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Human Virtues

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Kristin Towle

on 13 December 2014

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Transcript of Human Virtues

The Virtuous Life
Human Virtues, Infused Virtues, Gifts
What does the virtuous life entail?
Human Virtues
Human virtues are firm attitudes, stable dispositions, habitual perfections of intellect and will that govern our actions, order our passions, and guide our conduct according to reason and faith. They make possible ease, self-mastery, and joy in leading a morally good life. The virtuous man is he who freely practices the good. (CCC 1804)
Intellectual and Moral Virtues
The intellectual virtues perfect the intellect. The moral virtues perfect the appetites, and the person as a whole.
Natural and Supernatural Happiness/Perfection
Behold servants of God who practiced virtue in a heroic degree or died a martyr for the faith.
Acquired Virtues and Infused Moral Virtues
Acquired virtues are attained through repetition of acts that have the appropriate intensity (they are not done half-heartedly).
Theological Virtues
God has given man supernatural tools/equipment in order to live in sanctifying grace and reach the end of heaven.
How the Virtues and Gifts Work Together
Gifts of the Holy Spirit
What happens if we stumble through mortal sin?
Intellectual Virtues
speculative intellect: wisdom, science, and understanding
practical intellect: art/techne, prudence
The intellectual virtues confer an aptness on the intellectual power to do the good, which is, to know the truth, or to make or do according to the truth. But the intellectual virtues do not necessarily make a person good (except prudence).
Moral Virtues
practical intellect: prudence*
intellectual appetite/will: justice
irascible appetite: fortitude
concupiscible appetite: temperance
The moral virtues confer an aptness on the appetites to do the good, which is to act according to
recta ratio
. The moral virtues perfect the human person: they make him good.
Human virtue is divided into intellectual and moral virtues.
Human virtue is a habit perfecting man in view of his doing good deeds. (ST I-II, q. 58, a. 3)
Virtues observe the mean.
The mean is conformity to
recta ratio.
"The right happy medium of true virtue is not only a mean between two contrary vices; it is also a summit." (G-L, 64)
Conversely, God produces infused moral virtues in each person at baptism and absolution. But these virtues are not immediately perfect. They must be cultivated.
when it is not right
where it is not right
for an undue end
Example: magnificence

Excess = Somebody gives millions of dollars at the wrong time or in the wrong place or for the wrong reason.
failing to act where one ought
failing to act when one ought
Example: magnificence
Scrooge before his conversion
in terms of circumstances/mode of action
in terms of circumstances/mode of action
excess in terms of excellence
could be excess in terms of quantity
when it is right
where it is right
for a due end
Example: magnificence: The magnificent person gives great sums of money to the right charity at the right time, in the right place, and for the right reasons.
circumstances/mode of action
Moral Virtues and the Emotions
Emotions are movements of the intellectual appetite and of the sense appetites. We give the more specific name "passion" to any movement of the sense appetites.

Emotions of the will pertain to spiritual goods/evils.
Emotions of the sense appetites pertain to sensible goods/evils.
(We can distinguish the emotions of joy and rational sorrow in the will from the emotions/passions of pleasure and sorrow in the concupiscible appetite.)
The moral virtues direct the emotions according to
recta ratio
The theological virtues are so called for three reasons:
God is their object (ST I-II, Q. 62, a. 1)
God is their origin/infuser (ST I-II, Q. 62, a. 1)
God is the revealer of them (ST I-II, Q. 62, a. 2)
Justice directs the emotions/movements of the will.
Fortitude directs the passions of the irascible appetite.
Temperance directs the passions of the concupiscible appetite.
The more perfect the virtue, the more it will be accompanied by passions, since what is in the higher faculties should overflow into the lower faculties.
Cardinal Virtues
Prudence is the charioteer of the moral virtues.
"Prudence is the virtue that disposes practical reason to discern our true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving it" (CCC1806).
Three steps to prudence:
1. counsel
2. judgment
3. execution
"I have laid up thy word in my heart, that I might not sin against thee" (Psalm 119:11).
"Justice consists in the firm and constant will to give God and neighbor their due" (CCC 1836).
"Justice is the virtue that enables us to live rightly with others" (Gray, Boys to Men, 37).
: virtue of giving God his due: worship of Creator and Redeemer (CCC2095-96)
first three commandments
: God commands man to work, to be a steward of the earth
fair wages, treating workers well, etc.
Family and Community
: in the family, giving others goods in terms of emotional, spiritual, intellectual, social needs
in the community: giving the governments their due, good business relations, etc.
: sincerity, candor, integrity
Justice and Mercy
: without mercy, justice can lose sight of what is proportionate, what is just; justice can become oppressive
"But God shows forth his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us" (Rom 5:8).
Fortitude is a mean between fear and daring (ST II-II, q. 123, a. 3).
Fortitude is the moral virtue that ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good. It strengthens the resolve to resist temptations and to overcome obstacles in the moral life.
"Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in the time of need" (Heb 4:16).
Fortitude: martyrdom (OT and NT and post NT) In fiction - King Aragorn
Courage is not machismo. We must rely on God.
Magnanimity: greatness of soul
Magnificence: generosity with resources
Patience: ability to bear affliction well
Temperance is chiefly concerned with those passions that tend towards sensible goods and with the sorrows that arise from the absence of pleasures. (ST II-II, q. 141, a. 4)
Temperance is mainly concerned with the highest pleasures--those of touch--food, drink, and sex.
The theological virtues are infused virtues which have for their object God Himself, our supernatural last end. (Garrigou-Lagrange, 52)
The Theological Virtues can come only from God, be known only through God’s revelation, and go only to God, necessary because the goal of man is completely beyond his natural principles of actions, his natural virtues. These are not intellectual virtues, nor are they moral virtues; their object is not the intellect of man, nor the appetite of man, but God. - (Farrell O.P. Chapter X, Q 59-62)
By order of generation, it is by faith that the intellect apprehends the object of hope and love. (I-II, 62, 4)
But in the order of perfection, charity precedes faith and hope: because both faith and hope are quickened by charity, and receive from charity their full complement as virtues. For thus charity is the mother and the root of all the virtues, inasmuch as it is the form of them all, as we shall state further on (II-II, 23, 8).
"Act of the intellect assenting to divine truth by command of the will moved by God through grace"
Faith is a virtue of the intellect.
Faith is an inverse of the normal process of reason where the intellect directs the intellectual appetite i.e. the will to an object. Instead in the process of faith, the intellectual appetite is move by God and the intellect submits to this movement. This movement is not contrary to reason or under its dominion but is always in accord with it.
Temperance is the moral virtue that moderates the attraction of pleasures and provides balance in the use of created goods. It ensures the will's mastery over instincts and keeps desires within the limits of what is honorable (CCC 1809)
Chastity: right use of body's passions, requires self-mastery and discipline
"Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship" (Romans 12:1b)
Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
" (Heb 11:1)
Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit. (CCC 1817)
Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God. (CCC 1822)
For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
"(Jer 29:11)
Charity animates and inspires all the virtues, and so is the mother of all virtues or the form of all the virtues, because without it the others cannot function in accordance with the will of God, who is love.
Charity is most perfectly revealed in Christ's self-gift on the cross, by which the truth about God and about love is communicated to us.
Charity is a virtue of the will because love is a mode of willing.
Hope is a bridge between faith and charity. By faith we believe in God, and through love we desire to be with God. Hope is the conviction that what we love through faith will be possessed.
Hope allows us to endure difficulties with joy.
Loss of Sanctifying grace
Loss of Charity
Loss of Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Loss of Infused moral virtues
Faith and Hope remain, but are unformed and dead
Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati
"Man of the Beatitudes"
Relate to the Will
Practical Intellect
Speculative Intellect
The virtuous life is a life of doing the good habitually, easily, with joy. The person becomes a perfect human being and becomes more and more united to God.
Virtue: a firm and stable disposition to do the good
(CCC 1804)

"Virtue is a good quality of the mind, by which we live righteously, of which no one can make bad use, which God works in us, without us." (Augustine, On Free Will, 2, 19)
Temperance Is About Pleasures of Touch
About Pleasures of Preservation of The Species:
- Food
- Drink
- Sex
It Keeps
Appetites in
Accord With
Recta Ratio
For the Purpose of Continuing Life (II-II, 141, 6)
Parts of Temperance

(II-II, 146-151)
Clemency & Meekness
(II-II, 155-168)
- Supernatural light to know what man cannot know by the finite power of natural light. (II-II, Q 8, A 1)
- In the state of faith we cannot understand direct object of faith perfectly, but we can understand the things of faith imperfectly (II-II, 8, 6).
Isaiah 11:2, "And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD."
Hence the knowledge of Divine things is called "wisdom (II-II, 9, 2)
Gift of knowledge is only about human or created things. (II-II, 9, 2)
- Not everyone who understands, has the gift of understanding, but only he that understands through a habit of grace. (II-II, 8, 5)
Prudence in itself
Prudence is the bridge between the moral and intellectual virtues. It is the application of right reasons to action.
Walter Farrell on Temperance
Prudence is the knowledge of what to seek and to avoid.
Prudence is in the intellect, but only in the practical intellect. It only has to do with the ordering of human acts.
Prudence is how men move from universals to singulars: in other words, how we get an is from an ought (Sorry, Hume).
Prudence is not concerned with the end of moral virtue, but only the means (so it will only tell you whether or not an action conforms to your understanding of right reason, not whether your understanding conforms to reality).
Three ways in which we can be prudent
False prudence: Good at something bad: i.e. good at crime
Prudence not for common end: i.e. being good at a trade
True Prudence: prudence directed towards common good of men.
First way found only in sinners, second in all men, third only in good men
Man has something to subdue — his lower nature; moreover he can subdue it - through the exercise of Temperance
Parts of Virtues in General
Temperance is not the enemy of sense pleasures in their human limitations; it is their enemy only in their bestial excesses. It is a virtue. That is, it is a good habit proclaiming present and past mastery of reason, protecting, as well as predicting, the humanity of future actions.
Between Extremes
It imposes the norm of reason on the mild or concupiscible appetite of man; it guarantees that the goal of man, the good of reason, will not suffer interference from sense appetite in its own search for sense good.
Virtues are composed of three parts:
Integral parts- What the virtue needs to operate (what needs to be present for the virtue to exist).
Subjective parts- Various species of the virtue (what the virtue operates in).
Potential parts- The sub-virtues that rely upon the cardinal/theological virtue to function.
"It is moderation, not destruction, of pleasure which is accomplished by temperance."
Integral parts of prudence: memory, reasoning, understanding, docility, shrewdness, foresight, circumspection, and caution
Integral parts of Prudence
A long list but need all of the parts for prudence to function.
Memory- Either we remember something or we do not. If we do, memory can either warn or encourage us to do acts. If we don't, serves as warning or motivation.
, many types (practical, from reading), informs a prudent person in his action.
Docility- Since we can't know everything have to prioritize (for example, don't need to know the mechanics of how my keyboard works, just that it does).
Shrewdness- A prudent person needs to be able to estimate quickly.
Reason- A prudent person needs to apply use of right reason to scenarios or actions
Foresight- A prudent person needs to able to see the consequences his decisions will have.
Circumspection- A prudent person needs to be able to judge circumstances surrounding his actions
Caution- The prudent person needs to be aware of and guard against evil.

- Corresponds to Justice (II-II,121, 2)
It belongs properly to piety to pay duty and worship to God the Father
Corresponds to Prudence (II-II, 52, 1)
Corresponds to the virtue of Charity
Corresponds to virtue of Faith (II-II, 9)
Corresponds to virtue of Faith (II-II, 8)
Fortitude denotes a certain firmness of mind, as stated above (123, 2; I-II, 61, 3)
Corresponds with Virtue of Fortitude
Subjective Parts of Prudence
In addition to prudence related to governing yourself there is:
Ruling Prudence: There is a type of prudence that specifically to ruling over a state.
Political Prudence: Type of prudence involved in political relationships: between the governed and those governing.
Domestic Prudence: Type of prudence involved in domestic affairs.
Military Prudence: Type of prudence governing military action.
Potential Parts of Prudence
-deliberating well. Allows the prudent man to take counsel and evaluate its worth for a given situation.
- judging well according to common law; using common sense
- judging well according to general law;
allows the prudent person to make decisions where
doesn't work. For example: when dealing with a hierarchy of laws or competing goods.
Virtues are composed of three parts:

Integral parts
- What the virtue needs to operate
(need to be present for the virtue to exist)

Subjective parts
- Various species of the virtue
(what the virtue operates)

Potential parts
- The sub-virtues that rely upon the cardinal/theological virtue to function
Wisdom is the gift by which the Holy Spirit leads us to judge and set in order all things according to the highest cause: our Divine Friend.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Understanding is the gift by which the Holy Spirit leads us to penetrate more deeply into the realities that we believe.
Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.
Knowledge is the gift by which the Holy Spirit makes us judge created things according to the faith. Knowledge judges from the effects all the way up to the Cause.
Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Counsel is the gift by which the Holy Spirit counsels us to use the proper means that attain the end.
Blessed are those that are merciful, for they shall be shown mercy.
Fortitude is the gift by which the Holy Spirit strengthens us to act well in the face of dangers and evils.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the Meek
Fear of the Lord
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