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St. Thomas Aquinas
Summa Theologica

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  • SECOND PART
    • Aquin.: SMT SS Q[1] Out. Para. 1/4 - SECOND PART OF THE SECOND PART (SS) (QQ[1]-189)
      • Aquin.: SMT SS Q[29] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF PEACE (FOUR ARTICLES)
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Aquin.: SMT SS Q[29] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF PEACE (FOUR ARTICLES)

We must now consider Peace, under which head there are four points of
inquiry:

(1) Whether peace is the same as concord?

(2) Whether all things desire peace?

(3) Whether peace is an effect of charity?

(4) Whether peace is a virtue?


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[29] A[1] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether peace is the same as concord?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[29] A[1] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that peace is the same as concord. For Augustine
says (De Civ. Dei xix, 13): "Peace among men is well ordered concord."
Now we are speaking here of no other peace than that of men. Therefore
peace is the same as concord.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[29] A[1] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, concord is union of wills. Now the nature of peace
consists in such like union, for Dionysius says (Div. Nom. xi) that peace
unites all, and makes them of one mind. Therefore peace is the same as
concord.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[29] A[1] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, things whose opposites are identical are themselves
identical. Now the one same thing is opposed to concord and peace, viz.
dissension; hence it is written (1 Cor. 16:33): "God is not the God of
dissension but of peace." Therefore peace is the same as concord.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[29] A[1] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, There can be concord in evil between wicked men. But
"there is no peace to the wicked" (Is. 48:22). Therefore peace is not the
same as concord.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[29] A[1] Body Para. 1/2

I answer that, Peace includes concord and adds something thereto. Hence
wherever peace is, there is concord, but there is not peace, wherever
there is concord, if we give peace its proper meaning.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[29] A[1] Body Para. 2/2

For concord, properly speaking, is between one man and another, in so
far as the wills of various hearts agree together in consenting to the
same thing. Now the heart of one man may happen to tend to diverse
things, and this in two ways. First, in respect of the diverse appetitive
powers: thus the sensitive appetite tends sometimes to that which is
opposed to the rational appetite, according to Gal. 5:17: "The flesh
lusteth against the spirit." Secondly, in so far as one and the same
appetitive power tends to diverse objects of appetite, which it cannot
obtain all at the same time: so that there must needs be a clashing of
the movements of the appetite. Now the union of such movements is
essential to peace, because man's heart is not at peace, so long as he
has not what he wants, or if, having what he wants, there still remains
something for him to want, and which he cannot have at the same time. On
the other hand this union is not essential to concord: wherefore concord
denotes union of appetites among various persons, while peace denotes, in
addition to this union, the union of the appetites even in one man.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[29] A[1] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Augustine is speaking there of that peace which is between
one man and another, and he says that this peace is concord, not indeed
any kind of concord, but that which is well ordered, through one man
agreeing with another in respect of something befitting to both of them .
For if one man concord with another, not of his own accord, but through
being forced, as it were, by the fear of some evil that besets him, such
concord is not really peace, because the order of each concordant is not
observed, but is disturbed by some fear-inspiring cause. For this reason
he premises that "peace is tranquillity of order," which tranquillity
consists in all the appetitive movements in one man being set at rest
together.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[29] A[1] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: If one man consent to the same thing together with another
man, his consent is nevertheless not perfectly united to himself, unless
at the same time all his appetitive movements be in agreement.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[29] A[1] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: A twofold dissension is opposed to peace, namely dissension
between a man and himself, and dissension between one man and another.
The latter alone is opposed to concord.


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[29] A[2] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether all things desire peace?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[29] A[2] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that not all things desire peace. For, according to
Dionysius (Div. Nom. xi), peace "unites consent." But there cannot be
unity of consent in things which are devoid of knowledge. Therefore such
things cannot desire peace.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[29] A[2] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, the appetite does not tend to opposite things at the
same time. Now many desire war and dissension. Therefore all men do not
desire peace.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[29] A[2] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, good alone is an object of appetite. But a certain peace
is, seemingly, evil, else Our Lord would not have said (Mt. 10:34): "I
came not to send peace." Therefore all things do not desire peace.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[29] A[2] Obj. 4 Para. 1/1

OBJ 4: Further, that which all desire is, seemingly, the sovereign good
which is the last end. But this is not true of peace, since it is
attainable even by a wayfarer; else Our Lord would vainly command (Mk.
9:49): "Have peace among you." Therefore all things do not desire peace.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[29] A[2] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xix, 12,14) that "all
things desire peace": and Dionysius says the same (Div. Nom. xi).

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[29] A[2] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, From the very fact that a man desires a certain thing it
follows that he desires to obtain what he desires, and, in consequence,
to remove whatever may be an obstacle to his obtaining it. Now a man may
be hindered from obtaining the good he desires, by a contrary desire
either of his own or of some other, and both are removed by peace, as
stated above. Hence it follows of necessity that whoever desires anything
desires peace, in so far as he who desires anything, desires to attain,
with tranquillity and without hindrance, to that which he desires: and
this is what is meant by peace which Augustine defines (De Civ. Dei xix,
13) "the tranquillity of order."

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[29] A[2] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Peace denotes union not only of the intellective or rational appetite, or of the animal appetite, in both of which consent
may be found, but also of the natural appetite. Hence Dionysius says that
"peace is the cause of consent and of connaturalness," where "consent"
denotes the union of appetites proceeding from knowledge, and
"connaturalness," the union of natural appetites.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[29] A[2] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Even those who seek war and dissension, desire nothing but
peace, which they deem themselves not to have. For as we stated above,
there is no peace when a man concords with another man counter to what he
would prefer. Consequently men seek by means of war to break this
concord, because it is a defective peace, in order that they may obtain
peace, where nothing is contrary to their will. Hence all wars are waged
that men may find a more perfect peace than that which they had
heretofore.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[29] A[2] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Peace gives calm and unity to the appetite. Now just as the
appetite may tend to what is good simply, or to what is good apparently,
so too, peace may be either true or apparent. There can be no true peace
except where the appetite is directed to what is truly good, since every
evil, though it may appear good in a way, so as to calm the appetite in
some respect, has, nevertheless many defects, which cause the appetite to
remain restless and disturbed. Hence true peace is only in good men and
about good things. The peace of the wicked is not a true peace but a
semblance thereof, wherefore it is written (Wis. 14:22): "Whereas they
lived in a great war of ignorance, they call so many and so great evils
peace."

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[29] A[2] R.O. 4 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 4: Since true peace is only about good things, as the true
good is possessed in two ways, perfectly and imperfectly, so there is a
twofold true peace. One is perfect peace. It consists in the perfect
enjoyment of the sovereign good, and unites all one's desires by giving
them rest in one object. This is the last end of the rational creature,
according to Ps. 147:3: "Who hath placed peace in thy borders." The other
is imperfect peace, which may be had in this world, for though the chief
movement of the soul finds rest in God, yet there are certain things
within and without which disturb the peace.


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[29] A[3] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether peace is the proper effect of charity?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[29] A[3] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that peace is not the proper effect of charity. For
one cannot have charity without sanctifying grace. But some have peace
who have not sanctifying grace, thus heathens sometimes have peace.
Therefore peace is not the effect of charity.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[29] A[3] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, if a certain thing is caused by charity, its contrary is
not compatible with charity. But dissension, which is contrary to peace,
is compatible with charity, for we find that even holy doctors, such as
Jerome and Augustine, dissented in some of their opinions. We also read
that Paul and Barnabas dissented from one another (Acts 15). Therefore it
seems that peace is not the effect of charity.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[29] A[3] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, the same thing is not the proper effect of different
things. Now peace is the effect of justice, according to Is. 32:17: "And
the work of justice shall be peace." Therefore it is not the effect of
charity.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[29] A[3] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, It is written (Ps. 118:165): "Much peace have they that
love Thy Law."

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[29] A[3] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, Peace implies a twofold union, as stated above (A[1]).
The first is the result of one's own appetites being directed to one
object; while the other results from one's own appetite being united with
the appetite of another: and each of these unions is effected by
charity - the first, in so far as man loves God with his whole heart, by
referring all things to Him, so that all his desires tend to one
object - the second, in so far as we love our neighbor as ourselves, the
result being that we wish to fulfil our neighbor's will as though it were
ours: hence it is reckoned a sign of friendship if people "make choice of
the same things" (Ethic. ix, 4), and Tully says (De Amicitia) that
friends "like and dislike the same things" (Sallust, Catilin.)

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[29] A[3] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Without sin no one falls from a state of sanctifying grace,
for it turns man away from his due end by making him place his end in
something undue: so that his appetite does not cleave chiefly to the true
final good, but to some apparent good. Hence, without sanctifying grace,
peace is not real but merely apparent.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[29] A[3] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: As the Philosopher says (Ethic. ix, 6) friends need not
agree in opinion, but only upon such goods as conduce to life, and
especially upon such as are important; because dissension in small
matters is scarcely accounted dissension. Hence nothing hinders those who
have charity from holding different opinions. Nor is this an obstacle to
peace, because opinions concern the intellect, which precedes the
appetite that is united by peace. In like manner if there be concord as
to goods of importance, dissension with regard to some that are of little
account is not contrary to charity: for such a dissension proceeds from a
difference of opinion, because one man thinks that the particular good,
which is the object of dissension, belongs to the good about which they
agree, while the other thinks that it does not. Accordingly such like
dissension about very slight matters and about opinions is inconsistent
with a state of perfect peace, wherein the truth will be known fully, and
every desire fulfilled; but it is not inconsistent with the imperfect
peace of the wayfarer.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[29] A[3] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Peace is the "work of justice" indirectly, in so far as
justice removes the obstacles to peace: but it is the work of charity
directly, since charity, according to its very nature, causes peace. For
love is "a unitive force" as Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv): and peace is
the union of the appetite's inclinations.


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[29] A[4] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether peace is a virtue?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[29] A[4] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that peace is a virtue. For nothing is a matter of
precept, unless it be an act of virtue. But there are precepts about
keeping peace, for example: "Have peace among you" (Mk. 9:49). Therefore
peace is a virtue.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[29] A[4] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, we do not merit except by acts of virtue. Now it is
meritorious to keep peace, according to Mt. 5:9: "Blessed are the
peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God." Therefore
peace is a virtue.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[29] A[4] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, vices are opposed to virtues. But dissensions, which are
contrary to peace, are numbered among the vices (Gal. 5:20). Therefore
peace is a virtue.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[29] A[4] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Virtue is not the last end, but the way thereto. But
peace is the last end, in a sense, as Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xix,
11). Therefore peace is not a virtue.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[29] A[4] Body Para. 1/2

I answer that, As stated above (Q[28], A[4]), when a number of acts all
proceeding uniformly from an agent, follow one from the other, they all
arise from the same virtue, nor do they each have a virtue from which
they proceed, as may be seen in corporeal things. For, though fire by
heating, both liquefies and rarefies, there are not two powers in fire,
one of liquefaction, the other of rarefaction: and fire produces all such
actions by its own power of calefaction.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[29] A[4] Body Para. 2/2

Since then charity causes peace precisely because it is love of God and
of our neighbor, as shown above (A[3]), there is no other virtue except
charity whose proper act is peace, as we have also said in reference to
joy (Q[28], A[4]).

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[29] A[4] R.O. 1 Para. 1/2

Reply OBJ 1: We are commanded to keep peace because it is an act of
charity; and for this reason too it is a meritorious act. Hence it is
placed among the beatitudes, which are acts of perfect virtue, as stated
above (FS, Q[69], AA[1],3). It is also numbered among the fruits, in so
far as it is a final good, having spiritual sweetness.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[29] A[4] R.O. 1 Para. 2/2

This suffices for the Reply to the Second Objection.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[29] A[4] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Several vices are opposed to one virtue in respect of its
various acts: so that not only is hatred opposed to charity, in respect
of its act which is love, but also sloth and envy, in respect of joy, and
dissension in respect of peace.


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] Out. Para. 1/1

OF MERCY (FOUR ARTICLES) [*The one Latin word "misericordia" signifies
either pity or mercy. The distinction between these two is that pity may
stand either for the act or for the virtue, whereas mercy stands only for
the virtue.]

We must now go on to consider Mercy, under which head there are four
points of inquiry:

(1) Whether evil is the cause of mercy on the part of the person pitied?

(2) To whom does it belong to pity?

(3) Whether mercy is a virtue?

(4) Whether it is the greatest of virtues?


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] A[1] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether evil is properly the motive of mercy?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] A[1] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that, properly speaking, evil is not the motive of
mercy. For, as shown above (Q[19], A[1]; FS, Q[79], A[1], ad 4; FP, Q[48]
, A[6]), fault is an evil rather than punishment. Now fault provokes
indignation rather than mercy. Therefore evil does not excite mercy.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] A[1] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, cruelty and harshness seem to excel other evils. Now the
Philosopher says (Rhet. ii, 8) that "harshness does not call for pity but
drives it away." Therefore evil, as such, is not the motive of mercy.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] A[1] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, signs of evils are not true evils. But signs of evils
excite one to mercy, as the Philosopher states (Rhet. ii, 8). Therefore
evil, properly speaking, is not an incentive to mercy.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] A[1] OTC Para. 1/1
On the contrary, Damascene says (De Fide Orth. ii, 2) that mercy is a
kind of sorrow. Now evil is the motive of sorrow. Therefore it is the
motive of mercy.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] A[1] Body Para. 1/3

I answer that, As Augustine says (De Civ. Dei ix, 5), mercy is heartfelt
sympathy for another's distress, impelling us to succor him if we can.
For mercy takes its name "misericordia" from denoting a man's
compassionate heart [miserum cor] for another's unhappiness. Now
unhappiness is opposed to happiness: and it is essential to beatitude or
happiness that one should obtain what one wishes; for, according to
Augustine (De Trin. xiii, 5), "happy is he who has whatever he desires,
and desires nothing amiss." Hence, on the other hand, it belongs to
unhappiness that a man should suffer what he wishes not.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] A[1] Body Para. 2/3

Now a man wishes a thing in three ways: first, by his natural appetite;
thus all men naturally wish to be and to live: secondly, a man wishes a
thing from deliberate choice: thirdly, a man wishes a thing, not in
itself, but in its cause, thus, if a man wishes to eat what is bad for
him, we say that, in a way, he wishes to be ill.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] A[1] Body Para. 3/3

Accordingly the motive of "mercy," being something pertaining to
"misery," is, in the first way, anything contrary to the will's natural
appetite, namely corruptive or distressing evils, the contrary of which
man desires naturally, wherefore the Philosopher says (Rhet. ii, 8) that
"pity is sorrow for a visible evil, whether corruptive or distressing."
Secondly, such like evils are yet more provocative of pity if they are
contrary to deliberate choice, wherefore the Philosopher says (Rhet. ii,
8) that evil excites our pity "when it is the result of an accident, as
when something turns out ill, whereas we hoped well of it." Thirdly, they
cause yet greater pity, if they are entirely contrary to the will, as
when evil befalls a man who has always striven to do well: wherefore the
Philosopher says (Rhet. ii, 8) that "we pity most the distress of one who
suffers undeservedly."

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] A[1] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: It is essential to fault that it be voluntary; and in this
respect it deserves punishment rather than mercy. Since, however, fault
may be, in a way, a punishment, through having something connected with
it that is against the sinner's will, it may, in this respect, call for
mercy. It is in this sense that we pity and commiserate sinners. Thus
Gregory says in a homily (Hom. in Evang. xxxiv) that "true godliness is
not disdainful but compassionate," and again it is written (Mt. 9:36)
that Jesus "seeing the multitudes, had compassion on them: because they
were distressed, and lying like sheep that have no shepherd."

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] A[1] R.O. 2 Para. 1/2

Reply OBJ 2: Since pity is sympathy for another's distress, it is
directed, properly speaking, towards another, and not to oneself, except
figuratively, like justice, according as a man is considered to have
various parts (Ethic. v, 11). Thus it is written (Ecclus. 30:24): "Have
pity on thy own soul, pleasing God" [*Cf. Q[106], A[3], ad 1].

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] A[1] R.O. 2 Para. 2/2

Accordingly just as, properly speaking, a man does not pity himself, but
suffers in himself, as when we suffer cruel treatment in ourselves, so
too, in the case of those who are so closely united to us, as to be part
of ourselves, such as our children or our parents, we do not pity their
distress, but suffer as for our own sores; in which sense the Philosopher
says that "harshness drives pity away."

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] A[1] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Just as pleasure results from hope and memory of good
things, so does sorrow arise from the prospect or the recollection of
evil things; though not so keenly as when they are present to the senses.
Hence the signs of evil move us to pity, in so far as they represent as
present, the evil that excites our pity.


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] A[2] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether the reason for taking pity is a defect in the person who pities?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] A[2] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that the reason for taking pity is not a defect in
the person who takes pity. For it is proper to God to be merciful,
wherefore it is written (Ps. 144:9): "His tender mercies are over all His
works." But there is no defect in God. Therefore a defect cannot be the
reason for taking pity.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] A[2] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, if a defect is the reason for taking pity, those in whom
there is most defect, must needs take most pity. But this is false: for
the Philosopher says (Rhet. ii, 8) that "those who are in a desperate
state are pitiless." Therefore it seems that the reason for taking pity
is not a defect in the person who pities.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] A[2] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, to be treated with contempt is to be defective. But the
Philosopher says (Rhet. ii, 8) that "those who are disposed to contumely
are pitiless." Therefore the reason for taking pity, is not a defect in
the person who pities.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] A[2] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Pity is a kind of sorrow. But a defect is the reason of
sorrow, wherefore those who are in bad health give way to sorrow more
easily, as we shall say further on (Q[35], A[1], ad 2). Therefore the
reason why one takes pity is a defect in oneself.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] A[2] Body Para. 1/4

I answer that, Since pity is grief for another's distress, as stated
above (A[1]), from the very fact that a person takes pity on anyone, it
follows that another's distress grieves him. And since sorrow or grief is
about one's own ills, one grieves or sorrows for another's distress, in
so far as one looks upon another's distress as one's own.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] A[2] Body Para. 2/4

Now this happens in two ways: first, through union of the affections,
which is the effect of love. For, since he who loves another looks upon
his friend as another self, he counts his friend's hurt as his own, so
that he grieves for his friend's hurt as though he were hurt himself.
Hence the Philosopher (Ethic. ix, 4) reckons "grieving with one's friend"
as being one of the signs of friendship, and the Apostle says (Rm.
12:15): "Rejoice with them that rejoice, weep with them that weep."

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] A[2] Body Para. 3/4

Secondly, it happens through real union, for instance when another's
evil comes near to us, so as to pass to us from him. Hence the
Philosopher says (Rhet. ii, 8) that men pity such as are akin to them,
and the like, because it makes them realize that the same may happen to
themselves. This also explains why the old and the wise who consider that
they may fall upon evil times, as also feeble and timorous persons, are
more inclined to pity: whereas those who deem themselves happy, and so
far powerful as to think themselves in no danger of suffering any hurt,
are not so inclined to pity.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] A[2] Body Para. 4/4

Accordingly a defect is always the reason for taking pity, either
because one looks upon another's defect as one's own, through being
united to him by love, or on account of the possibility of suffering in
the same way.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] A[2] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: God takes pity on us through love alone, in as much as He
loves us as belonging to Him.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] A[2] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Those who are already in infinite distress, do not fear to
suffer more, wherefore they are without pity. In like manner this applies
to those also who are in great fear, for they are so intent on their own
passion, that they pay no attention to the suffering of others.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] A[2] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Those who are disposed to contumely, whether through having
been contemned, or because they wish to contemn others, are incited to anger and daring, which are manly passions and arouse the human spirit to
attempt difficult things. Hence they make a man think that he is going to
suffer something in the future, so that while they are disposed in that
way they are pitiless, according to Prov. 27:4: "Anger hath no mercy, nor
fury when it breaketh forth." For the same reason the proud are without
pity, because they despise others, and think them wicked, so that they
account them as suffering deservedly whatever they suffer. Hence Gregory
says (Hom. in Evang. xxxiv) that "false godliness," i.e. of the proud,
"is not compassionate but disdainful."


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] A[3] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether mercy is a virtue?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] A[3] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that mercy is not a virtue. For the chief part of
virtue is choice as the Philosopher states (Ethic. ii, 5). Now choice is
"the desire of what has been already counselled" (Ethic. iii, 2).
Therefore whatever hinders counsel cannot be called a virtue. But mercy
hinders counsel, according to the saying of Sallust (Catilin.): "All
those that take counsel about matters of doubt, should be free from . . .
anger . . . and mercy, because the mind does not easily see aright, when
these things stand in the way." Therefore mercy is not a virtue.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] A[3] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, nothing contrary to virtue is praiseworthy. But nemesis
is contrary to mercy, as the Philosopher states (Rhet. ii, 9), and yet it
is a praiseworthy passion (Rhet. ii, 9). Therefore mercy is not a virtue.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] A[3] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, joy and peace are not special virtues, because they
result from charity, as stated above (Q[28], A[4]; Q[29], A[4]). Now
mercy, also, results from charity; for it is out of charity that we weep
with them that weep, as we rejoice with them that rejoice. Therefore
mercy is not a special virtue.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] A[3] Obj. 4 Para. 1/1

OBJ 4: Further, since mercy belongs to the appetitive power, it is not
an intellectual virtue, and, since it has not God for its object, neither
is it a theological virtue. Moreover it is not a moral virtue, because
neither is it about operations, for this belongs to justice; nor is it
about passions, since it is not reduced to one of the twelve means
mentioned by the Philosopher (Ethic. ii, 7). Therefore mercy is not a
virtue.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] A[3] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Augustine says (De Civ. Dei ix, 5): "Cicero in praising
Caesar expresses himself much better and in a fashion at once more humane
and more in accordance with religious feeling, when he says: 'Of all thy
virtues none is more marvelous or more graceful than thy mercy.'"
Therefore mercy is a virtue.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] A[3] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, Mercy signifies grief for another's distress. Now this
grief may denote, in one way, a movement of the sensitive appetite, in
which case mercy is not a virtue but a passion; whereas, in another way,
it may denote a movement of the intellective appetite, in as much as one
person's evil is displeasing to another. This movement may be ruled in
accordance with reason, and in accordance with this movement regulated by
reason, the movement of the lower appetite may be regulated. Hence
Augustine says (De Civ. Dei ix, 5) that "this movement of the mind" (viz.
mercy) "obeys the reason, when mercy is vouchsafed in such a way that
justice is safeguarded, whether we give to the needy or forgive the
repentant." And since it is essential to human virtue that the movements
of the soul should be regulated by reason, as was shown above (FS, Q[59],
AA[4],5), it follows that mercy is a virtue.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] A[3] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: The words of Sallust are to be understood as applying to
the mercy which is a passion unregulated by reason: for thus it impedes
the counselling of reason, by making it wander from justice.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] A[3] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: The Philosopher is speaking there of pity and nemesis,
considered, both of them, as passions. They are contrary to one another
on the part of their respective estimation of another's evils, for which
pity grieves, in so far as it esteems someone to suffer undeservedly,
whereas nemesis rejoices, in so far as it esteems someone to suffer
deservedly, and grieves, if things go well with the undeserving: "both of
these are praiseworthy and come from the same disposition of character"
(Rhet. ii, 9). Properly speaking, however, it is envy which is opposed to
pity, as we shall state further on (Q[36], A[3]).

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] A[3] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Joy and peace add nothing to the aspect of good which is
the object of charity, wherefore they do not require any other virtue
besides charity. But mercy regards a certain special aspect, namely the
misery of the person pitied.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] A[3] R.O. 4 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 4: Mercy, considered as a virtue, is a moral virtue having
relation to the passions, and it is reduced to the mean called nemesis,
because "they both proceed from the same character" (Rhet. ii, 9). Now
the Philosopher proposes these means not as virtues, but as passions,
because, even as passions, they are praiseworthy. Yet nothing prevents
them from proceeding from some elective habit, in which case they assume
the character of a virtue.


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] A[4] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether mercy is the greatest of the virtues?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] A[4] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that mercy is the greatest of the virtues. For the
worship of God seems a most virtuous act. But mercy is preferred before
the worship of God, according to Osee 6:6 and Mt. 12:7: "I have desired
mercy and not sacrifice." Therefore mercy is the greatest virtue.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] A[4] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, on the words of 1 Tim. 4:8: "Godliness is profitable to
all things," a gloss says: "The sum total of a Christian's rule of life
consists in mercy and godliness." Now the Christian rule of life embraces
every virtue. Therefore the sum total of all virtues is contained in
mercy.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] A[4] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, "Virtue is that which makes its subject good," according
to the Philosopher. Therefore the more a virtue makes a man like God, the
better is that virtue: since man is the better for being more like God.
Now this is chiefly the result of mercy, since of God is it said (Ps.
144:9) that "His tender mercies are over all His works," and (Lk. 6:36)
Our Lord said: "Be ye . . . merciful, as your Father also is merciful."
Therefore mercy is the greatest of virtues.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] A[4] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, The Apostle after saying (Col. 3:12): "Put ye on . . .
as the elect of God . . . the bowels of mercy," etc., adds (Col. 3:14):
"Above all things have charity." Therefore mercy is not the greatest of
virtues.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] A[4] Body Para. 1/2

I answer that, A virtue may take precedence of others in two ways:
first, in itself; secondly, in comparison with its subject. In itself,
mercy takes precedence of other virtues, for it belongs to mercy to be
bountiful to others, and, what is more, to succor others in their wants,
which pertains chiefly to one who stands above. Hence mercy is accounted
as being proper to God: and therein His omnipotence is declared to be
chiefly manifested [*Collect, Tenth Sunday after Pentecost].

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] A[4] Body Para. 2/2

On the other hand, with regard to its subject, mercy is not the greatest
virtue, unless that subject be greater than all others, surpassed by none
and excelling all: since for him that has anyone above him it is better
to be united to that which is above than to supply the defect of that
which is beneath. [*"The quality of mercy is not strained./'Tis mightiest
in the mightiest: it becomes/The throned monarch better than his crown."
Merchant of Venice, Act IV, Scene i.]. Hence, as regards man, who has God
above him, charity which unites him to God, is greater than mercy,
whereby he supplies the defects of his neighbor. But of all the virtues
which relate to our neighbor, mercy is the greatest, even as its act
surpasses all others, since it belongs to one who is higher and better to
supply the defect of another, in so far as the latter is deficient.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] A[4] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: We worship God by external sacrifices and gifts, not for
His own profit, but for that of ourselves and our neighbor. For He needs
not our sacrifices, but wishes them to be offered to Him, in order to
arouse our devotion and to profit our neighbor. Hence mercy, whereby we
supply others' defects is a sacrifice more acceptable to Him, as
conducing more directly to our neighbor's well-being, according to Heb.
13:16: "Do not forget to do good and to impart, for by such sacrifices God's favor is obtained."

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] A[4] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: The sum total of the Christian religion consists in mercy,
as regards external works: but the inward love of charity, whereby we are
united to God preponderates over both love and mercy for our neighbor.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[30] A[4] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Charity likens us to God by uniting us to Him in the bond
of love: wherefore it surpasses mercy, which likens us to God as regards
similarity of works.





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