111 – What moved Jesus in all situations was nothing other than mercy

When going through the pages of the Gospel, we are filled with love and admiration in observing how Jesus ‘went about doing good’ (Acts 10: 38) – He cured all, pardoned sins, multiplied loaves, resurrected the dead, blessed children, etc. But, there is a truth that is often forgotten in our days, and even ends up being despised by those who would prefer to tear away the memory of it from their consciences: in the inseparable unity of merciful Jesus, there also exists justice, severity and integrity that does not tolerate the abominations or the errors of those who obstinately persist in sin. Both are the same Jesus…in both ways, Jesus is good, rather He is Goodness itself!

The pages of the Gospel clearly demonstrate this complex reality, flowing from the same Divine Heart so full of sweetness and mercy.

Faced with today’s widespread corruption, and the grave violations that are committed against his eternal law, could it be that Christ, who is God Immutable, ceases to be just and becomes only merciful? Are we be acting in a judicious manner by mollifying sinners who are proud of their state and don’t have the slightest intention of changing? Or, by proceeding in this way, are we not debasing our dignity as children of God, in an attempt to adapt ourselves to the world? To answer these questions, it is opportune to recall the perennial teachings of the Catholic Doctrine regarding the true meaning of divine justice and mercy.


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Teachings of the Magisterium

Enter in the various parts of our study

I – Is God only mercy?
II – The justice of Jesus Christ – as narrated in the Gospels
III – Christ shepherds with justice, and his ministers should imitate him
IV – Doctrinal observations regarding justice and mercy

I – Is God only mercy?

Sacred Scripture

The Lord is righteous, he loves righteous deeds – He hates those that love violence

Saint Augustine of Hippo

Your righteousness displeases the wicked

Saint Irenaeus of Lyon

Goodness does not desert God in the exercise of justice, neither does He show Himself unmercifully just


It is heretical to divide the justice and goodness of God

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

The righteous God cannot allow offenses to His goodness to remain unpunished. Kindness without justice is not a virtue

Benedict XVI

Justice and charity coincide in God

Saint Thomas Aquinas

Mercy and truth are necessarily found in all God’s works
In God, mercy is His desire to dispel the misery of others, whatever be the defect we call by that name

Saint Alphonsus Liguori

God cannot take pity on the obstinate sinner determined to offend him
God executes justice on those who despise him and abuse his mercy to insult him the more


No depraved affection could possibly shake God’s absolute justice

John Paul II

The just and holy Lord cannot tolerate iniquity

Theophilus of Antioch

God is angry with those who act wickedly

Saint John Vianney

God is just in all that He does - when it is a matter of punishing us, it is done with rigor though we have only a light fault

Paul VI

Sins bring punishments inflicted by God’s sanctity and justice

John Paul I

God must punish: this is not agreeable but a truth of faith

Saint Justin of Rome

Nothing and no one escapes the notice of God

Gregory I

Hell is eternal not because God delights in the torments of the wicked, but due to His righteousness

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Last Judgment will reveal that God’s justice triumphs over all the injustices

II – The justice of Jesus Christ – as narrated in the Gospels

Sacred Scripture

‘Depart from me, you evildoers’
Jesus reproached the towns where his mighty deeds were done, since they had not repented
‘Be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna’
Jesus will send his angels to collect all evildoers and throw them into the fiery furnace
Jesus will separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace
‘If your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away’
Chastisement for those who attend the banquet of the King without a wedding garment
The wicked lazy servant was thrown out to the darkness where there is wailing and grinding of teeth
There is no mercy for those in hell
The judgment of the Son of Man when he comes in his glory
On the Day of Judgment people will render an account for every careless word they speak
Woe to the person through whom scandal occurs
Jesus looked at the wicked with anger
Jesus drove out all those engaged in selling and buying in the temple
‘As for you, Capernaum? You will go down to the netherworld’
Jesus to the scribes and Pharisees: ‘You serpents, you brood of vipers, blind fools, hypocrites, whitewashed tombs, woe to you! how can you flee from the judgment of Gehenna?’
Jesus even rebuked Peter

Saint John Chrysostom

Jesus reproaches when he wishes to point out that the sin is great, and the punishment and wrath in store for it grievous

Saint Irenaeus of Lyon

Nothing unbecoming or evil pleases God – He metes out punishment accordingly
To scoffers and to those not subject to God are assigned everlasting perdition

Saint Gregory I

It belongs to the righteousness of an impartial Judge, that those whose heart would never be without sin in this life, should never be without punishment
God works with rigorous justice in the retribution of good and evil acts

Benedict XVI

The parable of the rich man and poor Lazarus shows how earthly wickedness is overturned by divine justice

Pius XI

Rewarding and punishing is inseparable from Jesus’ power of judging

Benedict XVI

God is the one who proclaims justice forcefully

John Paul II

Jesus is demanding, strong and firm when he calls people to live in truth - the Gospel of meekness and humility goes in the same stride as the Gospel of moral demands and of even severe threats to those who do not wish to convert

III – Christ shepherds with justice, and his ministers should imitate Him

Saint Cyprian of Carthage

He who soothes the sinner with flattering blandishments furnishes the stimulus to sin

Saint Augustine of Hippo

Christ shepherds with justice, and the good shepherds follow his voice

Pius X

The true priest never swerves from the perfection of righteousness

Code of Canon Law

The priest is a minister of divine justice and mercy

Gregory I

The pastor should be rigid through the zeal of righteousness
The pastor must stand in the battle out of love of justice to resist bad men

John Paul II

Promote justice in the power of the Word of God

Pius IX

Urge them to persevere firmly established in our divine religion!

IV – Doctrinal observations regarding justice and mercy

Compendium of the Catholic Church

The acceptance of God’s mercy requires that we admit our faults and repent of our sins

Saint Thomas Aquinas

Justice and mercy are so united, that the one ought to be mingled with the other
The service of God includes rendering to each one his due: justice
Justice directs man in his relations with individuals and the community
Mercy is heartfelt sympathy for another’s distress
A person is said to be merciful when he endeavors to dispel the misery of another as if it were his
Mercy may denote a movement of the intellective appetite, in as much as one person’s evil is displeasing to another

Saint Augustine of Hippo

Compassion is obedient to reason when shown without violating right

Saint John Chrysostom

Justice, love and truth purify the soul

John Paul II

There can be no love without justice

Benedict XVI

Injustice: its origin lies in the human heart in a mysterious cooperation with evil
Justice signifies full acceptance of the will of the God, and equity in relation to one’s neighbor
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