Challenge Grant: Our Boosters will match donations up to $45,000. We have $37,094 to go. Please donate!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

A Crisis in Personal Responsibility, a "Defect in Private Duties"

By Chris Pelicano (bio - articles - email) | Jul 06, 2012

Samuel Johnson said, “Almost all the miseries of life, almost all the wickedness that infects society, and almost all the distresses that afflict mankind, are the consequences of some defect in private duties.”

No matter where we start to look at our present situation—personal life, family life, work life, community life, cultural life, national or international life—we can see (if we look) a direct connection between a personal neglect in one's duty and a specific consequent hardship. What is more, compounded neglects of duty (especially in the name of remedy) compound the consequent hardships.

This cause and effect should be very obvious. In fact, it IS obvious and deep down we know it is—but we are in some form of denial. We don't want to see the truth. We don't want to own up to our part. We don't want to take responsibility for our actions. We don't even want to think about it. But, wait! That denial is itself a failure to carry out a private and fundamental duty: to be human... to be responsible.

Human free will implies an essential necessity and capacity to choose and an innate personal accountability for the choices we make. Say, yes, when you mean yes, and, no, when you mean no—beyond that are evasions, denials, excuses, and rationalizations... and the long hard train wreck of wretched consequences that inevitably follow the neglect of private duty.

The rest of Samuel Johnson's statement provides the remedy, “Likewise, all the joys of this world may be attributable to the happiness of hearth and home.”

Why “hearth and home?” Because the personal duties of home and family life are most within one’s grasp (most “doable”) and are most essential, most effective, and most profoundly positive in their consequences. So, it all boils down to personal responsibility, which begins in the individual human heart and will—and in the nest of responsibility, the family home.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($125,623 to go):
$150,000.00 $24,377.05
84% 16%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

The Pope is not the problem 11 hours ago
Do not confuse sacramental discipline and Catholic doctrine. 12 hours ago
Ignatius Press into the Breach: Trumping the Kasper Proposal October 22
Has the Vatican finally discovered how to avoid inaccurate English translations? October 22
The Synod: It's a Wrap! October 21

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Key synod report calls for 'gradualism' in Church response to irregular family situations CWN - October 13
As synod concludes, bishops issue message, approve document; Pope weighs in CWN - October 20
Cardinal Parolin: UN must protect innocents from Islamic State CWN - September 30
Synod of Bishops opens with Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica CWN - October 6