Language advisory as to the above video due to foul mouthed liberals.
Philosopher Edward Feser takes a look at schadenfreude:
Bill Vallicella asks: Is there a righteous form of schadenfreude? The Angelic Doctor appears to answer in the affirmative. Speaking of the knowledge that the blessed in heaven have of the damned, Aquinas famously says:
It is written (Psalm 57:11): “The just shall rejoice when he shall see the revenge”…
Therefore the blessed will rejoice in the punishment of the wicked…
A thing may be a matter of rejoicing in two ways. First directly, when one rejoices in a thing as such: and thus the saints will not rejoice in the punishment of the wicked. Secondly, indirectly, by reason namely of something annexed to it: and in this way the saints will rejoice in the punishment of the wicked, by considering therein the order of Divine justice and their own deliverance, which will fill them with joy. And thus the Divine justice and their own deliverance will be the direct cause of the joy of the blessed: while the punishment of the damned will cause it indirectly.
End quote. So, the idea is this: On the one hand, the suffering of a person is not as such something to rejoice in, for suffering, considered just by itself, is an evil and, as Aquinas goes on to say, “to rejoice in another’s evil as such belongs to hatred.” However, there can be something “annexed” to the suffering which is a cause for rejoicing. For example, if we are able to develop a virtue like patience by way of suffering, that is something to rejoice in, and thus in an indirect way the suffering can in that case legitimately be a cause of rejoicing. But another sort of thing which can be annexed to a person’s suffering is justice, as when a person suffers some harm as a deserved punishment. And someone’s getting his just deserts is in Aquinas’s view something to rejoice in. Hence, Aquinas concludes, in an indirect way the suffering of the wicked can be something to rejoice in.
This is in Aquinas’s view true even when the suffering is eternal, if that is what is deserved. Indeed, he judges that the joy of the blessed would be incomplete without knowledge of the infliction of these just deserts:
Wherefore in order that the happiness of the saints may be more delightful to them and that they may render more copious thanks to God for it, they are allowed to see perfectly the sufferings of the damned.
Now, that’s schadenfreude, big league.
Putting the question of hell to one side, though, we can note that if schadenfreude can be legitimate even in that case, then a fortiori it can be legitimate in the case of lesser instances of someone getting his just deserts, in this life rather than the afterlife. For example – and to take the case Bill has in mind — suppose someone’s suffering is a consequence of anti-Catholic bigotry, brazen corruption, unbearable smugness, a sense of entitlement, groupthink, and in general from hubris virtually begging nemesis to pay a visit. When you’re really asking for it, you can’t blame others for enjoying seeing you get it. Continue Reading