What Is a Man of Character?

MAG_3781-X2-300x199 What Is a Man of Character?

“To have character means acting in accordance with our fundamental principles.”

At the graduation ceremony of the American TFP’s Sedes Sapientiae Institute, Mr. Gustavo Solimeo delivered the opening remarks. The June 3 event was held at the TFP headquarters in Spring Grove, Penn. Mr. Solimeo, an Institute instructor, discussed what it means to be a man of character.

What is character? And what do we mean when we say of someone: he is a man of character?

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When we meet someone who changes principles according to circumstances, we say he has no character. When we see someone who abandons a way of doing things, which is recognized as good, because he does not want to suffer the least pain, we say he has no character. When someone is weak-willed and insecure, we say that this is a person of weak character or even without character.

On the contrary, when we witness a principled young man who adheres to his ideals, whatever the circumstances, even when this represents sacrifices, we say that he is a young man of character.

So, what is character?

According to Bishop Tihamer Toth, the word character designates that state when the human will is fixed in the good. To have character means acting in accordance with our fundamental principles. It means making an effort to attain a noble conception of life.

Education plays a major role in the building of character. First, education allows us to find and develop noble principles. Then, with good habits and effort, we become accustomed to acting in all circumstances according to these principles.

The function of the educator is to establish firm convictions and build unshakable certainties.

This must be done in two ways, one positive, and one negative.

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The positive way is to provide the elements for the formation of these convictions and the fundamentals of these certainties through study and habits.

The negative way is to eliminate the obstacles that hinder these convictions and certainties.

What are the obstacles facing young people today? The obstacles of our day can be summed up in one word: Relativism.

Relativism, as its name suggests, repudiates any truth or absolute value.

The world today is immersed in the culture of relativism. We no longer have certainties or values on which to base ourselves. Relativism causes us to lose our points of reference. Right and wrong are only vague concepts that vary from person to person, according to the circumstances and place.

The dictatorship of relativism is embedded in all fields:

  • Philosophical relativism teaches that there is neither truth nor error; no beauty or ugliness;
  • Moral relativism claims there is neither good nor evil;
  • Religious relativism affirms there is no true religion, all religions are equal. Even atheism is of equal worth;
  • Social relativism holds that it does not matter if couples are married. Marriage is no longer the union of a man and a woman, but it may be that of two persons of the same sex;
  • Cultural relativism takes the denial of reality to the extreme. “Gender theory,” for example, denies the very biological fact that individuals are born male or female.
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All these manifestations of relativism dominate the education of young people from an early age. They all prevent a man from becoming a man of character.

  • Paul Tran

    Relativism is nothing more than at the very worst ignorance and at best cultural Marxism, the latter a denial of God.

    • David Mary

      You stated that backwards. Cultural Marxism is far worse than mere ignorance.

      • Paul Tran

        You are probably right, I did think about it after I made the comment but it was too late to change it.

  • Chris Lilly

    Everyone has moral character. The key is whether a person has bad or good morals.

  • steve abril

    There is no such thing as bad (evil) it is merely the absence of good…

    • Bruceph

      I wonder, if you were watching your executioner remove your bowels, if you’d have such a lifeless outlook.

      • David Mary

        What you call a lifeless outlook is far from it. It is an outlook that rightly recognizes the supreme good, which is God the giver of life, as the source of all good, and all things.

        • Bruceph

          Its as if the world, including the divine world, is like a computer. Nothing but ones and zeros. Plug and play. Of course, in this case, there’s no plug to plug into.
          If there is no evil there can be no good, friend. Against what would it be measured? There’s nothing to measure the good against [there’s no ‘there’ there]. so there can be no good, and no God, angels, no heavenly realm. Satan becomes myth, hell doesn’t exist. Good as outlook, sentiment, culture, feeling, opinion; it only exists as long as you exist, then poof, the void. Nothing but other peoples memories. And there are millions of outlooks. Some outlooks call good evil and evil good. Who’s to say what’s true or right? The lion looks and the deer and thinks ‘lunch’. The deer looks and the lion and thinks ‘death’. If they don’t see each other, do they fail to exist?
          There’s too much Darwin in this thinking for me, Buddhism and Eckhart Tolle. Genesis 1:3 states “and he divided the light from the darkness”. The ‘void’ is not evil. Luke 10:18 says “I saw Satan like lightning falling from heaven.”
          In Catholicism we understand God created the world and it was good. Lucifer rebelled against God and it was [manifestly, not imaginary] bad. That God permits, for a time.

          • David Mary

            Friend, evil is absence of (or turning away from) good, as cold is absence of heat, and darkness is absence of light, your wall of text notwithstanding. Evil cannot exist without good nor cold without heat, or darkness without light), which is in opposition to the way you stated it. Do you deny that God is the supreme good? If He is, then He does not need to be “measured” he just *IS*, and infinitely so.

          • Bruceph

            You are right on several counts, David and have given me much to think about. When you say “turning away from good”; that makes sense to me. At the last gospel the text reads “the light shineth in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” … a disposition [of someone] in relation to a thing (not a thing, not a no-thing, a state of mind [of someone living]).
            On the way out of Mass I stopped to ask the priest if evil were the absence of good. He immediately replied “Yes”, then added there was more to it. We spoke for a couple of minutes, just enough to realize I’d need a lot more time to understand what was being said.
            There’s the thing, or the absence of it. then there’s the one and there disposition towards it.
            And I’m thinking, more.

          • David Mary

            Thank you for accepting my very direct words in the spirit in which they were offered. More about the problem of evil can be read here:

            http://willingcatholicmartyr.blogspot.ca/2011/01/st-augustine-on-evil.html

            Peace.