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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[101] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF PIETY (FOUR ARTICLES)
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Aquin.: SMT SS Q[101] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF PIETY (FOUR ARTICLES)

After religion we must consider piety, the consideration of which will
render the opposite vices manifest. Accordingly four points of inquiry
arise with regard to piety:

(1) To whom does piety extend?

(2) What does piety make one offer a person?

(3) Whether piety is a special virtue?

(4) Whether the duties of piety should be omitted for the sake of
religion?


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[101] A[1] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether piety extends to particular human individuals?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[101] A[1] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It seems that piety does not extend to particular human
individuals. For Augustine says (De Civ. Dei x) that piety denotes,
properly speaking, the worship of God, which the Greeks designate by the
term {eusebeia}. But the worship of God does not denote relation to man,
but only to God. Therefore piety does not extend definitely to certain
human individuals.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[101] A[1] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, Gregory says (Moral. i): "Piety, on her day, provides a
banquet, because she fills the inmost recesses of the heart with works of
mercy." Now the works of mercy are to be done to all, according to
Augustine (De Doctr. Christ. i). Therefore piety does not extend
definitely to certain special persons.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[101] A[1] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, in human affairs there are many other mutual relations
besides those of kindred and citizenship, as the Philosopher states
(Ethic. viii, 11,12), and on each of them is founded a kind of
friendship, which would seem to be the virtue of piety, according to a
gloss on 2 Tim. 3:5, "Having an appearance indeed of piety [Douay:
'godliness']." Therefore piety extends not only to one's kindred and
fellow-citizens.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[101] A[1] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Tully says (De Invent. Rhet. ii) that "it is by piety
that we do our duty towards our kindred and well-wishers of our country
and render them faithful service."

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[101] A[1] Body Para. 1/2
I answer that, Man becomes a debtor to other men in various ways,
according to their various excellence and the various benefits received
from them. on both counts God holds first place, for He is supremely
excellent, and is for us the first principle of being and government. In
the second place, the principles of our being and government are our
parents and our country, that have given us birth and nourishment.
Consequently man is debtor chiefly to his parents and his country, after
God. Wherefore just as it belongs to religion to give worship to God, so
does it belong to piety, in the second place, to give worship to one's
parents and one's country.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[101] A[1] Body Para. 2/2

The worship due to our parents includes the worship given to all our
kindred, since our kinsfolk are those who descend from the same parents,
according to the Philosopher (Ethic. viii, 12). The worship given to our
country includes homage to all our fellow-citizens and to all the friends
of our country. Therefore piety extends chiefly to these.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[101] A[1] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: The greater includes the lesser: wherefore the worship due
to God includes the worship due to our parents as a particular. Hence it
is written (Malach. 1:6): "If I be a father, where is My honor?"
Consequently the term piety extends also to the divine worship.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[101] A[1] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: As Augustine says (De Civ. Dei x), "the term piety is often
used in connection with works of mercy, in the language of the common
people; the reason for which I consider to be the fact that God Himself
has declared that these works are more pleasing to Him than sacrifices.
This custom has led to the application of the word 'pious' to God
Himself."

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[101] A[1] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: The relations of a man with his kindred and fellow-citizens
are more referable to the principles of his being than other relations:
wherefore the term piety is more applicable to them.


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[101] A[2] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether piety provides support for our parents?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[101] A[2] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It seems that piety does not provide support for our parents.
For, seemingly, the precept of the decalogue, "Honor thy father and
mother," belongs to piety. But this prescribes only the giving of honor.
Therefore it does not belong to piety to provide support for one's
parents.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[101] A[2] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, a man is bound to lay up for those whom he is bound to
support. Now according to the Apostle (2 Cor. 12:14), "neither ought the
children to lay up for the parents." Therefore piety does not oblige them
to support their parents.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[101] A[2] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, piety extends not only to one's parents, but also to
other kinsmen and to one's fellow-citizens, as stated above (A[1]). But
one is not bound to support all one's kindred and fellow-citizens.
Therefore neither is one bound to support one's parents.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[101] A[2] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, our Lord (Mt. 15:3-6) reproved the Pharisees for
hindering children from supporting their parents.
Aquin.: SMT SS Q[101] A[2] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, We owe something to our parents in two ways: that is to
say, both essentially, and accidentally. We owe them essentially that
which is due to a father as such: and since he is his son's superior
through being the principle of his being, the latter owes him reverence
and service. Accidentally, that is due to a father, which it befits him
to receive in respect of something accidental to him, for instance, if he
be ill, it is fitting that his children should visit him and see to his
cure; if he be poor, it is fitting that they should support him; and so
on in like instance, all of which come under the head of service due.
Hence Tully says (De Invent. Rhet. ii) that "piety gives both duty and
homage": "duty" referring to service, and "homage" to reverence or honor,
because, as Augustine says (De Civ. Dei x), "we are said to give homage
to those whose memory or presence we honor."

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[101] A[2] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: According to our Lord's interpretation (Mt. 15:3-6) the
honor due to our parents includes whatever support we owe them; and the
reason for this is that support is given to one's father because it is
due to him as to one greater.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[101] A[2] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Since a father stands in the relation of principle, and his
son in the relation of that which is from a principle, it is essentially
fitting for a father to support his son: and consequently he is bound to
support him not only for a time, but for all his life, and this is to lay
by. On the other hand, for the son to bestow something on his father is
accidental, arising from some momentary necessity, wherein he is bound to
support him, but not to lay by as for a long time beforehand, because
naturally parents are not the successors of their children, but children
of their parents.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[101] A[2] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: As Tully says (De Invent. Rhet. ii), "we offer homage and
duty to all our kindred and to the well-wishers of our country"; not,
however, equally to all, but chiefly to our parents, and to others
according to our means and their personal claims.



Aquin.: SMT SS Q[101] A[3] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether piety is a special virtue distinct from other virtues?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[101] A[3] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It seems that piety is not a special virtue distinct from other
virtues. For the giving of service and homage to anyone proceeds from
love. But it belongs to piety. Therefore piety is not a distinct virtue
from charity.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[101] A[3] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, it is proper to religion to give worship to God. But
piety also gives worship to God, according to Augustine (De Civ. Dei x).
Therefore piety is not distinct from religion.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[101] A[3] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, piety, whereby we give our country worship and duty,
seems to be the same as legal justice, which looks to the common good.
But legal justice is a general virtue, according to the Philosopher
(Ethic. v, 1,2). Therefore piety is not a special virtue.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[101] A[3] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, It is accounted by Tully (De Invent. Rhet. ii) as a
part of justice.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[101] A[3] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, A special virtue is one that regards an object under a
special aspect. Since, then, the nature of justice consists in rendering
another person his due, wherever there is a special aspect of something
due to a person, there is a special virtue. Now a thing is indebted in a
special way to that which is its connatural principle of being and
government. And piety regards this principle, inasmuch as it pays duty
and homage to our parents and country, and to those who are related
thereto. Therefore piety is a special virtue.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[101] A[3] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Just as religion is a protestation of faith, hope and
charity, whereby man is primarily directed to God, so again piety is a
protestation of the charity we bear towards our parents and country.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[101] A[3] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: God is the principle of our being and government in a far
more excellent manner than one's father or country. Hence religion, which
gives worship to God, is a distinct virtue from piety, which pays homage
to our parents and country. But things relating to creatures are
transferred to God as the summit of excellence and causality, as
Dionysius says (Div. Nom. i): wherefore, by way of excellence, piety
designates the worship of God, even as God, by way of excellence, is
called "Our Father."

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[101] A[3] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Piety extends to our country in so far as the latter is for
us a principle of being: but legal justice regards the good of our
country, considered as the common good: wherefore legal justice has more
of the character of a general virtue than piety has.


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[101] A[4] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether the duties of piety towards one's parents should be omitted for
the sake of religion?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[101] A[4] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It seems that the duties of piety towards one's parents should be
omitted for the sake of religion. For Our Lord said (Lk. 14:26): "If any
man come to Me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and
children, and brethren, and sisters, yea and his own life also, he cannot
be My disciple." Hence it is said in praise of James and John (Mt. 4:22)
that they left "their nets and father, and followed" Christ. Again it is
said in praise of the Levites (Dt. 33:9): "Who hath said to his father,
and to his mother: I do not know you; and to his brethren: I know you
not; and their own children they have not known. These have kept Thy
word." Now a man who knows not his parents and other kinsmen, or who even
hates them, must needs omit the duties of piety. Therefore the duties of
piety should be omitted for the sake of religion.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[101] A[4] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, it is written (Lk. 9:59,60) that in answer to him who
said: "Suffer me first to go and bury my father," Our Lord replied: "Let
the dead bury their dead: but go thou, and preach the kingdom of God."
Now the latter pertains to religion, while it is a duty of piety to bury
one's father. Therefore a duty of piety should be omitted for the sake of
religion.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[101] A[4] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, God is called "Our Father" by excellence. Now just as we
worship our parents by paying them the duties of piety so do we worship
God by religion. Therefore the duties of piety should be omitted for the
sake of the worship of religion.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[101] A[4] Obj. 4 Para. 1/1

OBJ 4: Further, religious are bound by a vow which they may not break to
fulfil the observances of religion. Now in accordance with those
observances they are hindered from supporting their parents, both on the
score of poverty, since they have nothing of their own, and on the score
of obedience, since they may not leave the cloister without the
permission of their superior. Therefore the duties of piety towards one's
parents should be omitted for the sake of religion.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[101] A[4] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Our Lord reproved the Pharisees (Mt. 15:3-6) who taught
that for the sake of religion one ought to refrain from paying one's
parents the honor we owe them.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[101] A[4] Body Para. 1/2

I answer that, Religion and piety are two virtues. Now no virtue is
opposed to another virtue, since according to the Philosopher, in his
book on the Categories (Cap. De oppos.), "good is not opposed to good."
Therefore it is impossible that religion and piety mutually hinder one
another, so that the act of one be excluded by the act of the other. Now,
as stated above (FS, Q[7], A[2]; FS, Q[18], A[3]), the act of every
virtue is limited by the circumstances due thereto, and if it overstep
them it will be an act no longer of virtue but of vice. Hence it belongs
to piety to pay duty and homage to one's parents according to the due
mode. But it is not the due mode that man should tend to worship his
father rather than God, but, as Ambrose says on Lk. 12:52, "the piety of
divine religion takes precedence of the claims of kindred."

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[101] A[4] Body Para. 2/2

Accordingly, if the worship of one's parents take one away from the
worship of God it would no longer be an act of piety to pay worship to
one's parents to the prejudice of God. Hence Jerome says (Ep. ad
Heliod.): "Though thou trample upon thy father, though thou spurn thy
mother, turn not aside, but with dry eyes hasten to the standard of the
cross; it is the highest degree of piety to be cruel in this matter."
Therefore in such a case the duties of piety towards one's parents should
be omitted for the sake of the worship religion gives to God. If,
however, by paying the services due to our parents, we are not withdrawn
from the service of God, then will it be an act of piety, and there will
be no need to set piety aside for the sake of religion.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[101] A[4] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Gregory expounding this saying of our Lord says (Hom.
xxxvii in Ev.) that "when we find our parents to be a hindrance in our
way to God, we must ignore them by hating and fleeing from them." For if
our parents incite us to sin, and withdraw us from the service of God, we
must, as regards this point, abandon and hate them. It is in this sense
that the Levites are said to have not known their kindred, because they
obeyed the Lord's command, and spared not the idolaters (Ex. 32). James
and John are praised for leaving their parents and following our Lord,
not that their father incited them to evil, but because they deemed it
possible for him to find another means of livelihood, if they followed
Christ.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[101] A[4] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Our Lord forbade the disciple to bury his father because,
according to Chrysostom (Hom. xxviii in Matth.), "Our Lord by so doing
saved him from many evils, such as the sorrows and worries and other
things that one anticipates under these circumstances. For after the
burial the will had to be read, the estate had to be divided, and so
forth: but chiefly, because there were others who could see to the
funeral." Or, according to Cyril's commentary on Lk. 9, "this disciple's
request was, not that he might bury a dead father, but that he might
support a yet living father in the latter's old age, until at length he
should bury him. This is what Our Lord did not grant, because there were
others, bound by the duties of kindred, to take care of him."

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[101] A[4] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Whatever we give our parents out of piety is referred by us
to God; just as other works of mercy which we perform with regard to any
of our neighbors are offered to God, according to Mt. 25:40: "As long as
you did it to one of . . . My least . . . you did it to Me." Accordingly,
if our carnal parents stand in need of our assistance, so that they have
no other means of support, provided they incite us to nothing against
God, we must not abandon them for the sake of religion. But if we cannot
devote ourselves to their service without sin, or if they can be
supported without our assistance, it is lawful to forego their service,
so as to give more time to religion.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[101] A[4] R.O. 4 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 4: We must speak differently of one who is yet in the world,
and of one who has made his profession in religion. For he that is in the
world, if he has parents unable to find support without him, he must not
leave them and enter religion, because he would be breaking the
commandment prescribing the honoring of parents. Some say, however, that
even then he might abandon them, and leave them in God's care. But this,
considered aright, would be to tempt God: since, while having human means
at hand, he would be exposing his parents to danger, in the hope of God's
assistance. on the other hand, if the parents can find means of
livelihood without him, it is lawful for him to abandon them and enter
religion, because children are not bound to support their parents except
in cases of necessity, as stated above. He that has already made his
profession in religion is deemed to be already dead to the world:
wherefore he ought not, under pretext of supporting his parents, to leave
the cloister where he is buried with Christ, and busy himself once more
with worldly affairs. Nevertheless he is bound, saving his obedience to
his superiors, and his religious state withal, to make points efforts for
his parents' support.





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