Front Page Titles (by Subject) QUESTION LXXXIV.: OF ONE SIN BEING THE CAUSE OF ANOTHER SIN. - 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 LXXXIV.: OF ONE SIN BEING THE CAUSE OF ANOTHER SIN. - 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 ONE SIN BEING THE CAUSE OF ANOTHER SIN.1
Article IV.—Are the seven capital vices fitly so called?
R. Those vices are called capital, out of which other vices spring, especially in the way of final causation. Now the personal predilection of the individual sinner for some one end of pursuit above all others, and his falling in that pursuit into many sins, is a thing that cannot be treated scientifically, because the particular dispositions of particular individuals are infinite. But if we look at the natural mutual relations of various ends of pursuit, and the origin of vice from vice according to those natural relations, there we have something that does admit of scientific investigation. In this respect then those vices are called capital, the ends and objects whereof have certain primary ways of moving the appetite; and the capital vices are distinguished according to the distinction of these ways.
Now the appetite is either moved directly and ordinarily, to pursue good and shun evil; or indirectly and occasionally, to pursue some evil for good annexed, or to shun some good for evil annexed. Again, the good of man is threefold. First, there is the good of the soul, which has the quality of being desirable for the mere thought of it, as excellence of praise or honour; and this good vainglory inordinately pursues. There is another good which belongs to the body, either to the preservation of the individual, as meat and drink, and this good gluttony inordinately pursues; or to the preservation of the species, as the intercourse of the sexes, and to this luxury is directed. A third good is external, namely, riches, and to this covetousness tends.
Or to look at the matter in another light—the special power of good to move desire comes from its partaking somewhat of the proper attributes of happiness, which all men naturally desire. Now the first element of happiness is perfection: for happiness is perfect good, to which belongs excellence or brilliancy; and that is what pride or vainglory craves. The second element is sufficiency, which covetousness craves in the riches that promise it. The third element is delight, without which happiness cannot be; and this gluttony and lust seek after.
But the avoidance of good on account of evil annexed to it happens in two ways. Either it happens in respect of the agent’s own good: and then sloth appears, which grows sad over spiritual good on account of the bodily labour attached to it; or this avoidance happens over the good of another: and if this be without any active rising up against that good, the movement belongs to envy, which grows sad over another’s good as being a hindrance to one’s own pre-eminence; or it is along with an active rising up to take vengeance, and in that case it is anger.
[1 ]The intervening questions deal with original sin and other theological matters. (Trl.)