Front Page Titles (by Subject) QUESTION LIII.: OF THE DESTRUCTION AND DIMINUTION OF HABITS. - Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 1 (Summa Theologica - Prima Secundae, Secunda Secundae Pt.1)
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QUESTION LIII.: OF THE DESTRUCTION AND DIMINUTION OF HABITS. - St. Thomas Aquinas, Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 1 (Summa Theologica - Prima Secundae, Secunda Secundae Pt.1) 
Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas. A Translation of the Principal Portions of the Second part of the Summa Theologica, with Notes by Joseph Rickaby, S.J. (London: Burns and Oates, 1892).
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OF THE DESTRUCTION AND DIMINUTION OF HABITS.
Article III.—Is a habit destroyed or diminished by merely ceasing to exercise it?
R. A cause may induce a change, either by its own ordinary power or incidentally. An instance of incidental working would be the removal of an obstacle that there was to the action of another cause. In this second way cessation of exercise causes the destruction or diminution of habits, by removing the obstacle that stood in the way of the causes which make for the destruction or diminution of the habit. Habits are ordinarily destroyed or diminished by action to the contrary. Hence when habits are opposed by contrary agents which grow strong in course of time, and need to be put away by an act proceeding from the habit—such habits are diminished or even entirely removed by long cessation of exercise, as is clear in the case of science and of virtue. A habit of moral virtue makes a man prompt to choose the golden mean in actions and passions. But when a man does not use the habit of virtue to moderate his passions or actions, many passions and actions must arise beyond the bounds of virtue, owing to the inclination of the sensitive appetite and solicitations from without. Hence a virtue is destroyed or diminished by the ceasing of the act. In like manner on the part of the intellectual habits, by which a man is prompt rightly to judge of the presentations of imagination—when he ceases from the use of the intellectual habit, extraneous imaginations arise, and occasionally some even of a contrary tendency; so that unless by the use of the intellectual habit these are cut down or repressed, the man is rendered less fit to form a right judgment, and is sometimes entirely disposed to the contrary. Thus by the cessation of exercise is an intellectual habit diminished or even destroyed.