classification (by rites), but does it reflect an actual distinct ecclesiological reality? Is it "theologically correct"? It seems to me that one can refer to a group of local churches which are linked by liturgical rite and culture and ethnic composition, as well as having a common structure of governance, but to refer to this group as constituting a "Church" in some sense, while being part of the Church universal, may be going too far. Do theologians who adhere to "communion ecclesiology," whether Catholic or Orthodox, have the same difficulty?

Edit. Even ifa "Particular Church" were to be equivalent to a "National Church" (tied to a nation or people, rather than a state, though a nation may have its own state), its unity would be grounded in natural and cultural (ethnic, civic, and liturgical) identities and by the decision of the bishops to be united into a certain collective, but this unity would not be the same as the unity proper to the Church Universal.