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 vitiis oppositis gaudio caritatis. Quod quidem est et de bono divino, cui gaudio opponitur acedia; et de bono proximi, cui gaudio opponitur invidia. Unde
  • primo considerandum est de acedia;
  • secundo, de invidia.
We must now consider the vices opposed to the joy of charity. This joy is either about the Divine good, and then its contrary is sloth, or about our neighbor's good, and then its contrary is envy. Wherefore we must consider
  • (1) Sloth and
  • (2) Envy.
Circa primum quaeruntur quatuor. Under the first head there are four points of inquiry:
Primo, utrum acedia sit peccatum. (1) Whether sloth is a sin?
Secundo, utrum sit speciale vitium. (2) Whether it is a special vice?
Tertio, utrum sit mortale peccatum. (3) Whether it is a mortal sin?
Quarto, utrum sit vitium capitale. (4) Whether it is a capital sin?

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Whether sloth is a sin?

Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod acedia non sit peccatum. Passionibus enim non laudamur neque vituperamur; secundum philosophum, in II Ethic. Sed acedia est quaedam passio, est enim species tristitiae, ut Damascenus dicit, et supra habitum est. Ergo acedia non est peccatum. Objection 1: It would seem that sloth is not a sin. For we are neither praised nor blamed for our passions, according to the Philosopher (Ethic. ii, 5). Now sloth is a passion, since it is a kind of sorrow, according to Damascene (De Fide Orth. ii, 14), and as we stated above (FS, Question [35], Article [8]). Therefore sloth is not a sin.
Praeterea, nullus defectus corporalis qui statutis horis accidit habet rationem peccati. Sed acedia est huiusmodi, dicit enim Cassianus, in X Lib. de institutis monasteriorum, maxime acedia circa horam sextam monachum inquietat, ut quaedam febris ingruens tempore praestituto, ardentissimos aestus accensionum suarum solitis ac statutis horis animae inferens aegrotanti. Ergo acedia non est peccatum. Objection 2: Further, no bodily failing that occurs at fixed times is a sin. But sloth is like this, for Cassian says (De Instit. Monast. x, [*De Institutione Caeobiorum]): "The monk is troubled with sloth chiefly about the sixth hour: it is like an intermittent fever, and inflicts the soul of the one it lays low with burning fires at regular and fixed intervals." Therefore sloth is not a sin.
Praeterea, illud quod ex radice bona procedit non videtur esse peccatum. Sed acedia ex bona radice procedit, dicit enim Cassianus, in eodem libro, quod acedia provenit ex hoc quod aliquis ingemiscit se fructum spiritualem non habere, et absentia longeque posita magnificat monasteria; quod videtur ad humilitatem pertinere. Ergo acedia non est peccatum. Objection 3: Further, that which proceeds from a good root is, seemingly, no sin. Now sloth proceeds from a good root, for Cassian says (De Instit. Monast. x) that "sloth arises from the fact that we sigh at being deprived of spiritual fruit, and think that other monasteries and those which are a long way off are much better than the one we dwell in": all of which seems to point to humility. Therefore sloth is not a sin.
Praeterea, omne peccatum est fugiendum, secundum illud Eccli. XXI, quasi a facie colubri, fuge peccatum. Sed Cassianus dicit, in eodem libro, experimento probatum est acediae impugnationem non declinando fugiendam, sed resistendo superandam. Ergo acedia non est peccatum. Objection 4: Further, all sin is to be avoided, according to Ecclus. 21:2: "Flee from sins as from the face of a serpent." Now Cassian says (De Instit. Monast. x): "Experience shows that the onslaught of sloth is not to be evaded by flight but to be conquered by resistance." Therefore sloth is not a sin.
Sed contra, illud quod interdicitur in sacra Scriptura est peccatum. Sed acedia est huiusmodi, dicitur enim Eccli. VI, subiice humerum tuum et porta illam, idest spiritualem sapientiam, et non acedieris in vinculis eius. Ergo acedia est peccatum. On the contrary, Whatever is forbidden in Holy Writ is a sin. Now such is sloth [acedia]: for it is written (Ecclus. 6:26): "Bow down thy shoulder, and bear her," namely spiritual wisdom, "and be not grieved [acedieris] with her bands." Therefore sloth is a sin.
Respondeo dicendum quod acedia, secundum Damascenum, est quaedam tristitia aggravans, quae scilicet ita deprimit animum hominis ut nihil ei agere libeat; sicuti ea quae sunt acida etiam frigida sunt. Et ideo acedia importat quoddam taedium operandi, ut patet per hoc quod dicitur in Glossa super illud Psalm., omnem escam abominata est anima eorum; et a quibusdam dicitur quod acedia est torpor mentis bona negligentis inchoare. I answer that, Sloth, according to Damascene (De Fide Orth. ii, 14) is an oppressive sorrow, which, to wit, so weighs upon man's mind, that he wants to do nothing; thus acid things are also cold. Hence sloth implies a certain weariness of work, as appears from a gloss on Ps. 106:18, "Their soul abhorred all manner of meat," and from the definition of some who say that sloth is a "sluggishness of the mind which neglects to begin good."
Huiusmodi autem tristitia semper est mala, quandoque quidem etiam secundum seipsam; quandoque vero secundum effectum. Tristitia enim secundum se mala est quae est de eo quod est apparens malum et vere bonum, sicut e contrario delectatio mala est quae est de eo quod est apparens bonum et vere malum. Cum igitur spirituale bonum sit vere bonum, tristitia quae est de spirituali bono est secundum se mala. Sed etiam tristitia quae est de vere malo mala est secundum effectum si sic hominem aggravet ut eum totaliter a bono opere retrahat, unde et apostolus, II ad Cor. II, non vult ut poenitens maiori tristitia de peccato absorbeatur. Now this sorrow is always evil, sometimes in itself, sometimes in its effect. For sorrow is evil in itself when it is about that which is apparently evil but good in reality, even as, on the other hand, pleasure is evil if it is about that which seems to be good but is, in truth, evil. Since, then, spiritual good is a good in very truth, sorrow about spiritual good is evil in itself. And yet that sorrow also which is about a real evil, is evil in its effect, if it so oppresses man as to draw him away entirely from good deeds. Hence the Apostle (2 Cor. 2:7) did not wish those who repented to be "swallowed up with overmuch sorrow."
Quia igitur acedia, secundum quod hic sumitur, nominat tristitiam spiritualis boni, est dupliciter mala, et secundum se et secundum effectum. Et ideo acedia est peccatum, malum enim in motibus appetitivis dicimus esse peccatum, ut ex supradictis patet. Accordingly, since sloth, as we understand it here, denotes sorrow for spiritual good, it is evil on two counts, both in itself and in point of its effect. Consequently it is a sin, for by sin we mean an evil movement of the appetite, as appears from what has been said above (Question [10], Article [2]; FS, Question [74], Article [4]).
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod passiones secundum se non sunt peccata, sed secundum quod applicantur ad aliquod malum, vituperantur; sicut et laudantur ex hoc quod applicantur ad aliquod bonum. Unde tristitia secundum se non nominat nec aliquid laudabile nec vituperabile, sed tristitia de malo vero moderata nominat aliquid laudabile; tristitia autem de bono, et iterum tristitia immoderata, nominat aliquid vituperabile. Et secundum hoc acedia ponitur peccatum. Reply to Objection 1: Passions are not sinful in themselves; but they are blameworthy in so far as they are applied to something evil, just as they deserve praise in so far as they are applied to something good. Wherefore sorrow, in itself, calls neither for praise nor for blame: whereas moderate sorrow for evil calls for praise, while sorrow for good, and again immoderate sorrow for evil, call for blame. It is in this sense that sloth is said to be a sin.
Ad secundum dicendum quod passiones appetitus sensitivi et in se possunt esse peccata venialia, et inclinant animam ad peccatum mortale. Et quia appetitus sensitivus habet organum corporale, sequitur quod per aliquam corporalem transmutationem homo fit habilior ad aliquod peccatum. Et ideo potest contingere quod secundum aliquas transmutationes corporales certis temporibus provenientes aliqua peccata nos magis impugnent. Omnis autem corporalis defectus de se ad tristitiam disponit. Et ideo ieiunantes, circa meridiem, quando iam incipiunt sentire defectum cibi et urgeri ab aestibus solis, magis ab acedia impugnantur. Reply to Objection 2: The passions of the sensitive appetite may either be venial sins in themselves, or incline the soul to mortal sin. And since the sensitive appetite has a bodily organ, it follows that on account of some bodily transmutation a man becomes apt to commit some particular sin. Hence it may happen that certain sins may become more insistent, through certain bodily transmutations occurring at certain fixed times. Now all bodily effects, of themselves, dispose one to sorrow; and thus it is that those who fast are harassed by sloth towards mid-day, when they begin to feel the want of food, and to be parched by the sun's heat.
Ad tertium dicendum quod ad humilitatem pertinet ut homo, defectus proprios considerans, seipsum non extollat. Sed hoc non pertinet ad humilitatem, sed potius ad ingratitudinem, quod bona quae quis a Deo possidet contemnat. Et ex tali contemptu sequitur acedia, de his enim tristamur quae quasi mala vel vilia reputamus. Sic igitur necesse est ut aliquis aliorum bona extollat quod tamen bona sibi divinitus provisa non contemnat, quia sic ei tristia redderentur. Reply to Objection 3: It is a sign of humility if a man does not think too much of himself, through observing his own faults; but if a man contemns the good things he has received from God, this, far from being a proof of humility, shows him to be ungrateful: and from such like contempt results sloth, because we sorrow for things that we reckon evil and worthless. Accordingly we ought to think much of the goods of others, in such a way as not to disparage those we have received ourselves, because if we did they would give us sorrow.
Ad quartum dicendum quod peccatum semper est fugiendum, sed impugnatio peccati quandoque est vincenda fugiendo, quandoque resistendo. Fugiendo quidem, quando continua cogitatio auget peccati incentivum, sicut est in luxuria, unde dicitur I ad Cor. VI, fugite fornicationem. Resistendo autem, quando cogitatio perseverans tollit incentivum peccati, quod provenit ex aliqua levi apprehensione. Et hoc contingit in acedia, quia quanto magis cogitamus de bonis spiritualibus, tanto magis nobis placentia redduntur; ex quo cessat acedia Reply to Objection 4: Sin is ever to be shunned, but the assaults of sin should be overcome, sometimes by flight, sometimes by resistance; by flight when a continued thought increases the incentive to sin, as in lust; for which reason it is written (1 Cor. 6:18): "Fly fornication"; by resistance, when perseverance in the thought diminishes the incentive to sin, which incentive arises from some trivial consideration. This is the case with sloth, because the more we think about spiritual goods, the more pleasing they become to us, and forthwith sloth dies away.

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Whether sloth is a special vice?

Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod acedia non sit speciale vitium. Illud enim quod convenit omni vitio non constituit specialis vitii rationem. Sed quodlibet vitium facit hominem tristari de bono spirituali opposito, nam luxuriosus tristatur de bono continentiae, et gulosus de bono abstinentiae. Cum ergo acedia sit tristitia de bono spirituali, sicut dictum est, videtur quod acedia non sit speciale peccatum. Objection 1: It would seem that sloth is not a special vice. For that which is common to all vices does not constitute a special kind of vice. But every vice makes a man sorrowful about the opposite spiritual good: for the lustful man is sorrowful about the good of continence, and the glutton about the good of abstinence. Since then sloth is sorrow for spiritual good, as stated above (Article [1]), it seems that sloth is not a special sin.
Praeterea, acedia, cum sit tristitia quaedam, gaudio opponitur. Sed gaudium non ponitur una specialis virtus. Ergo neque acedia debet poni speciale vitium. Objection 2: Further, sloth, through being a kind of sorrow, is opposed to joy. Now joy is not accounted one special virtue. Therefore sloth should not be reckoned a special vice.
Praeterea, spirituale bonum, cum sit quoddam commune obiectum quod virtus appetit et vitium refugit, non constituit specialem rationem virtutis aut vitii nisi per aliquid additum contrahatur. Sed nihil videtur quod contrahat ipsum ad acediam, si sit vitium speciale, nisi labor, ex hoc enim aliqui refugiunt spiritualia bona quia sunt laboriosa; unde et acedia taedium quoddam est. Refugere autem labores, et quaerere quietem corporalem, ad idem pertinere videtur, scilicet ad pigritiam. Ergo acedia nihil aliud esset quam pigritia. Quod videtur esse falsum, nam pigritia sollicitudini opponitur, acediae autem gaudium. Non ergo acedia est speciale vitium. Objection 3: Further, since spiritual good is a general kind of object, which virtue seeks, and vice shuns, it does not constitute a special virtue or vice, unless it be determined by some addition. Now nothing, seemingly, except toil, can determine it to sloth, if this be a special vice; because the reason why a man shuns spiritual goods, is that they are toilsome, wherefore sloth is a kind of weariness: while dislike of toil, and love of bodily repose seem to be due to the same cause, viz. idleness. Hence sloth would be nothing but laziness, which seems untrue, for idleness is opposed to carefulness, whereas sloth is opposed to joy. Therefore sloth is not a special vice.
Sed contra est quod Gregorius, XXXI Moral., distinguit acediam ab aliis vitiis. Ergo est speciale peccatum. On the contrary, Gregory (Moral. xxxi, 45) distinguishes sloth from the other vices. Therefore it is a special vice.
Respondeo dicendum quod, cum acedia sit tristitia de spirituali bono, si accipiatur spirituale bonum communiter, non habebit acedia rationem specialis vitii, quia sicut dictum est, omne vitium refugit spirituale bonum virtutis oppositae. Similiter etiam non potest dici quod sit speciale vitium acedia inquantum refugit spirituale bonum prout est laboriosum vel molestum corpori, aut delectationis eius impeditivum, quia hoc etiam non separaret acediam a vitiis carnalibus, quibus aliquis quietem et delectationem corporis quaerit. I answer that, Since sloth is sorrow for spiritual good, if we take spiritual good in a general way, sloth will not be a special vice, because, as stated above (FS, Question [71], Article [1]), every vice shuns the spiritual good of its opposite virtue. Again it cannot be said that sloth is a special vice, in so far as it shuns spiritual good, as toilsome, or troublesome to the body, or as a hindrance to the body's pleasure, for this again would not sever sloth from carnal vices, whereby a man seeks bodily comfort and pleasure.
Et ideo dicendum est quod in spiritualibus bonis est quidam ordo, nam omnia spiritualia bona quae sunt in actibus singularum virtutum ordinantur ad unum spirituale bonum quod est bonum divinum, circa quod est specialis virtus, quae est caritas. Unde ad quamlibet virtutem pertinet gaudere de proprio spirituali bono, quod consistit in proprio actu, sed ad caritatem pertinet specialiter illud gaudium spirituale quo quis gaudet de bono divino. Et similiter illa tristitia qua quis tristatur de bono spirituali quod est in actibus singularum virtutum non pertinet ad aliquod vitium speciale, sed ad omnia vitia. Sed tristari de bono divino, de quo caritas gaudet, pertinet ad speciale vitium, quod acedia vocatur. Wherefore we must say that a certain order exists among spiritual goods, since all the spiritual goods that are in the acts of each virtue are directed to one spiritual good, which is the Divine good, about which there is a special virtue, viz. charity. Hence it is proper to each virtue to rejoice in its own spiritual good, which consists in its own act, while it belongs specially to charity to have that spiritual joy whereby one rejoices in the Divine good. In like manner the sorrow whereby one is displeased at the spiritual good which is in each act of virtue, belongs, not to any special vice, but to every vice, but sorrow in the Divine good about which charity rejoices, belongs to a special vice, which is called sloth. This suffices for the Replies to the Objections.

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Whether sloth is a mortal sin?

Ad tertium sic proceditur. Videtur quod acedia non sit peccatum mortale. Omne enim peccatum mortale contrariatur praecepto legis Dei. Sed acedia nulli praecepto contrariari videtur, ut patet discurrenti per singula praecepta Decalogi. Ergo acedia non est peccatum mortale. Objection 1: It would seem that sloth is not a mortal sin. For every mortal sin is contrary to a precept of the Divine Law. But sloth seems contrary to no precept, as one may see by going through the precepts of the Decalogue. Therefore sloth is not a mortal sin.
Praeterea, peccatum operis in eodem genere non est minus quam peccatum cordis. Sed recedere opere ab aliquo spirituali bono in Deum ducente non est peccatum mortale, alioquin mortaliter peccaret quicumque consilia non observaret. Ergo recedere corde per tristitiam ab huiusmodi spiritualibus operibus non est peccatum mortale. Non ergo acedia est peccatum mortale. Objection 2: Further, in the same genus, a sin of deed is no less grievous than a sin of thought. Now it is not a mortal sin to refrain in deed from some spiritual good which leads to God, else it would be a mortal sin not to observe the counsels. Therefore it is not a mortal sin to refrain in thought from such like spiritual works. Therefore sloth is not a mortal sin.
Praeterea, nullum peccatum mortale in viris perfectis invenitur. Sed acedia invenitur in viris perfectis, dicit enim Cassianus, in Lib. X de institutis coenobiorum, quod acedia est solitariis magis experta, et in eremo commorantibus infestior hostis ac frequens. Ergo acedia non est peccatum mortale. Objection 3: Further, no mortal sin is to be found in a perfect man. But sloth is to be found in a perfect man: for Cassian says (De Instit. Caenob. x, l) that "sloth is well known to the solitary, and is a most vexatious and persistent foe to the hermit." Therefore sloth is not always a mortal sin.
Sed contra est quod dicitur II ad Cor. VII, tristitia saeculi mortem operatur. Sed huiusmodi est acedia, non enim est tristitia secundum Deum, quae contra tristitiam saeculi dividitur, quae mortem operatur. Ergo est peccatum mortale. On the contrary, It is written (2 Cor. 7:20): "The sorrow of the world worketh death." But such is sloth; for it is not sorrow "according to God," which is contrasted with sorrow of the world. Therefore it is a mortal sin.
Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut supra dictum est, peccatum mortale dicitur quod tollit spiritualem vitam, quae est per caritatem, secundum quam Deus nos inhabitat, unde illud peccatum ex suo genere est mortale quod de se, secundum propriam rationem, contrariatur caritati. Huiusmodi autem est acedia. Nam proprius effectus caritatis est gaudium de Deo, ut supra dictum est, acedia autem est tristitia de bono spirituali inquantum est bonum divinum. Unde secundum suum genus acedia est peccatum mortale. Sed considerandum est in omnibus peccatis quae sunt secundum suum genus mortalia quod non sunt mortalia nisi quando suam perfectionem consequuntur. Est autem consummatio peccati in consensu rationis, loquimur enim nunc de peccato humano, quod in actu humano consistit, cuius principium est ratio. Unde si sit inchoatio peccati in sola sensualitate, et non pertingat usque ad consensum rationis, propter imperfectionem actus est peccatum veniale. Sicut in genere adulterii concupiscentia quae consistit in sola sensualitate est peccatum veniale; si tamen pervenitur usque ad consensum rationis, est peccatum mortale. Ita etiam et motus acediae in sola sensualitate quandoque est, propter repugnantiam carnis ad spiritum, et tunc est peccatum veniale. Quandoque vero pertingit usque ad rationem, quae consentit in fugam et horrorem et detestationem boni divini, carne omnino contra spiritum praevalente. Et tunc manifestum est quod acedia est peccatum mortale. I answer that, As stated above (FS, Question [88], Articles [1],2), mortal sin is so called because it destroys the spiritual life which is the effect of charity, whereby God dwells in us. Wherefore any sin which by its very nature is contrary to charity is a mortal sin by reason of its genus. And such is sloth, because the proper effect of charity is joy in God, as stated above (Question [28], Article [1]), while sloth is sorrow about spiritual good in as much as it is a Divine good. Therefore sloth is a mortal sin in respect of its genus. But it must be observed with regard to all sins that are mortal in respect of their genus, that they are not mortal, save when they attain to their perfection. Because the consummation of sin is in the consent of reason: for we are speaking now of human sins consisting in human acts, the principle of which is the reason. Wherefore if the sin be a mere beginning of sin in the sensuality alone, without attaining to the consent of reason, it is a venial sin on account of the imperfection of the act. Thus in the genus of adultery, the concupiscence that goes no further than the sensuality is a venial sin, whereas if it reach to the consent of reason, it is a mortal sin. So too, the movement of sloth is sometimes in the sensuality alone, by reason of the opposition of the flesh to the spirit, and then it is a venial sin; whereas sometimes it reaches to the reason, which consents in the dislike, horror and detestation of the Divine good, on account of the flesh utterly prevailing over the spirit. In this case it is evident that sloth is a mortal sin.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod acedia contrariatur praecepto de sanctificatione sabbati, in quo, secundum quod est praeceptum morale, praecipitur quies mentis in Deo, cui contrariatur tristitia mentis de bono divino. Reply to Objection 1: Sloth is opposed to the precept about hallowing the Sabbath day. For this precept, in so far as it is a moral precept, implicitly commands the mind to rest in God: and sorrow of the mind about the Divine good is contrary thereto.
Ad secundum dicendum quod acedia non est recessus mentalis a quocumque spirituali bono, sed a bono divino, cui oportet mentem inhaerere ex necessitate. Unde si aliquis contristetur de hoc quod aliquis cogit eum implere opera virtutis quae facere non tenetur, non est peccatum acediae, sed quando contristatur in his quae ei imminent facienda propter Deum. Reply to Objection 2: Sloth is not an aversion of the mind from any spiritual good, but from the Divine good, to which the mind is obliged to adhere. Wherefore if a man is sorry because someone forces him to do acts of virtue that he is not bound to do, this is not a sin of sloth; but when he is sorry to have to do something for God's sake.
Ad tertium dicendum quod in viris sanctis inveniuntur aliqui imperfecti motus acediae, qui tamen non pertingunt usque ad consensum rationis. Reply to Objection 3: Imperfect movements of sloth are to be found in holy men, but they do not reach to the consent of reason.

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Whether sloth should be accounted a capital vice?

Ad quartum sic proceditur. Videtur quod acedia non debeat poni vitium capitale. Vitium enim capitale dicitur quod movet ad actus peccatorum, ut supra habitum est. Sed acedia non movet ad agendum, sed magis retrahit ab agendo. Ergo non debet poni vitium capitale. Objection 1: It would seem that sloth ought not to be accounted a capital vice. For a capital vice is one that moves a man to sinful acts, as stated above (Question [34], Article [5]). Now sloth does not move one to action, but on the contrary withdraws one from it. Therefore it should not be accounted a capital sin.
Praeterea, vitium capitale habet filias sibi deputatas. Assignat autem Gregorius, XXXI Moral., sex filias acediae, quae sunt malitia, rancor, pusillanimitas, desperatio, torpor circa praecepta, vagatio mentis circa illicita, quae non videntur convenienter oriri ex acedia. Nam rancor idem esse videtur quod odium, quod oritur ex invidia, ut supra dictum est. Malitia autem est genus ad omnia vitia, et similiter vagatio mentis circa illicita, et in omnibus vitiis inveniuntur. Torpor autem circa praecepta idem videtur esse quod acedia. Pusillanimitas autem et desperatio ex quibuscumque peccatis oriri possunt. Non ergo convenienter ponitur acedia esse vitium capitale. Objection 2: Further, a capital sin is one to which daughters are assigned. Now Gregory (Moral. xxxi, 45) assigns six daughters to sloth, viz. "malice, spite, faint-heartedness, despair, sluggishness in regard to the commandments, wandering of the mind after unlawful things." Now these do not seem in reality to arise from sloth. For "spite" is, seemingly the same as hatred, which arises from envy, as stated above (Question [34], Article [6]); "malice" is a genus which contains all vices, and, in like manner, a "wandering" of the mind after unlawful things is to be found in every vice; "sluggishness" about the commandments seems to be the same as sloth, while "faint-heartedness" and "despair" may arise from any sin. Therefore sloth is not rightly accounted a capital sin.
Praeterea, Isidorus, in libro de summo bono, distinguit vitium acediae a vitio tristitiae, dicens tristitiam esse inquantum recedit a graviori et laborioso ad quod tenetur; acediam inquantum se convertit ad quietem indebitam. Et dicit de tristitia oriri rancorem, pusillanimitatem, amaritudinem, desperationem, de acedia vero dicit oriri septem, quae sunt otiositas, somnolentia, importunitas mentis, inquietudo corporis, instabilitas, verbositas, curiositas. Ergo videtur quod vel a Gregorio vel ab Isidoro male assignetur acedia vitium capitale cum suis filiabus. Objection 3: Further, Isidore distinguishes the vice of sloth from the vice of sorrow, saying (De Summo Bono ii, 37) that in so far as a man shirks his duty because it is distasteful and burdensome, it is sorrow, and in so far as he is inclined to undue repose, it is sloth: and of sorrow he says that it gives rise to "spite, faint-heartedness, bitterness, despair," whereas he states that from sloth seven things arise, viz. "idleness, drowsiness, uneasiness of the mind, restlessness of the body, instability, loquacity, curiosity." Therefore it seems that either Gregory or Isidore has wrongly assigned sloth as a capital sin together with its daughters.
Sed contra est quod Gregorius dicit, XXXI Moral., acediam esse vitium capitale et habere praedictas filias. On the contrary, The same Gregory (Moral. xxxi, 45) states that sloth is a capital sin, and has the daughters aforesaid.
Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut supra dictum est, vitium capitale dicitur ex quo promptum est ut alia vitia oriantur secundum rationem causae finalis. Sicut autem homines multa operantur propter delectationem, tum ut ipsam consequantur, tum etiam ex eius impetu ad aliquid agendum permoti; ita etiam propter tristitiam multa operantur, vel ut ipsam evitent, vel ex eius pondere in aliqua agenda proruentes. Unde cum acedia sit tristitia quaedam, ut supra dictum est, convenienter ponitur vitium capitale. I answer that, As stated above (FS, Question [84], Articles [3],4), a capital vice is one which easily gives rise to others as being their final cause. Now just as we do many things on account of pleasure, both in order to obtain it, and through being moved to do something under the impulse of pleasure, so again we do many things on account of sorrow, either that we may avoid it, or through being exasperated into doing something under pressure thereof. Wherefore, since sloth is a kind of sorrow, as stated above (Article [2]; FS, Question [85], Article [8]), it is fittingly reckoned a capital sin.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod acedia, aggravando animum, impedit hominem ab illis operibus quae tristitiam causant. Sed tamen inducit animum ad aliqua agenda vel quae sunt tristitiae consona, sicut ad plorandum; vel etiam ad aliqua per quae tristitia evitatur. Reply to Objection 1: Sloth by weighing on the mind, hinders us from doing things that cause sorrow: nevertheless it induces the mind to do certain things, either because they are in harmony with sorrow, such as weeping, or because they are a means of avoiding sorrow.
Ad secundum dicendum quod Gregorius convenienter assignat filias acediae. Quia enim, ut philosophus dicit, in VIII Ethic., nullus diu absque delectatione potest manere cum tristitia, necesse est quod ex tristitia aliquid dupliciter oriatur, uno modo, ut homo recedat a contristantibus; alio modo, ut ad alia transeat in quibus delectatur, sicut illi qui non possunt gaudere in spiritualibus delectationibus transferunt se ad corporales, secundum philosophum, in X Ethic. In fuga autem tristitiae talis processus attenditur quod primo homo fugit contristantia; secundo, etiam impugnat ea quae tristitiam ingerunt. Spiritualia autem bona, de quibus tristatur acedia, sunt et finis et id quod est ad finem. Fuga autem finis fit per desperationem. Fuga autem bonorum quae sunt ad finem, quantum ad ardua, quae subsunt consiliis, fit per pusillanimitatem; quantum autem ad ea quae pertinent ad communem iustitiam, fit per torporem circa praecepta. Impugnatio autem contristantium bonorum spiritualium quandoque quidem est contra homines qui ad bona spiritualia inducunt, et hoc est rancor; quandoque vero se extendit ad ipsa spiritualia bona, in quorum detestationem aliquis adducitur, et hoc proprie est malitia. Inquantum autem propter tristitiam a spiritualibus aliquis transfert se ad delectabilia exteriora, ponitur filia acediae evagatio circa illicita. Per quod patet responsio ad ea quae circa singulas filias obiiciebantur. Nam malitia non accipitur hic secundum quod est genus vitiorum, sed sicut dictum est. Rancor etiam non accipitur hic communiter pro odio, sed pro quadam indignatione, sicut dictum est. Et idem dicendum est de aliis. Reply to Objection 2: Gregory fittingly assigns the daughters of sloth. For since, according to the Philosopher (Ethic. viii, 5,6) "no man can be a long time in company with what is painful and unpleasant," it follows that something arises from sorrow in two ways: first, that man shuns whatever causes sorrow; secondly, that he passes to other things that give him pleasure: thus those who find no joy in spiritual pleasures, have recourse to pleasures of the body, according to the Philosopher (Ethic. x, 6). Now in the avoidance of sorrow the order observed is that man at first flies from unpleasant objects, and secondly he even struggles against such things as cause sorrow. Now spiritual goods which are the object of the sorrow of sloth, are both end and means. Avoidance of the end is the result of "despair," while avoidance of those goods which are the means to the end, in matters of difficulty which come under the counsels, is the effect of "faint-heartedness," and in matters of common righteousness, is the effect of "sluggishness about the commandments." The struggle against spiritual goods that cause sorrow is sometimes with men who lead others to spiritual goods, and this is called "spite"; and sometimes it extends to the spiritual goods themselves, when a man goes so far as to detest them, and this is properly called "malice." In so far as a man has recourse to eternal objects of pleasure, the daughter of sloth is called "wandering after unlawful things." From this it is clear how to reply to the objections against each of the daughters: for "malice" does not denote here that which is generic to all vices, but must be understood as explained. Nor is "spite" taken as synonymous with hatred, but for a kind of indignation, as stated above: and the same applies to the others.
Ad tertium dicendum quod etiam Cassianus, in libro de institutis Coenob., distinguit tristitiam ab acedia, sed convenientius Gregorius acediam tristitiam nominat. Quia sicut supra dictum est, tristitia non est vitium ab aliis distinctum secundum quod aliquis recedit a gravi et laborioso opere, vel secundum quascumque alias causas aliquis tristetur, sed solum secundum quod contristatur de bono divino. Quod pertinet ad rationem acediae, quae intantum convertit ad quietem indebitam inquantum aspernatur bonum divinum. Illa autem quae Isidorus ponit oriri ex tristitia et acedia reducuntur ad ea quae Gregorius ponit. Nam amaritudo, quam ponit Isidorus oriri ex tristitia, est quidam effectus rancoris. Otiositas autem et somnolentia reducuntur ad torporem circa praecepta, circa quae est aliquis otiosus, omnino ea praetermittens et somnolentus, ea negligenter implens. Omnia autem alia quinque quae ponit ex acedia oriri pertinent ad evagationem mentis circa illicita. Quae quidem secundum quod in ipsa arce mentis residet volentis importune ad diversa se diffundere, vocatur importunitas mentis; secundum autem quod pertinet ad cognitivam, dicitur curiositas; quantum autem ad locutionem, dicitur verbositas; quantum autem ad corpus in eodem loco non manens, dicitur inquietudo corporis, quando scilicet aliquis per inordinatos motus membrorum vagationem indicat mentis; quantum autem ad diversa loca, dicitur instabilitas. Vel potest accipi instabilitas secundum mutabilitatem propositi. Reply to Objection 3: This distinction between sorrow and sloth is also given by Cassian (De Instit. Caenob. x, 1). But Gregory more fittingly (Moral. xxxi, 45) calls sloth a kind of sorrow, because, as stated above (Article [2]), sorrow is not a distinct vice, in so far as a man shirks a distasteful and burdensome work, or sorrows on account of any other cause whatever, but only in so far as he is sorry on account of the Divine good, which sorrow belongs essentially to sloth; since sloth seeks undue rest in so far as it spurns the Divine good. Moreover the things which Isidore reckons to arise from sloth and sorrow, are reduced to those mentioned by Gregory: for "bitterness" which Isidore states to be the result of sorrow, is an effect of "spite." "Idleness" and "drowsiness" are reduced to "sluggishness about the precepts": for some are idle and omit them altogether, while others are drowsy and fulfil them with negligence. All the other five which he reckons as effects of sloth, belong to the "wandering of the mind after unlawful things." This tendency to wander, if it reside in the mind itself that is desirous of rushing after various things without rhyme or reason, is called "uneasiness of the mind," but if it pertains to the imaginative power, it is called "curiosity"; if it affect the speech it is called "loquacity"; and in so far as it affects a body that changes place, it is called "restlessness of the body," when, to wit, a man shows the unsteadiness of his mind, by the inordinate movements of members of his body; while if it causes the body to move from one place to another, it is called "instability"; or "instability" may denote changeableness of purpose.

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