Friday, October 22, 2010

A reflection on Righteous Anger

Anger is troublesome. Among Christians striving seriously to live the mandates of the Gospel, I wager, anger is the sin most often mentioned in the Sacrament of Confession. Alas, it also has a remarkably long shelf life.

High among the problems attending anger is this: In the classical inventories of the passions, anger is the only one with no opposite impulse. Each of the other passions is paired with a reciprocal antithesis: love is matched by hatred, desire by aversion, hope by despair, fear by boldness, and joy by sorrow. Only anger stands by itself, with no corresponding emotive pull in the opposite direction (cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica Ia IIae q. 25, art. 3). If you get angry, you’re just stuck with it until it goes away!

Another problem with anger is that it is not, in every instance, a thing to be avoided. This is hardly surprising, since the morally proper object (finis) of anger is justice. Indeed, life in this world presents occasions when the refusal to become angry is likely a moral defect.
Read the rest here.

This is a really good post which I highly recommend.

1 comment:

Atychi said...

Patientia is the corresponding virtue for Ira--at least it was in many handbooks in the Middle Ages; or you can just go read Chaucer's "Parson's Tale" in _The Canterbury Tales_. I suppose one could say "just being stuck with it" bespeaks of a sort of "patience," but I think this misses the active passivity one finds in a truly exercised patience.