Front Page Titles (by Subject) QUESTION XXXVII.: OF DISCORD. - Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 1 (Summa Theologica - Prima Secundae, Secunda Secundae Pt.1)
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QUESTION XXXVII.: OF DISCORD. - 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 discord a sin?
R. Concord is caused by charity, inasmuch as charity unites the hearts of many together to one effect, which is principally the good of God, and secondarily the good of our neighbour. Discord then is a sin for being contrary to this concord. But there are two ways in which this concord is destroyed—ordinarily and incidentally.1 In human acts and movements, that is said to be ordinary, which is according to the intention of the agent. Hence a man is at ordinary discord with his neighbour, when knowingly and intentionally he dissents from the good of God and his neighbour, to which he ought to consent; and this is a mortal sin of its kind on account of its contrariety to charity, though the first motions of this discord, on account of the imperfection of the act, are only venial sins. But that is taken to be incidental, which is beside the intention in human acts. Hence when the intention of both parties is fixed on a good end, making for the honour of God and the profit of their neighbour; but one thinks this particular course is good, while the other is of a contrary opinion; the discord then is only incidentally against the good of God or of their neighbour. And such discord is not a sin, nor inconsistent with charity, unless it be either attended with error on points that are of necessity to salvation, or be carried on with undue obstinacy: since the concord that charity produces is a union of wills, not a union of opinions.1
Hence it appears that discord is sometimes the fault of one side only, when what one of the contending parties wants is good, and the other knowingly resists that good: sometimes it is the fault of both sides, when each refuses the good of the other, and each loves his own self-advantage.
§ 1. In itself, the will of one man is not the rule of the will of another: but inasmuch as the will of our neighbour keeps close to the will of God, it becomes consequently a rule laid down according to the proper rule: and disagreement with such a will is sinful, as meaning disagreement with the divine rule.
§ 2. As the will of a man keeping close to God is a right rule, from which it is sinful to disagree: so the will of a man running counter to God is a perverse rule, from which it is good to disagree. Therefore to raise a discord contrary to that good concord which is the work of charity, is a grievous sin: hence it is said, “Six things there are which the Lord hateth, and the seventh his soul detesteth;”1 and the seventh is set down, “him that soweth discord among brethren.”2 But to raise a discord to the destruction of evil concord, is praiseworthy; and this is how Paul raised a discord among those that were of one accord in evil, the Pharisees and Sadducees.3 So our Lord said of Himself: “I am not come to send peace, but the sword.”4
§ 3. The discord between Paul and Barnabas5 was incidental, not ordinary: for both intended good, but the one thought one thing good, the other another thing, which difference of view was a piece of human shortcoming: for such a controversy turned not on any points that are of necessity to salvation. And yet this very divergence was ordered of Divine Providence for the beneficial effect that ensued thereupon.
Article II.—Is discord the daughter of vainglory?
R. Discord means a jarring of wills, inasmuch as the will of one party is set on one thing, and the will of another on another. But the will fixing on its own comes of preferring one’s own interests and views to the interests and views of others; and when this is done inordinately, it is a piece of pride and vainglory. And therefore discord, whereby every one goes after his own and withdraws his shoulders from his neighbour’s good, is written down by Gregory the Great a daughter of vainglory.
[1 ]In St. Thomas, per se and per accidens, phrases which he constantly repeats, to the despair of his translator. There seems nothing for it but to take some English word and invest it with a technical meaning ad hoc. The word ordinary has been chosen, not in its sense of customary, but suggested by the canonists’ phrase of ordinary jurisdiction, i.e., jurisdiction which a man enjoys of his own right by virtue of the office which he holds. Cf. II-II. q. 67. art. 1. (Trl.)
[1 ]Above, II-II. q. 29. art. 3. § 2. (Trl.)
[1 ]Prov. vi. 16.
[2 ]Prov. vi. 19.
[3 ]Acts xxiii. 6.
[4 ]St. Matt. x. 34.
[5 ]Acts xv. 39.