Jacques Maritain Center : Elements of Moral Theology


§ 1. Charity in general view. What is charity?

The Lord said (S. John xv. 15), "No longer do I call you servants, but I have called you friends." This friendship is charity. Note the distinction between love of friendship, which is love of benevolence, when we so love any one that we wish for his good, and love of concupiscence, when we do not seek the good of the things loved, but seek their good for ourselves. Thus one may love wine, or a horse. For it is absurd to say that one has friendship for wine or for his horse (except by a sentimental personification).

But benevolence alone is not sufficient for friendship; a certain mutual affection is requisite also; each loves the other (S. John xiv. 21 "He that loveth Me, shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him"). But such mutual benevolence is founded on some fellowship. And such communion there is between man and God, according as He communicates His blessedness to us (1 Cor. i. 9). Love founded on this communion is charity, a certain friendship between man and God.

(1) Charity is now imperfect, because although our spiritual "conversation is in heaven," yet it is very imperfect.

(2) If this definition is correct, how, then, can one have charity for his enemies? I answer that friendship may extend to any one on his own account, in which way it can reach only our friends. But friendship may also extend itself to another in respect of some other person. If one loves another man, on account of that love he loves what pertains to him, as his children or servants. And the love of a friend can be so great, that for the sake of that friend those who pertain to him are loved even though they offend us or hate us. And after this manner the love of charity may extend even to enemies, whom out of charity we love in their relations to God, to whom is chiefly directed this love of charity. In this way it is possible that sinners be loved.

Is charity an infused habit in the soul (or is it simply the operation of the Holy Ghost in and through the soul)?

The motion of charity does not so proceed from the Holy Ghost moving the human soul that it is only moved and is in no way the principle of that motion, like an inanimate body propelled by external force. For that is contrary to the idea of the voluntary which has its principle in itself. For it would follow that loving is not voluntary, which implies contradiction, since love is essentially the act of the will.

In like manner, also, it cannot be said that the Holy Spirit moves the will to love, as an instrument is moved, in which, although it is the principle of action, is not found the power to act and not to act. For so also would be taken away the idea of the voluntary, and the notion of merit would be excluded, which has its ground in charity.

But if the will is moved to love by the Holy Ghost, still it is necessary that that will produce the act of love. But no act is perfectly produced by any active power unless it proceed also from some "connatural" habit which is the principle of that action. Hence God, who moves all things to their due ends, has given individual things their special nature (forma), by which they are inclined to the ends pre-appointed by Him. But it is manifest that the act of charity exceeds the natural power of the will. Unless, therefore, some thing (forma) be superadded to the natural power, through which it may be inclined to the act of love, that act would be more imperfect than natural acts and the acts of the other virtues, nor would it be easy and pleasurable. But this is manifestly not the case; for there is no other virtue which has such an inclination to its act as charity has, and none which acts so pleasurably. Hence it is most necessary for the act of charity that there be in us some habit superadded to the natural power, inclining it to the act of charity and making it to operate promptly and pleasurably.

Charity is a special virtue, one virtue in all cases.

Let us turn back. Human acts, as we have seen, are good according as they are regulated by due rule and measure. Therefore human virtue, which is the principle of all good acts, consists in attaining to that rule and measure, which, in the case of the moral virtues, is human reason, and, in every virtue, is God Himself. Hence, since charity attains to God because it unites us with God, it follows that it is a virtue. It is a special virtue, because, while the primal object of all love is the good, Divine good in itself, the object of beatitude is a special good and the love of this, which is charity, is a special love. And it is one in all cases, because the end, the Divine goodness, is one. Love of the brethren is a special application of this one charity, because they are loved on account of God, who is the principal object of the love of charity.

Why does S. Paul say (1 Cor. xiii. 13), " The greatest of these is charity"?

The theological virtues which consist in attaining the highest rule of action, which is God, because their object is God, are more excellent than the moral or intellectual virtues which consist in attaining to the rule of human reason. And among those theological virtues, that is chief which most attains to God. But faith and hope attain to God as from Him comes to us the knowledge of the true, or the acquiring of the good. But charity attains to God as He is in Himself, not as something comes to us from Him. Therefore it is more excellent than faith and hope, and consequently than any other virtue.

(1) But is not intellect higher than will which it directs? And, if so, is not faith, the virtue of intelligence, more excellent than charity, the virtue of the will? But I answer that the intellectual operation finds its completion as the thought is in the thinker. And the nobility of intellectual action is measured by the degree of understanding. But the operation of will is perfected in the inclination of the soul to something as its terminus. Therefore the dignity of that inward action depends on the thing which is its object. But those things which are inferior to the human soul are in it in a nobler manner than they exist in themselves (a noteworthy proposition). But the things which are above the soul exist in a nobler way in themselves than they are in the soul. Therefore the knowledge of things below us is nobler than the love of them (Nic. Eth., vi. 7 and 12). But the love of things above us, and especially of God, is better than intellectual knowledge of them. Therefore charity is more excellent than faith.

(2) The object of hope and of charity is, indeed, the same. But charity implies union with that good, while hope implies some distance from it. Charity does not regard that good as difficult, as hope does. Where union is already accomplished, the idea of difficulty is vanished. Therefore charity is more perfect than hope.

Can any true virtue exist without charity?

Virtue is directed to the good. But the good is principally the end, for the means are called good only with reference to the end. But there is an ultimate end and a proximate end; the one universal, the other particular. The ultimate and principal good of man is the fruition of God (Ps. lxxiii. 28) -- "it is good for me to draw near unto God;" and man is directed to this by charity. But the secondary and particular good of man can be two-fold; one which is truly good, as ordainable for the chief good which is the ultimate end; but another is apparent, not true good, which draws one off from the final good. Speaking simply, then, true virtue is that which is ordained for the principal good of man; and so no true virtue can exist without charity.

But if virtue be considered as directed to some particular end, some such virtue, ordained for some particular good, can exist without charity. But if that special good is not true, but only apparent, the virtue directed to that will not be true virtue at all, but only a false similitude of virtue. Thus the prudence of avaricious traders, devising various "speculations," is not true prudence; their justice, treating others fairly through fear of grave losses by unfair dealing, is not true justice; and their temperance, avoiding extravagant expense, is not true temperance, etc.

But if the special good be truly good -- say, the preservation of the republic or anything of that kind -- there will be true virtue indeed, but imperfect if it is not referred to the final and perfect good.

(1) But it is the property of virtue to produce a good act; and yet one who has not charity may found a hospital or an orphan asylum. I answer that the act of a man who has not this supernatural charity may belong to either one of two kinds. His act may be connected with his want of charity. Even if he found an orphan asylum, he may ordain it to the end of his infidelity (Girard Orphan Asylum, Philadelphia). Such act is always evil; the act of the unbeliever as such is always sin (S. Aug., Contra Julianum, iv. 3).

But there can be an act of one who lacks charity, which does not spring from this want but from some other gift of God, as faith, or hope, or some natural good which is not totally taken away by sin. In this way some act can be morally good in its kind without charity, which is not perfectly good, because it lacks due relation to the ultimate end.

(2) It is objected again, that charity cannot exist without faith; but infidels may be faithful husbands, honest merchants, and so on. But I reply that in such case is not found simply perfect virtue in its kind, because the action is not ordained for its due end. (The man has a natural gift of chastity or justice, but he does not live as a child of God.) Charity ordains the acts of all the other virtues to their ultimate end. It gives their proper form to those acts.

§ 2. Charity in subjective view.

Charity is not an emotion of the sensitive soul, but is a virtue of the will.

The object of both is the good, but in different manner. For the object of sense-desire is the good apprehended by sense, but the object of spiritual desire is the good apprehended by the reason. Now the object of charity is Divine good, which is apprehended by reason only. Therefore the subject of charity is the human will. (Emotional love is not, as such, the love of charity.)

The will is rational, indeed, but reason is not the rule of charity; it exceeds the rule of human reason.

Charity is an infused virtue.

Charity is a certain friendship between man and God, founded on the communication of eternal beatitude. But this communication is not due to natural gifts, but is a gift of grace. "The free gift of God is eternal life" (Rom. vi. 23). Hence, charity itself exceeds our natural powers, and can neither be in us by nature nor acquired by natural powers, because natural effects do not transcend their cause. Charity is in us, then, through an infusion from the Holy Ghost, who is the mutual love of the Father and the Son. "The love of Christ hath been shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Ghost which was given unto us" (Rom. v. 5).

(1) Divine good is naturally loved by all; but this love is founded on the communication of natural goods, while charity springs from a supernatural communication.

(2) God is in Himself lovely in the highest degree, inasmuch as He is the object of beatitude. But it does not follow that He is so loved by us, because our affections are drawn to visible goods.

(3) The preparation for charity on man's part is indicated by the apostle (1 Tim. i. 5), "Love out of a pure heart, and a good conscience, and faith unfeigned."

Charity is not given according to each one's natural condition, or natural capacity,

but according to the good pleasure of the Holy Ghost distributing His gifts (1 Cor. xii. 4), for it exceeds human nature's proportions.

Charity in this life, "charitas viae," can be increased.

As we advance in the Christian life, we draw nearer to God through the affections of the soul. But charity, in uniting the soul to God, produces this nearness. If it could not be increased the progress of the Christian life would be stopped. Not that more things are loved, but in the intensity of its act God can be loved more. Thus it has greater efficacy. The subject of charity participates more in it.

The act of charity may be a preparation for increase of charity, inasmuch as from one such act man is rendered more prompt to act again in the same way, and, ability increasing, he is more fervent in love, by which he seeks advancement in this supernatural gift.

Has "charity of the way" any assignable limit?

Limit may be found in the nature of the quality limited, or in the power of the agent which can produce no more, or in the capacity of the subject which is capable of no further perfection. But there is no limit to the increase of "charity of the way" in any such mode. For (1) it has no natural terminus, since it is a participation of infinite Love, which is the Holy Ghost; (2) the cause is of infinite influence, since it is God; and (3) on the part of the subject there is no limit, since the more charity increases, the ability for greater increase grows more and more.

Can there be perfect charity in this life?

Certainly God cannot be loved as much as He ought to be loved; for the measure of that is His goodness, which is infinite, and He therefore is infinitely lovely. But no creature can love Him infinitely, because created virtue is finite. In this way, no charity except God's can be perfect. But on the part of the one who loves, his charity is perfect when he loves to the uttermost of his power, and this may be true in either of three ways:

(1) The whole heart of man maybe actually and continually directed to God. This is the perfect charity of the blessed saints, "charitas patriae," which is not possible in this life. For here it is impossible, on account of the infirmity of human life, that we should be always thinking of God and be moved with love towards Him:

(2) Man may direct all his desire and purpose to have leisure for God and heavenly things, setting aside all other pursuits except so far as present necessity requires, and that perfection of charity is possible in this life, although it is not found wherever charity exists:

(3) One may habitually fix all his heart on God, so that he neither thinks nor wills anything which he knows to be contrary to the love of God; and this perfection is common in all who have charity.

When the apostle said that he was not "already perfect" (Phil. iii. 12), he was speaking of the "charitas patriae," but in the fifteenth verse of the same chapter he speaks of the perfect "charitas viae."

S. John says, that "if we say that we have no sin, we deceive, ourselves" (1 Ep. i. 8), but venial sins are not contrary to the habit of charity, though they are so to its act. They are therefore repugnant to the "charitas patriae," not to the "charitas viae."

Can charity be directly diminished?

In speaking of increase or diminution of charity, we must look, not at the object proper, but at the subject. Can it be diminished on this side? That must be either through some act or through mere cessation from action. In the latter way virtues which are acquired by acts are diminished or even sometimes destroyed. (See page 59.) For the preservation of each thing depends on its cause. But the cause of acquired virtue is human acts. Those acts ceasing, the acquired virtue is diminished, and at length totally corrupted. But this has no place in charity. And the act ceasing, it is not on that account diminished or destroyed, unless there be sin in that very cessation of action.

Diminution of charity, then, can be caused only by God, or by some sin. But God causes no defect in us except by way of penalty, in withdrawing His grace as the penalty for sin. Hence He does not diminish charity unless it be as a penalty which is due to sin. The sole cause of diminution, therefore, is sin, either effectively or by way of desert. But in neither way does mortal sin diminish charity; it totally destroys the love of God, both effectively, because every mortal sin is contrary to charity, and also by way of desert, since he who by mortal sin acts against charity deserves that God withdraw charity from his soul.

Similarly, also, charity cannot be diminished by venial sin, either effectively or meritoriously. Not effectively, because that venial sin does not reach to charity which concerns the ultimate end, while venial sin is inordination respecting the means to that end. But love of the end is not diminished because one commits some inordination respecting the means, as it may happen that some infirm people much loving health may he guilty of some inordination respecting the rules of diet. Likewise, also, venial sin does not merit diminution of charity, for when one fails in the less, he does not deserve to suffer loss in the more important. For God does not more turn Himself from man, than man turns himself from Him. (Note that.)

He, then, who is inordinately related towards the means to the end, does not merit to suffer loss in charity by which he is ordained for the ultimate end.

Our conclusion is that charity can in no way be directly diminished. But, indirectly, a disposition for the loss of it may be called its diminution, and this preparation for its loss comes from venial sins, or even through ceasing from the exercise of works of charity.

Can charity, once had, be lost again?

By charity the Holy Ghost dwells in us. So we may consider it in three lights (1) On the side of the Holy Spirit moving the soul to the love of God. And from this point of view "charity never faileth," by virtue of the Holy Ghost, who infallibly works whatever He wills. And it is impossible that at once the Holy Ghost should will to move any one to the act of charity, and that he should lose charity by sinning.

(2) But in another way charity may be considered as it is in itself, and so it can produce nothing which does not pertain to it. Hence charity cannot sin, any more than fire can generate cold.

(3) It may be considered with reference to its subject, who is changeable according to the liberty of his choice. "Charitas patriae," which fills up the whole capacity of the rational soul, cannot be lost. (Such a change of being in such a being is inconceivable.) But charity in this life, "charitas viae," does not so fill up the measure of the rational soul that every actual motion of it is directly referred to God; and such charity can be lost indirectly, through something else occurring. The property of habit is that it inclines a power to its proper act, making that seem good which harmonizes with the habit, and that seem evil which is repugnant to it. For as the sense of taste judges of savours according to its condition, so the mind of man judges about the doing of anything according to its habitual disposition. In heaven, where God is seen as He is, charity cannot fail, because that which agrees with charity can never appear to be anything but good. But in this life it is not so.

(1) "Whosoever is begotten of God cannot sin" (1 Ep. S. John iii. 9), so far as the power of the Holy Ghost who dwells in him is concerned.

(2) The charity which can cease to love what once it l4ved is not true charity at all; but the mutability of the subject of charity is another matter.

(3) It is true that charity excludes all motives for sin, as self-love, or cupidity, or any such thing. But sometimes it happens that "charitas viae" is not in actual operation given to it, charity is (though habitually present), and then may intervene some motive for sinning, and if consent is given to it, charity is lost.

Charity is lost by any one act of mortal sin.

One of two contraries vanishes if the other supervene. Now any act whatsoever of mortal sin is in its proper nature contrary to charity, which consists in loving God above all things, and in man's being totally subject to Him, referring all things to Him. It is of the essence of charity that we so love God that we will in all things to be subject to Him, and in all things to follow the rule of His commandments. For whatever is contrary to them is manifestly contrary to charity, and of itself can exclude charity.

If, indeed, charity were an acquired habit depending on the virtue of the subject of it, it would not follow that by one contrary act it should be destroyed. For act is directly contrary to act, not to habit. Continuance of the habit does not require continuance of the act. Hence, from a supervening contrary act an acquired habit is not immediately excluded. But charity, since it is an infused habit, depends on the action of God who infuses it. He is like the sun illuminating the world. And as the light would immediately cease to pass through air if some obstacle should intervene and shut off the sun, so also charity immediately ceases to be in the soul if any obstacle is put in the way of God's infusing it. But it is manifest that any mortal sin, being contrary to the Divine commandments, is such an obstacle, because man chooses to prefer his sin to the Divine friendship, which requires that we follow God's will and, consequently, by one act of mortal sin the habit of charity is lost.

With this agrees the Word of God, for it says that by mortal sin man merits eternal death -- "The wages of sin is death" (Rom. vi. 23). But whosoever has charity merits eternal life. "He that loveth Me, shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself unto him" (S. John xiv. 21). In this manifestation is eternal life. "This is life eternal, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Him whom Thou didst send" (S. John xvii. 3). But no one can at once be worthy of eternal life and of eternal death. Therefore it is impossible that any one have charity with mortal sin.

(1) It may be said that S. Peter in denying Christ sinned mortally, and yet charity was not extinct in him, but only asleep. But I reply that charity is lost either directly through actual contempt, and in this way he did not lose it, or indirectly, when something contrary to charity is committed on account of some passion of concupiscence or fear; and, in this way, Peter, acting against charity, lost it, but quickly recovered it.

(2) Inordinate affection for created good sometimes constitutes mortal sin -- sc., when it is such as directly opposes the Divine will -- and this inordination is directly contrary to charity.

§ 3. The object of charity.

Charity extends itself to love of our neighbour.

"This commandment have we from God, that he who loves God, love his neighbour also" (1 Ep. S. John iv. 21). It is the same specific act by which God is loved and that by which our neighbotir is loved. For the reason of loving our neighbour is God, since what we ought to love in our neighbour is that he is in God.{1}

(1) There is a fear of man on account of what is his -- say, his cruelty; and there is another fear of man on account of what is of God in him -- say, his Divine office; and such fear of man, like the corresponding love, is not separable from the fear and love of God.

(2) A different honour, indeed, is due to God from that which is due to our neighbour. But all love of charity is referred to the one common good; whereas we give diverse honours to different individuals according to their separate and diverse virtues.

(3) Hope precedes charity, and yet hope directed to man is blamed if that man is regarded as the author of our salvation, but not if he is viewed as the minister of God in such relations. We cannot love the brutes with the love of charity, because there can be no proper union of life with them, much less the communion of eternal beatitude.

But still they can be loved out of charity, as good things which we wish others to have; sc., that they may be preserved for the honour of God, and the utility of men.

Ought man to love himself out of charity?

Of course we cannot properly speak of friendship with one's self, but the unity of self is the type of union with another; the love of self is the pattern and root of love of another. For we have friendship for others when they are a sort of second self. But we can speak of charity according to its proper idea, as principally the friendship of man with God, and, consequent on that, with what belongs to God. Among which things is also the man who has charity. And so among the things which he loves out of charity as pertaining to God, he may love himself with the love of charity.

Evil men in the last days will be "lovers of themselves" (2 Tim. iii. 1), but this self-love is according to our sensuous nature, which is not truly loving self according to our rational nature and wishing for self those good things which pertain to the perfection of reason, which love in the highest degree pertains to charity.

Our bodily nature is from God, and shares in those works by which we may arrive at the perfect fruition of God.

Some beatitude reaches to the body; sc., vigour of health and incorruption. Therefore, because the body is to be a participator in beatitude, it can be loved with the love of charity.

When the apostle desired to be freed from "the body of this death" (Rom. vii. 24), and "to depart and he with Christ" (Phil. i. 23), he did not shrink from communion with his body as respects the bodily nature. He wished to be free from the infection of concupiscence, which remains in the body, and from its corruption, which loads down the soul from seeing God; and so he expressly called it "the body of this death."

Are sinners to be loved out of charity?

We may consider either their nature or their sin. According to the nature which they have from God they are capable of beatitude, on the communion in which charity is founded; and, therefore, according to their nature they are to be loved out of charity. But their fault is opposed to God, and is an impediment of beatitude. Hence, according to their sin, by which they are adversaries of God, all sinners, even father and mother and nearest relatives, are to be hated (S. Luke xiv. 26). For sinners we ought to hate because they are sinners, and to love because they are men, capable of beatitude; and this is the true love of charity, for God's sake.

(1) David said, out of charity, "I hate them that imagine evil things" (Ps. cxix. 113). But hating the evil of any one is all one with loving his good.

(2) But sometimes just men do not exhibit to sinners the works of love; on the contrary, they seem to act out of hatred; as the Psalmist said (Ps. ci. 11), "I shall soon destroy all the ungodly that are in the land." But the kind deeds of friendship are not to be withheld from sinful neighbours as long as there is hope of their amendment, but aid for their recovery is to be afforded much more than for loss of money, since virtue has more to do with friendship than money has. But when they fall into the greatest malice, and become hopeless in their sin, then the familiarity of friendship is not to be exhibited to them. And so sinners of this kind, from whom injury to others is to be expected instead of their own amendment, are sometimes cut off by human and by Divine law. And yet this is done, not out of hatred for them (as human beings), but out of charity, because the public good is preferred to the life of an individual. And even death inflicted by just sentence may benefit the sinner, if he penitently expiate his fault; or, if he be not converted, at least his power of sinning further (in that way) is taken away.

(3) What, then, shall we say of the imprecatory Psalms? (a) They are prophetic denunciations. (b) The desire of the speaker is not referred to the punishment of men as punishment, but to the justice of the One who inflicts the penalty. "The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance;" he shall say, "Doubtless there is a God that judgeth the earth" (Ps. lviii. 9). For even God Himself delights not in the destruction of the wicked, but in His justice. (c) The desire is referred to the removal of the sin, not to the penalty of it in itself.

(4) Charity will not make us will what sinners will, or rejoice in what they rejoice in; but its aim will be that they may will what better men will, and rejoice with them.

(5) As respects association with sinners out of charity, the weak will avoid it out of fear of the danger of perversion; but where there is no such occasion for fear, it is laudable to associate with sinners for the sake of their conversion, as the Lord did. Association in the sin is another matter.

Is it essential to charity that enemies be loved?

The Lord commanded, "Love your enemies" (S. Matt. v. 44). Now, love of enemies may be considered in three ways (1) That they be loved as enemies; and this is perverted affection and repugnant to charity, because it is loving the evil which is in another. (2) Love of enemies may be referred to their nature, in a general way, and so it is an essential part of charity; sc., that one who loves God and his neighbour may not exclude his enemies from that all-embracing love. (3) Love of enemies may be considered in its special application to particular enemies; sc., that one be moved by a special impulse of love for his individual enemy. And that is not absolutely essential to charity, since it would be practically impossible that there should he a special impulse of love towards every individual man, woman, and child. And yet, as a preparation of the soul, this is essential to charity, namely, that we be prepared to love our individual enemy, if need should arise. But that, apart from need, man should actually fulfil this and love his individual enemy for God's sake, pertains to the perfection of charity. For since out of charity our neighbour is loved for God's sake, the more we love God, the more we show love to our neighbour, no enmity impeding us from love; just as, if one should love any man, he would love his children, even though they were personal enemies.

Charity, indeed, does not destroy nature, and each thing naturally hates what is contrary to itself, as contrary to it. But enemies as such are contrary to us, and this we ought to hate in them; it ought to displease us that they are enemies. But they are not opposed to us as men and capable of beatitude. In this regard we ought to love them.

Is it necessary to salvation that one show signs and effects of love towards his enemy?

The Lord said (S. Luke vi. 27), "Do good to them that hate you," which precept pertains to the perfection of charity ("Be ye therefore perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect"). But that which pertains to the perfection of charity is not a necessary part of it. Note, then, that the effects and signs of charity proceed from inward love and are proportioned to it. Inward love of our enemy in a general way is an absolutely necessary part of charity, but in special application, only according to the preparation of the soul; I mean, as above, that we must he ready to love our individual enemy as need may occur. The same thing is to be said of showing outwardly the effects and signs of love. There are certain signs or kind deeds of love which are exhibited to every neighbour, as when one prays for all the faithful, or for all the people, or when one bestows some benefit on the whole community. Such benefits or signs of love must be exhibited to enemies. This is an obligation of charity. For if they were not so exhibited, there would be a revengeful spirit (mortal sin, and against charity). But there are certain benefits or signs of love which one gives to special friends. It is not essential to salvation that such be offered to enemies, except that we must be ready to do so in case of need. "If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink" (Rom. xii. 20). But that, apart from necessity, one exhibit benefits of this kind to his enemies, pertains to the perfection of charity by which one not only avoids being "overcome of evil," which is necessary, but also aims to overcome evil with good," which belongs to perfection. He not only avoids being drawn into hatred on account of the injury done to him, but also through benefits he aims to draw his enemy into loving him.

§ 4. The order of charity.

Charity tends towards God as the source of beatitude, and, therefore, there is an order in charity depending on the relation of other things to the first principle of this love, which is God.

Is God to be loved more than our neighbour?

(Note that this love is esteem, not necessarily intensity of love.) Every friendship chiefly regards that in which is chiefly found the good in whose communication the friendship is grounded. But the friendship of charity is grounded on the communication of beatitude which essentially is in God, from Him derived to all who are capable of it. God, therefore, is to be loved in the first place, as the cause of beatitude; but our neighbour, as participating along with us in that beatitude so derived. And the Lord said (S. Luke xiv. 26), "If any man come to Me, and hate not his father and mother -- he cannot be My disciple." Neighbours, then, are to be hated if they lead away from God -- i.e., God out of charity is to be loved more than they.

(1) But S. John says (1 Ep. iv. 20), "He that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?" Sight is the cause of love as a medium of acquiring it. Not that anything is lovely because it is visible, but because through vision we are led to love. Not that that which is more visible is to be more loved, but it is the first to meet our love. So argues the apostle. For our neighbour is the first object which meets our love, and if any one love not him, it may be argued that he does not love God, not because his neighbour is more worthy of love, but because he is its first object.

(2) Likeness is cause of love, and there is greater similitude between man and man than between man and God. But the latter is prior, and the cause of the former. Participating from God in that which our neighbour also has from Him, we are made like our neighbour. This, therefore, is an argument for loving God the most.

(3) But is not God loved in our neighbour? Yes; but our neighbour has not that goodness which is the ground of love essentially, but only by participation. (Inferior goodness is the reason for inferior love.)

Should man out of charity love God more than he loves himself?

We can receive two goods from God -- the good of nature, and the good of grace. On the communication of the first is founded natural love, by which not only man in his sound, natural condition loves God above all things, but so does also every creature after its manner, tending to the common good of the whole, rather than to its own individual good.

Much more is this true in the love of charity, which is founded on the communication of the gifts of grace. Therefore, man ought to love God, who is the common good of all, above himself, because beatitude is in God, as in the common fount, for all who can participate in it.

(1) It may be asserted that anything is loved as being one's own good, and therefore self, which is the cause of the loving, is more loved. And it is true that the part loves the good of the whole, according as that good is convenient for itself; but yet it does not refer that good of the whole to itself (selfishly), but it refers itself to the good of the whole.

(2) Again, it may be said that in loving the fruition of God one loves himself, since this is the highest good which one can wish for himself. But love of desire is not love of friendship, and towards God the latter is greater than the former, because greater is the good which He is, than the good in which we can participate through eternal joys.

Should man out of charity love himself more than he loves his neighbour?

The Lord said (S. Matt. xxii. 39), "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." Love of self, then, is the exemplar, the pattern, of love for our neighbour. But the pattern is more than that which is patterned after it. Therefore, man should love himself more than he loves his neighbour. Man is said to love himself, because his spiritual nature is the object of his love (see page 48). And after this manner man ought to love himself the most after God. Consider the very idea of this love. God is loved as the source of good on which is founded the love of charity. But man loves himself out of charity, as he is a participator of that good, but his neighbour is loved as an associate in that good. Bat such association is the reason of love according to a certain union in relation to God. But unity is more powerful than union, and that man himself participates in Divine good is a more potent reason for loving than that another is associated with him in that participation. And a further proof that man ought to love himself more than his neighhour is that man ought not to incur any sin (even the slightest venial sin) which is a hindrance to the participation of beatitude, in order to deliver his neighbour (or any number of neighbours) from sin.

(1) A man ought to bear corporeal losses for his neighbour, but in this very thing he spiritually loves himself more, because this pertains to the perfection of virtue, which is a spiritual good.

(2) Why, then, is it said that "Charity seeketh not her own"? (1 Cor. xiii. 5). Because, I answer, she seeks the common good, preferring that to her own proper good.

Ought man to love his neighbour more than his own body?

That is to be more loved out of charity which has more fully the idea of a "lovable object." But association in beatitude, which is the reason for loving our neighbour, is a greater reason for loving than such share of beatitude as indirectly belongs to the body, which is the reason for extending the love of charity to our own body. Therefore, the salvation of our neighbour's soul is more to be loved than our own body.

(1) Our body, indeed, is nearer to our soul than our neighbour is; but as regards the participation of beatitude, his soul is nearer ours than our own body is.

(2) But, it is said, each one exposes that which he loves less, for that which he loves more, and every man is not bound to expose his own body for the safety of his neighbour, for this belongs to the perfect in charity, as the Lord said (S. John xv. 13) "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." But I answer that every one has the care of his own body, and every one has not the care of his neighbour's salvation, except in case of necessity. Therefore, it is not essential to charity that one offer his body for the salvation of his neigh hour except where he is bound to provide for it. That he should freely offer himself pertains to the perfection of charity. (Every one is bound by charity to succour his neighbour in extreme spiritual necessity, even with certain peril of death, if there be hope of benefit thereby.)

It is plain from this that those who have the cure of souls are bound to run any risk of pestilence, etc., for the grave spiritual necessity of those under their charge. But where there is no official duty, charity may gain for one a double reward.

Are all neighbours to be loved equally?

Some have said that all are to be equally loved inwardly out of charity according to the affection of the heart, but not as regards outward effects of it; that greater benefits are due to those who are nearer. But this is a mistake. For the inclination, whether of nature or of grace, is proportioned to the things which are to be done through it. We must have intenser affection of charity to those whom we ought to benefit the more. According to the affection of the soul one neighbour is to be loved more than another. And the reason is that since there are two principles of love -- viz., God, and the one who loves -- love necessarily varies according to the propinquity of the one who is loved to one or other of these two principles.

Again, the degree of love is to be measured by the gravity of sins against love. But he sins more grievously who acts against the love of some neighbours than he who offends against others. And the Old Law says (Lev. xx. 9), "He that curseth father or mother shall be put to death." This is not commanded against all who curse others. Therefore we ought to love some neighbours more than others.

(1) In one way all are to be loved equally, viz., that we desire eternal beatitude for all; but equal intensity of love is not due to all alike. Inequality in beneficence, also, must be observed, because we cannot do good to all. But good-will such inequality has no place. We can wish in equal beatitude for all, though not with equal intensity of Love.

(2) Some also are nearer to God through greater goodness, and such are to be more loved for that reason.

Ought we to love our relatives more than better men?

S. Paul seems to say so, when he says (1 Tim. v. 8), "If any provideth not for his own, and specially his own household, he hath denied the faith and is worse than an infidel." Love, like every activity, takes its specific character from its object, but its intensity from the one who loves. But the object of the love of charity is God; the one who loves is man. Therefore the specific diversity of love of charity which distinguishes it from natural emotion depends on the loving our neighbors in relation to God; sc., that out of charity we will greater good for him who is nearer God. For although that good is one in itself, viz., eternal beatitude, still it has different grades in the diverse participation of it. And it pertains to charity to desire that the justice of God bear rule, and that the better participate more perfectly in beatitude

But the intensity of the love depends on the one who loves, and charity more intensely desires good for those who are nearest than it desires greater good for better men.

Again, out of charity I can wish that he who is conjoined to me by earthly bonds be better than another, and so attain to higher beatitude. Again, out of charity we may love in various ways those united to us by earthly bonds. For with those not so conjoined we have only the friendship of charity; but with relatives, we have other kinds of friendship. But when the good on which that other friendship is founded is ordained to the end of charity, charity itself may command the act of that other friendship (e.g., love of man and wife). Thus the loving another because he is a blood-relation or united otherwise, or because he is a fellow-citizen, may be commanded by charity; and so from charity both eliciting and commanding in various ways, we love those united to us more than better men.

(1) But there may be grounds of hating in some manner those connected with us (S. Luke xiv. 26), whereas the good can in no way be hated. I reply that we are not bidden to hate those nearest to us because of their connection, but as they keep us away from God; so far they are enemies, not relatives (Mic. vii. 6).

(2) But God loves more those who are better, and charity makes us most like to God. I answer, yes; in due proportion -- viz., that man shall be so related to what is his, as God is related to what is His. And some things charity may lead us to will, as suitable for us, which God does not will, because it is not holy and righteous that He should will them.

(3) But by natural affection we love more those who are more closely united to us, as parents and children; whereas charity is founded on the communion of beatitude, in which better men have the larger share. Yes; but charity not only elicits the act of love according to the character of its object, but also according to the state of the one who loves.

Should kindred be loved the most?

It has been shown that out of charity those who are more united to us are to be loved more, both because they are loved more intensely, and because they are loved for more reasons. The intensity depends upon the union. And therefore the love of diverse persons is to be measured according to the diverse nature of the union; each one is to be loved more in that which pertains to the fellowship according to which he is loved. And love is to be compared with love, as fellowship is compared with fellowship. Thus, then, the friendship of kindred is founded on common origin, but that of fellow-citizens on civil communion, etc. And therefore in those things which pertain to nature, we ought more to love our kindred; but in those things which pertain to civil life, our fellow-citizens, etc. But if we compare one fellowship with another, it is evident that natural kinship is prior and more permanent; but other unions supervene on that and can be removed. And therefore love of kindred is the more lasting; but other friendships can be more potent in that which is proper to each of them.

(1) But friends are made by free choice and judgment. Yes; and therefore such friendship preponderates where we have our choice in what we are to do along with them. But kinship is more stable, since it exists by nature and prevails in that which belongs to nature. We are more bound to assist kindred in need than we are to aid near friends.

(2) If spiritual children have higher claims as regards the communication of grace, children by nature have higher claims for bodily assistance.

And note that in the Decalogue parents are named as the nearest by blood, and therefore the nearest in affection.

(Looking at love objectively, S. Thomas finds ground for loving a father above a child; but subjectively -- i.e., on the side of the one who loves -- he reverses this view. Also he places father above mother in the order of filial love.)

Should a man love his wife more than father or mother?

S. Paul (Eph. v. 28) says that husbands ought "to love their wives as their own bodies." But a man ought to love his neighbour more than his own body, and parents are nearest neighbours. So it might he argued that parents are to be loved more than wife. This needs examination. The degree of love depends, on the one hand, on the idea of the good; on the other, on the degree of union with the one who loves. According to the first, parents are to be more loved, because the good in the parental relation is preeminent. But according to the second, the wife has the preference, for husband and wife are "one flesh" (S. Matt. xix. 6). We conclude that the wife is to be loved more intensely, but greater reverential love is due to parents.

But why do the Scriptures say that a man "shall leave father and mother" for his wife? (Gen. ii. 24.) This is said of cohabitation, not of abandonment in all respects, for in certain respects a man's first duty is still to his parents.

The word "as" in Eph. v. 28 is not an adverb of equality, but it gives the reason for the love of her who is most closely conjoined to one's self.

(A similar view is adopted with respect to benefactors and those who receive benefits; the latter have before them the good as the object of love; the former are more closely united to the object of benefaction.)

In the Christian's fatherland God will be first in love, by uninterrupted action. And in that perfect conformity of the human will to the Divine, as regards the good which each wishes for each, the best will be best loved, in the wish that they may most perfectly enjoy the common beatitude. He will be regarded as nearest neighbour who is nearest to God. But self will be most intensely loved, since each one will, first of all, direct all his powers towards God. And this pertains to self-love. (I do not find this clear and satisfactory. -- J. J. E.) That provision of love by which each one is bound to succour kindred in their need will cease, and so far the inclination of charity towards them. But still, in the fatherland, one may love his kindred in various ways, for the causes of honourable love will not come to an end. But incomparably above all these reasons for love will be the nearness to God. Nature is not taken away by glory, but perfected.

(Seven acts or effects of charity may he distinguished first and chief, love; then three internal acts, joy, peace, and mercy; then three outward acts or kind deeds in general; sc., "beneficence," alms-giving, and brotherly correction. The first four will be abridged from the author's fuller statements.)

§ 5. Love.

Is love (dilectio), as the act or effect of charity, the same as benevolence?

Benevolence, as the word intimates, is the act of the will by which we will another's good. But this, even when founded in judgment, may exist without true love. Spiritual love, as distinguished from the passion in the sense-appetite, implies a union of affections, so that the one who loves regards the one who is loved as in a certain way one with himself or as belonging to himself, which is not implied in benevolence. Love, then, includes the other, but adds to it. God is to be loved out of charity for Himself alone.

That is, He is the ultimate final cause of all, and there is nothing beyond Him on account of which we may love Him. Again, His goodness is Himself, underived, and the exemplar and source of all goodness in other beings. He cannot, properly speaking, be loved on account of His goodness, because He is goodness. But, again, from other sources the love of God for Himself alone may spring up in the heart; thus He may be loved because of benefits received or rewards promised (1 5. John iv. 19).

How can we "love God with all our heart"? (Deut. in. 5.)

If we speak of loving God wholly, we may have one of three different things in mind: (1) We may mean that everything which pertains to God is loved; (2) we may mean what is commanded above, that we love God with all our power of love, and ordain all things which fall under our power with reference to that love, both of which we can and ought to do; or (3) we may refer to the object of love, and speak of loving in a manner adequate to the object of love. This, of course, in this case is impossible. For God's goodness is infinite and infinitely lovely. There is no limit to that love. The more God is loved, the better is that love. There can be no excess in it.

Is it more meritorious to love an enemy than to love a friend?

Remember that God is the ground of our loving our neighbour out of charity. Loving an enemy, then, and loving a friend, may be compared in two ways, either on the side of the neighbour who is loved, or on the side of the reason for loving him. In the first way, the love of a friend is superior because a friend is better and more united with us. Here is a more suitable object for love, and the love is therefore better, as, also, its opposite is worse. For it is worse to hate a friend than to hate an enemy. And since it is better to love the better, and a friend is better than an enemy, so far it is more meritorious to love a friend.

But now, on the other hand, let us consider the reason for loving. First, we see that some other reason than God may produce the love of a friend; but the love of an enemy is due to God only as the reason for it. And, in the next place, even if we suppose that both are loved for God's sake, the love of God is stronger when it extends more widely, even to the loving of our enemies. So that is the hottest fire whose influence is felt the most widely. The stronger love fulfils the more difficult things. But as the fire acts more powerfully on the nearer objects, so charity more fervently loves those who are joined in bonds of love. In this respect the love of friends, considered in itself, is more fervent, and is better than the love of enemies.

Why, then, did the Lord say (S. Matt. v. 46), "If ye love them that love you, what reward have ye?" I answer that the love of friends is there regarded in itself -- i.e., their being loved because they are friends, which has no reward with God. And this seems to be the case whenever friends are so loved that enemies are not loved.

Is it more meritorious to love our neighbour than to love God?

In such a comparison as that, we may consider each love in itself, and so viewed, there is no doubt that the love of God is more meritorious. For the reward is promised to that on its own account. The ultimate reward is the fruition of God, and the Lord said (S. John xiv. 21), "He that loveth Me, shall be loved of My Father, . . . and I will manifest Myself unto him."

But again, in this comparison, we may, on the one hand, consider God as being the only object of love, and compare that with the love of our neighbour, which is for God's sake. Such love includes the love of God, while the love of God did not include the love of our neighbour. That is, perfect love of God, which extends itself to our neighbour, is compared with insufficient and imperfect love. In this sense, the love of our neighbour is superior. For "this commandment have we from God, that he who loveth God, love his brother also" (1 Ep. S. John iv. 21).

But is it not easier, more natural, to love God? And is not the more difficult task of loving one's neighbour therefore meritorious? I reply that the good has more to do with virtue and merit than difficulty has. Not every more difficult task is more meritorious, but only when it is more difficult because it is better.

§ 6. Joy.

Spiritual joy is caused, in the first place, by the Divine good considered in itself; for what we love, we rejoice in seeing to possess its proper good. Or, again, the joy is caused by the participation of that Divine good, the presence of that which is loved in the soul. The first is better, and the special effect of charity. If what is loved were altogether absent, sorrow would be the effect of charity; but there is a presence through grace, which is the cause of joy. The Lord said, indeed, "blessed are they that mourn," etc. But this mourning for what is opposed to the loved good has the same ground with the joy in that good itself.

The Divine good considered in itself is the cause of the unmingled spiritual joy of charity (Phil. iv. 4); but that joy which results from participation in that infinite good can be mingled with sorrow, because that Participation can be impeded either in ourselves or in our neighbour, whom we love as ourself.

The plenitude of joy cannot be looked for in this life, for desire always continues, seeking to draw nearer to God through grace. And so long as desire is not fully satisfied, the rest of spiritual joy in all its perfection is not attained.

We must not regard joy as a separate virtue, but as an act, an effect, or a fruit of charity. And it is the subject of Divine precept because it is an act of charity.

§ 7. Peace.

Peace is more than concord. It embraces that and more besides. Wherever peace is found, there is concord; but concord may be found where peace does not exist. For concord is relative to others; it means the harmony of diverse wills agreeing with one consent. But the heart of one man also is (listracted, both by the conflict of diverse desires (Gal. v. 17, " The flesh lusteth against the spirit "), and by the same desire seeking for diverse objects which cannot be at once possessed. But there must be inward as well as outward harmony to constitute that peace of which we now are speaking.

Wars and dissensions are not sought for as an ultimate end, but as means for a more perfect peace.

This inward and outward peace is the effect of charity for when God is loved with the whole heart, and all things are referred to Him, there is inward harmony of all desires. And when our neighbour is loved as ourself, his will is sought for as our own. Friends will the same things.

This outward peace does not, in this life, where there is imperfect knowledge of the truth, imply perfect concord of opinions, but only concord in the chief goods of our spiritual life. Dissension, then, in little things and in opinions, like that of SS. Paul and Barnabas (Acts xv.), is not repugnant to the peace of charity. For opinions pertain to judgment, which precedes desire. It is the latter where the concord is to be sought for. Again, where there is concord in the chief goods, dissension respecting trifles is not contrary to charity, for that dissension comes from diversity of opinions, where one judges the matter of dissension to pertain to the good in which all agree, while the judgment of the other holds the contrary opinion. Such dissension is opposed to the perfect peace of fatherland, not to the imperfect peace of the pilgrims thither (in via).

We must not regard peace as a separate virtue, but as the act, effect, or fruit of charity. And as such act it is commanded by the Lord (S. Mark ix. 50).

§ 8. Mercy and pity (misericordia).

These are compassion for the evil which another is suffering, especially when he suffers without his own fault. But compassion may embrace even sinners, not as regards the voluntary sin, for pity concerns the involuntary evil, but as fault has attached to it that which is involuntary. So the Lord had compassion for the multitude (S. Matt. ix. 36).

He that loves, regards his friend as a part of himself, and his friend's evil as if it were his own.

He "rejoices with them that rejoice;" and he "weeps with them that weep" (Rom. xii. 15). Anger and pride oppose this virtue, because the first lifts above the apprehension of evil; the other, because it leads to contempt of others, and to the notion that they suffer worthily.

Is mercy a special virtue?

Pain at another's trouble may be a passion of the sensitive nature. But, again, it may be an emotion of the higher intellectual soul, as the evil of another is displeasing to us. And this motion of the soul can be regulated by reason, and so can govern the brute passion of pity. Hence, S. Augustine says (Civ. Dei, ix. 5) "that emotion of the soul is obedient to reason when mercy is shown in such a way that justice is preserved, whether help is given to the needy, or pardon to the penitent." And since virtue consists in governing the motions of the soul by reason, such mercy is consequently a virtue.

(1) It is the sentiment of compassion in the emotional soul which may impede justice.

(2) The sentiment of vengeance and compassion are two contrary passions, each of them laudable in its place, the one pained at unworthy suffering in another, the other pleased at suffering which is due, and pained at the prosperity of the unworthy.

(3) Mercy is a special virtue, because it adds a new idea sc., the sorrow which is compassionated.

Is mercy the highest of virtues?

In itself it is so, because it spreads abroad to others, and, still more, it supplies the defects of others. Hence it is the peculiar property of God, and in it His omnipotence is specially manifested. But if we look, not at the thing in itself, but at him who has it, mercy is not the highest virtue unless he who has it is highest, having none above him. For if one has a superior, it is greater and better to be united to that superior than to supply the defects of an inferior. Charity, therefore, by which man is joined to God is more than mercy. But mercy is chief among the virtues which regard our neighbour.

(1) God "desires mercy and not sacrifice" (Hos. vi. 6), because outward gifts and sacrifices are ordained not on His account, but ours and our neighbour's. For He does not need our sacrifices, but He wills that they be offered to Him for the sake of our own devotion and for the benefit of our neighbour. Therefore mercy, which supplies the needs of others, is the most acceptable sacrifice, since it comes nearer to the benefit of our neighbour. "To do good and to communicate, forget not; for with such sacrifices God is well pleased" (Heb. xiii. 16). "But above all these things, put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness" (Col. iii. 14).

(2) Mercy is the sum of the Christian religion as respects its outward manifestation; by it we are assimilated to God in His operations, for "His mercy is over all His works," and the Lord says: "Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father is merciful" (S. Luke vi. 36); but higher is the inward affection of charity by which we are united to God and assimilated to Him.

§ 9. Beneficence.

How is beneficence the outward act of charity?

Doing good to another may come under the idea of paying him his due; it is then an act of justice. It may come under the idea of relieving misery or defect; it is then an act of mercy. But it may also come under the general idea of the good, and so it is an act of friendship, of charity. For in the act of love is included benevolence, by which we will good to our friend. But will accomplishes its purpose if it have the power to do so. Therefore, beneficence follows from the act of love.

But it is the act of charity from him who is in some way superior. Therefore, it is God's act of love towards us, not ours towards Him (but ours towards our brethren). "As we have opportunity, we must do good to all men" (Gal. vi. 10).

Beneficence proceeds from the superior to the inferior; but the grades among us are not immutable, for men can suffer manifold defects, and he who is superior in one respect may be inferior in another. And, therefore, since the love of charity extends to all, beneficence must be prepared to extend to all according to place and season. For all acts of the virtues are limited by their due circumstances.

(1) In practice, it is not possible to do good to all; and virtue does not demand the impossible. But still there is no one who may not at some time, or place, or in some way, have a special claim on beneficence, and charity requires at least the preparation of soul to do good when opportunity presents itself, and the prayer of charity embraces all.

(2) Sinners are not excluded, for they have their claim as men, which is to be met, without cooperating in their sin.

(3) The same remark applies to enemies of the church or the state. Benefits are withdrawn in order that, if possible, they may be restrained from their fault. But in case of grave necessity, help is to be given under due restrictions, unless, in the latter case, they are suffering the penalties of just law. Do we owe most beneficence to our nearest neighbours?

Grace and virtue imitate the order of nature, which is instituted by Divine wisdom. But in that order of nature every natural agent diffuses its action first and most energetically to those things which are nearest to it, as the fire warms most what is closest to it. But the bestowing of benefits is an action of charity towards others, and, therefore, it must be most shown to those who are most near. But the nearness of one man to another depends on the various things in which men communicate with one another -- kinship, citizenship, fellowship in spiritual things, etc. And according to these diverse fellowships diverse benefits are to be dispensed, to each one that benefit which pertains to his relationship to us. Yet this will be varied according to the diversity of places, times, and other circumstances. For in some cases the stranger in extreme necessity has higher claim than even a parent who has no such need.

(1) But the Lord said (S. Luke xiv. 12), "When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, nor thy kinsmen, but bid the poor," etc. Yes; but the Lord did not simply prohibit the inviting of friends or kinsmen, but the doing it for the sake of a return in kind, which is not charity but cupidity. Still it can happen that strangers have the first claim on account of greater need. Caeteris paribus, the nearer are to be benefited first. But if, in the case of two persons, one is nearer and the other more needy, no universal rule can determine who is first to be aided, because there are various degrees of propinquity and of need. This requires prudent judgment.

(2) But debts are to be paid before gratuitous benefits are conferred; therefore benefactors have the preference over neighbours (by kinship, etc.). I answer that there are two kinds of debt; one, which is not to be counted among the goods of him who owes, but rather among the creditor's goods, say, if one has another's property which has been stolen from him, or which is a loan, or a deposit, or anything of that nature. A man has first to restore this debt, rather than to do good out of it to those who are connected with him, unless perhaps there should be grave necessity, in which case it would even be lawful to take another's property in order to relieve the immediate want. But even in this case the condition of each in other respects would have to be prudently considered, and no universal rule can be laid down for the infinite variety of cases.

But there is another debt which is reckoned among the goods of him who owes it, due not from necessity of justice, but from a kind of moral equity, as in the case of benefits freely received. But no benefactor as such is equal to parents. Therefore parents, in the recompensing of benefits, are to he preferred to all others, unless grave necessity should give the preponderance to the other side, or some other condition should do so, say, the common utility of the Church or the republic. But in other cases estimation is to be made of the benefaction and of the propinquity, and no general rule can be laid down which will determine each particular case.

Note that beneficence is not a virtue distinct from charity, but is one of those outward acts of charity which are commanded (S. Matt. v. 44).

§ 10. Alms-giving.

Is alms-giving an act of charity?

Outward acts are referred to that virtue to which pertains the motive for those acts. But the motive for alms-giving is the relief of suffering and need. Hence it may be defined as the giving to the needy, for God's sake, out of compassion. Now this motive pertains to mercy, which is the effect of charity. Consequently, alms-giving is an act of charity, through mercy.

(1) But S. Paul said (1 Cor. xiii. 3), "Though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and have not charity, I am nothing," which implies that alms-giving is not the work of charity. But I reply that a thing done may be outwardly a virtuous act, when the virtue itself does not exist as doing just things is an act of justice, which may be done out of natural temperament, or fear of consequences, or hope of getting some advantage (acts "materially" just).

But in another way acts are inwardly virtuous ("formaliter"), as it is the act of justice to do just things in the manner in which the just man does them -- sc., promptly and with pleasure; and in this way the virtuous act cannot exist without the virtue. To give alms, then, as an outward act, simply, can be without charity; but true alms-giving -- that is, for God's sake, pleasurably, and promptly, and in all other respects as one ought to do -- cannot be without charity.

(2) The proper act elicited by one virtue may be attributed to another which commands it, and ordains it to its own end. So the prophet Daniel presented alms-giving as a work of satisfaction in the penitent, saying (Dan. iv. 27), "Redeem thine iniquities by showing mercy to the poor." And the Epistle to the Hebrews (Heb. xiii. 16) speaks of alms-giving as an act of worship towards God " With such sacrifices God is well pleased."

S. John is conclusive (1 Ep. iii. II), "Whoso hath this world's goods and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?"

The corporal works of mercy are well distinguished as seven in number: to feed the hungry, to give drink to the thirsty, to clothe the naked, to entertain the stranger, to relieve the prisoner, to visit the sick, and to bury the dead. Seven, likewise, are the spiritual works of mercy; viz., to teach the ignorant, to counsel the doubting, to console the sorrowful, to correct the erring, to forgive the offender, to bear the infirmities of the weak, and to pray for all.

Compare the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

In themselves the spiritual have the preeminence, for three reasons: (1) That which is given is a nobler gift, because it is spiritual; (2) it is a nobler thing to benefit the soul, the higher part of man; for as a man ought first to provide for his own soul, so in the case of his neighbour whom he loves as himself; (3) the acts themselves are nobler acts. But, on the other hand, there may be some particular case in which some corporal work of mercy is preferable to some spiritual act, as feeding a man who is dying of famine is better than teaching him (preaching to him). So it may be with some other very needy man.

(1) It may be true, in some cases, that there is more recompense for spiritual works of mercy, but this does not detract from their praise and merit, if it be not the aim. So human glory is no detraction from the merit of virtue, if it was not the motive for action.

(2) It is true, also, that the needy is likely to be more grateful for corporal mercy, and so there is more consolation for him in such acts. But merit does not depend on that in which the will of him who receives help actually rests, but rather on that in which he ought rationally to rest.

Have the corporal works of mercy a spiritual effect?

We may consider them in three ways: (1) In their substance; and so, of course, they have only material effect, in supplying the corporal needs of our neighbour. (2) But we may consider also their cause, the love of God and our neighbour. So viewed, they have spiritual fruit. "Give alms of thy goods, and never turn thy face from any poor man, and then the face of the Lord shall not be turned away from thee" (Tob. iv. 7). (3) We may consider their effect; and so they have spiritual fruit if the one who is succoured prays for his benefactor.

(1) But it is the sin of simony to try to purchase spiritual good. Yes; but he who gives alms does not intend to buy heaven, because he knows that spiritual blessings are infinitely more valuable than his gifts; but he aims through charity to merit spiritual good.

(2) The widow in the Gospel (S. Luke xxi. 1), in giving more according to her proportion, showed greater charity, from which the corporal works of mercy derive their spiritual efficacy.

Are corporal works of mercy obligatory?

That question is answered in the twenty-fifth chapter of the Gospel of S. Matthew. For some are punished with eternal penalty for the omission of the corporal works of mercy. The love of our neighbour is commanded; therefore all things without which that love cannot be preserved fall under the precept. But it pertains to that love not only that we will our neighbour's good, but also that we effect it. "Let us not love in word and in tongue, but in deed and in truth" (1 Ep. S. John iii. 18). This requires that we aid his necessity by giving of alms. But precepts are given respecting the acts of virtues, and the giving of alms falls under command as the act is necessary to the virtue; sc., as right reason requires, considering both the giver and the receiver. On the one side, that which is to be given is what is superfluous; i.e., over and above what is necessary for the giver's own sustenance. And I say "superfluous," not only as respects the individual giver, that which he needs for his own support, but also as regards others of whom he has charge. And that is to be considered as necessary for him (and for them) which is needful for their station in life. For each one is bound to provide first for himself and for those of whom he has charge, and afterwards out of the residue to aid the needs of others.

And on the part of the recipient, he must have necessity, for otherwise there would be no reason for giving alms to him. But since it is not possible for any one to relieve the necessities of all, not every necessity falls under the precept, but only those where without others' aid the needy cannot be sustained. So, then, to give alms of superfluities falls under the precept, and likewise to give alms in case of extreme necessity. But otherwise alms-giving is of counsel, as counsels are given forthe attainment of higher spiritual good.

(1) What, then, shall we say of the much talked-of rights of property? Temporal goods are Divinely conferred as regards ownership. But as regards the use of them they are not the owner's alone, but also they belong to others who can be sustained oat of the owner's superfluities. Well says S. Basil (Hom. in S. Luc. xii.), "If you say that your wealth is given to you by God, is He unjust in His distribution to us? Why have you abundance while your brother is in distress, unless that you may have the merit of being a good dispenser of the Divine bounty, and he be honoured with the prize of patience? It is the bread of the hungry which you are keeping; it is the clothing of the naked which you have under lock and key; it is the money of the needy which you have deposited in bank, or invested in stocks. You injuriously keep what you are able to give."

(2) Another objection. Everything which falls under an affirmative precept obliges at some determined time, and then transgression is mortal sin. Therefore, if alms-giving is commanded, there will be some determinate time in which he sins mortally who does not give alms. But this does not appear to be so; because in every case it may be probably judged that the needy will be otherwise relieved, and what is called for by way of alms may prove to be necessary for the owner in the future, at least. But I reply that the determinate time when one sins mortally who refuses to give alms is the time when there is evident and urgent necessity, and no one appears ready to give aid. And, on the part of the giver, the time is when he has superfluities which are not necessary for his present situation according to his best judgment. Looking forward to all cases which may possibly occur in the future is contrary to the Divine command (S. Matt. vi. 84). The superfluous and the necessary must be judged according to the ordinary probabilities of things.

The Fifth Commandment selects the most prominent example of giving aid to others in their need.

Ought one to give alms out of what is necessary for himself?

The Lord said (S. Matt. xix. 21), "If thou wouldst be perfect, go, sell that thou hast and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven." This shows that what is necessary may be given in alms. Bnt there are two kinds of necessaries (1) Those without which life is impossible. Such needful things may not be given away; say, if one has only what is absolutely needful for the support of his children and others dependent on him. To give away this is to destroy himself and his. A case may indeed occur where the safety of the Church or the state is concerned, and he may laudably expose himself and those belonging to him to peril of death, since the common good is to be preferred to one's own. But (2), in another way, a thing is said to he necessary when without it life cannot be suitably passed according to the state and condition of a person and of others for whom he is responsible. The limit of this necessity is not marked by a distinct line. If many things are added, you cannot say just when the line of the necessary is passed; if many things are taken away, still may remain all that is necessary for passing life becomingly according to one's proper state in it. To give alms out of these so-called necessities is good, and falls under counsel, not under precept. But it would be an inordinate act if one should withdraw so much from his property, in order to bestow it on others, that with the residue he could not properly fulfil the duties of his station in life. For no one ought to lead such a life as that would imply.

But there are three exceptions to this statement (1) When one changes his state in life, e.g., by entering on the "religious" life; for then he makes himself poor for Christ's sake (following the counsel, "If thou wouldst be perfect," etc.); (2) when those things which are withdrawn from the conveniences of life can be made up again; (3) when extreme necessity of any private person occurs, or grave necessity on the part of the commonwealth. For in these cases any one would laudably resign what is necessary for the decency of his state in life in order to provide for a greater necessity than his own.

May alms he given of what is unjustly acquired?

A thing may he illicitly acquired in either of three ways (1) Where what is acquired is due to him from whom it has been gotten, and cannot be retained by the one who has possession of it, as in robbery, theft, and usury. A man is bound to make restitution; he cannot give that away in alms. (2) But a thing may be illicitly acquired when he who has gotten it has no right to keep it, neither is it due to him from whom it has been obtained, because the one has taken it unjustly, and the other has unjustly given it. This is the case in simony, where both giver and receiver violate the justice of Divine law; restitution ought not to be made, but the gift should be bestowed in alms. This is true in all cases where both the giving and the receiving are contrary to law. (3) A thing may be illicitly acquired when the getting is itself lawful, but that from which it is acquired is unlawful, as in all cases of base contract, "turpe lucrum;" e.g., a prostitute shamefully breaks the law of God, but in receiving money she does not act unjustly, or contrary to law. What is in such ways illicitly gained may be kept, and alms given out of it.

(1) The mammon of unrighteousness of which the Lord speaks (S. Luke xvi. 9) is not riches unjustly acquired.

(2) What shall we say of the gains of gambling? Some things are forbidden by Divine law; sc., getting the money of those who, like minors, have no power to alienate what is theirs; enticing another to gamble, with the motive of cupidity in the heart, or getting fraudulent gains; these call for restitution, not alms-giving. But something further is forbidden by civil law, and where such law is extant, and not obsolete, restitution is obligatory, unless the one has lost who through cupidity enticed to gamble. He is unworthy to receive; the other cannot lawfully keep. In such a case they must have recourse to alms-giving.

Wives, children, servants, cannot give alms from what is not their own, without the consent, expressed or justly presumed, of the head of the family, except in case of grave necessity.

Who are first to receive alms?

First, those who are most closely connected with us, discretion being used with respect to the degree of connection, of holiness, of utility. For to one much holier, suffering greater need, and more useful to the common weal, alms should be given in preference to the person nearer in kinship, especially if the latter is not very near by blood relationship, and is not specially under our care, and if the necessity is not grave.

"If thou hast much, give plenteously," in proportion to thy means, not for the superfluity of the recipient.

§ 11. Fraternal correction.

Is it an act of charity?

Sin may be viewed either as injurious to the sinner, or as doing harm to others who are injured or scandalized by it, and also as doing harm to the common good. There is, therefore, a two-fold correction of the delinquent; one which applies a remedy to the sin as an evil in the sinner, and that is properly fraternal correction which is ordained for the amendment of the delinquent. But removing evil from any one is equivalent to procuring his good, which is a work of charity. Hence, fraternal correction also is a work of charity, because hy it we repel evil from our brother; so., sin. And the removal of that is a greater work of charity than removing outward loss or corporal injury. Fraternal correction, therefore, is a nobler act of charity than the cure of bodily infirmity or the relieving of outward need.

But there is another kind of correction which is an act of justice; viz., the applying a remedy for the sin as it is an evil against others, and especially as it is injurious to the common weal. Fraternal correction is not opposed to the "bearing one another's burdens" (Gal. vi. 2), but rather flows from it. For one supports the erring when he is not turned against him, but keeps such good will towards him that he tries to amend him.

Fraternal correction is obligatory.

But once more note the distinction between affirmative and negative commands. As the negative prohibit the acts of sins, so the affirmative lead to the acts of virtues. But the acts of sin are in themselves evil; they cannot become good in any manner, time, or place. For in themselves they are joined to a bad end. Therefore, negative laws bind always, on all occasions, under all circumstances. But the acts of virtues ought not to be done in every manner, but with observation of those due circumstances which are requisite in order that the act may be a virtuous one; sc., thatit be done where it ought, and when it ought, and in the manner it ought to be done. And because the due arrangement of the means depends upon the end songht for, in those circumstances of virtuous action is chiefly to be noted the end, which is the good of virtue. If, therefore, there be any such omission of any circumstance of a virtuous act as totally takes away the good of virtue, this act is contrary to the precept. But if there be defect in any circumstance which does not totally annul the virtue, though the act may not reach the perfect good of virtue, it is not contrary to the precept. So fraternal correction, which is ordained for the amendment of a brother, falls under the law (obligation) so far as it is deemed to be necessary for that end, but not so that the delinquent must be corrected in every place, and at every time. {2}

(1) But, this, you say, proposes a task which is practically impossible. Yes; man's operation cannot be efficacious without Divine aid, and yet we are bound to do our part, so far as in us lies, with hope of Divine assistance.

(2) In one way, it may be meritoriously omitted out of charity, when an opportune season is waited for, or there is reasonable fear of making the offender worse, etc. But, again, its neglect is mortal sin when fear of being unpopular or of some annoyance is preferred to fraternal charity, although one has reason to think that his correction will be a benefit to the sinner. In another way, omission of this is venial sin, when fear or other motive makes one more tardy in correcting his brother's faults, not, however, that he would neglect it if he were certain of doing good thereby.

(3) It cannot be said that if fraternal correction is obligatory, it is a debt which must be paid; and therefore, as in the case of any other debt, we must go around and search for our creditors, which in this case is impossible, because of the multitude of sinners, for whose correction one man is not sufficient. This is mistaken, because what is due to any determinate and fixed person must be paid, whether it is corporal or spiritual good, without waiting for him to come to us, but having due solicitude in seeking him out. This is true of pecuniary debt, and of one who has special charge of another. He ought to seek out that other if he go astray. But in the case of those benefits, spiritual or corporal, which are not due to any certain person, but to all our neighbours in general, we are not bound to go around searching for those to whom we may pay our debt, but it suffices that we do so when we meet with them.

Does fraternal correction pertain only to those who hold some office?

We have seen above that one kind of correction is an act of charity; viz., that which specially tends to the amendment of an erring brother by simple admonition. Such correction is the duty of every one who has charity, whether he is in office or not.

But there is another kind of correction, which is an act of justice aiming at the common good, which common good is sought for not only by fraternal correction, but sometimes by punishment, in order that others may be afraid and cease to do wrong. Such correction pertains to governors alone, whose duty it is not only to admonish, but also to correct by punishing.

(1) Though fraternal correction pertains to all, yet those who have charge of others have graver responsibility in that respect.

(2) But he who has sound judgment is superior in that respect, and is bound to employ it in this way.

Is any one bound to correct his superior?

We are not now speaking of the act of justice, which belongs to one in office alone, but of the act of charity, which embraces all to whom charity is due, if in any one is found what ought to be corrected. But because a virtuous act must be restricted to the due circumstances, therefore in correction of superiors a due mode must be employed, sc., not rudeness and insolence, but mildness and respectfulness (1 Tim. v. I).

How can a sinner correct the delinquent?

Such correction belongs to him who has sound judgment. But sin does not totally destroy the good of nature, and sound rational judgment may still remain. But yet previous sin puts a three-fold obstacle in the way of this correction (1) because preceding sin, especially if it be a greater one, renders a person unfit to correct the erring (S. Matt. vii. 3); (2) because of scandal, if the sin of the one who corrects is public; he seems to be correcting, not out of charity, but out of ostentation (S. Matt. vii. 5); (3) because of the pride of the corrector, who thinks lightly of his own sins and in his heart sets himself above his neighbour, judging others' sins with strict severity, as if he were a righteous man. Well says S. Augustine (Serm. Dom. in Monte, ii. 19), "Let us reflect, when necessity compels us to reprove another, whether we have never fallen in the same way; and then let us consider that we are human, and might have had the same fault; or that we once were under its dominion even if now we are not; and then let our common frailty come to mind, and pity, not hatred, precede that correction. But if we shall find that we, too, are guilty in the same way, let us not chide our brother, but lament with him our common sin, and not invite him to yield to us, but with us to avoid the common destruction." It is plain, then, that if the sinner correct the erring with humility, he does not sin anew and get for himself fresh condemnation, although in this way, either in his brother's conscience, or, at least, in his own, he may find himself worthy of condemnation for his past sins.

May one give up fraternal correction through fear lest the erring be rendered worse by it?

That correction which is the duty of superiors is ordained for the common good and has coactive force. Such correction is not to be neglected for fear of troubling him who is corrected, both because he must be forced, if possible, through punishment to desist from his iniquity, if he will not amend of his own accord; and because, if he is incorrigible, the common good must be provided for, the order of justice being preserved, and others deterred by the example given.

But fraternal correction is another thing; its end is amendment of the sinner, not through compulsion, but through simple admonition. Therefore, when it is probable that the sinner will not receive the admonition, but be rendered worse by it, such correction is to he avoided, for the means to an end ought to be regulated by the end itself. If it hinder the end, it is not a good; it does not fall under the precept.

The order of fraternal correction.

The due order is commanded by our Lord Himself (S. Matt. xviii. 15) "If thy brother sin against thee, go, show him his fault between thee and him alone. If he hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he hear thee not, take with thee one or two more, that at the mouth of two witnesses or three, every word may be established. And if he refuse to hear them, tell it unto the church."

But we must distinguish between open and secret sins. If the sin is public, the remedy is not only for the sinner that he may be made better, but for others that they may not be scandalized. Such open sins are to be openly rebuked, as S. Paul says (1 Tim. v. 20), "Them that sin reprove in the sight of all, that the rest also may be in fear." But if the sins are secret, the Lord's command seems to apply to the case. For when thy brother sins against thee publicly, he sins not only against thee, but also against others.

But even in secret sins there is a difference. For some may be offences against our neighbours when they produce injury, whether spiritual or corporal, to the community, as when any one secretly deals with the enemy in order to betray the nation, or when a heretic secretly tries to turn the faithful from the truth, he who secretly sins in such a manner sins not only against you, but also against others; and it is right to proceed at once to open denunciation, in order that the injury may be stopped, unless, possibly, you judge that private admonition will answer the purpose.

But some sins are wholly between man and man, the injury being only that of the sinner and the one sinned against; and then the question is of aiding an erring brother. And as the surgeon restores to health, if he can, without amputation (or ought to do so), but if he cannot, he amputates what can be lost for the preservation of life, so, also, he who aims at the amendment of his brother ought so to do it, if possible, that his brother's good name may be saved. For this is useful to him, both in an earthly way, since he would suffer great detriment from the loss of it, and in a spiritual way, because the dread of infamy helps to keep many back from sins into which they would rush without restraint if their good name were lost.

For other reasons we are bound to preserve the good name of our erring brother. The ill name of one becomes the ill name of many. When something false is reported of one exercising sacred functions, or some true charge is made public, there are many who are eager to believe the same of all (S. Aug., Ep. ad plebem Hippon. 77).

And, again, the sins of one made public encourage others to sin; notably, the sins of the clergy.

But because a good conscience is of more value than a good name, the Lord willed that even with loss of good name the conscience of our brother should through public denunciation, if necessary, be freed from sin. It is commanded, then, that secret admonition precede public denunciation.

Even God Himself gives the sinner secret warnings (Job xxxiii. 15).

§ 12. The precepts of charity.

What God requires of us is the subject of commandment; but God requires that man love Him.

Therefore, commandments are given respecting the acts of love. A precept implies a debt, something due. But something is due in two ways: one, per se; another, on account of something else. The end is what is due, per se, in each case, because it has, per se, the idea of the good but the means are due on account of something else. Thus, it is the physician's duty per se to try to make a cure; but it is his duty to give medicine on account of the cure. But the end of the spiritual life is that man may be united to God, which is done by charity, and all things which pertain to the spiritual life are ordained for this end. For all the virtues respecting whose acts precepts are given are ordained either to purify the heart from the filth of passions, or for a good conscience respecting our actions, or for a right faith, as those commandments which refer to Divine worship; and these three are the requisite conditions for loving God. For an impure heart is drawn away from His love by passions inclining to earthly things; and a bad conscience makes one shrink from a just God through fear of his punishments; and a false faith draws the affection to that which is not God, separating from His truth. But as the end is more precious than the means, the chief commandment regards the love which proceeds from charity.

It might be objected that charity which is poured into our hearts by the Holy Ghost makes us free, for "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" (2 Cor. iii. 17). But the obligation of commandments is not opposed to liberty except where the mind is averse to what is commanded, as in those who obey out of fear alone, while the precept of love can only be fulfilled out of our own will; and, therefore, it is not repugnant to liberty.

Observe, also, that all the ten commandments are ordained for the acts of love to God and our neighbour. Therefore, the precepts of charity (as such) are not given there, but are included in all.

The love of God, indeed, is the end, and that to which the love of our neighbour is ordained.

But because all do not really see what is contained in the "first and great commandment," a second is added (which "is like unto it"); viz., the love of our neighbour. And these two are sufficient.

"On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" (S. Matt. xxii. 40), for the love of charity is love of the good; sc., either of the end, or of that which is for the end, of God or of our neighbour for God's sake.

(1) No precept respecting love of self and our own body is needed; but the mode of doing so -- sc., in due order -- is implied in the love of God and of our neighbour.

(2) Other acts of charity, as joy, peace, beneficence, follow from love as their cause. And precepts respecting these are, therefore, included in that of love. And yet, since some are slow to fulfil these, explicit precepts are added respecting them: "Rejoice in the Lord always" (Phil. iv. 4); "Follow peace with all men" (Heb. xii. 14) "While we have time, let us do good unto all men" (Gal. vi. 10). Different acts of doing good, also, are commanded - in Holy Scripture.

God is to be loved as the ultimate end to which all things are referred. Therefore, He is to be loved with the whole heart. The whole heart, it is true, may not be actually and always directed to God. This is the perfection of the Christian's fatherland, not of the road thither. But the heart is to be habitually so directed to God that it receives nothing which is contrary to that love; this is the perfection "of the road," to which venial sin is not directly contradictory; since it does not totally destroy the habit of charity, it does not aim at the opposite, but only impedes the action of charity.

Our intellect, our desires, our outward acts, are to be subject to that loving will which is expressed by loving God "with all the heart." Therefore it is added, "and with all thy mind, and soul, and strength." Fully and perfectly the precept of the love of God will be fulfilled in heaven, for its end is that man be totally united with God. But here, not so; yet there need be no departure from that end, no mortal sin.

Do not say that the impossible would be commanded, if the precept of perfect love could not be fulfilled in this life. For he that runs towards the goal must know which way he is to run. (See S. Aug., De Perf. Justit., cap. 8.)

The precept of love of our neighbour gives the reason for loving and the manner of loving.

It gives the reason; for others are our neighbours both according to the natural image of God and their capability of glory. Call others neighbours, call them brothers, it is all one. It gives the manner of loving -- sc., "as thyself." This is not equality, but similitude, and that in three particulars; first, the end; as one loves himself (out of charity) for God's sake, so his brother is to be loved. This is holy love. Next, as one satisfies his own will in what is good (or thought to be so), so he yields to his neighbour in good things, not in evil. This is just love. And lastly, the reason for loving is that one love his neighbour not for his own benefit or pleasure, but wills his neighbour's good as he wills his own. This is true love. As thus understood, even enemies are brothers of ours.

The order of charity is part of the precept.

Man does more to gratify him whom he loves more. And so, if he should love less him whom he ought to love more, he would be doing more to satisfy him to whom he owes less; and so would be doing injury to the other. Accordingly, the order of love is explicitly laid down in Holy Scripture. " With all thy heart," places God above all things. "As thyself," places thine own salvation next. "We ought to lay down our lives for the brethren" (1 Ep. S. John iii. 16), places our neighbour before our own body. "Especially unto the household of faith" (Gal. vi. 10), and, "If any provide not for his own, and specially his own household" (1 Tim. v. 8), places the better and those nearer to ourselves above other neighbours.

S. Thomas regards the spiritual gift of wisdom as especially correlated to charity. It is wisdom in the things of God, and he that has it can judge and order all his spiritual life by Divine rules. It is not merely speculative, but also eminently practical wisdom. Its seat is the intellect, but it springs from charity, a loving will. It is not the intellectual virtue which is acquired by our own efforts, and it is different from faith which assents to Divine verity; wisdom is judgment according to Divine truth. It is not the mere use of reason giving right judgment, but it is grounded on the affinity for Divine things which charity possesses through union with God. It is incompatible, therefore, with mortal sin. It is for the guidance of the spiritual life in what is necessary to salvation, through justifying grace, "gratia gratum faciens."

The opposite sin is spiritual folly; not any natural dulness of judgment, but that stupidity of folly in spiritual things which results from a Christian man's burying himself in carnal pleasures. "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness unto him; and he cannot know them, because they are spiritually judged" (1 Cor. ii. 14). This child of lust ("luxuria") may not be directly willed, but those things are willed from which it is necessarily generated and born.

{1} The Pater Noster devoutly used may be made an act of charity, the first part being used to express love of God, the second part implying love of our neighbour.

{2} The conditions which render this act of charity obligatory are: (a) the sin or the near danger of sinning is certain (b) there is hope ot amendment in connection with this act of charity; (c) no other is more fit to employ it; (d) grave injury will not be done to the corrector; (e) the correction is judged to he necessary for the amendment needed.

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