Thursday, May 28, 2015

"by consent, . . . by silence, by not preventing, by not denouncing."

"a person is bound to restitution not only on account of someone else's property which he has taken, but also on account of the injurious taking. Hence whoever is cause of an unjust taking is bound to restitution. This happens in two ways, directly and indirectly. Directly, when a man induces another to take, and this in three ways. First, on the part of the taking, by moving a man to take, either by express command, counsel, or consent, or by praising a man for his courage in thieving. Secondly, on the part of the taker, by giving him shelter or any other kind of assistance. Thirdly, on the part of the thing taken, by taking part in the theft or robbery, as a fellow evil-doer. Indirectly, when a man does not prevent another from evil-doing (provided he be able and bound to prevent him), either by omitting the command or counsel which would hinder him from thieving or robbing, or by omitting to do what would have hindered him, or by sheltering him after the deed. All these are expressed as follows:
By command, by counsel, by consent, by flattery, by receiving, by participation, by silence, by not preventing, by not denouncing [(iussio, consilium, consensus, palpo, recursus, participans, mutus, non obstans, non manifestans)].
     "It must be observed, however, that in five of these cases the cooperator is always bound to restitution. First, in the case of command: because he that commands is the chief mover, wherefore he is bound to restitution principally. Secondly, in the case of consent; namely of one without whose consent the robbery cannot take place. Thirdly, in the case of receiving; when, to wit, a man is a receiver of thieves, and gives them assistance. Fourthly, in the case of participation; when a man takes part in the theft and in the booty. Fifthly, he who does not prevent the theft, whereas he is bound to do so; for instance, persons in authority who are bound to safeguard justice on earth, are bound to restitution, if by their neglect thieves prosper, because their salary is given to them in payment of their preserving justice here below.
     "In the other cases mentioned above, a man is not always bound to restitution: because counsel and flattery are not always the efficacious cause of robbery. Hence the counsellor or flatterer is bound to restitution, only when it may be judged with probability that the unjust taking resulted from such causes."

     Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae II-II.62.7.Resp., trans. FEDP (Shapcote).  Latin from Corpus Thomisticum.  Also Super Sent., lib. 4 d. 15 q. 1 a. 5 qc. 3 co.
     I was put onto this by Kevin L. Flannery (First things no. 254 (June/July 2015):  55 (54-55), who, however, may (?) conflate "the failings of pastors and professors" with the failings of those truly "bound" to confront or prevent, e.g. "persons in authority who are bound to safeguard justice on earth".
     Flannery says that the origin of the quotation has not been identified.  Can I track it down?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

"To Act on Obligations yet unknown, | To Act upon Rewards as yet unshewn, | To keep Commands whose Beauty's yet unseen"

     For Man to Act as if his Soul did see
The very Brightness of Eternity;
For Man to Act as if his Love did burn
Above the Spheres, even while its in its Urne;
For Man to Act even in the Wilderness,
As if he did those Sovereign Joys possess,
Which do at once confirm, stir up, enflame,
And perfect Angels; having not the same!
It doth increase the Value of his Deeds,
In this a Man a Seraphim exceeds:
     To Act on Obligations yet unknown,
To Act upon Rewards as yet unshewn,
To keep Commands whose Beauty's yet unseen,
To cherish and retain a Zeal between
Sleeping and Waking; shews a constant care;
And that a deeper Love, a Love so Rare,
That no Eye Service may with it compare.
     The Angels, who are faithful while they view
His Glory, know not what themselves would do,
Were they in our Estate!  A Dimmer Light
Perhaps would make them erre as well as We;
And in the Coldness of a darker Night,
Forgetful and Lukewarm Themselves might be.
Our very Rust shall cover us with Gold,
Our Dust shall sprinkle while their Eyes behold
The Glory Springing from a feeble State,
Where meer Belief doth, if not conquer Fate,
Surmount, and pass what it doth Antedate.

     Thomas Traherne, Christian Ethicks, chap. 21 ("Encouragements to courage"), ed. Carol L. Marks & George Robert Guffey, Cornell studies in English 43 (Ithaca, NY:  Cornell University Press, 1968), 165-66.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Bertrand on St. Augustine

"The loss of faith always occurs when the senses first awaken.  At this critical moment, when nature claims us for her service, the consciousness of spiritual things is, in most cases, either eclipsed or totally destroyed. . . .  It is not reason which turns the young man from God; it is the flesh.  Skepticism but provides him with excuses for the the new life he is leading."

     Louis Bertrand, Saint Augustin, trans. Vincent O'Sullivan (London:  Constable and Company Ltd., 1914), 65 | (Paris:  1913), 81.

Monday, May 25, 2015

"sometimes vanquished in battle, always victorious in war".

     Edward Gibbon, The history of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, chap. 38, "General observations on the fall of the Roman Empire in the West" (ed. Bury, 3rd edition, vol. 4 (London: Methuen & Co., 1908 [1897]), p. 165).