So, which is the greater loss, which change or decay do you fear more, worry about more?
The decline of moral virtue or the decline of mercy?
I think much of the theological discussions and back and forth we see can be settled by answering that question - which do you fear the loss of more - virtue or mercy.
This, of course, isn't saying one is good and the other is bad - but rather this... which one must take priority, which one is more important.
The answer you give says much to your theology.