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Josef Pieper (1904 – 1997)


German Catholic philosopher, at the forefront of the Neo-Thomistic wave in twentieth century Catholic philosophy.
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Josef Pieper
"Being precedes Truth, and ... Truth precedes the Good."
Pieper quotes
"To the virtue of temperance as the preserving and defending realization of man's inner order, the gift of beauty is particularly co-ordinated. Not only is temperance beautiful in itself, it also renders men beautiful. Beauty, however, must here be understood in its original meaning: as the glow of the true and the good irradiating from every ordered state of being, and not in the patent significance of immediate sensual appeal. The beauty of temperance has a more spiritual, more austere, more virile aspect. It is of the essence of this beauty that it does not conflict with true virility, but rather has an affinity to it. Temperance, as the wellspring and premise of fortitude, is the virtue of mature manliness.
The infantile disorder of intemperance, on the other hand, not only destroys beauty, it also makes man cowardly; intemperance more than any other thing renders man unable and unwilling to 'take heart' against the wounding power of evil in the world"
Pieper
"Now the code of life of the High Middle Ages said something entirely opposite to this: that it was precisely lack of leisure, an inability to be at leisure, that went together with idleness; that the restlessness of work-for-work's sake arose from nothing other than idleness. There is a curious connection in the fact that the restlessness of a self-destructive work-fanatacism should take its rise from the absence of a will to accomplish something. "




Pieper Josef quotes
"Modern religious teaching have little or nothing to say about the place of prudence in life or in the hierarchy of virtues."
Pieper Josef
"Justice is a habit (habitus), whereby a man renders to each one his due with constant and perpetual will."
Josef Pieper quotes
"We should consider for a moment how much the Christian understanding of life is based on the reality of 'Grace'; let us also recall that the Holy Spirit Himself is called 'Gift'; that the greatest Christian teachers have said that the Justice of God is based on Love; that something given, something free of all debt, something undeserved, something not-achieved - is presumed in everything achieved or laid claim to; that what is first is always something received - if we keep all this before our eyes, we can see the abyss that seperates this other attitude from the inheritence of Christian Europe."
Josef Pieper
"A friend and a prudent friend, can help to shape a friend's decision. He does so by virtue of that love which makes the friend's problem his own, the friend's ego his own (so that after all it is not entirely "from outside"). For by virtue of that oneness which love can establish he is able to visualize the concrete situation calling for decision, visualize it from, as it were, the actual center of responsibility. Therefore it is possible for a friend - only for a friend and only for a prudent friend - to help with counsel and direction to shape a friend's decision or, somewhat in the manner of a judge, help to reshape it.
Such geniune and prudent loving friendship (amor amicitiae) - which has nothing in common with sentimental intimacy, and indeed is rather imperiled by such intimacy - is the sine qua non for geniune spirtual guidance. For only this empowers another to offer the kind of direction which - almost! - conforms to the concrete situation in which the decision must be made."
Pieper Josef quotes
"The eye of perfected friendship with God is aware of deeper dimensions of reality, to which the eyes of the average man and the average Christian are not yet opened."
Pieper
All just order in the world is based on this, that man give man what is his due.
Pieper Josef
"The truth is the good of our knowing mind, upon which the mind fixes itself by nature; it is not granted to the mind to choose or not choose that good (truth!) on the basis, again, of knowledge. The finite mind does not comprehend itself so profoundly, and does not have such power over itself, that it follows its own light."
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