Empathy – a Tool for Good or for Evil

Catholic Candle note: The article below concerns the leftists’ use of empathy and compassion to promote their radical agenda.

When discussing empathy, we must first understand what empathy is.

What is empathy?  How does it differ from compassion?

Webster’s Dictionary defines “Empathy” as:

the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner[1]

Webster’s Dictionary defines “Compassion” as:

sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress, together with a desire to alleviate it.  Some of our users are interested in the difference between empathy and compassion.  Compassion is the broader word: it refers to both an understanding of another’s pain and the desire to somehow mitigate that pain.[2]

People often use these two terms (viz., empathy and compassion) interchangeably, even though Webster’s Dictionary (quoted above) says that those words are not completely synonymous.

Here are the five key points one dictionary gives concerning the difference between these two related emotions: empathy and compassion:

1.    Many people use both words to explain the same emotion.

2.    Although thought of as the same, empathy and compassion are different forms of the same emotion.

3.    Empathy and compassion require you to imaginatively experience the same feelings as the person or situation in question.

4.    Empathy is seen as a passive emotional response.

5.    Compassion requires you to take positive action to alleviate a person’s pain or situation.[3]

Although the word “empathy” is the word more currently in vogue now, the mainstream media and other “thought leaders” tend to use the word to urge people to action.  For example, during the corona-craziness, on May 5, 2020 (the date on which the Catholic Candle team happened to begin this article), a liberal, “politically correct” news commentator emphasized that we must empathize with people by wearing a mask outside even if we are very far from any other person, because people who see us even at a long distance might be afraid they will catch the virus from us.  So, (this commentator stated) we should always wear a mask outdoors, out of empathy for the fears of others.

Note that the news commentator used the word “empathy” but urged listeners to act upon their feelings.  Thus, according to the above definitions, that commentator technically seems to be talking about compassion, not empathy.  Below, we will use both terms interchangeably to mean feeling for someone and acting accordingly.

Empathy is used to push a politically correct radical agenda

The “politically correct” thought-leaders promote empathy as a tool to achieve their corrupting, radical agenda.  Here are three examples:


Example one: empathy used to promote religious indifference and indifference to the truth

One of the Catholic Candle team recently was compelled to endure a “diversity and inclusion” presentation by a professional diversity presenter (i.e., someone who earns a living by making these presentations).  This presenter’s emphasis was on the importance of empathy for people who are not like us.  The presenter emphasized how crucial it is for us to “affirm the choices” made by other people who do not live and choose the way we do. 

The presenter gave the example of a person who belongs to a “religious minority”.  The presenter said we should not ignore other persons’ religions but that we should be empathetic by showing an “intelligent interest” in their religions and when they explain whatever it is that they do and believe, we should “affirm” (i.e., praise) their religious practices and beliefs, whatever they are.

This appeal to empathy is unreasonable.  It treats the truth as irrelevant.  It exalts the valuing of people’s feelings or decisions, however wrong or evil they are.  Such conduct (viz., praising whatever people believe) is religiously indifferent.  Out of charity, we should try to convert people to the truth, especially to the Catholic Faith because outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation.[4] 

What should we conclude about empathy then?  Is empathy something which is religiously indifferent and uncharitable?

Example two: empathy used to attack the Natural Law[5] and sound traditional morals

Among those persons who promote unnatural impurity, one of their main goals (which has been largely achieved) has been to promote so-called “marriage” for themselves.  They “argue” like this: think how you would feel if people were not “accepting” of your choice of spouse.  Empathize with people who are living in these situations (viz., living lives of unnatural impurity).  Empathize with how they feel being “marginalized” and “not respected”.  You would not want to be treated this way.  Empathize with them and don’t treat them this way.  You should “affirm” and accept their choices.

After considering this godless, liberal argument, what should we conclude about empathy?  Does empathy promote violations of the Sixth Commandment?  Is empathy evil because it is against the law of God?

Example three: empathy used to promote murder

When people are suffering, especially near the end of their lives, the promoters of euthanasia (i.e., so-called “mercy killing”) declare that the “compassionate” response is to kill that person, either when that person consents, or even when he does not consent.[6]  These promoters say that it is unempathetic to not kill those who are suffering and that we should “help” them by ending their suffering and by “allowing” them to die with “dignity”.

The truth is that euthanasia is murder.[7]  After considering the leftist argument given in this example, what should we say about empathy?  Is empathy against the Fifth Commandment?  Is empathy against the law of God?

From these examples (above) and from countless others published by the liberal mainstream media and promoted by “thought leaders”, we see liberals using empathy to promote their leftist positions.  Conservatives often label as “bleeding heart liberals” those leftists who appeal to empathy to push their socialist agenda.[8]

True education develops the mind to think clearly.  But true education is declining and is being replaced by training in technical skills (e.g., computer skills) and by leftist indoctrination.  This is why people think less often – and also think less clearly.  Because people are now guided less by reason, they inevitably act more on emotion and passion.

Because there is a general trend toward fuzzy thinking in society, the liberals effectively use empathy against both sexes.  However, the leftists especially prey upon women, because God made them more emotional in order to assist them in fulfilling admirably their God-given role as nurturers, especially of children.[9]  This leftist manipulation of women through empathy is shown, e.g., in the greater number of women who belong to the more liberal of the two major political parties (viz., the Democratic party in the U.S.).[10]

Leftists don’t discuss matters by addressing what is reasonable.  Despite constantly talking about justice, e.g., so-called “racial justice”, the liberals never really promote anything based on real justice.  True justice means giving everyone his due, i.e., what is owed to him.[11]  When the liberals promote so-called “racial justice” (or some other kind of supposed “justice”), they don’t explain or argue why something is DUE to those who are complaining.  So, e.g., if the liberals complain that there is no “racial justice” because there are not as many black board members on corporate boards, (or whatever else) they don’t explain why more board memberships are somehow due to blacks (or due to anyone) and are something owed to them.

Instead of focusing on reason and real justice, the liberals focus on harm and fear of harm, e.g., presenting the listener with a weeping welfare recipient sobbing and angrily declaring that she cannot feed her children without an increase in welfare payments or that her government housing is in “unacceptable” and very poor condition.

The liberal media, the entertainment industry, the advertising industry, the liberal educational establishment, and the wealthy enemies of Christ who those other groups all serve, all know that people can be easily manipulated by appealing to their emotions.  Although this is not a new problem, it has gotten much worse.

As these enemies of Christ manipulate people through emotion, they promote greater dependence on acting according to emotion and have coined the oxymoronic label “emotional intelligence”.  Here is how one encyclopedia defines this phrase:

Emotional intelligence (EI), emotional leadership (EL), emotional quotient (EQ) and emotional intelligence quotient (EIQ), is the capability of individuals to recognize their own emotions and those of others, discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt to environments or achieve one’s goal(s).[12]

This is why it is the current fashion for the media and other social leaders to constantly emphasize the importance of being empathetic.  For example, liberal Democrat and U.S. president, Joe Biden, was widely praised (during his campaign for president) as the candidate of empathy.[13]  Completely turning the meaning of words upside down, one of the big reasons that the media and Biden proclaim that he is “deeply compassionate” is because he “empathizes” with women by strongly promoting their murdering their babies.[14]

Similarly, the extremely politically correct leftist-Marxist group, Black Lives Matter, emphasizes in its short statement of principles, “we are empathetic”,[15] referring to their promotion of a long list of grave sins which will increase the vice, disfunction, and suffering in society through increasing gross immorality.[16]

So, empathy (compassion) seems to be bad and to be a tool of the enemies of Christ.  But on the other hand, St. James tells us that “the Lord is merciful and compassionate.”[17]  Further, St. Peter tells us that we should be compassionate too:

Be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, being lovers of the brotherhood, merciful, modest, humble ….[18]

So, what is the truth?  Where can we find the truth?  As always, we should look to Our Lord as our guide.

Christ, our Model in all things – including our Model in Compassion

Our Lord Jesus Christ is our model in all things.  Our life should be a continual “work in progress” to become more Christlike in all things.[19]

We see that the Gospels tell us repeatedly that Our Lord was compassionate.  For example, here is Our Lord relieving the people’s distress because of their great hunger:

Jesus called together his disciples, and said: I have compassion[20] on the multitudes, because they continue with me now three days, and have not what to eat, and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.[21]

Notice several things about Our Lord’s compassion here.  First, remember that He knows all things and can do all things.  He knew that they had nothing to eat.  He could have sent them away after one day, but in His infinite Wisdom, He knew it was better for them to be with Him for three days, to hear His doctrine and have His Presence.   

Our Lord could have fed the multitude on each of the days, not only on the third day.  The crowd would have preferred the more frequent meals.  However, Our Lord did not give them what they wanted but what they needed.  Perhaps, He wanted them to suffer more for the sake of the truth.  Our Lord’s compassion caused Him to give them food when they could not humanly go longer without food.  He fed them when necessary, not based on the multitude’s comfort or preference.  He acted according to their true good, rather than according to their desires.

Here is another example of Our Lord having compassion by curing a leper who was suffering from his disease:

And there came a leper to Him, beseeching Him and kneeling down, said to Him: If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.  And Jesus, having compassion on him, stretched forth His hand and touching him saith to him: I will.  Be thou made clean.[22]

But in Our Lord’s public life, He showed compassion not only by relieving the people’s bodily needs and not only by relieving needs that the people knew they had.  For example, when a great crowd came to Our Lord, He had compassion on them and began to teach them because they needed guidance (whether they knew it or not).  Here is how St. Mark explains this event, when the crowds caught up with Our Lord and His apostles, in the desert:

And going up into a ship, they [viz., Our Lord and His apostles] went into a desert place apart.  And they [viz., the crowd] saw them going away, and many knew: and they ran flocking thither on foot from all the cities, and were there before them [Our Lord and His apostles].  And Jesus going out saw a great multitude: and He had compassion on them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd, and He began to teach them many things.[23]

Here Our Lord is giving us an example of a compassion not connected to the bodily needs of the people and not necessarily even connected to any lack those people explicitly knew they suffered.  But Our Lord knew (knows) the importance of His doctrine for the happiness and holiness of people.  In His compassion, Our Lord gives the people what they need and what was best for them, even if it is not what they wanted most or even knew they needed.

Our Lord’s compassion caused Him to put Himself in the “shoes” of others and see the importance of telling them the truth, rather than having them remain in ignorance.  Our Lord prioritizing the truth shows us that the truth is paramount, even when it causes people to leave Him.  When Our Lord’s truth about the Holy Eucharist was rejected by the people and they “walked no more with Him”, He did not falter but asked those that remained: “Will you also go away?”[24]
The saints showed us the same example of true compassion, helping those who are in need to learn the truth, even though this is not what they might have wanted or what emotion would incline to give them.  It is this compassion which moves great missionaries to help the pagans.  Here is how St. Wulfran’s compassion is described:

He was chosen and consecrated archbishop of Sens, in 682, which diocese he governed during two years and a half with great zeal and sanctity.  A tender compassion for the blindness of the idolaters of Friseland, and the example of the English zealous preachers in those parts, moved him to resign his bishopric with proper advice, and, after a retreat at Fontenelle, to enter Friseland in quality of a poor missionary priest.[25]

Here is how St. Amand’s compassion is described:

In 649, he [St. Amand] was chosen bishop of Maestricht; but three years after he resigned that see to St. Remaclus, and returned to his missions, to which his compassion for the blindness of infidels always inclined his heart.[26]

God treats us this way too, giving us what we need and what is in our true best interests, rather than what we might want instead.  For example, God sends us crosses which we don’t want or think we need, as an expression of His compassion for us.  This Divine compassion could be called “tough love”.  Here is how The Catechism Explained teaches this truth:

“A grievous sickness makes the soul sober” (Ecclus. xxxi. 2).  In sickness God knocks at the door of the heart and asks for admission.  “I am always glad,” said St. Ignatius, “when I see a sinner fall ill, for sickness brings back to God.”  How foolish it is then to regard sickness as a mark of God’s anger, when it is really a mark of His compassion.[27]

On the other hand, upon God’s enemies He is sometimes said to not have compassion.  For example, 

And the Lord the God of their fathers sent to them, by the hand of His messengers, rising early, and daily admonishing them: because He spared His people and His dwelling place.  But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised His words, and misused the prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, and there was no remedy.  For He brought upon them the king of the Chaldeans, and he slew their young men with the sword in the house of His sanctuary, He had no compassion on young man, or maiden, old man or even him that stooped for age, but He delivered them all into his hands.[28]

Plainly, God is showing us that there is a time for compassion and a time for no compassion.  In his parable of Lazarus and Dives, Our Lord has Abraham show no compassion on Dives: 

There was a certain rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen; and feasted sumptuously every day.  And there was a certain beggar, named Lazarus, who lay at his gate, full of sores, desiring to be filled with the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table, and no one did give him.  Moreover, the dogs came, and licked his sores.  And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom.  And the rich man also died:  and he was buried in hell.  And lifting up his eyes when he was in torments, he saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom: And he cried, and said:  Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, to cool my tongue: for I am tormented in this flame.  And Abraham said to him:  Son, remember that thou didst receive good things in thy lifetime, and likewise Lazareth, evil things, but now he is comforted; and thou art tormented.  And besides all this, between us and you, there is fixed a great chaos: so that they who would pass from hence to you, cannot, nor from thence come hither.  And he said:  Then, father, I beseech thee, that thou wouldst send him to my father’s house, for I have five brethren, that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torments.  And Abraham said to him:  They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.  But he said:  No, father Abraham:  but if one went to them from the dead, they will do penance.  And he said to him:  If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they believe, if one rise again from the dead.[29]

Pope St. Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church, comments on this parable and teaches that the just are completely conformed to the righteousness of God so that they are not “moved with compassion towards the reprobate” because God would not want them to feel compassion for the damned.[30] 

We are now in a position to see what empathy (compassion) is good and what empathy (compassion) is evil.

  Compassion must conform to reason.

  Compassion must be in the appropriate amount and not be excessive.   As shown above, Our Lord multiplied simple bread to feed the crowd to prevent them from collapsing on the way home.  He did not give them feasts and riches, although that would have been easy for him to do and although the people would have preferred those instead of plain bread.  But riches and feasts would have been excessive and not good for them.

  Compassion is bad when contrary to reason.  For example, parents could empathize and “feel” for their children when those children are acting willful or need to be corrected. 

St. Alphonsus de Liguori, Doctor of the Church, condemns this empathetic over-indulgence this way:

Great indeed is the misfortune of the child that has vicious parents, who are incapable of bringing up their children in the fear of God and who, when they see their children engaged in dangerous friendships and in quarrels, instead of correcting and chastising them, rather take compassion on them ….[31]

Thus, we see that compassion (empathy) is good and God-like, provided it is according to right reason and thus, conforms to God’s own righteousness.  We should not feel empathy willy-nilly, but only as God wants us to feel it, and only toward those for whom God wants us to feel it.

For if it were good for us to have compassion/empathy whenever a person is suffering, and to have greater compassion/empathy on whoever is suffering more acutely, then it would be good to have the greatest compassion on the damned because no one on earth suffers as much as they do in hell.  Yet Our Lord has no compassion on the damned and wants us to have no compassion/empathy for them either. 

If a person were to have compassion/empathy on the damned, this would clearly be unreasonable and would be contrary to God’s Will.  In other words, such compassion/empathy would be evil (i.e., unreasonable).  Our compassion must always be directed by reason.[32] 

Our compassion is not well-regulated and formed properly if we are moved to compassion toward the wrong person or in the wrong circumstances.  If we feel compassion/empathy when we should not feel it, this spontaneous feeling might not be a sin but we must strive hard to conform our feelings to our reason and to the truth.  One example of this misplaced compassion would be to feel sorry for the damned, e.g., Judas.[33] 

Our ability to feel natural compassion is a good thing just like anger or our desire for food.  All three come from God.  But all three must be directed by reason.  So, we see that it is not true that “the more compassionate we are, the better”, any more than “the angrier we are, the better”.  Instead, compassion (and anger) must always conform with reason.

Compassion is a good passion to the extent that it readies us to help someone who is suffering[34], just like anger is a good passion to the extent that it assists us in facing danger in a difficult situation.  Those passions are good when directed toward the right object, in the right amount.  But these passions are good only if and to the extent that right reason approves of the help they move us to give (assist the suffering or facing danger in difficult situations).  If compassion and anger are according to reason, they should be promoted.  If they are against reason, then they are bad and should be suppressed (or moderated).

We need to follow reason and always make sure that our compassion/empathy is Christlike and reasonable, just like we must make sure that our anger, our desire for food, and everything else that we do, say, and think is reasonable and Christlike. 

“Solving” the false arguments promoting an evil empathy, given at the beginning of this article

Example one: empathy used to promote religious indifference and indifference to the truth.  We should resist the temptation to make a person feel good in his false religion because it will lead him to hell.  We should help to guide him to the true Catholic religion, even if he “feels bad” or becomes angry because we tell him the truth.

Example two: empathy used to attack the Natural Law and sound traditional morals.  We should resist the temptation to make a person feel good in his unnatural vice, because that vice will lead him to hell.  True compassion would move us to disapprove of his sin, to pray for him and help him to fight and escape his life of vice.  This is called “tough love”.  This is truly doing unto others as we would want them to do unto us.

Example three: empathy used to promote murder.  Whereas empathy which is misplaced could promote euthanasia (i.e., so-called “mercy killing”) because our heart is moved by a person’s suffering, making us want to end his suffering, true empathy would move us to help/support/pray with someone who is suffering/dying, while he is suffering, to help him die well.  This is truly doing unto others as we would want them to do unto us.  In other words, true empathy moves us to help a person, but in the way our reason and our Catholic Faith tell us to help. 


We must strive to avoid feeling compassion toward the wrong person or in the wrong circumstances.  By promoting unreasonable compassion, the leftists prey upon unwary people and draw them to support the leftists’ evil agenda.  We must guard against this trap through our efforts to conform our compassion (and everything else in our lives) to reason.

[1]           https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/empathy (emphasis added).


[2]           https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/compassion (emphasis added).


[4]           It is a dogma of the Catholic Church, which was infallibly declared four times, that Outside the Church there is no salvation.  For a more complete treatment of this dogma, read this article: https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/faith/there-is-no-salvation-outside-the-catholic-church.html

[5]           The Natural Law is what we know we must do by the light of the natural reason God gave us.  One example of the Natural Law is that we must never tell a lie.  We naturally know this because we know that the purpose of speech is to convey the truth and so we naturally know that telling a lie is abusing the purpose of speech.


Here is how St. Thomas explains what the Natural Law is:


[L]aw, being a rule and measure, can be in a person in two ways: in one way, as in him that rules and measures; in another way, as in that which is ruled and measured, since a thing is ruled and measured, in so far as it partakes of the rule or measure. Wherefore, since all things subject to Divine providence are ruled and measured by the eternal law, as was stated above [in Summa, Ia IIae, Q.91, a.1]; it is evident that all things partake somewhat of the eternal law, in so far as, namely, from its being imprinted on them, they derive their respective inclinations to their proper acts and ends. Now among all others, the rational creature is subject to Divine providence in the most excellent way, in so far as it partakes of a share of providence, by being provident both for itself and for others. Wherefore it has a share of the Eternal Reason, whereby it has a natural inclination to its proper act and end: and this participation of the eternal law in the rational creature is called the natural law. Hence the Psalmist after saying (Psalm 4:6): "Offer up the sacrifice of justice," as though someone asked what the works of justice are, adds: "Many say, Who showeth us good things?" in answer to which question he says: "The light of Thy countenance, O Lord, is signed upon us": thus implying that the light of natural reason, whereby we discern what is good and what is evil, which is the function of the natural law, is nothing else than an imprint on us of the Divine light. It is therefore evident that the natural law is nothing else than the rational creature’s participation of the eternal law.


Summa, Ia IIae, Q.91, a.2, respondeo.


[8]           See, e.g., this article: Political liberals are ‘bleeding hearts’ because they empathize so strongly with the sufferings of othershttps://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-human-beast/201210/why-liberal-hearts-bleed-and-conservatives-dont


[9]           To read more about the exalted role of wife and mother that is being attacked by feminism, read this article: https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/faith/the-role-that-god-gave-to-woman-and-the-great-work-of-her-life.html

[10]         See., e.g., this 2009 article concerning the results of a survey of voters, which states:

In the current analysis of 149,192 Gallup Poll Daily tracking interviews conducted in January through May of this year [2009], 41% of women identify as Democrats, some nine points higher than the 32% of men who identify as Democrats. The 34% of men in this sample who are independents can be contrasted with the smaller 26% of women who are independents. There is little difference by gender in terms of identification as Republicans — 28% of men are Republicans, compared to 25% of women.


Overall, the data confirm that men currently have a much more even distribution of party identification than do women. The range across the three partisan groups for men is just 6 points, from a low of 28% identifying as Republicans to a high of 34% identifying as independents. On the other hand, the range for women is a much larger 16 points, from 25% Republican to 41% Democratic.

https://news.gallup.com/poll/120839/Women-Likely-Democrats-Regardless-Age.aspx  (bracketed date added for clarity).


We see in daily experience and in the mainstream media, that the U.S. Democratic Party is the party of fear instead of reason.  For example, notice how strongly the Democrats promote COVID-terror and “climate catastrophe”.  Thus, because the Democrats use fear more, they have more women in the party because scare tactics work better on women than they do on men.  Here is a study showing this fact:  Appealing to fear: A Meta-Analysis of Fear Appeal Effectiveness and Theories, Tannenbaum, et al., published by the National Institute of Health, U.S. National Library of Medicine, and found here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5789790/


As a corollary to the fact that the leftists especially prey upon women, using empathy (emotion) to win them to evil causes, conservative women, especially uncompromising Traditional Catholic women, have the honorable distinction of being among the most clear-thinking of women.


Feminists and other Democrats expect and demand all women to vote Democratic and to promote radical, anti-God, (so-called) “women’s issues”, which are really only the usual stock of leftist issues.  To do this, feminists and other Democrats promote (a false) empathy which is merely promoting leftist evil by appealing to emotion.


Conservatives – including women – who recognize this leftist appeal to evil through misplaced empathy, and who thus reject such leftist evil, are attacked viciously.  For example, one radical leftist woman called conservative women “white nationalist racist gender traitors.”  https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2020/07/is-hollywood-too-soft-on-conservative-women   In the fight between good and evil, between Christ and Satan, such attacks are examples of leftist “empathy” at its clearest.

[11]         Summa, IIa IIae, Q.58, a.1, respondeo.

[13]         Read, e.g., the media promoting Biden’s “empathy offensive”.  https://news.yahoo.com/joe-bidens-empathy-offensive-184554158.html


[15]         Quoted from https://blacklivesmatter.com/what-we-believe/ accessed on June 4, 2020. 


Beginning in about June 2020, conservatives noticed the BLM credo and its overt Marxism.  They began quoting it to warn the public about the encroaching Marxism throughout western nations.  Sometime, in approximately September 2020, BLM removed this credo and substituted a more generic one in its place.  Here is an archive copy of BLM’s Marxist credo we quote, here:  https://web.archive.org/web/20200917194804/https://blacklivesmatter.com/what-we-believe/


[16]         This group, Black Lives Matters, is a very bad group.  Read more about the similarity between this group, Karl Marx, and Satan, here: https://catholiccandle.org/2021/03/09/black-lives-matters-program-is-the-same-as-that-of-satan-and-marx/


The truth is that black lives and all lives are important because they are gifts of God, which are necessary in order to give us the opportunity of serving Him and saving our souls so that we can be with Him for all eternity in heaven. 

[17]         St. James, 5:11.

[18]         1 St. Peter, 3:8.

[19]         Here is how St. Basil the Great, Doctor of the Church, teaches that Our Lord Jesus Christ is our model in everything:


Each word and deed of Our Savior, Jesus Christ, is for us a lesson in virtue and piety.  For this end also did He assume our nature, so that every man and every woman, contemplating as in a picture the practice of all virtue and piety, might strive with all their hearts to imitate His example.  For this He bore our body, so that as far as we could we might repeat within us the manner of His Life.  And so therefore, when you hear mention of some word or deed of His, take care not to receive it simply as something that incidentally happened, but raise your mind upwards towards the sublimity of what He is teaching, and strive to see what has been mystically handed down to us.


St. Basil the Great, as quoted in Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers, (translated by M. F. Toal), Regnery Co., Chicago, ©1958, sermon for the 5th Sunday after Easter, entitled That Prayer is to be placed before all things, volume 2, p.377.

[20]         This is the Douay Rheims translation.  The Latin word is “misericordia”, usually translated as “mercy”.

[21]         St. Matthew’s Gospel, 15:32 (emphasis added).


[22]         St. Mark’s Gospel, 1:40-41 (emphasis added).


[23]         St. Mark’s Gospel, 6:32-34 (emphasis added, bracketed words added to show context).

[24]         Here is the longer account from St. John’s Gospel, Ch.6:


[Our Lord declared:] I am the bread of life.  Your fathers did eat manna in the desert, and are dead.  This is the Bread which cometh down from heaven; that if any man eat of it, he may not die.  I am the living Bread which came down from heaven.  If any man eat of this Bread, he shall live forever; and the Bread that I will give, is My Flesh, for the life of the world.  The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying:  How can this man give us his flesh to eat?  Then Jesus said to them:  Amen, amen I say unto you:  Except you eat the Flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, you shall not have life in you.  He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day.  For My Flesh is meat indeed:  and My Blood is drink indeed.  He that eateth My Flesh, and drinketh My Blood, abideth in Me, and I in him.  As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth Me, the same also shall live by Me.  This is the bread that came down from heaven.  Not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead.  He that eateth this bread, shall live forever.  These things he said, teaching in the synagogue, in Capharnaum.  Many therefore of His disciples, hearing it, said:  This saying is hard, and who can hear it?  But Jesus, knowing in Himself, that His disciples murmured at this, said to them:  Doth this scandalize you?  If then you shall see the Son of man ascend up where He was before?  It is the spirit that quickeneth:  the flesh profiteth nothing.  The words that I have spoken to you, are spirit and life.  But there are some of you that believe not.  For Jesus knew from the

beginning, who they were that did not believe, and who he was, that would betray him.  And He said:  Therefore did I say to you, that no man can come to Me, unless it be given him by my Father.  After this many of his disciples went back; and walked no more with him.  Then Jesus said to the twelve: Will you also go away?  


St. John’s Gospel, Ch.6, vv.48-68 (emphasis added).

[25]         Butlers Lives of the Saints, Fr. Alban Butler, vol. 1, St. Wulfran, March 20, (emphasis added).

[26]         Butlers Lives of the Saints, Fr. Alban Butler, vol. 1, St. Amand, February 6, (emphasis and bracketed words added).

[27]         The Catechism Explained, Spirago, TAN Books, Rockford, 1993, section: Apostles’ Creed, subsection #3, p.143.

[28]         2 Paralipomenon, 36:15-17 (emphasis added).


[29]         St. Luke’s Gospel, 16:19-31 (emphasis added).

[30]         Here are St. Gregory’s words:


For as the wicked desire to pass over to the elect, that is, to depart from the pangs of their sufferings, so to the afflicted and tormented would the just pass in their mind by compassion, and wish to set them free. But the souls of the just, although in the goodness of their nature they feel compassion, after being united to the righteousness of their Author, are constrained by such great uprightness as not to be moved with compassion towards the reprobate.  Neither then do the unrighteous pass over to the lot of the blessed, because they are bound in everlasting condemnation, nor can the righteous pass to the reprobate, because being now made upright by the righteousness of judgment, they in no way pity them from any compassion.


Catena Aurea on St. Luke’s Gospel, Ch. 16 section 5 (emphasis added).


St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church, teaches that not only don’t the blessed have compassion on the damned but that they rejoice in the torments of the damned.  St. John Chrysostom explains this truth teaching that, in these words of Abraham, it is:


as if he [viz., Abraham] says, “we can see, we cannot pass; and we see what we have escaped, you, what you have lost; our joys enhance your torments; your torments enhance our joys.”


Catena Aurea on St. Luke’s Gospel, Ch.16, section 5 (emphasis added).


[31]      St. Alphonsus de Liguori, Sermon 36, On the Education of Children, First Point, section 4.

[32]         Here is how St. Thomas explains the importance of compassion being directed and controlled by reason:


I answer that, compassion signifies grief for another’s distress.  Now this grief may denote, in one way, a movement of the sensitive appetite, in which case compassion is not a virtue but a passion; whereas, in another way, it may denote a movement of the intellective appetite, in as much as one person’s evil is displeasing to another. This movement may be ruled in accordance with reason, and in accordance with this movement regulated by reason, the movement of the lower appetite may be regulated.  Hence Augustine says (De Civ. Dei ix, 5) that “this movement of the mind” (viz., compassion) “obeys the reason, when compassion is vouchsafed in such a way that justice is safeguarded, whether we give to the needy or forgive the repentant.”  And since it is essential to human virtue that the movements of the soul should be regulated by reason, as was shown above (I-II:59:4 and I-II:59:5), it follows that compassion is a virtue.


Summa, IIa IIae, Q. 30, a.3, in an article entitled: Whether mercy is a virtue?  Note: the Latin word St. Thomas uses here is “misericordia”, the same Latin word translated as “compassion” in the Douay Rheims quotes above.

[33]         To see that Judas is in hell read this article: http://www.catholiccandle.org/2020/05/01/judas-is-in-hell/


[34]         Here is how St. Thomas Aquinas, following St. Augustine, explains how compassion is a help to virtuous action, when that compassion is ruled by our reason:


As Augustine says (De Civ. Dei ix, 5), mercy is heartfelt sympathy for another’s distress, impelling us to succor him if we can.  For mercy takes its name "misericordia" from denoting a man’s compassionate heart [miserum cor] for another’s unhappiness.


Summa, IIa IIae, Q.30, a.1 respondeo (translating “misericordia” as “mercy”).


Thus, we see that compassion helps us by moving us to perform works of mercy which we might otherwise not perform or might not perform as readily.