Front Page Titles (by Subject) QUESTION LIX.: OF MORAL VIRTUES IN THEIR RELATION TO THE PASSIONS. - Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 1 (Summa Theologica - Prima Secundae, Secunda Secundae Pt.1)
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QUESTION LIX.: OF MORAL VIRTUES IN THEIR RELATION TO THE PASSIONS. - 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 MORAL VIRTUES IN THEIR RELATION TO THE PASSIONS.
Article I.—Is moral virtue a passion?
R. Moral virtue cannot be a passion. First, because a passion is a movement of the sensitive appetite; but moral virtue is not any movement, but rather a guiding principle of the movement of appetite, and exists as a habit. Secondly, because passions of themselves have no character of good or evil. For the good or evil of man is according to reason: hence passions in themselves are neutral, convertible to good or to evil, according as they are capable of according with reason or not according with it. But nothing of that sort can be virtue, seeing that virtue is applicable to good alone.
§ 2. If by vice is meant a habit whereby one does amiss, it is manifest that no passion is a vice. But if by vice is meant sin, which is a vicious act, at that rate there is nothing to prevent passion from being a vice; and, on the other hand, there is nothing to prevent its concurring to an act of virtue, according as passion either opposes reason or follows the act of reason.
Article III.—Is sorrow compatible with moral virtue?
R. The Stoics denied that there could be anything answering to sorrow or sadness in the mind of the sage, for two reasons. Their first reason is drawn from the fact that sorrow is for evil which has already happened; now they reckon that no evil can happen to the sage: for their tenet is that as the only good of man is virtue, and bodily goods are in no way the goods of man, so the only evil of man is moral turpitude, which cannot be in the virtuous person. But this is an irrational view to advocate. For seeing that man is a compound of soul and body, whatever tends to the preservation of the life of the body is some sort of good to man—though not his greatest good, because it may be put by man to an ill use. Hence the evil opposite to this good may be in the wise man, and induce a moderate sorrow. Besides, though the virtuous man may be without grievous sin, still none is found who goes through life without some light sins, according to the text: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves.”1 Thirdly, the virtuous man, though he has no sin, perhaps has had sin on his conscience at some time, and it is praiseworthy of him to grieve over that, according to the text: “The sorrow that is according to God worketh penance steadfast unto salvation.”1 Fourthly, he may also laudably grieve at the sin of another. Hence moral virtue is compatible with sorrow in the same way as it is compatible with other passions moderated by reason.
The Stoics were moved, in the second place, by the consideration that sorrow is for evil present, while fear is of evil to come, as pleasure is at good present, but desire of good to come. Now, they argued, it may be a point of virtue for a man to enjoy a good thing when he has it, or to desire it when he has it not, or else to beware of evil to come; but for man’s mind to be upset by present evil, as happens in sorrow, seems to be altogether contrary to reason: hence it cannot stand with virtue. But this discourse again is irrational. For there is an evil which can be present to a virtuous man, and at the same time is detested by reason. Hence, in sorrowing over such evil, the sensitive appetite is following the lead of reason, which detests it, provided the sorrow be in moderation according to the judgment of reason. It is, in fact, a point of virtue that the sensitive appetite should be conformable to reason, and hence that it grieve moderately at due causes of sorrow. And this is also useful for the avoidance of evils: for as good things are sought more promptly for the pleasure that attaches to them, so evil things are more vigorously avoided for sorrow and grief and pain. So then we must say that sadness at what it befits virtue to do cannot go along with virtue, because virtue takes delight in going her own way; but over that which is in any way repugnant to virtue, virtue grieves in moderation.
Article IV.—Is every moral virtue occupied about the passions?
R. Moral virtue perfects the appetitive part of the soul by directing it to rational good, that is, good controlled by reason. Hence moral virtue is apt to be occupied about everything that is controllable by reason. But reason controls not only the passions of the sensitive appetite, but also the operations of the intellectual appetite, or will, which is not the subject of passion. Hence not every moral virtue is occupied about passions, but some are about passions, and some about actions.
Article V.—Can any moral virtue exist without passion?
R. If by passions we mean inordinate affections, as the Stoics laid down, at that rate it is manifest that perfect virtue is without passions. But if by passions we mean all the movements of the sensitive appetite, at that rate it is plain that moral virtues, which are about passions as about their proper matter, cannot be without passions; because otherwise it would follow that moral virtue made the sensitive appetite altogether idle, its occupation gone. Now it is no point of virtue that the powers subject to reason should cease from their proper acts; but that they should follow out the command of reason in doing their proper acts. Hence as virtue directs the limbs of the body to due external acts, so it directs also the sensitive appetite to its proper movements under regulation. But those moral virtues that are not concerned with passions, but with actions, may be without passions. Such a virtue is justice, whereby the will is applied to the proper act of the will, which is not a passion. Still, on the act of justice there follows joy, at least in the will; and though this joy is not a passion, still if this joy be multiplied by the perfection of justice, there will be an overflow of the same on to the sensitive appetite. And thus by such an overflow, the more perfect justice is, the more is it a cause of passion.
§ 1. Virtue overcomes passions in their inordination, and produces them in moderation.
§ 3. Good in every being must be determined according to the condition of the nature of the being. Now in God and the angels there is no sensitive appetite, as in man; and therefore the good act of God and of an angel is altogether without passion, as it is also without a body; but that of man is with passion, as it is with the ministry of the body.1
[1 ]1 St. John i. 8
[1 ]2 Cor. vii. 10.
[1 ]See Ethics and Natural Law, p. 45. (Trl.)