Votes : 0

Thomas Aquinas on Justice

Giovanni Cucci, SJ - Mon, Nov 6th 2023

Thomas Aquinas on Justice
The historical background

The ancients were well aware of the many aspects of justice. Reading their texts, one is struck by the great richness and complexity of their perspectives.

The very root of the Greek word dikaiosyn? (justice), dik?, refers to a multiplicity of operational meanings that concern, first of all, the relationship with God and the government of the self that are expressed in operational terms through directives, orders and dispositions. Dike was the mythological daughter of Jupiter and Themis, goddess of laws and courts. She was depicted with a sword and scales, the image by which justice is still represented today.

Justice is above all the characteristic proper to God, who is its foundation, an aspect that constantly returns in the classical and biblical tradition.[1] In this sense, “justice,” more than the observance of a law, is above all a characteristic of being.  Dikaiosyn? allows us to assign to things their “right” and “true” place: it is the place that for the Bible belongs to every being in the harmony of Creation, respecting the sphere assigned to it and contributing to the Creator’s great design.

Unlike other living creatures, humans are called to bring order to their lives, existing in harmony with themselves and with others. In this sense justice is the foundation of civilization, authority and living in community. It also involves a reference to life as a vocation, as the capacity to collaborate for the common good. This vision is still a part of today’s cultural heritage.

The philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre sums up his own educational journey in these terms: “My imagination as a child was first of all nourished by a Celtic oral culture, the heritage of farmers and fishermen, poets and storytellers, a culture largely already lost, but to which some of the elderly people I came into contact with still felt they belonged. […]. To be fair it meant playing the role to which everyone was assigned by the local community. The identity of each person came from the place that the individual occupied in the community.”[2]  


One of the main meanings of the classical vision of justice emerges in these lines: occupying one’s own place in society, in the world, making one’s own abilities available for the common good, thus fulfilling oneself. This is a substantially harmonious understanding of the individual and society, quite different from the “savage” vision of life, typical of the Sophists, according to whom justice is the imposition of the will of the strongest. This vision has been widely taken up in modern times and finds its culmination in Nietzsche and in the positivist conception of law, where the supreme criterion is procedural correctness, and which exposes itself to serious aporiai, which make living together extremely problematic, as has been noted.[3]

Plato had already shown how harmful this view was for society and, before that, for the good of the individual. In the Republic he presents these two visions of justice in a compelling way, comparing the views of Socrates and Thrasymachus. Socrates objects to the Sophist that justice is achieved only when priority is given to the goods of the soul (especially wisdom), listening to its voice as a criterion for governing oneself and one’s choices.[4] This is a coherence that makes one able to bear serious injustices, as happened to Socrates. The trial he underwent is for Plato the violation of an order of justice superior to human justice, which is the true criterion for judging the actions of mortals.

A state can become just when every person listens to this voice that resonates in each soul, bringing harmony between its various parts (sensibility, affection and reason). In this sense the state is “the individual writ large,” and social justice is part of the contribution of every just person. The law is not enough: to fulfill justice it is necessary to understand the beauty of the good life.[5]

These aspects are taken up by Aristotle. He considers justice to be the most important practical virtue, because it affects all aspects of morality. He makes the distinction between distributive and commutative justice: the former aims to assign goods according to rank, to the place occupied in society; the latter is the result of an exchange between parties considered equal. In line with the Pythagoreans’ thinking, Aristotle calls the first instance of justice “geometrical,” and the second “arithmetical” (Nicomachean Ethics, 1131 a 10 – 1132 b 9). For the Stagirite, taking up Sophocles’ Antigone, there is a sense of justice present in every person, the core of what will be called the “natural law” (“a just and an unjust by nature of which all have as an intuition and which is common to all,” explicated in the reference to Antigone’s attitude, Rhetoric, 1373b 7-10) and that makes the action fair, that is, capable of bringing about justice in the concrete situation, which the positive law is not able to do.

Aristotle gives the example of the good architects who worked in Lesbos: they used a non-rigid lead rule, capable of adapting to the shape of the stone with which to build. The fair person is superior to the just precisely because of their ability to understand the concrete situation and deliberate on what is best in the particular case (Nicomachean Ethics, 1137 b 12-14.27-32).

The contribution of Latin authors is aimed above all at clarifying the legal dimension of justice. The famous definition by Ulpian (c. 170 – 228 A.D.) is particularly noteworthy: justice is the “constant and perpetual will to recognize each person’s right” (Digest,, which appears as the opening words of Justinian’s Corpus Juris Civilis and is present in most medieval treatises.

The reflection of St Thomas Aquinas

Thomas Aquinas also begins his treatment of justice by taking up Ulpian’s definition, but he rereads it within the moral perspective of justice as a cardinal virtue: “Justice is a habitus from which certain actions of the just derive, and by means of which they act and desire just things” (Sum. Theol. II-II, q. 58, a. 1, definition taken from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1807).

It is a conception very close to Aristotle, aimed above all at showing the characteristics of the just person, educated according to the various virtues (cf. Nicomachean Ethics, 1105 a 31 – 1105 b 8). Thomas, however, considerably broadens his perspective, and makes justice an “analogous” virtue, including under this term also the linguistic and spiritual dimensions. Justice is the manifestation of a righteous mind, capable of deciding for the good of oneself and others. For this reason it is a reflection of goodness of mind: “As Cicero says, ‘men are said to be good especially in their regard for  Justice’” (Sum. Theol. II-II, q. 58, a. 3).

On the other hand, justice is manifested in external actions and works, in relation to other persons, regardless of how one feels about them. In contrast to the other virtues, its morality is essentially manifested externally, concerning behavior and the good to be done, identified by wisdom, making the subject righteous.

For Thomas, the essential character of justice is to “render to each his own” (Sum. Theol. II-II, q. 58, a. 11). Justice arises as an instance of duty commanded by jus. The central point of the question is to establish what it means to “render jus”; in other words, to specify the prefix jus of jus-titia, the foundation of the right to recognize what is due to each. Where there is jus, a right, ipso facto there is a debitum, a duty needing fulfillment.[6] But by virtue of what is this right founded? How can it be established that something ‘belongs’ to someone who is considered a bearer of rights? This is the central point for understanding the scope of this virtue, which places the reflection on a much broader plane than the legal-contractual sphere.[7]

The Latin derivation of the term refers to the divinity: one of the possible etymologies of “justice” is the compound of Iove and iusta (cf. A. Emout – A. Meillet, Dictionnaire Etymologique de la Langue Latine, Paris, Klincksieck, 1939, 506). In practice, it would have at its origin the name of Jupiter as the guarantor of law.

For Thomas, this foundation can only be found in theology: “It is with creation that the created being begins for the first time to have something of its own” (Summa Contra Gentiles, II, 28). By the fact of existing, of being created in the image and likeness of God, one is the bearer of rights, a situation that precedes and establishes the juridical sphere. It is the creaturely truth that characterizes every person, regardless of his or her economic and social condition, culture or place in society: by the fact of being born, one is a bearer of natural rights. This also helps to understand justice as justification in the theological sense,[8] and opens up the consideration of the human as a person, a being of incomparable value and therefore bearer of rights: paraphrasing Kant, he is an end in himself and never reducible to a means.

Hence  there is the close relationship of justice with the theme of truth and relationship with God. Biblical justice (sedaka) is above all a salvific action by which God makes man righteous, heals him in his being. This is an aspect that places the reflection on a mysterious level, difficult to specify not only on the philosophical level, but also on the linguistic one: “The extent to which this justice goes beyond the human is shown by the absence in our language of the expression opposite to ‘committing an injustice,’ that is, ‘committing a justice.’ This could be the appropriate expression of divine justice, in the sense of ‘making righteous,’ establishing someone in the right who was ignored, disowned or lost. This is the action of God’s justice toward the people who suffer oppression (Ps 98:2), toward the poor, the weak and the marginalized (Ps 103:6).”[9]

The characteristics of justice

Justice has three fundamental characteristics. It is above all virtus ad alterum, its subject matter concerns relationships, it concerns other subjects. But in order to live correctly in relationships with others it is necessary to be just with oneself; in other words, to be upright persons who know how to give the correct attention to the different faculties of their own being. This is the aspect of justice as justification in the sense mentioned above. For this it requires the other cardinal virtues, showing the circularity proper to the moral life and the sense of inner unity proper to virtuous action.[10] This “figurative” justice has found multiple ways of implementation, in therapy and, well before it, in the practice of spiritual accompaniment.

Second, justice prescribes an obligation to what is due and cannot be left to a subjective response. As has been noted, it is more spontaneous to be charitable than just, passing off liberality as narrow-mindedness. This is the reason why Thomas takes care to separate justice from generosity; justice enforces the instance of what is  due, of the obligatory nature of the good, so as to remove it from the arbitrariness of sentiment and convenience.[11]

Thanks to it virtue can reach its apex: justice in fact has to do with all aspects of the good to be done and in the classification of the cardinal virtues it comes immediately after wisdom and prudence and before fortitude and temperance. Prudence and justice in fact have the task of putting us directly in relation to the good, “the other virtues, however [sc. fortitude and temperance], serve to preserve the good by regulating the passions in such a way as to prevent man from deviating from the good of reason” (Sum. Theol. II-II, q. 123, a. 12; cf. q. 157, a. 4). Moreover, justice, unlike the other virtues, has in view the common good, not simply the good of the individual (ibid., q. 58, a. 12). Above all, it has an objective verification, it is a visible act independent of the feelings one may have about it: “It is not given to me to know whether one is endowed with fortitude or temperance simply by what one does; rather, it is necessary that one already knows it and knows in what state of mind one is […]. Conversely, it is impossible to imagine moderate behavior, for example in the face of food, without knowing the particular capacities or dispositions of a moderate person. On the other hand, the justice of an action can only be assessed from the outside: wherever there is external action, there is always justice or injustice involved. The whole sphere of the active life has to do with justice.”[12]

To affirm this, however, is not to reduce such action to the merely legal-procedural sphere. Justice arises from the will, the spiritual center of the person, “the noblest part of the soul” (Sum. Theol. II-II, q. 58, a. 12; cf. I-II, q. 66, a. 1); in order for it to be implemented consistently, it must counteract greed and covetousness. Insofar as it has its seat in the will, justice is an expression of self-mastery and government over the various faculties of the human being (what has been called “metaphorical or interior justice” above): in this sense the educated passions are an undoubted help in its implementation.[13]

To commit injustice is therefore the action most contrary to right reason (cf. Sum Theol. II-II, q. 55, a. 8); it is not by chance that the reform of life, in the spiritual sense, passes above all through just dealing in the context of relationships and the use of goods (cf. Ignatius of Loyola, Spiritual Exercises, Nos. 189; 343).

The importance of an ordered interior life for the fulfillment of justice becomes even more evident when one considers the cost that justice often requires. Thomas had noted this by pointing out another peculiar characteristic of justice: that of not being, like the other virtues, a middle way between two negative extremes. “Justice is not the middle ground between two vices […], its action is the just operation, which is the middle ground between operating unjustly and bearing with injustice. The first of these two actions, active injustice, concerns the vice of injustice that belongs to external realities, in that it receives for itself too many goods and too few evils. But the other, that is, the endurance of injustice, is not a vice, but rather a penalty” (Commentary on the Nicomachean Ethics, l. 5, 1,10: c. 993; cf. Sum. Theol. I-II, q. 64, a. 2). In the fulfillment of justice there is a dimension of suffering that relates it to Christian spirituality, especially when one’s own life is at stake. This is why Thomas, in his discussion of fortitude, refers to the beatitude of those who hunger and thirst for justice, as if to remind us of the need for a transcendent perspective for the full fulfillment of the “insatiable desire” to do justice (cf. Matt 5:6; Sum. Theol. II-II, q. 139, a. 2).

Finally, at the collective level, one can speak of justice when the three fundamental relations are ordered among themselves: relations among individuals (commutative justice, which Aristotle called “arithmetic”); relations of society toward individuals (distributive or “geometric” justice); relations of individuals toward society (legal or “general” justice).[14]

Contrary vices and virtues attached to justice

While justice is not mediated between two evils, it nevertheless knows two opposing vices, both concerning that universal moral core of natural law that is expressed by the so-called “golden rule.” Omission and transgression contradict respectively its positive (“do good!”) and negative (“do no evil!”) versions.[15] In addition, Thomas includes in the acts against justice the incorrect use of words, such as insults and backbiting (to be attributed also to those who collaborate by listening to them: cf. Sum. Theol. II-II, q. 72, a. 2; q. 73, aa. 1 and 4), murmuring and derision (cf. ibid., q. 74, a. 1; q. 75, a. 2), lying and hypocrisy (cf. ibid., q. 110 a. 1; q. 111 a. 2). The accurate enumeration of the possible verbal expressions is striking, confirming the profound link between justice and truth. A reading, also in this case, is very much in line with the Gospel perspective, which on several occasions stigmatizes verbal violence (cf. Matt 5:20-21; 2 Cor 12:20; Gal 5:20-21; Jas 3-4).

Many virtues refer to justice. Thomas devotes more than 40 questions to it, confirming its importance and the multiplicity of areas in which it can be implemented. In enumerating them, he refers above all to pagan authors in order to demonstrate that they are universally recognized values.[16] Among them, religious sentiment stands out, as the due recognition of the goods received, beginning with life, to the One who is its source and supreme authority, and is translated into worship and sacrifice, themes that are little appreciated today, but at the same time very present in the current imagination, especially among the young, mostly in their destructive versions, such as magic and crime.[17]

Dealing with prayer, an essential act of religion, Thomas gives an intriguing definition: it is learning to think well.[18] A meaning that plays on the two words ratio-oratio and is found in various modern languages such as English (to think-to thank) and German (Denken ist Danken, as Heidegger noted).

A synthesis still relevant today

As can be seen even from this brief presentation, St Thomas’ treatise is extremely complex and elaborate; philosophical reflection, historical-legal traditions and biblical revelation come together in it: “St Thomas Aquinas showed a particular psychological finesse in the practical part of the Summa Theologiae. Many issues that we deal with in the Philosophy of Law, in Public Law, in Sociology and many other issues that we never deal with, the scholastics included in the treatise De Virtutibus, and when they arrived at the treatise De Iustitia, they included in it an accumulation of social and religious doctrines. Aquinas, in fact, although he was not a professional jurist, dealt, as a moral philosopher and theologian, with law, with the aim of saving the moral character of law and of the juridical order, this being one of the most important problems of the philosophy of law. Natural law, natural rights and truth are one and the same thing; without truth, even law becomes devoid of justice and morality; truth, in fact, is also a law of justice.”[19]

In spite of the considerable increase in research at the philosophical, juridical and social level, this medieval treatise continues to amaze for its balance and ability to consider such diverse but essential aspects for a correct understanding of this virtue, in particular the justification of human rights, the nucleus of that jus which justice should guarantee in every place and time. Thomas’ perspective is specifically on the moral plane; for this reason he deliberately does not enter into the many juridical aspects, although these are  present in the works he examines.

Today the treatment is undoubtedly much more specialized, but not infrequently lacking in overall vision. Hence the difficulty in recognizing, even before applying, this fundamental virtue, because justice rests on certain pillars that cannot be negotiated, in the absence of which it becomes extremely difficult to justify its assumptions.

One of these involves natural law. For Thomas, this is a participation in the eternal law inscribed in the human soul; it is a light that enables one to discern what is good and just, even without having received detailed instruction (cf. Sum Theol. I-II, q. 10, a. 1; q. 91, a. 2). The case of Antigone, recalled above, shows in an exemplary way the need to recognize the unwritten law, inherent in the human conscience, which indicates what is just. Civil legislation can recognize but not violate it, on pain of losing its legitimacy.

When this theme falls out  of focus, it becomes more difficult to protect people from subtle forms of injustice, which with time proves devastating, “the kind of injustice that arises when man has lost all relationship with the truth; and therefore the question of whether or not someone has a right to something is considered by him as completely irrelevant. Something profoundly inhuman comes to light here even more than in formal injustice.”[20] Joseph Pieper, writing his commentary on the Thomist treatise, was well aware of the consequences of the Nazi dictatorship, which had placed the basis of the law in the mere decision of the will: a will that, unlike that envisaged by Thomas, is not informed by reason (cf. Sum. Theol. I-II, q. 17, a. 1) but is an irrational will to power, an end in itself.

In Italy, an eloquent example of such “profound inhumanity” was the promulgation of the racial laws in 1938. Unfortunately, even those who openly denounced the iniquity of such an arbitrary initiative, while showing admirable rectitude and courage, for the most part made no reference to what should have served as decisive motivation: the dignity of every human being by virtue of being the image and likeness of God. The persistence of racist and eugenic consequences in today’s democratic societies shows how indispensable it is to rethink the foundations of justice.

Recourse to a metaphysical principle, irreducible to particular historical situations, remains the best guarantee for protecting human dignity in the face of partisan interests or brutal ethnic clashes.[21]

DOI: La Civiltà Cattolica, En. Ed. Vol. 5, no.10 art. 8, 1021: 10.32009/22072446.1021.8

[1].    “The Greek conception of justice is based on the concepts of measure and limit. Limit is what circumscribes the existence of each thing in the universe, but also the place assigned to each one by the gods, and the portion – of goods, of evils, of life – that belongs to each one. Respect for the limit marks the measure of the lawful. Greek culture is pervaded by this sense of the limit, and by the perception of its violation as illicit” ( Cf. Del Vecchio – F. Viola, “Giustizia”, in Enciclopedia filosofica, Milan, Bompiani, 2006, vol. 5, 4877f.

[2].    A. MacIntyre, ‘Nietzsche o Aristotele’, in G. Borradori, Conversazioni americane, Rome – Bari, Laterza, 1991, 171.

[3].    Cf. G. Cucci, “Justice. Una virtù scomoda”, in Civ. Catt. 2021 III 121-133. A fragment from Nietzsche eloquently shows his fierce criticism of the weak spirit proper to  political institutions, supported by modern science and especially Christianity: “Instinctive universal conspiracy of the flock against all that is shepherd, animal of prey, solitary and Caesar, for the preservation and victory of all the weak, the oppressed, the unsuccessful, the mediocre, the semi-failed, like a protracted slave uprising, at first inadvertent and then increasingly conscious, against all sorts of lords and in the end against the very concept of ‘lords’” (F. Nietzsche, Frammenti Postumi. 1885-1887, in Id., Opere, Milan, Adelphi, 1975, vol. VIII/1, no. 13; the theme runs through Nietzsche’s entire oeuvre). The conspiracy against the strong led to the denial of the vital values that the German philosopher wished to rehabilitate.

[4].    “In  truth justice […] does not concern the external behavior of the individual, but the internal one, which truly involves the individual himself and his personality. Thanks to it the just man […] becomes ruler, source of order and friend of himself and accords with his three inner faculties. This will be, from now on, his way of acting, whether it is a matter of acquiring riches, caring for the body, political life or private agreements, because in all this he considers and calls just and honorable the behavior that maintains the inner balance and contributes to achieving it, and wisdom is the science that presides over this behavior, while he considers and calls unjust the behavior that ruins this balance, and ignorance the opinion that suggests a similar behavior” (Plato, Republic, l. IV, 443c – 444a; cf. I, 353).

[5].    Cf. G. Cucci, “Prudence: A forgotten virtue?”, in Civ. Catt. En. August, 2021

[6].    “To be exact: Jus-titia. More precisely: Jus – stat – ia. The wrong, the damage, the injury, the non-fulfillment of a claim, etc. need to legitimize a request for a balancing of interests. And it will be seen how also a possible definition of law must take into account what has been highlighted, the concept of motion and the other, of the essential presence in itself of a value, of a near and remote foundation; of a justifying reference, of a norm, for any type of possible system” (E. Cianciola, “La ‘non automaticità’ dei provvedimenti giurisdizionali in tema di tutela dei Diritti fondamentali dell’ambiente”, in Id., Ionicae Disputationes, Taranto, Uomo e Ambiente, 2008, 79f).

[7].    “If the act of justice consists in giving to each one what is his, even before it becomes that act by virtue of which anything becomes for one his own” (Summa Contra Gentiles, II, 28). Cf. J. Pieper, Sulla giustizia, Brescia, Morcelliana, 1956, 29-33.

[8].    “The righteousness which is brought about in us by faith is that which determines the justification of the sinner, which consists in the due order of the various parts of the soul” (Sum. Theol. II-II, q. 58, a. 2, ad 1).

[9].    M. Cozzoli, “Giustizia”, in P. Benanti – F. Compagnoni – A. Fumagalli (edd.), Dizionario di teologia morale, Cinisello Balsamo (Mi), San Paolo, 2019, 442. Cf. G. Schrenk: “The δικαιοσ?νη θεο? includes justification. The believer is legally assured of righteousness, and this is communicated to him as a new quality in the eyes of God” (“δικαιοσ?νη”, in G. Kittel – G. Friedrich, Great Lexicon of the New Testament, Brescia, Paideia, 1966, vol. II, 1271). Cf. also J. Pieper: “The Bible speaks more than 800 times of justice and the just, meaning by this the good and holy man” (Sulla giustizia, op. cit., 61).

[10].   “Figuratively speaking, one can consider the different operative principles of one and the same man, e.g., reason, the irascible, and the concupiscible, as being many ‘persons,’ i.e., distinct operative subjects. This is why metaphorically we can speak of the Justice of a man toward himself, insofar as reason commands the irascible and the concupiscible, and insofar as they obey reason, and generally insofar as each human faculty is given what is appropriate to it. It is not for nothing that the Philosopher calls this Justice ‘metaphorical’” (Sum. Theol. II-II, q. 58, a. 2).

[11].   “Although ‘just’, Generosity gives only of its own, yet it does so aiming at the good of its own virtue. Justice, on the other hand, gives to others what belongs to them, aiming at the common good. Moreover, the act of Generosity must be based on the act of Justice: in fact, as Aristotle notes, ‘it would not be a generous donation if one did not give of one’s own.’ Therefore Generosity could not exist without Justice, which establishes what belongs to each person. But Justice can also exist without generosity. Therefore Justice in itself is superior to Generosity, because it is more common and a foundation of it: nevertheless Generosity is superior  in a sense , being as it were a refinement of Justice, and a complement to it” (Sum. Theol. II-II, q. 58, a. 12; cf. a. 3).

[12].   J. Pieper, Sulla giustizia, op. cit., 44. Cf. R. Cessario, Le virtù, Milan, Jaca Book, 1994, 144; Sum. Theol. II-II, q. 58, a. 9.

[13].   “Therefore the regulated guidance of our actions, inasmuch as these have their term in external things, belongs to justice: but, inasmuch as they arise from the passions, it belongs to the other moral virtues, which have the passions as their object” (Sum. Theol. II-II, q. 58, a. 9, ad 2; cf. I-II, q. 60, a. 2; De virtutibus in communi, 9).

[14].   Cf. Sum. Theol. I-II, q. 114, a. 1; II-II, q. 61, a. 1; q. 63 a. 1; q. 65, a. 2, ad 2.

[15].   Cf. Ibid., II-II, q. 79, aa. 2-3. The most widespread versions of the golden rule are in fact two: negative (“Do not do to your neighbor what you would detest being done to you”: Talmud of Babylon, “Shabbat”, 31a), and positive (“As you would have people do to you, so you do to them”: Luke 6:31; Matt 7:12). Cf. C. Vigna – S. Zanardo (eds), La regola d’oro come etica universale, Milan, Vita e Pensiero, 2005; International Theological Commission, In Search of a Universal Ethic: A New Look at the Natural Law, Vatican, Libr. Ed. Vaticana, 2009.

[16].   “Cicero enumerates six, namely, Religiosity, Pietas, Gratitude, Correction, Reverence, Sincerity. Macrobius adds Affability. The peripatetic Andronicus adds Generosity. Aristotle adds Equity” (Sum. Theol. II-II, q. 80, obb. 1-2; 4-5).

[17].   Cf. ibid., II-II, q. 81; G. Cucci, “Il sacrificio: un tema insidioso e necessario”, in Civ. Catt. 2018 III 131-140.

[18].   “We do not present prayers to God in order to reveal to him our needs and desires, but to make it clear to ourselves that in such cases we must have recourse to God’s help” (ibid., II-II, q. 83, a. 2, ad 1).

[19].   M. F. Carnea, “Il concetto di giustizia in S. Tommaso d’Aquino”, in; M. Cordovani, “Prolusione all’università di Firenze”, in Memorie domenicane 1 (1933) 164.

[20].   J. Pieper, Sulla giustizia, op. cit., 19 f. Cf. G. Cucci, “La giustizia. Una virtù scomoda”, op. cit.

[21].   Pius XII, taking a stand against the racial laws, appealed  to the theme of natural law: “Before all else, it is certain that the radical and ultimate cause of the evils which We deplore in modern society is the denial and rejection of a universal norm of morality as well for individual and social life as for international relations; We mean the disregard, so common nowadays, and the forgetfulness of the natural law itself, which has its foundation in God, Almighty Creator and Father of all, supreme and absolute Lawgiver, all-wise and just Judge of human actions. When God is hated, every basis of morality is undermined; the voice of conscience is stilled or at any rate grows very faint, that voice which teaches even to the illiterate and to uncivilized tribes what is good and what is bad, what lawful, what forbidden, and makes men feel themselves responsible for their actions to a Supreme Judge” (Pius XII, Encyclical Summi Pontificatus, October 20, 1939, no. 12). Cf. G. Sale, Le leggi razziali in Italia e il Vaticano, Milan, Jaca Book, 2009.

share :
tags icon tags :
comments icon Without comments


write comment
Please enter the letters as they are shown in the image above.