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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[160] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF MODESTY (TWO ARTICLES)
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Aquin.: SMT SS Q[160] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF MODESTY (TWO ARTICLES)

We must now consider modesty: and (1) Modesty in general; (2) Each of
its species. Under the first head there are two points of inquiry:

(1) Whether modesty is a part of temperance?

(2) What is the matter of modesty?


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[160] A[1] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether modesty is a part of temperance?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[160] A[1] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that modesty is not a part of temperance. For
modesty is denominated from mode. Now mode is requisite in every virtue:
since virtue is directed to good; and "good," according to Augustine (De
Nat. Boni 3), "consists in mode, species, and order." Therefore modesty
is a general virtue, and consequently should not be reckoned a part of
temperance.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[160] A[1] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, temperance would seem to be deserving of praise chiefly
on account of its moderation. Now this gives modesty its name. Therefore
modesty is the same as temperance, and not one of its parts.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[160] A[1] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, modesty would seem to regard the correction of our
neighbor, according to 2 Tim. 2:24,25, "The servant of the Lord must not
wrangle, but be mild towards all men . . . with modesty admonishing them
that resist the truth." Now admonishing wrong-doers is an act of justice
or of charity, as stated above (Q[33], A[1]). Therefore seemingly modesty
is a part of justice rather than of temperance.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[160] A[1] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Tully (De Invent. Rhet. ii, 54) reckons modesty as a
part of temperance.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[160] A[1] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, As stated above (Q[141], A[4]; Q[157], A[3]), temperance
brings moderation into those things wherein it is most difficult to be
moderate, namely the concupiscences of pleasures of touch. Now whenever
there is a special virtue about some matter of very great moment, there
must needs be another virtue about matters of lesser import: because the
life of man requires to be regulated by the virtues with regard to
everything: thus it was stated above (Q[134], A[3], ad 1), that while
magnificence is about great expenditure, there is need in addition for
liberality, which is concerned with ordinary expenditure. Hence there is
need for a virtue to moderate other lesser matters where moderation is
not so difficult. This virtue is called modesty, and is annexed to
temperance as its principal.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[160] A[1] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: When a name is common to many it is sometimes appropriated
to those of the lowest rank; thus the common name of angel is
appropriated to the lowest order of angels. In the same way, mode which
is observed by all virtues in common, is specially appropriated to the
virtue which prescribes the mode in the slightest things.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[160] A[1] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Some things need tempering on account of their strength,
thus we temper strong wine. But moderation is necessary in all things:
wherefore temperance is more concerned with strong passions, and modesty
about weaker passions.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[160] A[1] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Modesty is to be taken there for the general moderation
which is necessary in all virtues.


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[160] A[2] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether modesty is only about outward actions?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[160] A[2] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that modesty is only about outward actions. For the
inward movements of the passions cannot be known to other persons. Yet
the Apostle enjoins (Phil. 4:5): "Let your modesty be known to all men."
Therefore modesty is only about outward actions.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[160] A[2] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, the virtues that are about the passions are
distinguished from justice which is about operations. Now modesty is
seemingly one virtue. Therefore, if it be about outward works, it will
not be concerned with inward passions.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[160] A[2] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, no one same virtue is both about things pertaining to
the appetite - which is proper to the moral virtues - and about things
pertaining to knowledge - which is proper to the intellectual
virtues - and again about things pertaining to the irascible and
concupiscible faculties. Therefore, if modesty be one virtue, it cannot
be about all these things.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[160] A[2] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, In all these things it is necessary to observe the
"mode" whence modesty takes its name. Therefore modesty is about all of
them.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[160] A[2] Body Para. 1/3

I answer that, As stated above (A[1]), modesty differs from temperance,
in that temperance moderates those matters where restraint is most
difficult, while modesty moderates those that present less difficulty.
Authorities seem to have had various opinions about modesty. For wherever
they found a special kind of good or a special difficulty of moderation,
they withdrew it from the province of modesty, which they confined to
lesser matters. Now it is clear to all that the restraint of pleasures of
touch presents a special difficulty: wherefore all distinguished
temperance from modesty.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[160] A[2] Body Para. 2/3

In addition to this, moreover, Tully (De Invent. Rhet. ii, 54)
considered that there was a special kind of good in the moderation of
punishment; wherefore he severed clemency also from modesty, and held
modesty to be about the remaining ordinary matters that require
moderation. These seemingly are of four kinds. one is the movement of the
mind towards some excellence, and this is moderated by "humility." The
second is the desire of things pertaining to knowledge, and this is
moderated by "studiousness" which is opposed to curiosity. The third
regards bodily movements and actions, which require to be done becomingly
and honestly [*Cf. Q[145], A[1]], whether we act seriously or in play.
The fourth regards outward show, for instance in dress and the like.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[160] A[2] Body Para. 3/3

To some of these matters, however, other authorities appointed certain
special virtues: thus Andronicus [*De Affectibus] mentions "meekness,
simplicity, humility," and other kindred virtues, of which we have spoken
above (Q[143]); while Aristotle (Ethic. ii, 7) assigned {eutrapelia} to
pleasures in games, as stated above (FS, Q[60], A[5]). All these are
comprised under modesty as understood by Tully; and in this way modesty
regards not only outward but also inward actions.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[160] A[2] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: The Apostle speaks of modesty as regarding externals.
Nevertheless the moderation of the inner man may be shown by certain
outward signs.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[160] A[2] R.O. 2 Para. 1/2

Reply OBJ 2: Various virtues assigned by various authorities are
comprised under modesty. Wherefore nothing prevents modesty from
regarding matters which require different virtues. Yet there is not so
great a difference between the various parts of modesty, as there is
between justice, which is about operations, and temperance, which is
about passions, because in actions and passions that present no great
difficulty on the part of the matter, but only on the part of moderation,
there is but one virtue, one namely for each kind of moderation.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[160] A[2] R.O. 2 Para. 2/2

Wherefore the Reply to the Third Objection also is clear.





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