Piety for Things, by Michael Pakaluk

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*Image: The Soldiers Casting Lots for Christ’s Garments by William Blake, 1800 [Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge]

By Michael Pakaluk, The Catholic Thing, Dec. 7, 2022

Michael Pakaluk, an Aristotle scholar and Ordinarius of the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas, is a professor in the Busch School of Business at the Catholic University of America. He lives in Hyattsville, MD with his wife Catherine, also a professor at the Busch School, and their eight children. His acclaimed book on the Gospel of Mark is The Memoirs of St Peter. His new book, Mary’s Voice in the Gospel of John: A New Translation with Commentary, is now available.

Note: We’re within a few thousand dollars of our fundraising goal now. Please, we just need one final push to get these things done. We do our part – every day. Please do yours too – today. – Robert Royal

If the opposite of greed is detachment, then greed takes some very strange forms, because detachment does.

Let’s call detachment any ordered use of material goods, while greed is disordered, disproportionate use.  Modern, mechanical images of society conceptualize greed as something like an excessive draw of energy – too much fuel demanded and expended by a part.  Older, organic conceptions imagine it as disproportionate growth, grasping after more than is right for smaller parts such as yourself.  On both of these simple images, the remedy for greed is something simple and a reduction: look for less, ask less, use less, consume less.

We can grant that greed is looking for “more” than you should (the Greek word is pleon-exia, “more grasping”).  But “more” can mean something other than quantity. …

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