2. Sep, 2013


What would St.Thomas Aquinas make of the maelstrom of clashes of values, culture and motives that make up the Syrian Question? Firstly, he defines conscience as the activity of consciously applying our knowledge to what we do. Through our negligence in attaining knowledge through careful reasoning, then our will can become tainted. It is the lack of reflection and the refusal to acknowledge the Eternal Law (i.e. Ultimate Good). So we have to will a particular goal, by intending to will it as a part of the common good. This is the reflecting of God in the event itself and in the motives of the participants.  So where does that take us with regard to Syria? There are two evils here, one on stage already (the Assad regime), the other waiting in the wings (Western intervention producing even more suffering). All those involved need to carefully assess their quality and balance of reason; their motivation when truthfully appraised; their strength of activating the cardinal virtues within and without of Prudence, Justice,Temperance and Fortitude. The Virtues make human deeds good, and human beings good. This is because they point us towards the Eternal Law which is the highest good to be considered in our daily actions. Syria reminds us that the Justice virtue directs our attention to serving everyone in that community. That even involves the perpetrators of evil deeds. They require a considered and reflective approach to their mistakes. All this may seem long term if not theoretical, but let us remember that energy to resolve the most complex political problems, comes from constantly appraising our own use of the Cardinal Virtues, so as to avoid ill judged motivation; unbalanced emotions; lack of remembering that God is always with us, no matter who we are.   Thank you, Tom Baxter