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By Dr. Donald DeMarco, Catholic Exchange, Feb. 28, 2023

Dr. Donald DeMarco is Professor Emeritus, St. Jerome’s University and Adjunct Professor at Holy Apostles College.  He is is the author of forty-two books and a former corresponding member of the Pontifical Academy of Life.  …


Much of the confusion concerning the virtue of mercy lies in the fact that it is not an independent virtue such as courage, kindness, gratitude, or generosity.  Mercy does not stand alone.  It is a complementary virtue and its necessary partner is justice.  Mercy completes justice, as a tasty dessert completes a fine meal.

This unusual feature of mercy is well recognized in literature and in philosophy.  Shakespeare tells us in “The Merchant of Venice” that mercy “seasons” justice.  For Milton, in “Paradise Lost,” mercy “tempers” justice.  According to Sr. Thomas Aquinas, “Mercy without justice is the mother of dissolution,” whereas “justice without mercy is cruelty”. …

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