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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[138] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF THE VICES OPPOSED TO PERSEVERANCE (TWO ARTICLES)
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Aquin.: SMT SS Q[138] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF THE VICES OPPOSED TO PERSEVERANCE (TWO ARTICLES)

We must now consider the vices opposed to perseverance; under which head
there are two points of inquiry:

(1) Of effeminacy;

(2) Of pertinacity.


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[138] A[1] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether effeminacy* is opposed to perseverance? [*Mollities, literally
'softness']

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[138] A[1] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It seems that effeminacy is not opposed to perseverance. For a
gloss on 1 Cor. 6:9,10, "Nor adulterers, nor the effeminate, nor liers
with mankind," expounds the text thus: "Effeminate - i.e. obscene, given
to unnatural vice." But this is opposed to chastity. Therefore effeminacy
is not a vice opposed to perseverance.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[138] A[1] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, the Philosopher says (Ethic. vii, 7) that "delicacy is a
kind of effeminacy." But to be delicate seems akin to intemperance.
Therefore effeminacy is not opposed to perseverance but to temperance.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[138] A[1] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, the Philosopher says (Ethic. vii, 7) that "the man who
is fond of amusement is effeminate." Now immoderate fondness of amusement
is opposed to {eutrapelia}, which is the virtue about pleasures of play,
as stated in Ethic. iv, 8. Therefore effeminacy is not opposed to
perseverance.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[138] A[1] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, The Philosopher says (Ethic. vii, 7) that "the
persevering man is opposed to the effeminate."

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[138] A[1] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, As stated above (Q[137], AA[1],2), perseverance is
deserving of praise because thereby a man does not forsake a good on
account of long endurance of difficulties and toils: and it is directly
opposed to this, seemingly, for a man to be ready to forsake a good on
account of difficulties which he cannot endure. This is what we
understand by effeminacy, because a thing is said to be "soft" if it
readily yields to the touch. Now a thing is not declared to be soft
through yielding to a heavy blow, for walls yield to the battering-ram.
Wherefore a man is not said to be effeminate if he yields to heavy blows.
Hence the Philosopher says (Ethic. vii, 7) that "it is no wonder, if a
person is overcome by strong and overwhelming pleasures or sorrows; but
he is to be pardoned if he struggles against them." Now it is evident
that fear of danger is more impelling than the desire of pleasure: wherefore Tully says (De Offic. i) under the heading "True magnanimity
consists of two things: It is inconsistent for one who is not cast down
by fear, to be defeated by lust, or who has proved himself unbeaten by
toil, to yield to pleasure." Moreover, pleasure itself is a stronger
motive of attraction than sorrow, for the lack of pleasure is a motive of
withdrawal, since lack of pleasure is a pure privation. Wherefore,
according to the Philosopher (Ethic. vii, 7), properly speaking an
effeminate man is one who withdraws from good on account of sorrow caused
by lack of pleasure, yielding as it were to a weak motion.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[138] A[1] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: This effeminacy is caused in two ways. In one way, by
custom: for where a man is accustomed to enjoy pleasures, it is more
difficult for him to endure the lack of them. In another way, by natural
disposition, because, to wit, his mind is less persevering through the
frailty of his temperament. This is how women are compared to men, as the
Philosopher says (Ethic. vii, 7): wherefore those who are passively
sodomitical are said to be effeminate, being womanish themselves, as it
were.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[138] A[1] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Toil is opposed to bodily pleasure: wherefore it is only
toilsome things that are a hindrance to pleasures. Now the delicate are
those who cannot endure toils, nor anything that diminishes pleasure.
Hence it is written (Dt. 28:56): "The tender and delicate woman, that
could not go upon the ground, nor set down her foot for . . . softness
[Douay: 'niceness']." Thus delicacy is a kind of effeminacy. But properly
speaking effeminacy regards lack of pleasures, while delicacy regards the
cause that hinders pleasure, for instance toil or the like.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[138] A[1] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: In play two things may be considered. In the first place
there is the pleasure, and thus inordinate fondness of play is opposed to
{eutrapelia}. Secondly, we may consider the relaxation or rest which is
opposed to toil. Accordingly just as it belongs to effeminacy to be
unable to endure toilsome things, so too it belongs thereto to desire
play or any other relaxation inordinately.


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[138] A[2] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether pertinacity is opposed to perseverance?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[138] A[2] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It seems that pertinacity is not opposed to perseverance. For
Gregory says (Moral. xxxi) that pertinacity arises from vainglory. But
vainglory is not opposed to perseverance but to magnanimity, as stated
above (Q[132], A[2]). Therefore pertinacity is not opposed to
perseverance.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[138] A[2] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, if it is opposed to perseverance, this is so either by
excess or by deficiency. Now it is not opposed by excess: because the
pertinacious also yield to certain pleasure and sorrow, since according
to the Philosopher (Ethic. vii, 9) "they rejoice when they prevail, and
grieve when their opinions are rejected." And if it be opposed by
deficiency, it will be the same as effeminacy, which is clearly false.
Therefore pertinacity is nowise opposed to perseverance.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[138] A[2] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, just as the persevering man persists in good against
sorrow, so too do the continent and the temperate against pleasures, the
brave against fear, and the meek against anger. But pertinacity is
over-persistence in something. Therefore pertinacity is not opposed to
perseverance more than to other virtues.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[138] A[2] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Tully says (De Invent. Rhet. ii) that pertinacity is to
perseverance as superstition is to religion. But superstition is opposed
to religion, as stated above (Q[92], A[1]). Therefore pertinacity is
opposed to perseverance.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[138] A[2] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, As Isidore says (Etym. x) "a person is said to be
pertinacious who holds on impudently, as being utterly tenacious."
"Pervicacious" has the same meaning, for it signifies that a man
"perseveres in his purpose until he is victorious: for the ancients
called 'vicia' what we call victory." These the Philosopher (Ethic. vii,
9) calls {ischyrognomones}, that is "head-strong," or {idiognomones},
that is "self-opinionated," because they abide by their opinions more
than they should; whereas the effeminate man does so less than he ought,
and the persevering man, as he ought. Hence it is clear that perseverance
is commended for observing the mean, while pertinacity is reproved for
exceeding the mean, and effeminacy for falling short of it.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[138] A[2] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: The reason why a man is too persistent in his own opinion,
is that he wishes by this means to make a show of his own excellence:
wherefore this is the result of vainglory as its cause. Now it has been
stated above (Q[127], A[2], ad 1; Q[133], A[2]), that opposition of vices
to virtues depends, not on their cause, but on their species.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[138] A[2] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: The pertinacious man exceeds by persisting inordinately in
something against many difficulties: yet he takes a certain pleasure in
the end, just as the brave and the persevering man. Since, however, this
pleasure is sinful, seeing that he desires it too much, and shuns the
contrary pain, he is like the incontinent or effeminate man.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[138] A[2] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Although the other virtues persist against the onslaught of
the passions, they are not commended for persisting in the same way as
perseverance is. As to continence, its claim to praise seems to lie
rather in overcoming pleasures. Hence pertinacity is directly opposed to
perseverance.





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