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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[141] Out. Para. 1/2 - TEMPERANCE (QQ[141]-143)
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Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] Out. Para. 1/2 - TEMPERANCE (QQ[141]-143)


OF TEMPERANCE (EIGHT ARTICLES)

In the next place we must consider temperance: (1) Temperance itself;
(2) its parts; (3) its precepts. With regard to temperance we must
consider (1) temperance itself; (2) the contrary vices.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] Out. Para. 2/2

Under the first head there are eight points of inquiry:

(1) Whether temperance is a virtue?

(2) Whether it is a special virtue?

(3) Whether it is only about desires and pleasures?

(4) Whether it is only about pleasures of touch?

(5) Whether it is about pleasures of taste, as such, or only as a kind
of touch?

(6) What is the rule of temperance?

(7) Whether it is a cardinal, or principal, virtue?

(8) Whether it is the greatest of virtues ?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[1] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether temperance is a virtue?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[1] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It seems that temperance is not a virtue. For no virtue goes
against the inclination of nature, since "there is in us a natural
aptitude for virtue," as stated in Ethic. ii, 1. Now temperance withdraws
us from pleasures to which nature inclines, according to Ethic. ii, 3,8.
Therefore temperance is not a virtue.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[1] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, virtues are connected with one another, as stated above
(FS, Q[65], A[1]). But some people have temperance without having the
other virtues: for we find many who are temperate, and yet covetous or
timid. Therefore temperance is not a virtue.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[1] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, to every virtue there is a corresponding gift, as
appears from what we have said above (FS, Q[68], A[4]). But seemingly no
gift corresponds to temperance, since all the gifts have been already
ascribed to the other virtues (QQ[8],9,19,45,52, 71,139). Therefore
temperance is not a virtue.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[1] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Augustine says (Music. vi, 15): "Temperance is the name
of a virtue."

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[1] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, As stated above (FS, Q[55], A[3]), it is essential to
virtue to incline man to good. Now the good of man is to be in accordance
with reason, as Dionysius states (Div. Nom. iv). Hence human virtue is
that which inclines man to something in accordance with reason. Now
temperance evidently inclines man to this, since its very name implies
moderation or temperateness, which reason causes. Therefore temperance is
a virtue.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[1] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Nature inclines everything to whatever is becoming to it.
Wherefore man naturally desires pleasures that are becoming to him.
Since, however, man as such is a rational being, it follows that those
pleasures are becoming to man which are in accordance with reason. From
such pleasures temperance does not withdraw him, but from those which are
contrary to reason. Wherefore it is clear that temperance is not contrary
to the inclination of human nature, but is in accord with it. It is,
however, contrary to the inclination of the animal nature that is not
subject to reason.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[1] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: The temperance which fulfils the conditions of perfect
virtue is not without prudence, while this is lacking to all who are in
sin. Hence those who lack other virtues, through being subject to the
opposite vices, have not the temperance which is a virtue, though they do
acts of temperance from a certain natural disposition, in so far as
certain imperfect virtues are either natural to man, as stated above (FS,
Q[63], A[1]), or acquired by habituation, which virtues, through lack of
prudence, are not perfected by reason, as stated above (FS, Q[65], A[1]).

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[1] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Temperance also has a corresponding gift, namely, fear,
whereby man is withheld from the pleasures of the flesh, according to Ps.
118:120: "Pierce Thou my flesh with Thy fear." The gift of fear has for
its principal object God, Whom it avoids offending, and in this respect
it corresponds to the virtue of hope, as stated above (Q[19], A[9], ad
1). But it may have for its secondary object whatever a man shuns in
order to avoid offending God. Now man stands in the greatest need of the
fear of God in order to shun those things which are most seductive, and
these are the matter of temperance: wherefore the gift of fear
corresponds to temperance also.


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[2] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether temperance is a special virtue?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[2] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that temperance is not a special virtue. For
Augustine says (De Morib. Eccl. xv) that "it belongs to temperance to
preserve one's integrity and freedom from corruption for God's sake." But
this is common to every virtue. Therefore temperance is not a special
virtue.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[2] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, Ambrose says (De Offic. i, 42) that "what we observe and
seek most in temperance is tranquillity of soul." But this is common to
every virtue. Therefore temperance is not a special virtue.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[2] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, Tully says (De Offic. i, 27) that "we cannot separate
the beautiful from the virtuous," and that "whatever is just is
beautiful." Now the beautiful is considered as proper to temperance,
according to the same authority (Tully, De Offic. i, 27). Therefore
temperance is not a special virtue.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[2] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, The Philosopher (Ethic. ii, 7; iii, 10) reckons it a
special virtue.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[2] Body Para. 1/2

I answer that, It is customary in human speech to employ a common term
in a restricted sense in order to designate the principal things to which
that common term is applicable: thus the word "city" is used
antonomastically* to designate Rome. [*Antonomasia is the figure of
speech whereby we substitute the general for the individual term; e.g.
The Philosopher for Aristotle]. Accordingly the word "temperance" has a
twofold acceptation. First, in accordance with its common signification:
and thus temperance is not a special but a general virtue, because the
word "temperance" signifies a certain temperateness or moderation, which
reason appoints to human operations and passions: and this is common to
every moral virtue. Yet there is a logical difference between temperance
and fortitude, even if we take them both as general virtues: since
temperance withdraws man from things which seduce the appetite from
obeying reason, while fortitude incites him to endure or withstand those
things on account of which he forsakes the good of reason.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[2] Body Para. 2/2

On the other hand, if we take temperance antonomastically, as
withholding the appetite from those things which are most seductive to
man, it is a special virtue, for thus it has, like fortitude, a special
matter.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[2] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Man's appetite is corrupted chiefly by those things which
seduce him into forsaking the rule of reason and Divine law. Wherefore
integrity, which Augustine ascribes to temperance, can, like the latter,
be taken in two ways: first, in a general sense, and secondly in a sense
of excellence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[2] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: The things about which temperance is concerned have a most
disturbing effect on the soul, for the reason that they are natural to
man, as we shall state further on (AA[4],5). Hence tranquillity of soul
is ascribed to temperance by way of excellence, although it is a common
property of all the virtues.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[2] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Although beauty is becoming to every virtue, it is ascribed
to temperance, by way of excellence, for two reasons. First, in respect
of the generic notion of temperance, which consists in a certain
moderate and fitting proportion, and this is what we understand by
beauty, as attested by Dionysius (Div. Nom. iv). Secondly, because the
things from which temperance withholds us, hold the lowest place in man,
and are becoming to him by reason of his animal nature, as we shall state
further on (AA[4],5; Q[142], A[4]), wherefore it is natural that such
things should defile him. In consequence beauty is a foremost attribute
of temperance which above all hinders man from being defiled. In like
manner honesty [*Honesty must be taken here in its broad sense as
synonymous with moral goodness, from the point of view of decorum] is a
special attribute of temperance: for Isidore says (Etym. x): "An honest
man is one who has no defilement, for honesty means an honorable state."
This is most applicable to temperance, which withstands the vices that
bring most dishonor on man, as we shall state further on (Q[142], A[4]).


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[3] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether temperance is only about desires and pleasures?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[3] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that temperance is not only about desires and
pleasures. For Tully says (De Invent. Rhet. ii, 54) that "temperance is
reason's firm and moderate mastery of lust and other wanton emotions of
the mind." Now all the passions of the soul are called emotions of the
mind. Therefore it seems that temperance is not only about desires and
pleasures.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[3] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, "Virtue is about the difficult and the good" [*Ethic.
ii, 3]. Now it seems more difficult to temper fear, especially with
regard to dangers of death, than to moderate desires and pleasures, which
are despised on account of deadly pains and dangers, according to
Augustine (QQ[83], qu. 36). Therefore it seems that the virtue of
temperance is not chiefly about desires and pleasures.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[3] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, according to Ambrose (De Offic. i, 43) "the grace of
moderation belongs to temperance": and Tully says (De Offic. ii, 27) that
"it is the concern of temperance to calm all disturbances of the mind and
to enforce moderation." Now moderation is needed, not only in desires and
pleasures, but also in external acts and whatever pertains to the
exterior. Therefore temperance is not only about desires and pleasures.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[3] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Isidore says (Etym.) [*The words quoted do not occur in
the work referred to; Cf. his De Summo Bono xxxvii, xlii, and De
Different. ii, 39]: that "it is temperance whereby lust and desire are
kept under control."

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[3] Body Para. 1/4

I answer that, As stated above (Q[123], A[12]; Q[136], A[1]), it belongs
to moral virtue to safeguard the good of reason against the passions that
rebel against reason. Now the movement of the soul's passions is twofold,
as stated above (FS, Q[23], A[2]), when we were treating of the passions:
the one, whereby the sensitive appetite pursues sensible and bodily
goods, the other whereby it flies from sensible and bodily evils.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[3] Body Para. 2/4

The first of these movements of the sensitive appetite rebels against
reason chiefly by lack of moderation. Because sensible and bodily goods,
considered in their species, are not in opposition to reason, but are
subject to it as instruments which reason employs in order to attain its
proper end: and that they are opposed to reason is owing to the fact that
the sensitive appetite fails to tend towards them in accord with the mode
of reason. Hence it belongs properly to moral virtue to moderate those
passions which denote a pursuit of the good.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[3] Body Para. 3/4

On the other hand, the movement of the sensitive appetite in flying from
sensible evil is mostly in opposition to reason, not through being
immoderate, but chiefly in respect of its flight: because, when a man
flies from sensible and bodily evils, which sometimes accompany the good
of reason, the result is that he flies from the good of reason. Hence it
belongs to moral virtue to make man while flying from evil to remain firm
in the good of reason.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[3] Body Para. 4/4

Accordingly, just as the virtue of fortitude, which by its very nature
bestows firmness, is chiefly concerned with the passion, viz. fear, which
regards flight from bodily evils, and consequently with daring, which
attacks the objects of fear in the hope of attaining some good, so, too,
temperance, which denotes a kind of moderation, is chiefly concerned with
those passions that tend towards sensible goods, viz. desire and
pleasure, and consequently with the sorrows that arise from the absence
of those pleasures. For just as daring presupposes objects of fear, so
too such like sorrow arises from the absence of the aforesaid pleasures.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[3] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: As stated above (FS, Q[23], AA[1],2; FS, Q[25], A[1]), when
we were treating of the passions, those passions which pertain to avoidance of evil, presuppose the passions pertaining to the pursuit of
good; and the passions of the irascible presuppose the passions of the
concupiscible. Hence, while temperance directly moderates the passions of
the concupiscible which tend towards good, as a consequence, it moderates
all the other passions, inasmuch as moderation of the passions that
precede results in moderation of the passions that follow: since he that
is not immoderate in desire is moderate in hope, and grieves moderately
for the absence of the things he desires.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[3] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Desire denotes an impulse of the appetite towards the
object of pleasure and this impulse needs control, which belongs to
temperance. on the other hand fear denotes a withdrawal of the mind from
certain evils, against which man needs firmness of mind, which fortitude
bestows. Hence temperance is properly about desires, and fortitude about
fears.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[3] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: External acts proceed from the internal passions of the
soul: wherefore their moderation depends on the moderation of the
internal passions.



Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[4] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether temperance is only about desires and pleasures of touch?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[4] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that temperance is not only about desires and
pleasures of touch. For Augustine says (De Morib. Eccl. xix) that "the
function of temperance is to control and quell the desires which draw us
to the things which withdraw us from the laws of God and from the fruit
of His goodness"; and a little further on he adds that "it is the duty of
temperance to spurn all bodily allurements and popular praise." Now we
are withdrawn from God's laws not only by the desire for pleasures of
touch, but also by the desire for pleasures of the other senses, for
these, too, belong to the bodily allurements, and again by the desire for
riches or for worldly glory: wherefore it is written (1 Tim. 6:10).
"Desire [*'Cupiditas,' which is the Douay version following the Greek
{philargyria} renders 'desire of money'] is the root of all evils."
Therefore temperance is not only about desires of pleasures of touch.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[4] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, the Philosopher says (Ethic. iv, 3) that "one who is
worthy of small things and deems himself worthy of them is temperate, but
he is not magnificent." Now honors, whether small or great, of which he
is speaking there, are an object of pleasure, not of touch, but in the
soul's apprehension. Therefore temperance is not only about desires for
pleasures of touch.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[4] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, things that are of the same genus would seem to pertain
to the matter of a particular virtue under one same aspect. Now all
pleasures of sense are apparently of the same genus. Therefore they all
equally belong to the matter of temperance.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[4] Obj. 4 Para. 1/1

OBJ 4: Further, spiritual pleasures are greater than the pleasures of
the body, as stated above (FS, Q[31], A[5]) in the treatise on the
passions. Now sometimes men forsake God's laws and the state of virtue
through desire for spiritual pleasures, for instance, through curiosity
in matters of knowledge: wherefore the devil promised man knowledge,
saying (Gn. 3:5): "Ye shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil." Therefore
temperance is not only about pleasures of touch.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[4] Obj. 5 Para. 1/1

OBJ 5: Further, if pleasures of touch were the proper matter of
temperance, it would follow that temperance is about all pleasures of
touch. But it is not about all, for instance, about those which occur in
games. Therefore pleasures of touch are not the proper matter of
temperance.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[4] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, The Philosopher says (Ethic. iii, 10) that "temperance
is properly about desires of pleasures of touch."

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[4] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, As stated above (A[3]), temperance is about desires and
pleasures in the same way as fortitude is about fear and daring. Now
fortitude is about fear and daring with respect to the greatest evils
whereby nature itself is dissolved; and such are dangers of death.
Wherefore in like manner temperance must needs be about desires for the
greatest pleasures. And since pleasure results from a natural operation,
it is so much the greater according as it results from a more natural
operation. Now to animals the most natural operations are those which
preserve the nature of the individual by means of meat and drink, and the
nature of the species by the union of the sexes. Hence temperance is
properly about pleasures of meat and drink and sexual pleasures. Now
these pleasures result from the sense of touch. Wherefore it follows that
temperance is about pleasures of touch.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[4] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: In the passage quoted Augustine apparently takes
temperance, not as a special virtue having a determinate matter, but as
concerned with the moderation of reason, in any matter whatever: and this
is a general condition of every virtue. However, we may also reply that
if a man can control the greatest pleasures, much more can he control
lesser ones. Wherefore it belongs chiefly and properly to temperance to
moderate desires and pleasures of touch, and secondarily other pleasures.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[4] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: The Philosopher takes temperance as denoting moderation in
external things, when, to wit, a man tends to that which is proportionate
to him, but not as denoting moderation in the soul's emotions, which
pertains to the virtue of temperance.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[4] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: The pleasures of the other senses play a different part in
man and in other animals. For in other animals pleasures do not result
from the other senses save in relation to sensibles of touch: thus the
lion is pleased to see the stag, or to hear its voice, in relation to his
food. On the other hand man derives pleasure from the other senses, not
only for this reason, but also on account of the becomingness of the
sensible object. Wherefore temperance is about the pleasures of the other
senses, in relation to pleasures of touch, not principally but
consequently: while in so far as the sensible objects of the other senses
are pleasant on account of their becomingness, as when a man is pleased
at a well-harmonized sound, this pleasure has nothing to do with the
preservation of nature. Hence these passions are not of such importance
that temperance can be referred to them antonomastically.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[4] R.O. 4 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 4: Although spiritual pleasures are by their nature greater
than bodily pleasures, they are not so perceptible to the senses, and
consequently they do not so strongly affect the sensitive appetite,
against whose impulse the good of reason is safeguarded by moral virtue.
We may also reply that spiritual pleasures, strictly speaking, are in
accordance with reason, wherefore they need no control, save
accidentally, in so far as one spiritual pleasure is a hindrance to
another greater and more binding.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[4] R.O. 5 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 5: Not all pleasures of touch regard the preservation of
nature, and consequently it does not follow that temperance is about all
pleasures of touch.

(tm)Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[5] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether temperance is about the pleasures proper to the taste?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[5] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that temperance is about pleasures proper to the
taste. For pleasures of the taste result from food and drink, which are
more necessary to man's life than sexual pleasures, which regard the
touch. But according to what has been said (A[4]), temperance is about
pleasures in things that are necessary to human life. Therefore
temperance is about pleasures proper to the taste rather than about those
proper to the touch.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[5] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, temperance is about the passions rather than about
things themselves. Now, according to De Anima ii, 3, "the touch is the
sense of food," as regards the very substance of the food, whereas
"savor" which is the proper object of the taste, is "the pleasing quality
of the food." Therefore temperance is about the taste rather than about
the touch.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[5] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, according to Ethic. vii, 4,7: "temperance and
intemperance are about the same things, and so are continence and
incontinence, perseverance, and effeminacy," to which delicacy pertains.
Now delicacy seems to regard the delight taken in savors which are the
object of the taste. Therefore temperance is about pleasures proper to
the taste.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[5] OTC Para. 1/1
On the contrary, The Philosopher says (Ethic. iii, 10) that "seemingly
temperance and intemperance have little if anything to do with the taste."

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[5] Body Para. 1/2

I answer that, As stated above (A[4]), temperance is about the greatest
pleasures, which chiefly regard the preservation of human life either in
the species or in the individual. In these matters certain things are to
be considered as principal and others as secondary. The principal thing
is the use itself of the necessary means, of the woman who is necessary
for the preservation of the species, or of food and drink which are
necessary for the preservation of the individual: while the very use of
these necessary things has a certain essential pleasure annexed thereto.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[5] Body Para. 2/2

In regard to either use we consider as secondary whatever makes the use
more pleasurable, such as beauty and adornment in woman, and a pleasing
savor and likewise odor in food. Hence temperance is chiefly about the
pleasure of touch, that results essentially from the use of these
necessary things, which use is in all cases attained by the touch.
Secondarily, however, temperance and intemperance are about pleasures of
the taste, smell, or sight, inasmuch as the sensible objects of these
senses conduce to the pleasurable use of the necessary things that have
relation to the touch. But since the taste is more akin to the touch than
the other senses are, it follows that temperance is more about the taste
than about the other senses.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[5] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: The use of food and the pleasure that essentially results
therefrom pertain to the touch. Hence the Philosopher says (De Anima ii,
3) that "touch is the sense of food, for food is hot or cold, wet or
dry." To the taste belongs the discernment of savors, which make the food
pleasant to eat, in so far as they are signs of its being suitable for
nourishment.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[5] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: The pleasure resulting from savor is additional, so to
speak, whereas the pleasure of touch results essentially from the use of
food and drink.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[5] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Delicacy regards principally the substance of the food, but
secondarily it regards its delicious savor and the way in which it is
served.


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[6] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether the rule of temperance depends on the need of the present life?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[6] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that the rule of temperance does not depend on the
needs of the present life. For higher things are not regulated according
to lower. Now, as temperance is a virtue of the soul, it is above the
needs of the body. Therefore the rule of temperance does not depend on
the needs of the body.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[6] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, whoever exceeds a rule sins. Therefore if the needs of
the body were the rule of temperance, it would be a sin against
temperance to indulge in any other pleasure than those required by
nature, which is content with very little. But this would seem
unreasonable.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[6] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, no one sins in observing a rule. Therefore if the need
of the body were the rule of temperance, there would be no sin in using
any pleasure for the needs of the body, for instance, for the sake of
health. But this is apparently false. Therefore the need of the body is
not the rule of temperance.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[6] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Augustine says (De Morib. Eccl. xxi): "In both
Testaments the temperate man finds confirmation of the rule forbidding
him to love the things of this life, or to deem any of them desirable for
its own sake, and commanding him to avail himself of those things with
the moderation of a user not the attachment of a lover, in so far as they
are requisite for the needs of this life and of his station."

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[6] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, As stated above (A[1]; Q[109], A[2]; Q[123], A[12]), the
good of moral virtue consists chiefly in the order of reason: because
"man's good is to be in accord with reason," as Dionysius asserts (Div.
Nom. iv). Now the principal order of reason is that by which it directs
certain things towards their end, and the good of reason consists chiefly
in this order; since good has the aspect of end, and the end is the rule
of whatever is directed to the end. Now all the pleasurable objects that
are at man's disposal, are directed to some necessity of this life as to
their end. Wherefore temperance takes the need of this life, as the rule
of the pleasurable objects of which it makes use, and uses them only for
as much as the need of this life requires.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[6] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: As stated above, the need of this life is regarded as a
rule in so far as it is an end. Now it must be observed that sometimes
the end of the worker differs from the end of the work, thus it is clear
that the end of building is a house, whereas sometimes the end of the
builder is profit. Accordingly the end and rule of temperance itself is
happiness; while the end and rule of the thing it makes use of is the
need of human life, to which whatever is useful for life is subordinate.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[6] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: The need of human life may be taken in two ways. First, it
may be taken in the sense in which we apply the term "necessary" to that
without which a thing cannot be at all; thus food is necessary to an
animal. Secondly, it may be taken for something without which a thing
cannot be becomingly. Now temperance regards not only the former of these
needs, but also the latter. Wherefore the Philosopher says (Ethic. iii,
11) that "the temperate man desires pleasant things for the sake of
health, or for the sake of a sound condition of body." Other things that
are not necessary for this purpose may be divided into two classes. For
some are a hindrance to health and a sound condition of body; and these
temperance makes not use of whatever, for this would be a sin against
temperance. But others are not a hindrance to those things, and these
temperance uses moderately, according to the demands of place and time,
and in keeping with those among whom one dwells. Hence the Philosopher
(Ethic. iii, 11) says that the "temperate man also desires other pleasant
things," those namely that are not necessary for health or a sound
condition of body, "so long as they are not prejudicial to these things."

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[6] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: As stated (ad 2), temperance regards need according to the
requirements of life, and this depends not only on the requirements of
the body, but also on the requirements of external things, such as riches
and station, and more still on the requirements of good conduct. Hence
the Philosopher adds (Ethic. iii, 11) that "the temperate man makes use
of pleasant things provided that not only they be not prejudicial to
health and a sound bodily condition, but also that they be not
inconsistent with good," i.e. good conduct, nor "beyond his substance,"
i.e. his means. And Augustine says (De Morib. Eccl. xxi) that the
"temperate man considers the need" not only "of this life" but also "of
his station."


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[7] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether temperance is a cardinal virtue?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[7] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that temperance is not a cardinal virtue. For the
good of moral virtue depends on reason. But temperance is about those
things that are furthest removed from reason, namely about pleasures
common to us and the lower animals, as stated in Ethic. iii, 10.
Therefore temperance, seemingly, is not a principal virtue.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[7] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, the greater the impetus the more difficult is it to
control. Now anger, which is controlled by meekness, seems to be more
impetuous than desire, which is controlled by temperance. For it is
written (Prov. 27:4): "Anger hath no mercy, nor fury when it breaketh
forth; and who can bear the violence [impetum] of one provoked?"
Therefore meekness is a principal virtue rather than temperance.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[7] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, hope as a movement of the soul takes precedence of
desire and concupiscence, as stated above (FS, Q[25], A[4]). But humility
controls the presumption of immoderate hope. Therefore, seemingly,
humility is a principal virtue rather than temperance which controls
concupiscence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[7] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Gregory reckons temperance among the principal virtues
(Moral. ii, 49).

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[7] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, As stated above (Q[123], A[11]; Q[61], A[3]), a principal
or cardinal virtue is so called because it has a foremost claim to praise
on account of one of those things that are requisite for the notion of
virtue in general. Now moderation, which is requisite in every virtue,
deserves praise principally in pleasures of touch, with which temperance
is concerned, both because these pleasures are most natural to us, so
that it is more difficult to abstain from them, and to control the desire
for them, and because their objects are more necessary to the present
life, as stated above (A[4]). For this reason temperance is reckoned a
principal or cardinal virtue.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[7] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: The longer the range of its operation, the greater is the
agent's power [virtus] shown to be: wherefore the very fact that the
reason is able to moderate desires and pleasures that are furthest
removed from it, proves the greatness of reason's power. This is how
temperance comes to be a principal virtue.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[7] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: The impetuousness of anger is caused by an accident, for
instance, a painful hurt; wherefore it soon passes, although its impetus
be great. On the other hand, the impetuousness of the desire for
pleasures of touch proceeds from a natural cause, wherefore it is more
lasting and more general, and consequently its control regards a more
principal virtue.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[7] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: The object of hope is higher than the object of desire,
wherefore hope is accounted the principal passion in the irascible. But
the objects of desires and pleasures of touch move the appetite with
greater force, since they are more natural. Therefore temperance, which
appoints the mean in such things, is a principal virtue.


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[8] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether temperance is the greatest of the virtues?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[8] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that temperance is the greatest of the virtues. For
Ambrose says (De Offic. i, 43) that "what we observe and seek most in
temperance is the safeguarding of what is honorable, and the regard for
what is beautiful." Now virtue deserves praise for being honorable and
beautiful. Therefore temperance is the greatest of the virtues.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[8] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, the more difficult the deed the greater the virtue. Now
it is more difficult to control desires and pleasures of touch than to
regulate external actions, the former pertaining to temperance and the
latter to justice. Therefore temperance is a greater virtue than justice.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[8] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, seemingly the more general a thing is, the more
necessary and the better it is. Now fortitude is about dangers of death
which occur less frequently than pleasures of touch, for these occur
every day; so that temperance is in more general use than fortitude.
Therefore temperance is a more excellent virtue than fortitude.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[8] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, The Philosopher says (Rhet. i, 9) that the "greatest
virtues are those which are most profitable to others, for which reason
we give the greatest honor to the brave and the just."

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[8] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, As the Philosopher declares (Ethic. i, 2) "the good of
the many is more of the godlike than the good of the individual,"
wherefore the more a virtue regards the good of the many, the better it
is. Now justice and fortitude regard the good of the many more than
temperance does, since justice regards the relations between one man and
another, while fortitude regards dangers of battle which are endured for
the common weal: whereas temperance moderates only the desires and
pleasures which affect man himself. Hence it is evident that justice and
fortitude are more excellent virtues than temperance: while prudence and
the theological virtues are more excellent still.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[8] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Honor and beauty are especially ascribed to temperance, not
on account of the excellence of the good proper to temperance, but on
account of the disgrace of the contrary evil from which it withdraws us,
by moderating the pleasures common to us and the lower animals.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[8] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Since virtue is about the difficult and the good, the
excellence of a virtue is considered more under the aspect of good,
wherein justice excels, than under the aspect of difficult, wherein
temperance excels.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[141] A[8] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: That which is general because it regards the many conduces
more to the excellence of goodness than that which is general because it
occurs frequently: fortitude excels in the former way, temperance in the
latter. Hence fortitude is greater simply, although in some respects
temperance may be described as greater not only than fortitude but also
than justice.





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