Woman and the Cardinal Virtue of Fortitude (FAITH Magazine, Jan-Feb 2013)
[Mgr Burke offers a meditation upon the exercise of fortitude in the context of the vocation to womanhood. This was one of a series of lectures given at Strathmore University, Nairobi, last year. We hope to publish the complementary reflections upon the other cardinal virtues.]
Firstly, I am going to speak about virtues; not in a theological or religious context, but simply in philosophical human terms.
Virtue is not a very popular word today. It is hard to say why, but perhaps the reason is that while everyone can have and in fact needs virtues, they cannot be acquired without an effort: an effort to rise above self-centeredness. And rising above self is not seen as an attractive proposition nowadays. Yet to rise above self is the only way to true personal fulfilment. Let us briefly consider why.
Woman and the Cardinal Virtue of Justice (FAITH Magazine, March–April 2013)
[Mgr Burke continues his series of reflections on the cardinal virtues and their place in recovering an authentic understanding of womanhood. The article that follows was originally delivered as a lecture at Strathmore University, Nairobi.]
Justice is the virtue by which we habitually give to each his due: what is owed to him or her. Justice also applies to our relations with the governing authority, or the government with us: what is owed in one direction or another. Most questions of justice arise between individuals; then we have what is termed commutative justice.
THE QUEST FOR FEMININE IDENTITY (Faith. 2010, vol. 42)
To Henry Higgin's expostulation, 'why can't a woman be more like a man?'... the brief answer is of course that she can; but then she will be less like a woman. Is that progress? Is she made richer or poorer by that? Is humanity made richer or poorer? Or is everyone made richer if woman is more like a woman?
But - do these questions make sense? A woman is born a woman, isn't she? Can she, as she grows, become more like a woman or less like a woman? Does it make a difference? I think she can; and I think it makes an immense difference. This implies - as I believe - that sexual identity, masculine or feminine, is not just a 'given' at birth, but also a goal to be sought; and to be achieved - or not. Some aspects of feminine identity and its achievement are what I propose to consider in this study.
I. A DISENCHANTED WORLD