Front Page Titles (by Subject) QUESTION XIII.: OF THE SIN OF BLASPHEMY. - 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 XIII.: OF THE SIN OF BLASPHEMY. - 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 SIN OF BLASPHEMY.
Article I.—Is blasphemy the opposite of confession of the faith?
R. The name of blasphemy implies some disparagement of the goodness of God. If this is done in the heart only, it is blasphemy of the heart, but if it come out in speech, it is blasphemy of the mouth. And thus blasphemy is the opposite of confession of the faith.
§ 2. As God is praised in His saints, by praise of the works that He accomplishes in His saints, so also blasphemy against the saints redounds consequently upon God.
Article II.—Is blasphemy always a mortal sin?
R. That is a mortal sin by which man is separated from the first principle of spiritual life, which is the charity of God. Hence whatever acts are inconsistent with charity are mortal sins of their kind. Now blasphemy of its kind is opposed to divine charity, because it is a disparagement of divine goodness, which is the object of charity: and therefore blasphemy is a mortal sin of its kind.1
§ 3. Blasphemy may fall from the lips by surprise without deliberation in two ways. Either it is that the person does not notice that what he says is a blasphemy, as may happen in a movement of sudden passion, when a man breaks out into any words that he happens to fancy, without consideration of their meaning: and then it is a venial sin, and does not properly come under the idea of blasphemy; or it may be that he does consider the meaning of his words, and notice that what he says is blasphemous: and then he is not excused from mortal sin, any more than the man is excused who in a sudden fit of anger kills the person sitting next to him.
§ 1. If murder and blasphemy are compared in respect of the objects sinned against, clearly blasphemy, as being an offence directly against God, outweighs murder, which is an offence against our neighbour. But if they are compared in respect of the harm done, then murder has the preponderance: for murder hurts our neighbour more than blasphemy hurts God. But because our estimation of the gravity of a fault must go more by the intention of a perverse will than by the effect wrought, therefore, seeing that the blasphemer intends to wound the honour of God, he sins, absolutely speaking, more grievously than the murderer.1
Article IV.—Do the damned blaspheme?
R. Part of the essence of blasphemy is detestation of the divine goodness. Now they who are in hell retain their perverse will, averse to the justice of God, in this that they love the things for which they are punished, and would wish to practise them if they could, and hate the punishments that are inflicted on them for such sins. They do, however, also grieve for the sins they have committed, not that they hate the sins themselves, but because they are punished for them. Such detestation then of the divine justice is in them an inward blasphemy of the heart. And it is credible that in the resurrection there will be in them vocal blasphemy also, as in the saints there will be vocal praise of God.
[1 ]For the meaning of this phrase see I-II. q 88 art. 2. (Trl.)
[1 ]A man may be accounted to have gone all lengths in wickedness, when he sets himself wilfully and with full resolution to blaspheme. (Trl.)