Aurea mediocritas is not a phrase in common use. It has nothing to do with being mediocre. Its English translation ‘the golden mean’ has no link either with being stingy. It means finding a balance in all things. It was a concept debated by the ancient Greek philosophers and found also in most major religions.
Obviously, a person should avoid extremes. To be too generous is as reprehensible as being too miserly. In our modern world it is easy to see groups going to extremes. Christians executed by jihadists for their beliefs; people driven from their own country for being of a different race or tribe.
Does this country carry out a policy of fairness and equality? The government spends billions of pounds topping up the incomes of low-paid workers; food banks help workers to survive. Here, as in other respects, there is a lack of balance.
The most pressing area where we have to find a balance is how we vote in the coming general election. Each party issues its manifesto and it is difficult to distinguish among the statements and promises where the common good is being sought and where particular issues are being promoted, where partisanship is uppermost and where just measures are put forward.
In all the debate that is taking place, we should act with reason, asking ourselves why certain policies are being pushed and what would happen if these proposals were realised. Above all, we must consider balance – the aurea mediocritas.
John Cairns, King’s Lynn Catholic Church