Front Page Titles (by Subject) QUESTION CXVII.: OF LIBERALITY. - Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 2 (Summa Theologica - Secunda Secundae Pt.2)
Return to Title Page for Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 2 (Summa Theologica - Secunda Secundae Pt.2)
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
QUESTION CXVII.: OF LIBERALITY. - St. Thomas Aquinas, Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 2 (Summa Theologica - Secunda Secundae Pt.2) 
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.
§ 3. It belongs to liberality particularly, not to be held back by any inordinate affection for money from any right use of the same. Now there is a twofold use of money: one upon oneself—a matter of personal expenses; another upon others—a matter of gifts. It belongs therefore to liberality, not to be held back by immoderate love of money either from suitable expenses or from suitable gifts. Hence liberality is conversant with gifts and expenses.
§ 2. It belongs to liberality to use money seasonably, and therefore seasonably to give it away, which is one use of money. Now every virtue is distressed at what is contrary to its act, and avoids hinderances thereto. But to seasonable giving two things are opposed: not giving where there is occasion for a seasonable gift, and giving unseasonably. Hence liberality is distressed at both the one proceeding and the other, but more at the former, because it is more opposed to its own proper act. And therefore also it does not give to all: for its own proper act would be injured if it gave to every one, for it would not have the means of giving to others to whom a gift would really be seasonable.
Article V.—Is liberality a part of justice?
R. Liberality is not a species of justice: because justice renders to another what is his, but liberality gives him what is the giver’s own. Still it has a certain agreement with justice on two points: first, that it is to another, as justice also is; secondly, that it is about exterior things, like justice, though in another way. And therefore liberality is laid down by some to be a part of justice, as a virtue annexed to justice as its primary.
§ 1. Though liberality supposes not any legal debt, as justice does, still it supposes a certain moral debt, considering what is becoming in the person himself who practises the virtue, not as though he had any obligation to the other party; and therefore there is about it very little of the character of a debt.