Front Page Titles (by Subject) QUESTION XXXV.: OF SLOTH. - Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 1 (Summa Theologica - Prima Secundae, Secunda Secundae Pt.1)
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QUESTION XXXV.: OF SLOTH. - 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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Article I.—Is sloth a sin?
R. Sloth is a heaviness and sadness, that so weighs down the soul that it has no mind to do anything. It carries with it a disgust of work. It is a torpor of the mind neglecting to set about good. Such sadness is always evil.1
§ 3. It is a point of humility that a man, from the consideration of his own defects, should abstain from extolling himself; but it is not a point of humility, but rather of ingratitude in him, to contemn the good gifts that he has from God. From such contempt sloth follows: for we get sad over what we count evil or cheap. A man should therefore so extol the good of others as not to contemn the good gifts with which himself is endowed from Heaven: for at that rate these gifts would be rendered to him matter of sadness.
§ 4. Sin is always to be shunned: but the assault of sin is sometimes to be overcome by flight, sometimes by resistance; by flight, when continued thinking of the matter increases the incentive to sin, as in lust, whene it is said: “Fly fornication;”1 by resistance, when keeping on the thought takes away the incentive to sin that arises from laying hold of the matter but lightly. And this latter is the case with sloth: for the more we think of spiritual goods, the more pleasing they become to us; whence there is an end of our sloth.
Article III.—Is sloth a mortal sin?
R. That sin is called mortal, which takes away the spiritual life, which life is by charity, and by charity we have God dwelling in us. Hence that sin is mortal of its kind, which of its own nature is contrary to charity. Such a sin is sloth: for the proper effect of charity is joy in God: while sloth is a sadness at spiritual good, inasmuch as it is divine good. Hence sloth is a mortal sin of its kind.
It is to be noticed however in all sins mortal of their kind, that they are not mortal except when they attain their full completeness. For the consummation of sin is in the consent of reason. We speak now of human sin, which consists in a human act, the principle of which is reason. Hence if there be a beginning of sin in the sensitive appetite, and it reach not so far as the consent of reason, the sin is venial owing to the imperfection of the act:2 but if it reaches so far as the consent of reason, it is a mortal sin. Thus then the movement of sloth is sometimes in the sensual appetite only, coming of the repugnance of the flesh to the spirit, and then it is a venial sin. Sometimes however it reaches to the reason, and reason consents to the avoidance and horror and detestation of the divine good, and the flesh altogether prevails against the spirit; and then manifestly sloth is a mortal sin.
§ 1. Sloth is a withdrawal of the mind, not from any and every spiritual good, but from the divine good to which the soul ought in bounden duty to apply. Hence if any one is saddened at being forced to accomplish works of virtue that he is not bound to do, that is not the sin of sloth, but only when one is saddened at duties that are incumbent upon him to do for God.
[1 ]Acedia, ἀκηδία (ἀ privative and κη̂δος, care) the don’t care feeling.
[1 ]1 Cor. vi. 18.
[2 ]See note on I-II. q. 74. art. 10. (Trl.)