Front Page Titles (by Subject) QUESTION LXII.: OF THE THEOLOGICAL VIRTUES. - Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 1 (Summa Theologica - Prima Secundae, Secunda Secundae Pt.1)
Return to Title Page for Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 1 (Summa Theologica - Prima Secundae, Secunda Secundae Pt.1)
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
QUESTION LXII.: OF THE THEOLOGICAL 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).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
OF THE THEOLOGICAL VIRTUES.
Article I.—Are there any theological virtues?
R. By virtue man is perfected unto the acts whereby he is set in the way to happiness. Now there is a twofold happiness of man: one proportionate to human nature, whereunto man can arrive by the principles of his own nature. Another happiness there is exceeding the nature of man, whereunto man can arrive only by a divine virtue involving a certain participation in the Deity, according as it is said that by Christ we are made “partakers of the divine nature.”1 And because this manner of happiness exceeds the capacities of human nature, the natural principles of human action, on which man proceeds to such well-doing as is in proportion with himself, suffice not to direct man unto the aforesaid happiness. Hence there must be superadded to man by the gift of God certain principles, whereby he may be put on the way to supernatural happiness, even as he is directed to his connatural end by natural principles, yet not without the divine aid. Such principles are called theological virtues: both because they have God for their object, inasmuch as by them we are directed aright to God; as also because it is only by divine revelation in Holy Scripture that such virtues are taught.
Article II.—Are theological virtues distinct from virtues intellectual and moral?
R. Habits are specifically distinct according to the formal difference of their objects. But the object of the theological virtues is God Himself, the last end of all things, as He transcends the knowledge of our reason: whereas the object of the intellectual and moral virtues is something that can be comprehended by human reason. Hence theological virtues are specifically distinct from virtues moral and intellectual.
§ 1. The intellectual and moral virtues perfect the intellect and appetite of man according to the capacity of human nature, but the theological virtues supernaturally.
Article III.—Are faith, hope, and charity fitly assigned as the theological virtues?
R. The theological virtues set man in the way of supernatural happiness, as he is directed to his connatural end by a natural inclination. This latter direction is worked out in two ways: first, by way of the reason or intellect, as that power holds in its knowledge the general principles of rational procedure, theoretical and practical, known by the light of nature: secondly, by the rectitude of the will naturally tending to rational good. But both these agencies fall short of the order of supernatural good. Hence for both of them some supernatural addition was necessary to man, to direct him to a supernatural end. On the side of the intellect man receives the addition of certain supernatural principles, which are perceived by divine light; and these are the objects of belief, with which faith is conversant. Secondly, there is the will, which is directed to the supernatural end, both by way of an affective movement directed thereto as to a point possible to gain, and this movement belongs to hope; and by way of a certain spiritual union, whereby the will is in a manner transformed into that end, which union and transformation is wrought by charity. For the appetite of every being has a natural motion and tendency towards an end connatural to itself; and that movement arises from some sort of conformity of the thing to its end.
§ 2. Faith and hope denote a certain imperfection: because faith is of the things that are seen not, and hope of the things that are possessed not. Hence to have faith in and hope of the things that are amenable to human power, is a falling short of the character of virtue. But to have faith in and hope of the things that are beyond the ability of human nature, transcends all virtue proportionate to man, according to the text: “The weakness of God is stronger than men.”1
[1 ]2 St. Peter i. 4.
[1 ]1 Cor. i. 25.