To the contemporary mind, then, the concept of the good rather excludes than includes prudence. Modern man cannot conceive of a good act which might not be imprudent, nor of a bad act which might not be prudent. He will often call lies and cowardice prudent, truthfulness and courageous sacrifice imprudent.Prudence seems to be the disappearing virtue, particularly among so many high-placed clerics. As they foment to the media they seem to be unhinged from the "hinge" virtue of prudence. That they are creating confusion is obvious from the fact that so many who dispute Church doctrine are applauding their words. It is disconcerting to see Jim Wallis, editor of Sojourners who claims opposition to abortion but wants to protect choice, Hans Kung, heretical theologian, and Thomas Reese, former editor of America removed at Vatican request for his dissent all cheering the "changes" in the Church. It is disconcerting to see high-profile cardinals like Timothy Dolan echoing the famous, "I can't judge," statement in context that implies approval of sin.
Confusion has always seemed to me to be a tool of the prince of lies. When media statements and interviews by our shepherds contribute to the flock's confusion, it is unsettling. To be honest, it gives me moral and theological vertigo. Now the question is...are these unbalancing acts showing a lack of prudence on the part of our shepherds? If so, they're call for social justice is doomed to failure. As Pieper says, "The good man is good in so far as he is prudent."
Dear Lord, give us prudent shepherds and make us prudent as well. How badly we need that virtue in today's world.
My friend Janet has a great post on "garbled messages." It's well worth reading.