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The Four Cardinal Virtues by Josef Pieper

January 6, 2015 by  
Filed under Book Club, Cardinal Virtues, Vicki Burbach

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The Four Cardinal Virtues (Week 1 of 12)

Dear Fellow Reader:

We at Catholic Spiritual Direction hope you've been enjoying a very Merry Christmas season, that your New Year is full of peace and joy, and that you are ready to make good on that New Year's resolution to devote time every day to spiritual reading!  Please join us as we begin our first book for the New Year – The Four Cardinal Virtues by Josef Pieper.  If you haven't found your copy yet, no worries! We plan to start slow.  I'm breaking the original plan for Week One into two weeks.  That way, you are welcome to begin with us this week, but will not fall behind if you still need to acquire the book before getting started.  For those of you who are interested, I did find this copy on an online archives website.

The following is taken from the back of my book:


A stimulating quartet of essays on the four cardinal virtues by Josef Pieper, internationally know German Thomist scholar and one of the most important philosophers of our time.

In this book he demonstrates the unsound overvaluation of moderation that has made contemporary morality a hollow convention and points out the true significance of the Christian virtues that can and should make morality a dynamic way of life.

Pragmatic and puritanical concepts about virtue and morality are demolished, and Dr. Pieper sounds a warning: Unless we regain the true essence of the cardinal virtues, we are headed for moral anarchy.

Wow!  I don't know if I should have posted that blurb!  It sounds a little dry even to me!  If it peaks your curiosity, just focus on that “headed for moral anarchy” part and believe me when I tell you that I've already skimmed through the book and the material is profoundly interesting.  Sure to be an invaluable tool for our edification, it's also included on Father C.J. McCloskey's Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan.

Below you'll find our prospective schedule for The Four Cardinal Virtues.  This list notes the week the assignment is to be given.  The assignment for any particular week will be discussed the following week.  For example, on Week 2, we will discuss the Preface and Prudence Ch. 1:

1/6 Week 1:  Preface; Prudence Ch. 1

1/13 Week 2:  Prudence Ch. 2

1/20 Week 3:  Prudence Ch. 3-4

1/27 Week 4: Justice Ch. 1-2

2/3  Week 5: Justice Ch. 3-5

2/10  Week 6: Justice Ch. 6

2/17 Week 7: Justice Ch. 7; Fortitude Ch. 1-2

2/24  Week 8: Fortitude Ch. 3-4; Temperance Ch. 1-2

3/3  Week 9:  Temperance Ch. 3

3/10  Week 10:  Temperance Ch. 4-7

3/17  Week 11:  Temperance Ch. 8-10

3/24  Week 12: Conclusion – NO ASSIGNMENT


I hope you'll join us over the next twelve weeks for a great discussion!

Happy Reading!

Reading Assignment:

Preface; Chapter 1

Discussion Questions:

1. Have you read The Four Cardinal Virtues before?  If so, please note any feedback you'd like to share on the book.

2. We've missed you over the past several weeks!  Please share any special blessings you've experienced over the holidays!


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About Vicki Burbach

Vicki Burbach is a wife and homeschooling mother of six children ages four to sixteen years who relishes the calm inspiration of spiritual reading amidst the roller coaster of life. A passionate convert to the Faith, Vicki is an avid reader who started the book club so she could embark with like-minded bibliophiles on a spiritual journey through some of the greatest Catholic books ever written. She is author of the new book How to Read Your Way to Heaven - A Spiritual Reading Program for the Worst of Sinners, the Greatest of Saints, and Everyone in Between. You can also find her at

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  • Rachel Ford

    Hi Vicki, I ordered the book thru amazon and just got them in the mail today. I will start reading later tonight. God bless.

    • Vicki

      Super! I’m so glad you’re joining us and can’t wait to read your insights on this week’s assignment – watch for our first discussion post in your email on Tuesday!

    • Vicki

      Super! I’m so glad you’re joining us and can’t wait to read your insights on this week’s assignment – watch for our first discussion post in your email on Tuesday!

  • Mary L Nelson

    This is my first time reading The Four Cardinal Virtues. After nearly a year of trying, I’ve finally ‘sync’ed’ with one of your book club reading schedules so I hope to be able to participate. I am still reading The Sinner’s Guide and loving that book but it will be set aside so that perhaps I can hang in here for this book.
    My blessing story: The Lord told me back in the early days of 2014 that it would be a ‘year of austerity’ for me. I tried to comply by being frugal, but did not know why. In September I needed some surgery and the Insurance ‘Explanation of Benefits’ said the facility was out of network and I was liable for a $10K deductible!! I put in an appeal. This hung over my head for months so I finally understood the ‘austerity’. However, on the last day of the year, December 31st, I learned I would not be charged the deductible!! I would consider this a great blessing and also a special sign from God. Praise God!

    • LizEst

      Wow! Great witness! …and may I add? Great trust in the Lord. Praise God indeed! God bless you Mary!

  • Pingback: | Catholic Spiritual Direction | The First Among Virtues: Prudence Catholic Spiritual Direction()

  • CAnnMarie

    Got my book yesterday. Starting to read today. Didn’t realize I could get email updates. Do I have that right? Followed along with Introduction to the Devout Life last year and found it very helpful. This seems quite deep so far.

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