Righteousness. The basic meaning of ‘righteousness’ and its cognates in the Bible derives from the Hebrew sedeq, which was usually translated in the LXX as dikaiosynē. It thus denotes not so much the abstract idea of justice or virtue, as right standing and consequent right behaviour, within a community. English translates this semantic field with two different roots: ‘right’, ‘righteous’, and ‘righteousness’ and ‘just’, ‘justice’, ‘justify’ and ‘justification’. In Heb. and Gk., however, these ideas all belong together linguistically and theologically.
In the most recent document of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Consultation (the ecumenical body devoted to helping the two churches come closer), entitled The Gift of Authority , Anglicans are asked to consider the role of the Bishop of Rome in the life of their churches, while Roman Catholics are asked to begin to take seriously the collegiality of synods called for in Vatican II. Perhaps this too emphasizes in a nutshell the differences between these two churches, both branches of the early church, so close and yet so far.
If surpluses are used in charity, or in cooperatives for human purposes such as home-building for the less affluent, life necessarily becomes simpler and the ideal of voluntary poverty cannot be far behind. The Christian doctrine of property becomes a reality, namely the retaining of a sufficiency of goods for an adequate life and the sharing of the remainder with the needy. In point of fact, millions of Christians, working for wages, actually live out this teaching on property. How else do we explain the world-wide network of the works of mercy supported by the small gifts of the many, Though there are Catholic millionaires, the masses of Catholics are rather the victims than the beneficiaries of corporations as they roam about the world seeking profits.