Front Page Titles (by Subject) QUESTION LXV.: OF THE CONNEXION OF VIRTUE WITH VIRTUE. - Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 1 (Summa Theologica - Prima Secundae, Secunda Secundae Pt.1)
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QUESTION LXV.: OF THE CONNEXION OF VIRTUE WITH VIRTUE. - 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 CONNEXION OF VIRTUE WITH VIRTUE.
Article I.—Are the moral virtues connected one with another?
R. Moral virtue may be considered either in its perfect or in its imperfect state. Imperfect moral virtue is nothing else than an inclination in us to do some act that is good in its kind, whether such inclination be in us by nature or by routine. Taken in this way, moral virtues are not connected one with another: for we see a man from natural complexion, or out of routine, forward to acts of liberality, and at the same time not forward to acts of chastity.1 But perfect moral virtue is a habit inclining to do good acts well. Taking moral virtues this way, we must say that there is a connexion between them. For which fact a twofold reason is assigned, according to the different ways of distinguishing the cardinal virtues. For some distinguish them as certain general conditions of virtue, assigning discretion to prudence, rectitude to justice, moderation to temperance, firmness to fortitude, in whatever matter they may be viewed. Under this understanding the nature of the connexion manifestly appears: for firmness has none of the praise of virtue if it be without moderation or rectitude or discretion; and so of the rest. And this is the nature of the connexion as laid down by Gregory, saying: “The virtues, if separated, cannot be perfect in the nature of virtue: for that is no true prudence which is not just, and temperate, and brave.” Others distinguish the aforesaid virtues according to their subject-matters. On this ground the reason of the connexion is stated by Aristotle to lie in the fact that no moral virtue can be had without prudence: because it belongs to moral virtue, as being an elective habit, to make a right election. Now the mere inclination to a due end, which comes immediately of moral virtue, suffices not to a right election, but there is further required a positive choice of the means to that end; which choice is brought about by prudence, that virtue being apt to advise, and judge, and prescribe concerning means to the end. In like manner also prudence cannot be had without having the moral virtues: because prudence is a right method of conduct; and has for the principles on which it proceeds the ends of conduct, to which ends one becomes duly affected through the moral virtues.
§ 1. Of moral virtues some perfect a man in the common state, with regard to the duties that are commonly incumbent in all human life. Hence a man must be exercised in the matters of all these moral virtues together. And if he be exercised in well-doing in all these matters, he will acquire the habits of all these moral virtues: but if he be exercised in well-doing in one matter and not in another—for instance, in behaving well in fits of anger, but not in fits of desire, he will acquire a certain habit of checking fits of anger, which habit, however, will not amount to a virtue for lack of prudence, that being lost over desires. But there are other moral virtues, as munificence and magnanimity, which make a man perfect in an eminent state. And because exercise in the matters of these virtues does not fall to the common lot of all men, one may have the habits of the other moral virtues without having the habits of these virtues actually. Still, by acquiring the other virtues a person gets these virtues also in proximate potentiality. For when by practice one has gained liberality in moderate donations and expenses, if money afterwards comes in abundance, the habit of munificence will be acquired with little practice: as a geometer with a little study acquires the knowledge of a conclusion which he has never before considered. But we are said to have that which lies ready to our hand to have.
Article II.—Can the moral virtues be without charity?
R. The moral virtues, as they are operative in man to an end which does not exceed the natural faculty of man, may be acquired by human acts; and so acquired, they may be without charity, as they have been in many heathens. But as they are operative of good in order to a supernatural last end, thus considered, they have the perfect and true character of virtue, and cannot be acquired by human acts, but are infused by God; and such moral virtues cannot be without charity.1
§ 2. It happens sometimes that one who has a habit finds a difficulty in exercising it, and consequently takes no pleasure and complacency in the act, owing to some extrinsic impediment supervening: as he who has a habit of science finds a difficulty in understanding through sleepiness or some infirmity. And in like manner the habits of the infused moral virtues are liable to a difficulty in the working of them through sundry contrary dispositions, the relics of previous acts:2 which difficulty does not so much stand in the way of the acts of the acquired moral virtues, because the acts by which those virtues are acquired tend to clear away all obstacles to their exercise.
[1 ]Routine here means a mechanical way of doing a good action, irrespectively of any virtuous motive for doing it, e.g., the way in which a relieving officer may relieve the necessities of the poor; or the way in which young people, at the call of their elders, sometimes say their prayers. (Trl.)
[1 ]Cf. II-II. q. 23. art. 7. (Trl.)
[2 ]Thus by a good confession the penitent receives, along with sanctifying grace, the infused habit of temperance; and yet, if he was a drunkard before, he will find it hard to keep sober, until by repeated acts of resistance to his craving he has got the acquired habit of temperance as well. (Trl.)