St. Thomas Aquinas

The Summa Theologica

(Benziger Bros. edition, 1947)
Translated by
Fathers of the English Dominican Province

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Deinde considerandum est de eleemosyna. Et circa hoc quaeruntur decem. We must now consider almsdeeds, under which head there are ten points of inquiry:
Primo, utrum eleemosynae largitio sit actus caritatis. (1) Whether almsgiving is an act of charity?
Secundo, de distinctione eleemosynarum. (2) Of the different kinds of alms;
Tertio, quae sint potiores eleemosynae, utrum spirituales vel corporales. (3) Which alms are of greater account, spiritual or corporal?
Quarto, utrum corporales eleemosynae habeant effectum spiritualem. (4) Whether corporal alms have a spiritual effect?
Quinto, utrum dare eleemosynas sit in praecepto. (5) Whether the giving of alms is a matter of precept?
Sexto, utrum corporalis eleemosyna sit danda de necessario. (6) Whether corporal alms should be given out of the things we need?
Septimo, utrum sit danda de iniuste acquisito. (7) Whether corporal alms should be given out of ill-gotten goods?
Octavo, quorum sit dare eleemosynam. (8) Who can give alms?
Nono, quibus sit danda. (9) To whom should we give alms?
Decimo, de modo dandi eleemosynas. (10) How should alms be given ?

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Article: 1  [ << | >> ]

Whether almsgiving is an act of charity?

Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod dare eleemosynam non sit actus caritatis. Actus enim caritatis non potest esse sine caritate. Sed largitio eleemosynarum potest esse sine caritate, secundum illud I ad Cor. XIII, si distribuero in cibos pauperum omnes facultates meas, caritatem autem non habuero. Ergo dare eleemosynam non est actus caritatis. Objection 1: It would seem that almsgiving is not an act of charity. For without charity one cannot do acts of charity. Now it is possible to give alms without having charity, according to 1 Cor. 13:3: "If I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor... and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing." Therefore almsgiving is not an act of charity.
Praeterea, eleemosyna computatur inter opera satisfactionis, secundum illud Dan. IV, peccata tua eleemosynis redime. Sed satisfactio est actus iustitiae. Ergo dare eleemosynam non est actus caritatis, sed iustitiae. Objection 2: Further, almsdeeds are reckoned among works of satisfaction, according to Dan. 4:24: "Redeem thou thy sins with alms." Now satisfaction is an act of justice. Therefore almsgiving is an act of justice and not of charity.
Praeterea, offerre hostiam Deo est actus latriae. Sed dare eleemosynam est offerre hostiam Deo, secundum illud ad Heb. ult., beneficentiae et communionis nolite oblivisci, talibus enim hostiis promeretur Deus. Ergo caritatis non est actus dare eleemosynam, sed magis latriae. Objection 3: Further, the offering of sacrifices to God is an act of religion. But almsgiving is offering a sacrifice to God, according to Heb. 13:16: "Do not forget to do good and to impart, for by such sacrifices God's favor is obtained." Therefore almsgiving is not an act of charity, but of religion.
Praeterea, philosophus dicit, in IV Ethic., quod dare aliquid propter bonum est actus liberalitatis. Sed hoc maxime fit in largitione eleemosynarum. Ergo dare eleemosynam non est actus caritatis. Objection 4: Further, the Philosopher says (Ethic. iv, l) that to give for a good purpose is an act of liberality. Now this is especially true of almsgiving. Therefore almsgiving is not an act of charity.
Sed contra est quod dicitur I Ioan. III, qui habuerit substantiam huius mundi, et viderit fratrem suum necessitatem patientem, et clauserit viscera sua ab eo, quomodo caritas Dei manet in illo? On the contrary, It is written 2 Jn. 3:17: "He that hath the substance of this world, and shall see his brother in need, and shall put up his bowels from him, how doth the charity of God abide in him?"
Respondeo dicendum quod exteriores actus ad illam virtutem referuntur ad quam pertinet id quod est motivum ad agendum huiusmodi actus. Motivum autem ad dandum eleemosynas est ut subveniatur necessitatem patienti, unde quidam, definientes eleemosynam, dicunt quod eleemosyna est opus quo datur aliquid indigenti ex compassione propter Deum. Quod quidem motivum pertinet ad misericordiam, ut supra dictum est. Unde manifestum est quod dare eleemosynam proprie est actus misericordiae. Et hoc apparet ex ipso nomine, nam in Graeco a misericordia derivatur, sicut in Latino miseratio. Et quia misericordia est effectus caritatis, ut supra ostensum est, ex consequenti dare eleemosynam est actus caritatis, misericordia mediante. I answer that, External acts belong to that virtue which regards the motive for doing those acts. Now the motive for giving alms is to relieve one who is in need. Wherefore some have defined alms as being "a deed whereby something is given to the needy, out of compassion and for God's sake," which motive belongs to mercy, as stated above (Question [30], Articles [1],2). Hence it is clear that almsgiving is, properly speaking, an act of mercy. This appears in its very name, for in Greek {eleemosyne} it is derived from having mercy {eleein} even as the Latin "miseratio" is. And since mercy is an effect of charity, as shown above (Question [30], Article [2], Article [3], Objection [3]), it follows that almsgiving is an act of charity through the medium of mercy.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod aliquid dicitur esse actus virtutis dupliciter. Uno modo, materialiter, sicut actus iustitiae est facere iusta. Et talis actus virtutis potest esse sine virtute, multi enim non habentes habitum iustitiae iusta operantur, vel ex naturali ratione, vel ex timore sive ex spe aliquid adipiscendi. Alio modo dicitur esse aliquid actus virtutis formaliter, sicut actus iustitiae est actio iusta eo modo quo iustus facit, scilicet prompte et delectabiliter. Et hoc modo actus virtutis non est sine virtute. Reply to Objection 1: An act of virtue may be taken in two ways: first materially, thus an act of justice is to do what is just; and such an act of virtue can be without the virtue, since many, without having the habit of justice, do what is just, led by the natural light of reason, or through fear, or in the hope of gain. Secondly, we speak of a thing being an act of justice formally, and thus an act of justice is to do what is just, in the same way as a just man, i.e. with readiness and delight, and such an act of virtue cannot be without the virtue.
Secundum hoc ergo dare eleemosynas materialiter potest esse sine caritate, formaliter autem eleemosynas dare, idest propter Deum, delectabiliter et prompte et omni eo modo quo debet, non est sine caritate. Accordingly almsgiving can be materially without charity, but to give alms formally, i.e. for God's sake, with delight and readiness, and altogether as one ought, is not possible without charity.
Ad secundum dicendum quod nihil prohibet actum qui est proprie unius virtutis elicitive, attribui alteri virtuti sicut imperanti et ordinanti ad suum finem. Et hoc modo dare eleemosynam ponitur inter opera satisfactoria, inquantum miseratio in defectum patientis ordinatur ad satisfaciendum pro culpa. Secundum autem quod ordinatur ad placandum Deum, habet rationem sacrificii, et sic imperatur a latria. Reply to Objection 2: Nothing hinders the proper elicited act of one virtue being commanded by another virtue as commanding it and directing it to this other virtue's end. It is in this way that almsgiving is reckoned among works of satisfaction in so far as pity for the one in distress is directed to the satisfaction for his sin; and in so far as it is directed to placate God, it has the character of a sacrifice, and thus it is commanded by religion.
Unde patet responsio ad tertium. Wherefore the Reply to the Third Objection is evident.
Ad quartum dicendum quod dare eleemosynam pertinet ad liberalitatem inquantum liberalitas aufert impedimentum huius actus, quod esse posset ex superfluo amore divitiarum, propter quem aliquis efficitur nimis retentivus earum. Reply to Objection 4: Almsgiving belongs to liberality, in so far as liberality removes an obstacle to that act, which might arise from excessive love of riches, the result of which is that one clings to them more than one ought.

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Whether the different kinds of almsdeeds are suitably enumerated?

Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod inconvenienter eleemosynarum genera distinguantur. Ponuntur enim septem eleemosynae corporales, scilicet pascere esurientem, potare sitientem, vestire nudum, recolligere hospitem, visitare infirmum, redimere captivum, et sepelire mortuum; quae in hoc versu continentur, visito, poto, cibo, redimo, tego, colligo, condo. Objection 1: It would seem that the different kinds of almsdeeds are unsuitably enumerated. For we reckon seven corporal almsdeeds, namely, to feed the hungry, to give drink to the thirsty, to clothe the naked, to harbor the harborless, to visit the sick, to ransom the captive, to bury the dead; all of which are expressed in the following verse: "To visit, to quench, to feed, to ransom, clothe, harbor or bury."
Ponuntur etiam aliae septem eleemosynae spirituales, scilicet docere ignorantem, consulere dubitanti, consolari tristem, corrigere peccantem, remittere offendenti, portare onerosos et graves, et pro omnibus orare; quae etiam in hoc versu continentur, consule, castiga, solare, remitte, fer, ora; ita tamen quod sub eodem intelligatur consilium et doctrina. Again we reckon seven spiritual alms, namely, to instruct the ignorant, to counsel the doubtful, to comfort the sorrowful, to reprove the sinner, to forgive injuries, to bear with those who trouble and annoy us, and to pray for all, which are all contained in the following verse: "To counsel, reprove, console, to pardon, forbear, and to pray," yet so that counsel includes both advice and instruction.
Videtur autem quod inconvenienter huiusmodi eleemosynae distinguantur. Eleemosyna enim ordinatur ad subveniendum proximo. Sed per hoc quod proximus sepelitur, in nullo ei subvenitur, alioquin non esset verum quod dominus dicit, Matth. X, nolite timere eos qui occidunt corpus, et post hoc non habent amplius quid faciant. Unde et dominus, Matth. XXV, commemorans misericordiae opera, de sepultura mortuorum mentionem non facit. Ergo videtur quod inconvenienter huiusmodi eleemosynae distinguantur. And it seems that these various almsdeeds are unsuitably enumerated. For the purpose of almsdeeds is to succor our neighbor. But a dead man profits nothing by being buried, else Our Lord would not have spoken truly when He said (Mt. 10:28): "Be not afraid of them who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do." [*The quotation is from Lk. 12:4.] This explains why Our Lord, in enumerating the works of mercy, made no mention of the burial of the dead (Mt. 25:35,36). Therefore it seems that these almsdeeds are unsuitably enumerated.
Praeterea, eleemosyna datur ad subveniendum necessitatibus proximi, sicut dictum est. Sed multae aliae sunt necessitates humanae vitae quam praedictae, sicut quod caecus indiget ductore, claudus sustentatione, pauper divitiis. Ergo inconvenienter praedictae eleemosynae enumerantur. Objection 2: Further, as stated above (Article [1]), the purpose of giving alms is to relieve our neighbor's need. Now there are many needs of human life other than those mentioned above, for instance, a blind man needs a leader, a lame man needs someone to lean on, a poor man needs riches. Therefore these almsdeeds are unsuitably enumerated.
Praeterea, dare eleemosynam est actus misericordiae. Sed corrigere delinquentem magis videtur ad severitatem pertinere quam ad misericordiam. Ergo non debet computari inter eleemosynas spirituales. Objection 3: Further, almsgiving is a work of mercy. But the reproof of the wrong-doer savors, apparently, of severity rather than of mercy. Therefore it ought not to be reckoned among the spiritual almsdeeds.
Praeterea, eleemosyna ordinatur ad subveniendum defectui. Sed nullus est homo qui defectum ignorantiae non patiatur in aliquibus. Ergo videtur quod quilibet debeat quemlibet docere, si ignoret id quod ipse scit. Objection 4: Further, almsgiving is intended for the supply of a defect. But no man is without the defect of ignorance in some matter or other. Therefore, apparently, each one ought to instruct anyone who is ignorant of what he knows himself.
Sed contra est quod Gregorius dicit, in quadam homilia, habens intellectum curet omnino ne taceat; habens rerum affluentiam vigilet ne a misericordiae largitate torpescat; habens artem qua regitur magnopere studeat ut usum atque utilitatem illius cum proximo partiatur; habens loquendi locum apud divitem damnationem pro retento talento timeat si, cum valet, non apud eum pro pauperibus intercedat. Ergo praedictae eleemosynae convenienter distinguuntur secundum ea in quibus homines abundant et deficiunt. On the contrary, Gregory says (Nom. in Evang. ix): "Let him that hath understanding beware lest he withhold his knowledge; let him that hath abundance of wealth, watch lest he slacken his merciful bounty; let him who is a servant to art be most solicitous to share his skill and profit with his neighbor; let him who has an opportunity of speaking with the wealthy, fear lest he be condemned for retaining his talent, if when he has the chance he plead not with him the cause of the poor." Therefore the aforesaid almsdeeds are suitably enumerated in respect of those things whereof men have abundance or insufficiency.
Respondeo dicendum quod praedicta eleemosynarum distinctio convenienter sumitur secundum diversos defectus proximorum. Quorum quidam sunt ex parte animae, ad quos ordinantur spirituales eleemosynae; quidam vero ex parte corporis, ad quos ordinantur eleemosynae corporales. Defectus enim corporalis aut est in vita, aut est post vitam. Si quidem est in vita, aut est communis defectus respectu eorum quibus omnes indigent; aut est specialis propter aliquod accidens superveniens. Si primo modo, aut defectus est interior, aut exterior. Interior quidem est duplex, unus quidem cui subvenitur per alimentum siccum, scilicet fames, et secundum hoc ponitur pascere esurientem; alius autem est cui subvenitur per alimentum humidum, scilicet sitis, et secundum hoc dicitur potare sitientem. Defectus autem communis respectu exterioris auxilii est duplex, unus respectu tegumenti, et quantum ad hoc ponitur vestire nudum; alius est respectu habitaculi, et quantum ad hoc est suscipere hospitem. Similiter autem si sit defectus aliquis specialis, aut est ex causa intrinseca, sicut infirmitas, et quantum ad hoc ponitur visitare infirmum, aut ex causa extrinseca, et quantum ad hoc ponitur redemptio captivorum. Post vitam autem exhibetur mortuis sepultura. I answer that, The aforesaid distinction of almsdeeds is suitably taken from the various needs of our neighbor: some of which affect the soul, and are relieved by spiritual almsdeeds, while others affect the body, and are relieved by corporal almsdeeds. For corporal need occurs either during this life or afterwards. If it occurs during this life, it is either a common need in respect of things needed by all, or it is a special need occurring through some accident supervening. In the first case, the need is either internal or external. Internal need is twofold: one which is relieved by solid food, viz. hunger, in respect of which we have "to feed the hungry"; while the other is relieved by liquid food, viz. thirst, and in respect of this we have "to give drink to the thirsty." The common need with regard to external help is twofold; one in respect of clothing, and as to this we have "to clothe the naked": while the other is in respect of a dwelling place, and as to this we have "to harbor the harborless." Again if the need be special, it is either the result of an internal cause, like sickness, and then we have "to visit the sick," or it results from an external cause, and then we have "to ransom the captive." After this life we give "burial to the dead."
Similiter autem spiritualibus defectibus spiritualibus actibus subvenitur dupliciter. Uno modo, poscendo auxilium a Deo, et quantum ad hoc ponitur oratio, qua quis pro aliis orat. Alio modo, impendendo humanum auxilium, et hoc tripliciter. Uno modo, contra defectum intellectus, et si quidem sit defectus speculativi intellectus, adhibetur ei remedium per doctrinam; si autem practici intellectus, adhibetur ei remedium per consilium. Alio modo est defectus ex passione appetitivae virtutis, inter quos est maximus tristitia, cui subvenitur per consolationem. Tertio modo, ex parte inordinati actus, qui quidem tripliciter considerari potest. Uno modo, ex parte ipsius peccantis, inquantum procedit ab eius inordinata voluntate, et sic adhibetur remedium per correctionem. Alio modo, ex parte eius in quem peccatur, et sic, si quidem sit peccatum in nos, remedium adhibemus remittendo offensam; si autem sit in Deum vel in proximum, non est nostri arbitrii remittere, ut Hieronymus dicit, super Matth. Tertio modo, ex parte sequelae ipsius actus inordinati, ex qua gravantur ei conviventes, etiam praeter peccantis intentionem, et sic remedium adhibetur supportando; maxime in his qui ex infirmitate peccant, secundum illud Rom. XV, debemus nos firmiores infirmitates aliorum portare. Et non solum secundum quod infirmi sunt graves ex inordinatis actibus, sed etiam quaecumque eorum onera sunt supportanda, secundum illud Galat. VI, alter alterius onera portate. In like manner spiritual needs are relieved by spiritual acts in two ways, first by asking for help from God, and in this respect we have "prayer," whereby one man prays for others; secondly, by giving human assistance, and this in three ways. First, in order to relieve a deficiency on the part of the intellect, and if this deficiency be in the speculative intellect, the remedy is applied by "instructing," and if in the practical intellect, the remedy is applied by "counselling." Secondly, there may be a deficiency on the part of the appetitive power, especially by way of sorrow, which is remedied by "comforting." Thirdly, the deficiency may be due to an inordinate act; and this may be the subject of a threefold consideration. First, in respect of the sinner, inasmuch as the sin proceeds from his inordinate will, and thus the remedy takes the form of "reproof." Secondly, in respect of the person sinned against; and if the sin be committed against ourselves, we apply the remedy by "pardoning the injury," while, if it be committed against God or our neighbor, it is not in our power to pardon, as Jerome observes (Super Matth. xviii, 15). Thirdly, in respect of the result of the inordinate act, on account of which the sinner is an annoyance to those who live with him, even beside his intention; in which case the remedy is applied by "bearing with him," especially with regard to those who sin out of weakness, according to Rm. 15:1: "We that are stronger, ought to bear the infirmities of the weak," and not only as regards their being infirm and consequently troublesome on account of their unruly actions, but also by bearing any other burdens of theirs with them, according to Gal. 6:2: "Bear ye one another's burdens."
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod sepultura mortui non confert ei quantum ad sensum quem corpus post mortem habeat. Et secundum hoc dominus dicit quod interficientes corpus non habent amplius quid faciant. Et propter hoc etiam dominus non commemorat sepulturam inter alia misericordiae opera, sed numerat solum illa quae sunt evidentioris necessitatis. Pertinet tamen ad defunctum quid de eius corpore agatur, tum quantum ad hoc quod vivit in memoriis hominum, cuius honor dehonestatur si insepultus remaneat; tum etiam quantum ad affectum quem adhuc vivens habebat de suo corpore, cui piorum affectus conformari debet post mortem ipsius. Et secundum hoc aliqui commendantur de mortuorum sepultura, ut Tobias et illi qui dominum sepelierunt; ut patet per Augustinum, in libro de cura pro mortuis agenda. Reply to Objection 1: Burial does not profit a dead man as though his body could be capable of perception after death. In this sense Our Lord said that those who kill the body "have no more that they can do"; and for this reason He did not mention the burial of the dead with the other works of mercy, but those only which are more clearly necessary. Nevertheless it does concern the deceased what is done with his body: both that he may live in the memory of man whose respect he forfeits if he remain without burial, and as regards a man's fondness for his own body while he was yet living, a fondness which kindly persons should imitate after his death. It is thus that some are praised for burying the dead, as Tobias, and those who buried Our Lord; as Augustine says (De Cura pro Mort. iii).
Ad secundum dicendum quod omnes aliae necessitates ad has reducuntur. Nam et caecitas et claudicatio sunt infirmitates quaedam, unde dirigere caecum et sustentare claudum reducitur ad visitationem infirmorum. Similiter etiam subvenire homini contra quamcumque oppressionem illatam extrinsecus reducitur ad redemptionem captivorum. Divitiae autem, quibus paupertati subvenitur, non quaeruntur nisi ad subveniendum praedictis defectibus, et ideo non fuit specialis mentio de hoc defectu facienda. Reply to Objection 2: All other needs are reduced to these, for blindness and lameness are kinds of sickness, so that to lead the blind, and to support the lame, come to the same as visiting the sick. In like manner to assist a man against any distress that is due to an extrinsic cause comes to the same as the ransom of captives. And the wealth with which we relieve the poor is sought merely for the purpose of relieving the aforesaid needs: hence there was no reason for special mention of this particular need.
Ad tertium dicendum quod correctio peccantium, quantum ad ipsam executionem actus, severitatem iustitiae continere videtur. Sed quantum ad intentionem corrigentis, qui vult hominem a malo culpae liberare, pertinet ad misericordiam et dilectionis affectum, secundum illud Prov. XXVII, meliora sunt verbera diligentis quam fraudulenta oscula odientis. Reply to Objection 3: The reproof of the sinner, as to the exercise of the act of reproving, seems to imply the severity of justice, but, as to the intention of the reprover, who wishes to free a man from the evil of sin, it is an act of mercy and lovingkindness, according to Prov. 27:6: "Better are the wounds of a friend, than the deceitful kisses of an enemy."
Ad quartum dicendum quod non quaelibet nescientia pertinet ad hominis defectum, sed solum ea qua quis nescit ea quae convenit eum scire, cui defectui per doctrinam subvenire ad eleemosynam pertinet. In quo tamen observandae sunt debitae circumstantiae personae et loci et temporis, sicut et in aliis actibus virtuosis. Reply to Objection 4: Nescience is not always a defect, but only when it is about what one ought to know, and it is a part of almsgiving to supply this defect by instruction. In doing this however we should observe the due circumstances of persons, place and time, even as in other virtuous acts.

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Whether corporal alms are of more account than spiritual alms?

Ad tertium sic proceditur. Videtur quod eleemosynae corporales sint potiores quam spirituales. Laudabilius enim est magis indigenti eleemosynam facere, ex hoc enim eleemosyna laudem habet quod indigenti subvenit. Sed corpus, cui subvenitur per eleemosynas corporales, est indigentioris naturae quam spiritus, cui subvenitur per eleemosynas spirituales. Ergo eleemosynae corporales sunt potiores. Objection 1: It would seem that corporal alms are of more account than spiritual alms. For it is more praiseworthy to give an alms to one who is in greater want, since an almsdeed is to be praised because it relieves one who is in need. Now the body which is relieved by corporal alms, is by nature more needy than the spirit which is relieved by spiritual alms. Therefore corporal alms are of more account.
Praeterea, recompensatio beneficii laudem et meritum eleemosynae minuit, unde et dominus dicit, Luc. XIV, cum facis prandium aut cenam, noli vocare vicinos divites, ne forte et ipsi te reinvitent. Sed in eleemosynis spiritualibus semper est recompensatio, quia qui orat pro alio sibi proficit, secundum illud Psalm., oratio mea in sinu meo convertetur; qui etiam alium docet, ipse in scientia proficit. Quod non contingit in eleemosynis corporalibus. Ergo eleemosynae corporales sunt potiores quam spirituales. Objection 2: Further, an alms is less praiseworthy and meritorious if the kindness is compensated, wherefore Our Lord says (Lk. 14:12): "When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy neighbors who are rich, lest perhaps they also invite thee again. Now there is always compensation in spiritual almsdeeds, since he who prays for another, profits thereby, according to Ps. 34:13: "My prayer shall be turned into my bosom: and he who teaches another, makes progress in knowledge, which cannot be said of corporal almsdeeds. Therefore corporal almsdeeds are of more account than spiritual almsdeeds.
Praeterea, ad laudem eleemosynae pertinet quod pauper ex eleemosyna data consoletur, unde Iob XXXI dicitur, si non benedixerunt mihi latera eius; et ad Philemonem dicit apostolus, viscera sanctorum requieverunt per te, frater. Sed quandoque magis est grata pauperi eleemosyna corporalis quam spiritualis. Ergo eleemosyna corporalis potior est quam spiritualis. Objection 3: Further, an alms is to be commended if the needy one is comforted by it: wherefore it is written (Job 31:20): "If his sides have not blessed me," and the Apostle says to Philemon (verse 7): "The bowels of the saints have been refreshed by thee, brother." Now a corporal alms is sometimes more welcome to a needy man than a spiritual alms. Therefore bodily almsdeeds are of more account than spiritual almsdeeds.
Sed contra est quod Augustinus, in libro de Serm. Dom. in monte, super illud, qui petit a te, da ei, dicit, dandum est quod nec tibi nec alteri noceat, et cum negaveris quod petit, indicanda est iustitia, ut non eum inanem dimittas. Et aliquando melius aliquid dabis, cum iniuste petentem correxeris. Correctio autem est eleemosyna spiritualis. Ergo spirituales eleemosynae sunt corporalibus praeferendae. On the contrary, Augustine says (De Serm. Dom. in Monte i, 20) on the words, "Give to him that asketh of thee" (Mt. 5:42): "You should give so as to injure neither yourself nor another, and when you refuse what another asks you must not lose sight of the claims of justice, and send him away empty; at times indeed you will give what is better than what is asked for, if you reprove him that asks unjustly." Now reproof is a spiritual alms. Therefore spiritual almsdeeds are preferable to corporal almsdeeds.
Respondeo dicendum quod comparatio istarum eleemosynarum potest attendi dupliciter. Uno modo, simpliciter loquendo, et secundum hoc eleemosynae spirituales praeeminent, triplici ratione. Primo quidem quia id quod exhibetur nobilius est, scilicet donum spirituale, quod praeeminet corporali, secundum illud Prov. IV, donum bonum tribuam vobis, legem meam ne derelinquatis. Secundo, ratione eius cui subvenitur, quia spiritus nobilior est corpore. Unde sicut homo sibi ipsi magis debet providere quantum ad spiritum quam quantum ad corpus, ita et proximo, quem debet tanquam seipsum diligere. Tertio, quantum ad ipsos actus quibus subvenitur proximo, quia spirituales actus sunt nobiliores corporalibus, qui sunt quodammodo serviles. I answer that, There are two ways of comparing these almsdeeds. First, simply; and in this respect, spiritual almsdeeds hold the first place, for three reasons. First, because the offering is more excellent, since it is a spiritual gift, which surpasses a corporal gift, according to Prov. 4:2: "I will give you a good gift, forsake not My Law." Secondly, on account of the object succored, because the spirit is more excellent than the body, wherefore, even as a man in looking after himself, ought to look to his soul more than to his body, so ought he in looking after his neighbor, whom he ought to love as himself. Thirdly, as regards the acts themselves by which our neighbor is succored, because spiritual acts are more excellent than corporal acts, which are, in a fashion, servile.
Alio modo possunt comparari secundum aliquem particularem casum, in quo quaedam corporalis eleemosyna alicui spirituali praefertur. Puta, magis esset pascendum fame morientem quam docendum, sicut et indigenti, secundum philosophum, melius est ditari quam philosophari, quamvis hoc sit simpliciter melius. Secondly, we may compare them with regard to some particular case, when some corporal alms excels some spiritual alms: for instance, a man in hunger is to be fed rather than instructed, and as the Philosopher observes (Topic. iii, 2), for a needy man "money is better than philosophy," although the latter is better simply.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod dare magis indigenti melius est, ceteris paribus. Sed si minus indigens sit melior, et melioribus indigeat, dare ei melius est. Et sic est in proposito. Reply to Objection 1: It is better to give to one who is in greater want, other things being equal, but if he who is less needy is better, and is in want of better things, it is better to give to him: and it is thus in the case in point.
Ad secundum dicendum quod recompensatio non minuit meritum et laudem eleemosynae si non sit intenta, sicut etiam humana gloria, si non sit intenta, non minuit rationem virtutis; sicut et de Catone Sallustius dicit quod quo magis gloriam fugiebat, eo magis eum gloria sequebatur. Et ita contingit in eleemosynis spiritualibus. Reply to Objection 2: Compensation does not detract from merit and praise if it be not intended, even as human glory, if not intended, does not detract from virtue. Thus Sallust says of Cato (Catilin.), that "the less he sought fame, the more he became famous": and thus it is with spiritual almsdeeds.
Et tamen intentio bonorum spiritualium non minuit meritum, sicut intentio bonorum corporalium. Nevertheless the intention of gaining spiritual goods does not detract from merit, as the intention of gaining corporal goods.
Ad tertium dicendum quod meritum dantis eleemosynam attenditur secundum id in quo debet rationabiliter requiescere voluntas accipientis, non in eo in quo requiescit si sit inordinata. Reply to Objection 3: The merit of an almsgiver depends on that in which the will of the recipient rests reasonably, and not on that in which it rests when it is inordinate.

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Whether corporal almsdeeds have a spiritual effect?

Ad quartum sic proceditur. Videtur quod eleemosynae corporales non habeant effectum spiritualem. Effectus enim non est potior sua causa. Sed bona spiritualia sunt potiora corporalibus. Non ergo eleemosynae corporales habent spirituales effectus. Objection 1: It would seem that corporal almsdeeds have not a spiritual effect. For no effect exceeds its cause. But spiritual goods exceed corporal goods. Therefore corporal almsdeeds have no spiritual effect.
Praeterea, dare corporale pro spirituali vitium simoniae est. Sed hoc vitium est omnino vitandum. Non ergo sunt dandae eleemosynae ad consequendum spirituales effectus. Objection 2: Further, the sin of simony consists in giving the corporal for the spiritual, and it is to be utterly avoided. Therefore one ought not to give alms in order to receive a spiritual effect.
Praeterea, multiplicata causa, multiplicatur effectus. Si igitur eleemosyna corporalis causaret spiritualem effectum, sequeretur quod maior eleemosyna magis spiritualiter proficeret. Quod est contra illud quod legitur Luc. XXI de vidua mittente duo aera minuta in gazophylacium, quae, secundum sententiam domini, plus omnibus misit. Non ergo eleemosyna corporalis habet spiritualem effectum. Objection 3: Further, to multiply the cause is to multiply the effect. If therefore corporal almsdeeds cause a spiritual effect, the greater the alms, the greater the spiritual profit, which is contrary to what we read (Lk. 21:3) of the widow who cast two brass mites into the treasury, and in Our Lord's own words "cast in more than... all." Therefore bodily almsdeeds have no spiritual effect.
Sed contra est quod dicitur Eccli. XXIX, eleemosyna viri gratiam hominis quasi pupillam conservabit. On the contrary, It is written (Ecclus. 17:18): "The alms of a man... shall preserve the grace of a man as the apple of the eye."
Respondeo dicendum quod eleemosyna corporalis tripliciter potest considerari. Uno modo, secundum suam substantiam. Et secundum hoc non habet nisi corporalem effectum, inquantum scilicet supplet corporales defectus proximorum. I answer that, Corporal almsdeeds may be considered in three ways. First, with regard to their substance, and in this way they have merely a corporal effect, inasmuch as they supply our neighbor's corporal needs.
Alio modo potest considerari ex parte causae eius, inquantum scilicet aliquis eleemosynam corporalem dat propter dilectionem Dei et proximi. Et quantum ad hoc affert fructum spiritualem, secundum illud Eccli. XXIX, perde pecuniam propter fratrem. Pone thesaurum in praeceptis altissimi, et proderit tibi magis quam aurum. Secondly, they may be considered with regard to their cause, in so far as a man gives a corporal alms out of love for God and his neighbor, and in this respect they bring forth a spiritual fruit, according to Ecclus. 29:13, 14: "Lose thy money for thy brother... place thy treasure in the commandments of the Most High, and it shall bring thee more profit than gold."
Tertio modo, ex parte effectus. Et sic etiam habet spiritualem fructum, inquantum scilicet proximus, cui per corporalem eleemosynam subvenitur, movetur ad orandum pro benefactore. Unde et ibidem subditur, conclude eleemosynam in sinu pauperis, et haec pro te exorabit ab omni malo. Thirdly, with regard to the effect, and in this way again, they have a spiritual fruit, inasmuch as our neighbor, who is succored by a corporal alms, is moved to pray for his benefactor; wherefore the above text goes on (Ecclus. 29:15): "Shut up alms in the heart of the poor, and it shall obtain help for thee from all evil."
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod ratio illa procedit de corporali eleemosyna secundum suam substantiam. Reply to Objection 1: This argument considers corporal almsdeeds as to their substance.
Ad secundum dicendum quod ille qui dat eleemosynam non intendit emere aliquid spirituale per corporale, quia scit spiritualia in infinitum corporalibus praeeminere, sed intendit per caritatis affectum spiritualem fructum promereri. Reply to Objection 2: He who gives an alms does rot intend to buy a spiritual thing with a corporal thing, for he knows that spiritual things infinitely surpass corporal things, but he intends to merit a spiritual fruit through the love of charity.
Ad tertium dicendum quod vidua, quae minus dedit secundum quantitatem, plus dedit secundum suam proportionem; ex quo pensatur in ipsa maior caritatis affectus, ex qua corporalis eleemosyna spiritualem efficaciam habet. Reply to Objection 3: The widow who gave less in quantity, gave more in proportion; and thus we gather that the fervor of her charity, whence corporal almsdeeds derive their spiritual efficacy, was greater.

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Whether almsgiving is a matter of precept?

Ad quintum sic proceditur. Videtur quod dare eleemosynam non sit in praecepto. Consilia enim a praeceptis distinguuntur. Sed dare eleemosynam est consilium, secundum illud Dan. IV, consilium meum regi placeat, peccata tua eleemosynis redime. Ergo dare eleemosynam non est in praecepto. Objection 1: It would seem that almsgiving is not a matter of precept. For the counsels are distinct from the precepts. Now almsgiving is a matter of counsel, according to Dan. 4:24: "Let my counsel be acceptable to the King; [Vulg.: 'to thee, and'] redeem thou thy sins with alms." Therefore almsgiving is not a matter of precept.
Praeterea, cuilibet licet sua re uti et eam retinere. Sed retinendo rem suam aliquis eleemosynam non dabit. Ergo licitum est eleemosynam non dare. Non ergo dare eleemosynam est in praecepto. Objection 2: Further, it is lawful for everyone to use and to keep what is his own. Yet by keeping it he will not give alms. Therefore it is lawful not to give alms: and consequently almsgiving is not a matter of precept.
Praeterea, omne quod cadit sub praecepto aliquo tempore obligat transgressores ad peccatum mortale, quia praecepta affirmativa obligant pro tempore determinato. Si ergo dare eleemosynam caderet sub praecepto, esset determinare aliquod tempus in quo homo peccaret mortaliter nisi eleemosynam daret. Sed hoc non videtur, quia semper probabiliter aestimari potest quod pauperi aliter subveniri possit; et quod id quod est in eleemosynas erogandum possit ei esse necessarium vel in praesenti vel in futuro. Ergo videtur quod dare eleemosynam non sit in praecepto. Objection 3: Further, whatever is a matter of precept binds the transgressor at some time or other under pain of mortal sin, because positive precepts are binding for some fixed time. Therefore, if almsgiving were a matter of precept, it would be possible to point to some fixed time when a man would commit a mortal sin unless he gave an alms. But it does not appear how this can be so, because it can always be deemed probable that the person in need can be relieved in some other way, and that what we would spend in almsgiving might be needful to ourselves either now or in some future time. Therefore it seems that almsgiving is not a matter of precept.
Praeterea, omnia praecepta reducuntur ad praecepta Decalogi. Sed inter illa praecepta nihil continetur de datione eleemosynarum. Ergo dare eleemosynas non est in praecepto. Objection 4: Further, every commandment is reducible to the precepts of the Decalogue. But these precepts contain no reference to almsgiving. Therefore almsgiving is not a matter of precept.
Sed contra, nullus punitur poena aeterna pro omissione alicuius quod non cadit sub praecepto. Sed aliqui puniuntur poena aeterna pro omissione eleemosynarum; ut patet Matth. XXV. Ergo dare eleemosynam est in praecepto. On the contrary, No man is punished eternally for omitting to do what is not a matter of precept. But some are punished eternally for omitting to give alms, as is clear from Mt. 25:41-43. Therefore almsgiving is a matter of precept.
Respondeo dicendum quod cum dilectio proximi sit in praecepto, necesse est omnia illa cadere sub praecepto sine quibus dilectio proximi non conservatur. Ad dilectionem autem proximi pertinet ut proximo non solum velimus bonum, sed etiam operemur, secundum illud I Ioan. III, non diligamus verbo neque lingua, sed opere et veritate. Ad hoc autem quod velimus et operemur bonum alicuius requiritur quod eius necessitati subveniamus, quod fit per eleemosynarum largitionem. Et ideo eleemosynarum largitio est in praecepto. I answer that, As love of our neighbor is a matter of precept, whatever is a necessary condition to the love of our neighbor is a matter of precept also. Now the love of our neighbor requires that not only should we be our neighbor's well-wishers, but also his well-doers, according to 1 Jn. 3:18: "Let us not love in word, nor in tongue, but in deed, and in truth." And in order to be a person's well-wisher and well-doer, we ought to succor his needs: this is done by almsgiving. Therefore almsgiving is a matter of precept.
Sed quia praecepta dantur de actibus virtutum, necesse est quod hoc modo donum eleemosynae cadat sub praecepto, secundum quod actus est de necessitate virtutis, scilicet secundum quod recta ratio requirit. Secundum quam est aliquid considerandum ex parte dantis; et aliquid ex parte eius cui est eleemosyna danda. Ex parte quidem dantis considerandum est ut id quod est in eleemosynas erogandum sit ei superfluum, secundum illud Luc. XI, quod superest date eleemosynam. Et dico superfluum non solum respectu sui ipsius, quod est supra id quod est necessarium individuo; sed etiam respectu aliorum quorum cura sibi incumbit, quia prius oportet quod unusquisque sibi provideat et his quorum cura ei incumbit (respectu quorum dicitur necessarium personae secundum quod persona dignitatem importat), et postea de residuo aliorum necessitatibus subveniatur sicut et natura primo accipit sibi, ad sustentationem proprii corporis, quod est necessarium ministerio virtutis nutritivae; superfluum autem erogat ad generationem alterius per virtutem generativam. Since, however, precepts are about acts of virtue, it follows that all almsgiving must be a matter of precept, in so far as it is necessary to virtue, namely, in so far as it is demanded by right reason. Now right reason demands that we should take into consideration something on the part of the giver, and something on the part of the recipient. On the part of the giver, it must be noted that he should give of his surplus, according to Lk. 11:41: "That which remaineth, give alms." This surplus is to be taken in reference not only to himself, so as to denote what is unnecessary to the individual, but also in reference to those of whom he has charge (in which case we have the expression "necessary to the person" [*The official necessities of a person in position] taking the word "person" as expressive of dignity). Because each one must first of all look after himself and then after those over whom he has charge, and afterwards with what remains relieve the needs of others. Thus nature first, by its nutritive power, takes what it requires for the upkeep of one's own body, and afterwards yields the residue for the formation of another by the power of generation.
Ex parte autem recipientis requiritur quod necessitatem habeat, alioquin non esset ratio quare eleemosyna ei daretur. Sed cum non possit ab aliquo uno omnibus necessitatem habentibus subveniri, non omnis necessitas obligat ad praeceptum, sed illa sola sine qua is qui necessitatem patitur sustentari non potest. In illo enim casu locum habet quod Ambrosius dicit, pasce fame morientem. Si non paveris, occidisti. Sic igitur dare eleemosynam de superfluo est in praecepto; et dare eleemosynam ei qui est in extrema necessitate. Alias autem eleemosynam dare est in consilio, sicut et de quolibet meliori bono dantur consilia. On the part of the recipient it is requisite that he should be in need, else there would be no reason for giving him alms: yet since it is not possible for one individual to relieve the needs of all, we are not bound to relieve all who are in need, but only those who could not be succored if we not did succor them. For in such cases the words of Ambrose apply, "Feed him that dies of hunger: if thou hast not fed him, thou hast slain him" [*Cf. Canon Pasce, dist. lxxxvi, whence the words, as quoted, are taken]. Accordingly we are bound to give alms of our surplus, as also to give alms to one whose need is extreme: otherwise almsgiving, like any other greater good, is a matter of counsel.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod Daniel loquebatur regi qui non erat legi Dei subiectus. Et ideo ea etiam quae pertinent ad praeceptum legis, quam non profitebatur, erant ei proponenda per modum consilii. Vel potest dici quod loquebatur in casu illo in quo dare eleemosynam non est in praecepto. Reply to Objection 1: Daniel spoke to a king who was not subject to God's Law, wherefore such things as were prescribed by the Law which he did not profess, had to be counselled to him. Or he may have been speaking in reference to a case in which almsgiving was not a matter of precept.
Ad secundum dicendum quod bona temporalia, quae homini divinitus conferuntur, eius quidem sunt quantum ad proprietatem, sed quantum ad usum non solum debent esse eius, sed etiam aliorum, qui ex eis sustentari possunt ex eo quod ei superfluit. Unde Basilius dicit, si fateris ea tibi divinitus provenisse (scilicet temporalia bona) an iniustus est Deus inaequaliter res nobis distribuens? Cur tu abundas, ille vero mendicat, nisi ut tu bonae dispensationis merita consequaris, ille vero patientiae braviis decoretur? Est panis famelici quem tu tenes, nudi tunica quam in conclavi conservas, discalceati calceus qui penes te marcescit, indigentis argentum quod possides inhumatum. Quocirca tot iniuriaris quot dare valeres. Et hoc idem dicit Ambrosius, in Decret., dist. XLVII. Reply to Objection 2: The temporal goods which God grants us, are ours as to the ownership, but as to the use of them, they belong not to us alone but also to such others as we are able to succor out of what we have over and above our needs. Hence Basil says [*Hom. super Luc. xii, 18]: "If you acknowledge them," viz. your temporal goods, "as coming from God, is He unjust because He apportions them unequally? Why are you rich while another is poor, unless it be that you may have the merit of a good stewardship, and he the reward of patience? It is the hungry man's bread that you withhold, the naked man's cloak that you have stored away, the shoe of the barefoot that you have left to rot, the money of the needy that you have buried underground: and so you injure as many as you might help." Ambrose expresses himself in the same way.
Ad tertium dicendum quod est aliquod tempus dare in quo mortaliter peccat si eleemosynam dare omittat, ex parte quidem recipientis, cum apparet evidens et urgens necessitas, nec apparet in promptu qui ei subveniat; ex parte vero dantis, cum habet superflua quae secundum statum praesentem non sunt sibi necessaria, prout probabiliter aestimari potest. Nec oportet quod consideret ad omnes casus qui possunt contingere in futurum, hoc enim esset de crastino cogitare, quod dominus prohibet, Matth. VI. Sed debet diiudicari superfluum et necessarium secundum ea quae probabiliter et ut in pluribus occurrunt. Reply to Objection 3: There is a time when we sin mortally if we omit to give alms; on the part of the recipient when we see that his need is evident and urgent, and that he is not likely to be succored otherwise—on the part of the giver, when he has superfluous goods, which he does not need for the time being, as far as he can judge with probability. Nor need he consider every case that may possibly occur in the future, for this would be to think about the morrow, which Our Lord forbade us to do (Mt. 6:34), but he should judge what is superfluous and what necessary, according as things probably and generally occur.
Ad quartum dicendum quod omnis subventio proximi reducitur ad praeceptum de honoratione parentum. Sic enim et apostolus interpretatur, I ad Tim. IV, dicens, pietas ad omnia utilis est, promissionem habens vitae quae nunc est et futurae, quod dicit quia in praecepto de honoratione parentum additur promissio, ut sis longaevus super terram. Sub pietate autem comprehenditur omnis eleemosynarum largitio. Reply to Objection 4: All succor given to our neighbor is reduced to the precept about honoring our parents. For thus does the Apostle interpret it (1 Tim. 4:8) where he says: "Dutifulness* [Douay: 'Godliness'] is profitable to all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come," and he says this because the precept about honoring our parents contains the promise, "that thou mayest be longlived upon the land" (Ex. 20:12): and dutifulness comprises all kinds of almsgiving. [*"Pietas," whence our English word "Piety." Cf. also inf. Question [101], Article [2].]

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Whether one ought to give alms out of what one needs?

Ad sextum sic proceditur. Videtur quod aliquis non debeat eleemosynam dare de necessario. Ordo enim caritatis non minus attenditur penes effectum beneficii quam penes interiorem affectum. Peccat autem qui praepostere agit in ordine caritatis, quia ordo caritatis est in praecepto. Cum ergo ex ordine caritatis plus debeat aliquis se quam proximum diligere, videtur quod peccet si subtrahat sibi necessaria ut alteri largiatur. Objection 1: It would seem that one ought not to give alms out of what one needs. For the order of charity should be observed not only as regards the effect of our benefactions but also as regards our interior affections. Now it is a sin to contravene the order of charity, because this order is a matter of precept. Since, then, the order of charity requires that a man should love himself more than his neighbor, it seems that he would sin if he deprived himself of what he needed, in order to succor his neighbor.
Praeterea, quicumque largitur de his quae sunt necessaria sibi est propriae substantiae dissipator, quod pertinet ad prodigum, ut patet per philosophum, in IV Ethic. Sed nullum opus vitiosum est faciendum. Ergo non est danda eleemosyna de necessario. Objection 2: Further, whoever gives away what he needs himself, squanders his own substance, and that is to be a prodigal, according to the Philosopher (Ethic. iv, 1). But no sinful deed should be done. Therefore we should not give alms out of what we need.
Praeterea, apostolus dicit, I ad Tim. V, si quis suorum, et maxime domesticorum curam non habet, fidem negavit et est infideli deterior. Sed quod aliquis det de his quae sunt sibi necessaria vel suis videtur derogare curae quam quis debet habere de se et de suis. Ergo videtur quod quicumque de necessariis eleemosynam dat, quod graviter peccet. Objection 3: Further, the Apostle says (1 Tim. 5:8): "If any man have not care of his own, and especially of those of his house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel." Now if a man gives of what he needs for himself or for his charge, he seems to detract from the care he should have for himself or his charge. Therefore it seems that whoever gives alms from what he needs, sins gravely.
Sed contra est quod dominus dicit, Matth. XIX, si vis perfectus esse, vade et vende omnia quae habes, et da pauperibus. Sed ille qui dat omnia quae habet pauperibus non solum dat superflua sed etiam necessaria. Ergo de necessariis potest homo eleemosynam dare. On the contrary, Our Lord said (Mt. 19:21): "If thou wilt be perfect, go, sell what thou hast, and give to the poor." Now he that gives all he has to the poor, gives not only what he needs not, but also what he needs. Therefore a man may give alms out of what he needs.
Respondeo dicendum quod necessarium dupliciter dicitur. Uno modo, sine quo aliquid esse non potest. Et de tali necessario omnino eleemosyna dari non debet, puta si aliquis in articulo necessitatis constitutus haberet solum unde posset sustentari, et filii sui vel alii ad eum pertinentes; de hoc enim necessario eleemosynam dare est sibi et suis vitam subtrahere. Sed hoc dico nisi forte talis casus immineret ubi, subtrahendo sibi, daret alicui magnae personae, per quam Ecclesia vel respublica sustentaretur, quia pro talis personae liberatione seipsum et suos laudabiliter periculo mortis exponeret, cum bonum commune sit proprio praeferendum. I answer that, A thing is necessary in two ways: first, because without it something is impossible, and it is altogether wrong to give alms out of what is necessary to us in this sense; for instance, if a man found himself in the presence of a case of urgency, and had merely sufficient to support himself and his children, or others under his charge, he would be throwing away his life and that of others if he were to give away in alms, what was then necessary to him. Yet I say this without prejudice to such a case as might happen, supposing that by depriving himself of necessaries a man might help a great personage, and a support of the Church or State, since it would be a praiseworthy act to endanger one's life and the lives of those who are under our charge for the delivery of such a person, since the common good is to be preferred to one's own.
Alio modo dicitur aliquid esse necessarium sine quo non potest convenienter vita transigi secundum conditionem vel statum personae propriae et aliarum personarum quarum cura ei incumbit. Huius necessarii terminus non est in indivisibili constitutus, sed multis additis, non potest diiudicari esse ultra tale necessarium; et multis subtractis, adhuc remanet unde possit convenienter aliquis vitam transigere secundum proprium statum. De huiusmodi ergo eleemosynam dare est bonum, et non cadit sub praecepto, sed sub consilio. Inordinatum autem esset si aliquis tantum sibi de bonis propriis subtraheret ut aliis largiretur, quod de residuo non posset vitam transigere convenienter secundum proprium statum et negotia occurrentia, nullus enim inconvenienter vivere debet. Sed ab hoc tria sunt excipienda. Quorum primum est quando aliquis statum mutat, puta per religionis ingressum. Tunc enim, omnia sua propter Christum largiens, opus perfectionis facit, se in alio statu ponendo. Secundo, quando ea quae sibi subtrahit, etsi sint necessaria ad convenientiam vitae, tamen de facili resarciri possunt, ut non sequatur maximum inconveniens. Tertio, quando occurreret extrema necessitas alicuius privatae personae, vel etiam aliqua magna necessitas reipublicae. In his enim casibus laudabiliter praetermitteret aliquis id quod ad decentiam sui status pertinere videretur, ut maiori necessitati subveniret. Secondly, a thing is said to be necessary, if a man cannot without it live in keeping with his social station, as regards either himself or those of whom he has charge. The "necessary" considered thus is not an invariable quantity, for one might add much more to a man's property, and yet not go beyond what he needs in this way, or one might take much from him, and he would still have sufficient for the decencies of life in keeping with his own position. Accordingly it is good to give alms of this kind of "necessary"; and it is a matter not of precept but of counsel. Yet it would be inordinate to deprive oneself of one's own, in order to give to others to such an extent that the residue would be insufficient for one to live in keeping with one's station and the ordinary occurrences of life: for no man ought to live unbecomingly. There are, however, three exceptions to the above rule. The first is when a man changes his state of life, for instance, by entering religion, for then he gives away all his possessions for Christ's sake, and does the deed of perfection by transferring himself to another state. Secondly, when that which he deprives himself of, though it be required for the decencies of life, can nevertheless easily be recovered, so that he does not suffer extreme inconvenience. Thirdly, when he is in presence of extreme indigence in an individual, or great need on the part of the common weal. For in such cases it would seem praiseworthy to forego the requirements of one's station, in order to provide for a greater need.
Et per hoc patet de facili responsio ad obiecta. The objections may be easily solved from what has been said.

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Whether one may give alms out of ill-gotten goods?

Ad septimum sic proceditur. Videtur quod possit eleemosyna fieri de illicite acquisitis. Dicitur enim Luc. XVI, facite vobis amicos de mammona iniquitatis. Mammona autem significat divitias. Ergo de divitiis inique acquisitis potest sibi aliquis spirituales amicos facere, eleemosynas largiendo. Objection 1: It would seem that one may give alms out of ill-gotten goods. For it is written (Lk. 16:9): "Make unto you friends of the mammon of iniquity." Now mammon signifies riches. Therefore it is lawful to make unto oneself spiritual friends by giving alms out of ill-gotten riches.
Praeterea, omne turpe lucrum videtur esse illicite acquisitum. Sed turpe lucrum est quod de meretricio acquiritur, unde et de huiusmodi sacrificium vel oblatio Deo offerri non debet, secundum illud Deut. XXIII, non offeres mercedem prostibuli in domo Dei tui. Similiter etiam turpiter acquiritur quod acquiritur per aleas, quia, ut philosophus dicit, in IV Ethic., tales ab amicis lucrantur, quibus oportet dare. Turpissime etiam acquiritur aliquid per simoniam, per quam aliquis spiritui sancto iniuriam facit. Et tamen de huiusmodi eleemosyna fieri potest. Ergo de male acquisitis potest aliquis eleemosynam facere. Objection 2: Further, all filthy lucre seems to be ill-gotten. But the profits from whoredom are filthy lucre; wherefore it was forbidden (Dt. 23:18) to offer therefrom sacrifices or oblations to God: "Thou shalt not offer the hire of a strumpet... in the house of... thy God." In like manner gains from games of chance are ill-gotten, for, as the Philosopher says (Ethic. iv, 1), "we take such like gains from our friends to whom we ought rather to give." And most of all are the profits from simony ill-gotten, since thereby the Holy Ghost is wronged. Nevertheless out of such gains it is lawful to give alms. Therefore one may give alms out of ill-gotten goods.
Praeterea, maiora mala sunt magis vitanda quam minora. Sed minus peccatum est detentio rei alienae quam homicidium, quod aliquis incurrit nisi alicui in ultima necessitate subveniat, ut patet per Ambrosium, qui dicit, pasce fame morientem, quoniam si non paveris, occidisti. Ergo aliquis potest eleemosynam facere in aliquo casu de male acquisitis. Objection 3: Further, greater evils should be avoided more than lesser evils. Now it is less sinful to keep back another's property than to commit murder, of which a man is guilty if he fails to succor one who is in extreme need, as appears from the words of Ambrose who says (Cf. Canon Pasce dist. lxxxvi, whence the words, as quoted, are taken): "Feed him that dies of hunger, if thou hast not fed him, thou hast slain him". Therefore, in certain cases, it is lawful to give alms of ill-gotten goods.
Sed contra est quod Augustinus dicit, in libro de Verb. Dom., de iustis laboribus facite eleemosynas. Non enim corrupturi estis iudicem Christum, ut non vos audiat cum pauperibus, quibus tollitis. Nolite velle eleemosynas facere de faenore et usuris. Fidelibus dico, quibus corpus Christi erogamus. On the contrary, Augustine says (De Verb. Dom. xxxv, 2): "Give alms from your just labors. For you will not bribe Christ your judge, not to hear you with the poor whom you rob... Give not alms from interest and usury: I speak to the faithful to whom we dispense the Body of Christ."
Respondeo dicendum quod tripliciter potest esse aliquid illicite acquisitum. Uno enim modo id quod illicite ab aliquo acquiritur debetur ei a quo est acquisitum, nec potest ab eo retineri qui acquisivit, sicut contingit in rapina et furto et usuris. Et de talibus, cum homo teneatur ad restitutionem, eleemosyna fieri non potest. I answer that, A thing may be ill-gotten in three ways. In the first place a thing is ill-gotten if it be due to the person from whom it is gotten, and may not be kept by the person who has obtained possession of it; as in the case of rapine, theft and usury, and of such things a man may not give alms since he is bound to restore them.
Alio vero modo est aliquid illicite acquisitum quia ille quidem qui acquisivit retinere non potest, nec tamen debetur ei a quo acquisivit, quia scilicet contra iustitiam accepit, et alter contra iustitiam dedit, sicut contingit in simonia, in qua dans et accipiens contra iustitiam legis divinae agit. Unde non debet fieri restitutio ei qui dedit, sed debet in eleemosynas erogari. Et eadem ratio est in similibus, in quibus scilicet et datio et acceptio est contra legem. Secondly, a thing is ill-gotten, when he that has it may not keep it, and yet he may not return it to the person from whom he received it, because he received it unjustly, while the latter gave it unjustly. This happens in simony, wherein both giver and receiver contravene the justice of the Divine Law, so that restitution is to be made not to the giver, but by giving alms. The same applies to all similar cases of illegal giving and receiving.
Tertio modo est aliquid illicite acquisitum, non quidem quia ipsa acquisitio sit illicita, sed quia id ex quo acquiritur est illicitum, sicut patet de eo quod mulier acquirit per meretricium. Et hoc proprie vocatur turpe lucrum. Quod enim mulier meretricium exerceat, turpiter agit et contra legem Dei, sed in eo quod accipit non iniuste agit nec contra legem. Unde quod sic illicite acquisitum est retineri potest, et de eo eleemosyna fieri. Thirdly, a thing is ill-gotten, not because the taking was unlawful, but because it is the outcome of something unlawful, as in the case of a woman's profits from whoredom. This is filthy lucre properly so called, because the practice of whoredom is filthy and against the Law of God, yet the woman does not act unjustly or unlawfully in taking the money. Consequently it is lawful to keep and to give in alms what is thus acquired by an unlawful action.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod, sicut Augustinus dicit, in libro de Verb. Dom., illud verbum domini quidam male intelligendo, rapiunt res alienas, et aliquid inde pauperibus largiuntur, et putant se facere quod praeceptum est. Intellectus iste corrigendus est. Sed omnes divitiae iniquitatis dicuntur, ut dicit in libro de quaestionibus Evangelii, quia non sunt divitiae nisi iniquis, qui in eis spem constituunt. Iniquum mammona dixit quia variis divitiarum illecebris nostros tentat affectus. Vel quia in pluribus praedecessoribus, quibus patrimonio succedis, aliquis reperitur qui iniuste usurpavit aliena, quamvis tu nescias ut Basilius dicit. Vel omnes divitiae dicuntur iniquitatis, idest inaequalitatis, quia non aequaliter sunt omnibus distributae uno egente et alio superabundante. Reply to Objection 1: As Augustine says (De Verb. Dom. 2), "Some have misunderstood this saying of Our Lord, so as to take another's property and give thereof to the poor, thinking that they are fulfilling the commandment by so doing. This interpretation must be amended. Yet all riches are called riches of iniquity, as stated in De Quaest. Ev. ii, 34, because "riches are not unjust save for those who are themselves unjust, and put all their trust in them. Or, according to Ambrose in his commentary on Lk. 16:9, "Make unto yourselves friends," etc., "He calls mammon unjust, because it draws our affections by the various allurements of wealth." Or, because "among the many ancestors whose property you inherit, there is one who took the property of others unjustly, although you know nothing about it," as Basil says in a homily (Hom. super Luc. A, 5). Or, all riches are styled riches "of iniquity," i.e., of "inequality," because they are not distributed equally among all, one being in need, and another in affluence.
Ad secundum dicendum quod de acquisito per meretricium iam dictum est qualiter eleemosyna fieri possit. Non autem fit de eo sacrificium vel oblatio ad altare, tum propter scandalum; tum propter sacrorum reverentiam. De eo etiam quod est per simoniam acquisitum potest fieri eleemosyna, quia non est debitum ei qui dedit, sed meretur illud amittere. Circa illa vero quae per aleas acquiruntur videtur esse aliquid illicitum ex iure divino, scilicet quod aliquis lucretur ab his qui rem suam alienare non possunt, sicut sunt minores et furiosi et huiusmodi; et quod aliquis trahat alium ex cupiditate lucrandi ad ludum; et quod fraudulenter ab eo lucretur. Et in his casibus tenetur ad restitutionem, et sic de eo non potest eleemosynam facere. Aliquid autem videtur esse ulterius illicitum ex iure positivo civili, quod prohibet universaliter tale lucrum. Sed quia ius civile non obligat omnes, sed eos solos qui sunt his legibus subiecti; et iterum per dissuetudinem abrogari potest, ideo apud illos qui sunt huiusmodi legibus obstricti, tenentur universaliter ad restitutionem qui lucrantur; nisi forte contraria consuetudo praevaleat; aut nisi aliquis lucratus sit ab eo qui traxit eum ad ludum. In quo casu non teneretur restituere, quia ille qui amisit non est dignus recipere; nec potest licite retinere, tali iure positivo durante; unde debet de hoc eleemosynam facere in hoc casu. Reply to Objection 2: We have already explained how alms may be given out of the profits of whoredom. Yet sacrifices and oblations were not made therefrom at the altar, both on account of the scandal, and through reverence for sacred things. It is also lawful to give alms out of the profits of simony, because they are not due to him who paid, indeed he deserves to lose them. But as to the profits from games of chance, there would seem to be something unlawful as being contrary to the Divine Law, when a man wins from one who cannot alienate his property, such as minors, lunatics and so forth, or when a man, with the desire of making money out of another man, entices him to play, and wins from him by cheating. In these cases he is bound to restitution, and consequently cannot give away his gains in alms. Then again there would seem to be something unlawful as being against the positive civil law, which altogether forbids any such profits. Since, however, a civil law does not bind all, but only those who are subject to that law, and moreover may be abrogated through desuetude, it follows that all such as are bound by these laws are bound to make restitution of such gains, unless perchance the contrary custom prevail, or unless a man win from one who enticed him to play, in which case he is not bound to restitution, because the loser does not deserve to be paid back: and yet he cannot lawfully keep what he has won, so long as that positive law is in force, wherefore in this case he ought to give it away in alms.
Ad tertium dicendum quod in casu extremae necessitatis omnia sunt communia. Unde licet ei qui talem necessitatem patitur accipere de alieno ad sui sustentationem, si non inveniat qui sibi dare velit. Et eadem ratione licet habere aliquid de alieno et de hoc eleemosynam dare, quinimmo et accipere, si aliter subveniri non possit necessitatem patienti. Si tamen fieri potest sine periculo, debet requisita domini voluntate pauperi providere extremam necessitatem patienti. Reply to Objection 3: All things are common property in a case of extreme necessity. Hence one who is in such dire straits may take another's goods in order to succor himself, if he can find no one who is willing to give him something. For the same reason a man may retain what belongs to another, and give alms thereof; or even take something if there be no other way of succoring the one who is in need. If however this be possible without danger, he must ask the owner's consent, and then succor the poor man who is in extreme necessity.

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Whether one who is under another's power can give alms?

Ad octavum sic proceditur. Videtur quod ille qui est in potestate alterius constitutus possit eleemosynam facere. Religiosi enim sunt in potestate eorum quibus obedientiam voverunt. Sed si eis non liceret eleemosynam facere, damnum reportarent ex statu religionis, quia sicut Ambrosius dicit, summa Christianae religionis in pietate consistit, quae maxime per eleemosynarum largitionem commendatur. Ergo illi qui sunt in potestate alterius constituti possunt eleemosynam facere. Objection 1: It would seem that one who is under another's power can give alms. For religious are under the power of their prelates to whom they have vowed obedience. Now if it were unlawful for them to give alms, they would lose by entering the state of religion, for as Ambrose [*The quotation is from the works of Ambrosiaster. Cf. Index to ecclesiastical authorities quoted by St. Thomas] says on 1 Tim. 4:8: "'Dutifulness [Douay: 'godliness'] is profitable to all things': The sum total of the Christian religion consists in doing one's duty by all," and the most creditable way of doing this is to give alms. Therefore those who are in another's power can give alms.
Praeterea, uxor est sub potestate viri, ut dicitur Gen. III. Sed uxor potest eleemosynam facere, cum assumatur in viri societatem, unde et de beata Lucia dicitur quod, ignorante sponso, eleemosynas faciebat. Ergo per hoc quod aliquis est in potestate alterius constitutus, non impeditur quin possit eleemosynas facere. Objection 2: Further, a wife is under her husband's power (Gn. 3:16). But a wife can give alms since she is her husband's partner; hence it is related of the Blessed Lucy that she gave alms without the knowledge of her betrothed [*"Sponsus" The matrimonial institutions of the Romans were so entirely different from ours that "sponsus" is no longer accurately rendered either "husband" or "betrothed."] Therefore a person is not prevented from giving alms, by being under another's power.
Praeterea, naturalis quaedam subiectio est filiorum ad parentes, unde apostolus, ad Ephes. VI, dicit, filii, obedite parentibus vestris in domino. Sed filii, ut videtur, possunt de rebus patris eleemosynas dare, quia sunt quodammodo ipsorum, cum sint haeredes; et cum possint eis uti ad usum corporis, multo magis videtur quod possint eis uti, eleemosynas dando, ad remedium animae suae. Ergo illi qui sunt in potestate constituti possunt eleemosynas dare. Objection 3: Further, the subjection of children to their parents is founded on nature, wherefore the Apostle says (Eph. 6:1): "Children, obey your parents in the Lord." But, apparently, children may give alms out of their parents' property. For it is their own, since they are the heirs; wherefore, since they can employ it for some bodily use, it seems that much more can they use it in giving alms so as to profit their souls. Therefore those who are under another's power can give alms.
Praeterea, servi sunt sub potestate dominorum, secundum illud ad Tit. II, servos dominis suis subditos esse. Licet autem eis aliquid in utilitatem domini facere, quod maxime fit si pro eis eleemosynas largiantur. Ergo illi qui sunt in potestate constituti possunt eleemosynas facere. Objection 4: Further, servants are under their master's power, according to Titus 2:9: "Exhort servants to be obedient to their masters." Now they may lawfully do anything that will profit their masters: and this would be especially the case if they gave alms for them. Therefore those who are under another's power can give alms.
Sed contra est quod eleemosynae non sunt faciendae de alieno, sed de iustis laboribus propriis unusquisque eleemosynam facere debet; ut Augustinus dicit, in libro de Verb. Dom. Sed si subiecti aliis eleemosynam facerent, hoc esset de alieno. Ergo illi qui sunt sub potestate aliorum non possunt eleemosynam facere. On the contrary, Alms should not be given out of another's property; and each one should give alms out of the just profit of his own labor as Augustine says (De Verb. Dom. xxxv, 2). Now if those who are subject to anyone were to give alms, this would be out of another's property. Therefore those who are under another's power cannot give alms.
Respondeo dicendum quod ille qui est sub potestate alterius constitutus, inquantum huiusmodi, secundum superioris potestatem regulari debet, hic est enim ordo naturalis, ut inferiora secundum superiora regulentur. I answer that, Anyone who is under another's power must, as such, be ruled in accordance with the power of his superior: for the natural order demands that the inferior should be ruled according to its superior. Therefore in those matters in which the inferior is subject to his superior, his ministrations must be subject to the superior's permission.
Et ideo oportet quod ea in quibus inferior superiori subiicitur, dispenset non aliter quam ei sit a superiore commissum. Sic igitur ille qui est sub potestate constitutus de re secundum quam superiori subiicitur eleemosynam facere non debet nisi quatenus ei a superiore fuerit permissum. Si quis vero habeat aliquid secundum quod potestati superioris non subsit, iam secundum hoc non est potestati subiectus, quantum ad hoc proprii iuris existens. Et de hoc potest eleemosynam facere. Accordingly he that is under another's power must not give alms of anything in respect of which he is subject to that other, except in so far as he has been commissioned by his superior. But if he has something in respect of which he is not under the power of his superior, he is no longer subject to another in its regard, being independent in respect of that particular thing, and he can give alms therefrom.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod monachus, si habet dispensationem a praelato commissam, potest facere eleemosynam de rebus monasterii, secundum quod sibi est commissum. Si vero non habet dispensationem, quia nihil proprium habet, tunc non potest facere eleemosynam sine licentia abbatis vel expresse habita vel probabiliter praesumpta, nisi forte in articulo extremae necessitatis, in quo licitum esset ei furari ut eleemosynam daret. Nec propter hoc efficitur peioris conditionis, quia sicut dicitur in libro de Eccles. Dogmat., bonum est facultates cum dispensatione pauperibus erogare, sed melius est, pro intentione sequendi dominum, insimul donare, et, absolutum sollicitudine, egere cum Christo. Reply to Objection 1: If a monk be dispensed through being commissioned by his superior, he can give alms from the property of his monaster, in accordance with the terms of his commission; but if he has no such dispensation, since he has nothing of his own, he cannot give alms without his abbot's permission either express or presumed for some probable reason: except in a case of extreme necessity, when it would be lawful for him to commit a theft in order to give an alms. Nor does it follow that he is worse off than before, because, as stated in De Eccles. Dogm. lxxi, "it is a good thing to give one's property to the poor little by little, but it is better still to give all at once in order to follow Christ, and being freed from care, to be needy with Christ."
Ad secundum dicendum quod si uxor habeat alias res praeter dotem, quae ordinatur ad sustentanda onera matrimonii, vel ex proprio lucro vel quocumque alio licito modo, potest dare eleemosynas, etiam irrequisito assensu viri, moderatas tamen, ne ex earum superfluitate vir depauperetur. Alias autem non debet dare eleemosynas sine consensu viri vel expresso vel praesumpto, nisi in articulo necessitatis, sicut de monacho dictum est. Quamvis enim mulier sit aequalis in actu matrimonii, tamen in his quae ad dispositionem domus pertinent vir caput est mulieris, secundum apostolum, I ad Cor. XI. Beata autem Lucia sponsum habebat, non virum. Unde de consensu matris poterat eleemosynam facere. Reply to Objection 2: A wife, who has other property besides her dowry which is for the support of the burdens of marriage, whether that property be gained by her own industry or by any other lawful means, can give alms, out of that property, without asking her husband's permission: yet such alms should be moderate, lest through giving too much she impoverish her husband. Otherwise she ought not to give alms without the express or presumed consent of her husband, except in cases of necessity as stated, in the case of a monk, in the preceding Reply. For though the wife be her husband's equal in the marriage act, yet in matters of housekeeping, the head of the woman is the man, as the Apostle says (1 Cor. 11:3). As regards Blessed Lucy, she had a betrothed, not a husband, wherefore she could give alms with her mother's consent.
Ad tertium dicendum quod ea quae sunt filiifamilias sunt patris. Et ideo non potest eleemosynam facere (nisi forte aliquam modicam, de qua potest praesumere quod patri placeat), nisi forte alicuius rei esset sibi a patre dispensatio commissa. Et idem dicendum de servis. Reply to Objection 3: What belongs to the children belongs also to the father: wherefore the child cannot give alms, except in such small quantity that one may presume the father to be willing: unless, perchance, the father authorize his child to dispose of any particular property. The same applies to servants.
Unde patet solutio ad quartum. Hence the Reply to the Fourth Objection is clear.

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Whether one ought to give alms to those rather who are more closely united to us?

Ad nonum sic proceditur. Videtur quod non sit magis propinquioribus eleemosyna facienda. Dicitur enim Eccli. XII, da misericordi, et ne suscipias peccatorem, benefac humili, et non des impio. Sed quandoque contingit quod propinqui nostri sunt peccatores et impii. Ergo non sunt eis magis eleemosynae faciendae. Objection 1: It would seem that one ought not to give alms to those rather who are more closely united to us. For it is written (Ecclus. 12:4,6): "Give to the merciful and uphold not the sinner... Do good to the humble and give not to the ungodly." Now it happens sometimes that those who are closely united to us are sinful and ungodly. Therefore we ought not to give alms to them in preference to others.
Praeterea, eleemosynae sunt faciendae propter retributionem mercedis aeternae, secundum illud Matth. VI, et pater tuus, qui videt in abscondito, reddet tibi. Sed retributio aeterna maxime acquiritur ex eleemosynis quae sanctis erogantur, secundum illud Luc. XVI, facite vobis amicos de mammona iniquitatis, ut, cum defeceritis, recipiant vos in aeterna tabernacula; quod exponens Augustinus, in libro de Verb. Dom., dicit, qui sunt qui habebunt aeterna habitacula nisi sancti Dei? Et qui sunt qui ab eis accipiendi sunt in tabernacula nisi qui eorum indigentiae serviunt? Ergo magis sunt eleemosynae dandae sanctioribus quam propinquioribus. Objection 2: Further, alms should be given that we may receive an eternal reward in return, according to Mt. 6:18: "And thy Father Who seeth in secret, will repay thee." Now the eternal reward is gained chiefly by the alms which are given to the saints, according to Lk. 16:9: "Make unto you friends of the mammon of iniquity, that when you shall fail, they may receive you into everlasting dwellings, which passage Augustine expounds (De Verb. Dom. xxxv, 1): "Who shall have everlasting dwellings unless the saints of God? And who are they that shall be received by them into their dwellings, if not those who succor them in their needs? Therefore alms should be given to the more holy persons rather than to those who are more closely united to us.
Praeterea, maxime homo est sibi propinquus. Sed sibi non potest homo eleemosynam facere. Ergo videtur quod non sit magis facienda eleemosyna personae magis coniunctae. Objection 3: Further, man is more closely united to himself. But a man cannot give himself an alms. Therefore it seems that we are not bound to give alms to those who are most closely united to us.
Sed contra est quod apostolus dicit, I ad Tim. V, si quis suorum, et maxime domesticorum curam non habet, fidem negavit et est infideli deterior. On the contrary, The Apostle says (1 Tim. 5:8): "If any man have not care of his own, and especially of those of his house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel."
Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut Augustinus dicit, in I de Doct. Christ., illi qui sunt nobis magis coniuncti quasi quadam sorte nobis obveniunt, ut eis magis providere debemus. Est tamen circa hoc discretionis ratio adhibenda, secundum differentiam coniunctionis et sanctitatis et utilitatis. Nam multo sanctiori magis indigentiam patienti, et magis utili ad commune bonum, est magis eleemosyna danda quam personae propinquiori; maxime si non sit multum coniuncta, cuius cura specialis nobis immineat, et si magnam necessitatem non patiatur. I answer that, As Augustine says (De Doctr. Christ. i, 28), "it falls to us by lot, as it were, to have to look to the welfare of those who are more closely united to us." Nevertheless in this matter we must employ discretion, according to the various degrees of connection, holiness and utility. For we ought to give alms to one who is much holier and in greater want, and to one who is more useful to the common weal, rather than to one who is more closely united to us, especially if the latter be not very closely united, and has no special claim on our care then and there, and who is not in very urgent need.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod peccatori non est subveniendum inquantum peccator est, idest ut per hoc in peccato foveatur, sed inquantum homo est, idest ut natura sustentetur. Reply to Objection 1: We ought not to help a sinner as such, that is by encouraging him to sin, but as man, that is by supporting his nature.
Ad secundum dicendum quod opus eleemosynae ad mercedem retributionis aeternae dupliciter valet. Uno quidem modo, ex radice caritatis. Et secundum hoc eleemosyna est meritoria prout in ea servatur ordo caritatis, secundum quem propinquioribus magis providere debemus, ceteris paribus. Unde Ambrosius dicit, in I de Offic., est illa probanda liberalitas, ut proximos sanguinis tui non despicias, si egere cognoscas, melius est enim ut ipse subvenias tuis, quibus pudor est ab aliis sumptum deposcere. Alio modo valet eleemosyna ad retributionem vitae aeternae ex merito eius cui donatur, qui orat pro eo qui eleemosynam dedit. Et secundum hoc loquitur ibi Augustinus. Reply to Objection 2: Almsdeeds deserve on two counts to receive an eternal reward. First because they are rooted in charity, and in this respect an almsdeed is meritorious in so far as it observes the order of charity, which requires that, other things being equal, we should, in preference, help those who are more closely connected with us. Wherefore Ambrose says (De Officiis i, 30): "It is with commendable liberality that you forget not your kindred, if you know them to be in need, for it is better that you should yourself help your own family, who would be ashamed to beg help from others." Secondly, almsdeeds deserve to be rewarded eternally, through the merit of the recipient, who prays for the giver, and it is in this sense that Augustine is speaking.
Ad tertium dicendum quod, cum eleemosyna sit opus misericordiae, sicut misericordia non est proprie ad seipsum, sed per quandam similitudinem, ut supra dictum est; ita etiam, proprie loquendo, nullus sibi eleemosynam facit, nisi forte ex persona alterius. Puta, cum aliquis distributor ponitur eleemosynarum, potest et ipse sibi accipere, si indigeat, eo tenore quo et aliis ministrat. Reply to Objection 3: Since almsdeeds are works of mercy, just as a man does not, properly speaking, pity himself, but only by a kind of comparison, as stated above (Question [30], Articles [1],2), so too, properly speaking, no man gives himself an alms, unless he act in another's person; thus when a man is appointed to distribute alms, he can take something for himself, if he be in want, on the same ground as when he gives to others.

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Whether alms should be given in abundance?

Ad decimum sic proceditur. Videtur quod eleemosyna non sit abundanter facienda. Eleemosyna enim maxime debet fieri coniunctioribus. Sed illis non debet sic dari ut ditiores inde fieri velint; sicut Ambrosius dicit, in I de Offic. Ergo nec aliis debet abundanter dari. Objection 1: It would seem that alms should not be given in abundance. For we ought to give alms to those chiefly who are most closely connected with us. But we ought not to give to them in such a way that they are likely to become richer thereby, as Ambrose says (De Officiis i, 30). Therefore neither should we give abundantly to others.
Praeterea, Ambrosius dicit ibidem, non debent simul effundi opes, sed dispensari. Sed abundantia eleemosynarum ad effusionem pertinet. Ergo eleemosyna non debet fieri abundanter. Objection 2: Further, Ambrose says (De Officiis i, 30): "We should not lavish our wealth on others all at once, we should dole it out by degrees." But to give abundantly is to give lavishly. Therefore alms should not be given in abundance.
Praeterea, II ad Cor. VIII dicit apostolus, non ut aliis sit remissio, idest ut alii de nostris otiose vivant; vobis autem sit tribulatio, idest paupertas. Sed hoc contingeret si eleemosyna daretur abundanter. Ergo non est abundanter eleemosyna largienda. Objection 3: Further, the Apostle says (2 Cor. 8:13): "Not that others should be eased," i.e. should live on you without working themselves, "and you burthened," i.e. impoverished. But this would be the result if alms were given in abundance. Therefore we ought not to give alms abundantly.
Sed contra est quod dicitur Tob. IV, si multum tibi fuerit, abundanter tribue. On the contrary, It is written (Tobias 4:93): "If thou have much, give abundantly."
Respondeo dicendum quod abundantia eleemosynae potest considerari et ex parte dantis, et ex parte recipientis. Ex parte quidem dantis cum scilicet aliquis dat quod est multum secundum proportionem propriae facultatis. Et sic laudabile est abundanter dare, unde et dominus, Luc. XXI, laudavit viduam, quae ex eo quod deerat illi, omnem victum quem habuit misit, observatis tamen his quae supra dicta sunt de eleemosyna facienda de necessariis. I answer that, Alms may be considered abundant in relation either to the giver, or to the recipient: in relation to the giver, when that which a man gives is great as compared with his means. To give thus is praiseworthy, wherefore Our Lord (Lk. 21:3,4) commended the widow because "of her want, she cast in all the living that she had." Nevertheless those conditions must be observed which were laid down when we spoke of giving alms out of one's necessary goods (Article [9]).
Ex parte vero eius cui datur est abundans eleemosyna dupliciter. Uno modo, quod suppleat sufficienter eius indigentiam. Et sic laudabile est abundanter eleemosynam tribuere. Alio modo, ut superabundet ad superfluitatem. Et hoc non est laudabile, sed melius est pluribus indigentibus elargiri. Unde et apostolus dicit, I ad Cor. XIII, si distribuero in cibos pauperum; ubi Glossa dicit, per hoc cautela eleemosynae docetur, ut non uni sed multis detur, ut pluribus prosit. On the part of the recipient, an alms may be abundant in two ways; first, by relieving his need sufficiently, and in this sense it is praiseworthy to give alms: secondly, by relieving his need more than sufficiently; this is not praiseworthy, and it would be better to give to several that are in need, wherefore the Apostle says (1 Cor. 13:3): "If I should distribute... to feed the poor," on which words a gloss comments: "Thus we are warned to be careful in giving alms, and to give, not to one only, but to many, that we may profit many."
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod ratio illa procedit de abundantia superexcedente necessitatem recipientis eleemosynam. Reply to Objection 1: This argument considers abundance of alms as exceeding the needs of the recipient.
Ad secundum dicendum quod auctoritas illa loquitur de abundantia eleemosynae ex parte dantis. Sed intelligendum est quod Deus non vult simul effundi omnes opes, nisi in mutatione status. Unde subdit ibidem, nisi forte ut Elisaeus boves suos occidit, et pavit pauperes ex eo quod habuit, ut nulla cura domestica teneretur. Reply to Objection 2: The passage quoted considers abundance of alms on the part of the giver; but the sense is that God does not wish a man to lavish all his wealth at once, except when he changes his state of life, wherefore he goes on to say: "Except we imitate Eliseus who slew his oxen and fed the poor with what he had, so that no household cares might keep him back" (3 Kgs. 19:21).
Ad tertium dicendum quod auctoritas inducta, quantum ad hoc quod dicit, non ut alii sit remissio vel refrigerium, loquitur de abundantia eleemosynae quae superexcedit necessitatem recipientis, cui non est danda eleemosyna ut inde luxurietur, sed ut inde sustentetur. Circa quod tamen est discretio adhibenda propter diversas conditiones hominum, quorum quidam, delicatioribus nutriti, indigent magis delicatis cibis aut vestibus. Unde et Ambrosius dicit, in libro de Offic., consideranda est in largiendo aetas atque debilitas. Nonnunquam etiam verecundia, quae ingenuos prodit natales. Aut si quis ex divitiis in egestatem cecidit sine vitio suo. Reply to Objection 3: In the passage quoted the words, "not that others should be eased or refreshed," refer to that abundance of alms which surpasses the need of the recipient, to whom one should give alms not that he may have an easy life, but that he may have relief. Nevertheless we must bring discretion to bear on the matter, on account of the various conditions of men, some of whom are more daintily nurtured, and need finer food and clothing. Hence Ambrose says (De Officiis i, 30): "When you give an alms to a man, you should take into consideration his age and his weakness; and sometimes the shame which proclaims his good birth; and again that perhaps he has fallen from riches to indigence through no fault of his own."
Quantum vero ad id quod subditur, vobis autem tribulatio, loquitur de abundantia ex parte dantis. Sed, sicut Glossa ibi dicit, non hoc ideo dicit quin melius esset, scilicet abundanter dare. Sed de infirmis timet, quos sic dare monet ut egestatem non patiantur. With regard to the words that follow, "and you burdened," they refer to abundance on the part of the giver. Yet, as a gloss says on the same passage, "he says this, not because it would be better to give in abundance, but because he fears for the weak, and he admonishes them so to give that they lack not for themselves."

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