University of Notre Dame
Jacques Maritain Center: Readings    

Elements of Moral Theology

John J. Elmendorf (1892)




Part I - Introduction

Chapter I

On Beatitude.

  1. What is man's ultimate end?
  2. What is beatitude?
  3. On the obtaining of this beatitude.

Chapter II

On Will.

  1. What constitutes the voluntary and the involuntary?
  2. On the circumstances of human acts.
  3. Acts elicited by the will. The end. What is willed in reference to the end.
  4. On motives.
  5. How is the will moved?
  6. On the choice of means for the end.
  7. On acts commanded by the will.

Chapter III

On Good and Evil in Human Acts.

  1. Whence are they derived?
  2. The good and evil of the inward acts of the will.
  3. On good and evil in outward human acts.
  4. What results from the moral character of human acts?

Chapter IV

On Good and Evil in the Passions of the Soul.

  1. On Love.
  2. Hate.
  3. Concupiscence.
  4. Pleasure.
  5. Pain and sorrow.
  6. Anger.

Chapter V

On Virtues.

  1. On habits.
  2. The essence and subject of virtue.
  3. Intellectual virtues.
  4. On moral virtues.
  5. On the theological virtues.
  6. How are virtues, acquired?
  7. On the connection of virtues.

Chapter VI

On Vices and Sins.

  1. The nature of vice and sin.
  2. Divisions.
  3. On the comparative guilt of sins.
  4. The subject of sin.
  5. The causes of sins.
  6. Relations of ignorance to sin.
  7. The moral relations of sense-appetite to sin.
  8. Sins of malice, i.e., of deliberate wickedness.
  9. External causes of sin.
  10. The effects of sin.
  11. Venial and mortal sins.

Chapter VII

On Law.

  1. What is law?
  2. Eternal law.
  3. The law of nature.
  4. Human law.
  5. Divine law.
  6. The Evangelical law.

Part II -- The Theological Virtues

Chapter I

Faith and its Opposite Vices

  1. Faith.
  2. The inward act of faith.
  3. The outward act of faith.
  4. The virtue of faith.
  5. Infidelity, heresy, apostasy, and blasphemy.

Chapter II

Hope and its Opposite Vices

  1. Hope.
  2. Vices opposed to hope: despair and presumption.

Chapter III


  1. Charity in general view. What is charity?
  2. Charity in subjective view.
  3. The object of charity.
  4. The order of charity.
  5. Love.
  6. Joy.
  7. Peace.
  8. Mercy and pity (misericordia).
  9. Beneficence.
  10. Alms-giving.
  11. Fraternal correction.
  12. The precepts of charity.

Chapter IV

Vices Opposed to Charity

  1. Hatred.
  2. Spiritual sloth ("acedia").
  3. Envy. What is envy?
  4. Discord and strife.
  5. Schism. Is schism a special sin?

Part III -- The Cardinal Virtues

Chapter I

Prudence and its Opposite Vices

  1. Prudence.
  2. Vices opposed to prudence.

Chapter II

Justice and Injustice

  1. Right.
  2. Justice.
  3. Injustice.
  4. Judgment.
  5. Commutative and distributive justice; restitution.

Chapter III

Vices Opposed to Justice

  1. Respect of persons.
  2. Homicide.
  3. Theft and robbery.
  4. Injustice in legal proceedings.
  5. Injurious words.
  6. Frauds in trade.
  7. Omission.

Chapter IV

Religion and Vices Opposed to It

  1. Introduction.
  2. Religion.
  3. Devotion and prayer.
  4. Outward acts of Divine worship: Adoration, sacrifices, and oblations.
  5. Vows.
  6. On oaths.
  7. Superstition.
  8. Irreligion; viz., Tempting God, perjury, sacrilege, and simony.

Chapter V

Duties Towards Others, Depending on Justice, and their Opposite Vices

  1. Piety, reverence, and honour.
  2. Obedience and disobedience.
  3. Gratitude, ingratitude, and vengeance.
  4. Veracity and vices opposed to it.
  5. Affability and liberality, with their opposite vices.
  6. Equity ("epicheia").
  7. The precepts of justice: the Ten Commandments.

Chapter VI

Courage and Fortitude: Their Allied Virtues, and their Opposite Vices

  1. Courage and fortitude (fortitudo).
  2. Cowardice and rashness.
  3. Magnanimity, and its opposite vices, presumption, ambition, vainglory, pusillanimity.
  4. Magnificence, and its opposing vices, meanness and wasteful extravagance.
  5. Patience and perseverance, with the opposing vices.

Chapter VII

Temperance: Its Allied Virtues and their Opposite Vices

  1. Temperance.
  2. The sense of shame (verecundia).
  3. Abstinence, fasting.
  4. Gluttony, sobriety, ebriety.
  5. Chastity, modesty, virginity.
  6. Lust (luxuria).
  7. Continence, incontinence.
  8. Meekness and clemency; anger; cruelty.
  9. Humility.
  10. Pride.
  11. Moderation ("modestia").
  12. Precepts of temperance

Part IV -- Supplement

Chapter I


Chapter II

Supplementary Notes on Law

  1. General principles.
  2. Human law.
  3. Ecclesiastical law.
  4. Civil law.

Chapter III

Supplementary Notes on the Ten Commandments

Chapter IV

Right and Justice

  1. Definitions and divisions.
  2. Dominion.
  3. How is dominion acquired?

Chapter V


  1. Definitions and divisions.
  2. Theft.
  3. Restitution.
  4. Damnificatio.
  5. The unjust accessory.
  6. What things are to be restored?

Chapter VI


  1. Definitions and divisions.
  2. Requisites for a valid contract.
  3. Defects in consent.
  4. Gratuitous contracts.
  5. Onerous contracts.

Chapter VII

The Law of Sacraments

  1. Sacraments in general.
  2. Holy Baptism.
  3. Confirmation.
  4. The Holy Eucharist.

Chapter VIII

Sacramental Penitence

  1. The virtue and the sacrament.
  2. Contrition.
  3. Confession.
  4. Absolution.
  5. Satisfaction.

Chapter IX

The Visitation of the Sick

Chapter X

Holy Orders

  1. Introductory.
  2. Holy Orders a sacrament.
  3. The law.

Chapter XI

Holy Matrimony

  1. The law of nature.
  2. The sacrament of Holy Matrimony.
  3. The contract.
  4. Impediments.
  5. Divorce.

Chapter XIII

Duties and Obligations of the State and of the Citizen