Wednesday, May 16, 2012

“It Is Never Right To Do Wrong.”

“Tell me who you honor and I will tell you what you are.” Honors do not have to be given. They mean nothing unless they are freely given. When given, they signify agreement, distinction. A university might well invite to its halls someone to lecture who denies everything the university stands for. But this invitation would not be offered as an “honor.” Both the speaker and the audience would know the conflicting nature of the address. There might be debate, questioning, and controversy. But neither the listeners nor the speaker would think that anyone was being honored except in the sense that the invited representative really knew the matter at controversy. 
An honor does not come from the side of the honoree. The latter is surprised and pleased to learn that his deeds or works have been recognized by some institution. To receive such an invitation is taken as recognition of one’s accomplishment or worth. No one invites his enemy to be honored for so skillfully undermining one’s own status or stature. 
One must assume that whoever invited the person to be honored found grounds for agreement or praise. No one honors those who undermine the fundamentals of civilization. The foundation of our civilization is the Socratic “It is never right to do wrong.” In effect, this doing wrong is what the government through the HHS secretary is asking us to do. One can hardly blame the person being honored for thinking the he is worthy of the honor to be conferred. He may be modest about it, but he knows that the award was designed to acknowledge or approve or praise his unique accomplishment. Moreover, he only accepts the honor if he thinks it is sincerely given by those who are worthy judges of excellence and worthiness. An institution awards the HHS secretary high honors because it admires her. She has every right to think that such an offer comes to her in this spirit. If her views are radically disagreed with, she would expect not to be invited.

Tell me who you honor and I will tell you what you are. 
Link (here) to the full piece by Fr. James Schall, S.J. at the Catholic Thing


Maria said...

"I beheld the transgressors and began to grieve" [Ps. 118:158]."

Anonymous said...

"Why do the nations protest and the peoples conspire in vain? Kings on earth rise up and princes plot together against the LORD and against his anointed one: “Let us break their shackles and cast off their chains from us!

The one enthroned in heaven laughs;
the Lord derides them" [Ps 2:1-4]