Front Page Titles (by Subject) QUESTION LXI.: OF THE CARDINAL VIRTUES. - Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 1 (Summa Theologica - Prima Secundae, Secunda Secundae Pt.1)
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QUESTION LXI.: OF THE CARDINAL VIRTUES. - 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 CARDINAL VIRTUES.1
Article II.—Are there four cardinal virtues?
R. The formal principle of virtue is rational good; and that may be considered in two ways—in one way as consisting in the mere consideration of reason; and in that way there will be one principal virtue, which is called prudence: in another way according as a rational order is established in some matter, and that, either in the matter of actions, and so there is justice; or in the matter of passions, and so there must be two virtues. For rational order must be established in the matter of the passions with regard to their repugnance to reason. Now this repugnance may be in two ways: in one way by passion impelling to something contrary to reason; and for that, passion must be tempered, or repressed: hence temperance takes its name; in another way by passion holding back from that which reason dictates; and for that, man must put his foot down there where reason places him, not to budge from thence: and so fortitude gets its name. And in like manner according to subjects the same number is found. For we observe a fourfold subject of this virtue whereof we speak: to wit, the part rational by essence, which prudence perfects; and the part rational by participation, which is divided into three, namely, the will, the subject of justice; the concupiscible faculty, the subject of temperance; and the irascible faculty, the subject of fortitude.
Article IV.—Do the four cardinal virtues differ one from another?
R. The four virtues above-mentioned are differently understood by different authors. Some take them as meaning certain general conditions of the human mind which are found in all virtues, so that prudence is nothing else than a certain correctness of discernment in any acts or matters whatsoever; justice is a certain rectitude of mind whereby a man does what he ought to do in any matter; temperance is a disposition of mind, which sets bounds to all manner of passions or actions, that they may not exceed; while fortitude is a disposition of the soul whereby it is strengthened in what is according to reason against all manner of assaults of passion or toil of active labours. This fourfold distinction does not involve any difference of virtuous habits so far as justice, temperance, and fortitude are concerned. For to every virtue by the fact of its being a habit there attaches a certain firmness, so that it may not be moved by any impulse to the contrary; and this has been said to be a point of fortitude. Also from the fact of its being a virtue it has a direction towards good, wherein is involved the notion of something right and due, which was said to be a point of justice. Again, by the fact of its being a moral virtue partaking in reason, it has that which makes it observe the bounds of reason in all things, and not go beyond, which was said to be a point of temperance. Only the having of discretion, which was attributed to prudence, seems to be distinguished from the other three points, inasmuch as this belongs to reason essentially so called, whereas the other three involve only a certain participation in reason by way of application thereof to passions or acts. Thus then on the foregoing reckoning, prudence would be a virtue distinct from the other three; but the other three would not be virtues distinct from one another. For it is manifest that one and the same virtue is at once a habit, and a virtue, and is moral.
Others better understand these four virtues as being determined to special matters, each of them to one matter,1 so that every virtue which produces that goodness which lies in the consideration of reason, is called prudence; and every virtue which produces that goodness which consists in what is due and right in action, is called justice; and every virtue which restrains and represses the passions, is called temperance; and every virtue which produces a firmness of soul against all manner of sufferings, is called fortitude. On this arrangement it is manifest that the aforesaid virtues are different habits, distinct according to the diversity of their objects.
[1 ]Question LX. omitted, is a first sketch and outline of the enumeration of virtues that is worked out minutely in the Second Division (Secunda Secundæ) of this work. (Trl.)
[1 ]The rest of the sentence is from art. iii. preceding. (Trl.)