Skip to content


May 24, 2020

Word for the day: Supererogation.

Merriam-Webster defines it as “the act of performing more than is required by duty, obligation, or need.” The Latin roots are ‘super’ (over and above) and ‘erogare’ (to expend public funds after asking the consent of the people).

The political relevance for today seems clear: duty to the common good, doing better than merely what’s required, and ethical representation. But the roots are in church matters. I encountered the term in Aquinas’ *Summa Theologica*, in relation to the expectations of bishops.

I don’t need my president, senator, governors, mayor, or alderperson to act like a medieval bishop, but I’m not surprised to find ideas about the ethics of public offices rooted in questions about Church bureaucracy and administration.

From → Uncategorized

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: