St. Thomas Aquinas

The Summa Theologica

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

Index [<<� | >>]
Second Part of the Second Part [ << | >> ]
Question: 155 [ << | >> ]



Deinde considerandum est de partibus potentialibus temperantiae.
  • Et primo, de continentia;
  • secundo, de clementia;
  • tertio, de modestia.
Circa primum, considerandum est de continentia, et de incontinentia.
We must next consider the potential parts of temperance:
  • (1) continence;
  • (2) clemency;
  • (3) modesty.
Under the first head we must consider continence and incontinence.
Circa continentiam quaeruntur quatuor. With regard to continence there are four points of inquiry:
Primo, utrum continentia sit virtus. (1) Whether continence is a virtue?
Secundo, quae sit materia eius. (2) What is its matter?
Tertio, quid sit eius subiectum. (3) What is its subject?
Quarto, de comparatione eius ad temperantiam. (4) Of its comparison with temperance.

Index [<<� | >>]
Second Part of the Second Part [ << | >> ]
Question: 155 [ << | >> ]
Article: 1  [ << | >> ]

Whether continence is a virtue?

Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod continentia non sit virtus. Species enim non condividitur generi. Sed continentia condividitur virtuti, ut patet per philosophum, in VII Ethic. Ergo continentia non est virtus. Objection 1: It would seem that continence is not a virtue. For species and genus are not co-ordinate members of the same division. But continence is co-ordinated with virtue, according to the Philosopher (Ethic. vii, 1,9). Therefore continence is not a virtue.
Praeterea, nullus utendo virtute peccat, quia secundum Augustinum, in libro de Lib. Arbit., virtus est qua nemo male utitur. Sed aliquis continendo potest peccare, puta si desideret aliquod bonum facere et ab eo se contineat. Ergo continentia non est virtus. Objection 2: Further, no one sins by using a virtue, since, according to Augustine (De Lib. Arb. ii, 18,19), "a virtue is a thing that no one makes ill use of." Yet one may sin by containing oneself: for instance, if one desire to do a good, and contain oneself from doing it. Therefore continence is not a virtue.
Praeterea, nulla virtus retrahit hominem a licitis, sed solum ab illicitis. Sed continentia retrahit hominem a licitis, dicit enim Glossa Galat. V, quod per continentiam aliquis se etiam a licitis abstinet. Ergo continentia non est virtus. Objection 3: Further, no virtue withdraws man from that which is lawful, but only from unlawful things: for a gloss on Gal. 5:23, "Faith, modesty," etc., says that by continence a man refrains even from things that are lawful. Therefore continence is not a virtue.
Sed contra, omnis habitus laudabilis videtur esse virtus. Sed continentia est huiusmodi, dicit enim Andronicus quod continentia est habitus invictus a delectatione. Ergo continentia est virtus. On the contrary, Every praiseworthy habit would seem to be a virtue. Now such is continence, for Andronicus says [*De Affectibus] that "continence is a habit unconquered by pleasure." Therefore continence is a virtue.
Respondeo dicendum quod nomen continentiae dupliciter sumitur a diversis. Quidam enim continentiam nominant per quam aliquis ab omni delectatione venerea abstinet, unde et apostolus, Galat. V, continentiam castitati coniungit. Et sic continentia perfecta principalis quidem est virginitas, secundaria vero viduitas. Unde secundum hoc, eadem ratio est de continentia quae de virginitate, quam supra diximus virtutem. Alii vero dicunt continentiam esse per quam aliquis resistit concupiscentiis pravis, quae in eo vehementes existunt. Et hoc modo accipit philosophus continentiam, VII Ethic. Et hoc etiam modo accipitur continentia in collationibus patrum. Hoc autem modo continentia habet aliquid de ratione virtutis, inquantum scilicet ratio firmata est contra passiones, ne ab eis deducatur, non tamen attingit ad perfectam rationem virtutis moralis, secundum quam etiam appetitus sensitivus subditur rationi sic ut in eo non insurgant vehementes passiones rationi contrariae. Et ideo philosophus dicit, in IV Ethic., quod continentia non est virtus, sed quaedam mixta, inquantum scilicet aliquid habet de virtute et in aliquo deficit a virtute. I answer that, The word "continence" is taken by various people in two ways. For some understand continence to denote abstention from all venereal pleasure: thus the Apostle joins continence to chastity (Gal. 5:23). In this sense perfect continence is virginity in the first place, and widowhood in the second. Wherefore the same applies to continence understood thus, as to virginity which we have stated above (Question [152], Article [3]) to be a virtue. Others, however, understand continence as signifying that whereby a man resists evil desires, which in him are vehement. In this sense the Philosopher takes continence (Ethic. vii, 7), and thus also it is used in the Conferences of the Fathers (Collat. xii, 10,11). In this way continence has something of the nature of a virtue, in so far, to wit, as the reason stands firm in opposition to the passions, lest it be led astray by them: yet it does not attain to the perfect nature of a moral virtue, by which even the sensitive appetite is subject to reason so that vehement passions contrary to reason do not arise in the sensitive appetite. Hence the Philosopher says (Ethic. iv, 9) that "continence is not a virtue but a mixture," inasmuch as it has something of virtue, and somewhat falls short of virtue.
Largius tamen accipiendo nomen virtutis pro quolibet principio laudabilium operum, possumus dicere continentiam esse virtutem. If, however, we take virtue in a broad sense, for any principle of commendable actions, we may say that continence is a virtue.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod philosophus condividit continentiam virtuti quantum ad hoc in quo deficit a virtute. Reply to Objection 1: The Philosopher includes continence in the same division with virtue in so far as the former falls short of virtue.
Ad secundum dicendum quod homo proprie est id quod est secundum rationem. Et ideo ex hoc dicitur aliquis in seipso se tenere, quod tenet se in eo quod convenit rationi. Quod autem pertinet ad perversitatem rationis, non est conveniens rationi. Unde ille solus continens vere dicitur qui tenet se in eo quod est secundum rationem rectam, non autem in eo quod est secundum rationem perversam. Rationi autem rectae opponuntur concupiscentiae pravae, sicut et rationi perversae opponuntur concupiscentiae bonae. Et ideo proprie et vere continens est qui persistit in ratione recta abstinens a concupiscentiis pravis, non autem qui persistit in ratione perversa abstinens a concupiscentiis bonis, sed hic magis potest dici obstinatus in malo. Reply to Objection 2: Properly speaking, man is that which is according to reason. Wherefore from the very fact that a man holds [tenet se] to that which is in accord with reason, he is said to contain himself. Now whatever pertains to perversion of reason is not according to reason. Hence he alone is truly said to be continent who stands to that which is in accord with right reason, and not to that which is in accord with perverse reason. Now evil desires are opposed to right reason, even as good desires are opposed to perverse reason. Wherefore he is properly and truly continent who holds to right reason, by abstaining from evil desires, and not he who holds to perverse reason, by abstaining from good desires: indeed, the latter should rather be said to be obstinate in evil.
Ad tertium dicendum quod Glossa ibi loquitur de continentia secundum primum modum, secundum quem continentia nominat quandam virtutem perfectam, quae non solum abstinet ab illicitis bonis, sed etiam a quibusdam licitis minus bonis, ut totaliter intendatur perfectioribus bonis. Reply to Objection 3: The gloss quoted takes continence in the first sense, as denoting a perfect virtue, which refrains not merely from unlawful goods, but also from certain lawful things that are lesser goods, in order to give its whole attention to the more perfect goods.

Index [<<� | >>]
Second Part of the Second Part [ << | >> ]
Question: 155 [ << | >> ]
Article: 2  [ << | >> ]

Whether desires for pleasures of touch are the matter of continence?

Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod materia continentiae non sint concupiscentiae delectationum tactus. Dicit enim Ambrosius, in I de Offic., quod generale decorum ita est ac si aequabilem formam atque universitatem honestatis habeat in omni actu suo continentem. Sed non omnis actus humanus pertinet ad delectationes tactus. Ergo continentia non est solum circa concupiscentias delectationum tactus. Objection 1: It would seem that desires for pleasures of touch are not the matter of continence. For Ambrose says (De Offic. i, 46): "General decorum by its consistent form and the perfection of what is virtuous is restrained* in its every action." [*"Continentem" according to St. Thomas' reading; St. Ambrose wrote "concinentem = harmonious"].
Praeterea, nomen continentiae ex hoc sumitur quod aliquis tenet se in bono rationis rectae, sicut dictum est. Sed quaedam aliae passiones vehementius abducunt hominem a ratione recta quam concupiscentiae delectabilium tactus, sicut timor periculorum mortis, qui stupefacit hominem; et ira, quae est insaniae similis, ut Seneca dicit. Ergo continentia non dicitur proprie circa concupiscentias delectationum tactus. Objection 2: Further, continence takes its name from a man standing for the good of right reason, as stated above (Article [1], ad 2). Now other passions lead men astray from right reason with greater vehemence than the desire for pleasures of touch: for instance, the fear of mortal dangers, which stupefies a man, and anger which makes him behave like a madman, as Seneca remarks [*De Ira i, 1]. Therefore continence does not properly regard the desires for pleasures of touch.
Praeterea, Tullius dicit, in II Rhet., quod continentia est per quam cupiditas consilii gubernatione regitur. Cupiditas autem magis consuevit dici divitiarum quam delectabilium tactus, secundum illud I ad Tim. ult., radix omnium malorum cupiditas. Ergo continentia non est proprie circa concupiscentias delectationum tactus. Objection 3: Further, Tully says (De Invent. Rhet. ii, 54): "It is continence that restrains cupidity with the guiding hand of counsel." Now cupidity is generally used to denote the desire for riches rather than the desire for pleasures of touch, according to 1 Tim. 6:10, "Cupidity [Douay: 'The desire of money'] ({philargyria}), is the root of all evils." Therefore continence is not properly about the desires for pleasures of touch
Praeterea, delectationes tactus non solum sunt in rebus venereis, sed etiam in esu. Sed continentia solum circa usum venereorum consuevit dici. Ergo non est propria materia eius concupiscentia delectationum tactus. Objection 4: Further, there are pleasures of touch not only in venereal matters but also in eating. But continence is wont to be applied only to the use of venereal matters. Therefore the desire for pleasures of touch is not its proper matter.
Praeterea, inter delectationes tactus quaedam sunt, non humanae, sed bestiales, tam in cibis, utpote si quis delectaretur in esu carnium humanarum; quam etiam in venereis, puta in abusu bestiarum vel puerorum. Sed circa huiusmodi non est continentia, ut dicitur in VII Ethic. Non ergo propria materia continentiae sunt concupiscentiae delectationum tactus. Objection 5: Further, among pleasures of touch some are not human but bestial, both as regards food—for instance, the pleasure of eating human flesh; and as regards venereal matters—for instance the abuse of animals or boys. But continence is not about such like things, as stated in Ethic. vii, 5. Therefore desires for pleasures of touch are not the proper matter of continence.
Sed contra est quod philosophus dicit, in VII Ethic., quod continentia et incontinentia sunt circa eadem circa quae temperantia et intemperantia. Sed temperantia et intemperantia sunt circa concupiscentias delectationum tactus, ut supra habitum est. Ergo etiam continentia et incontinentia sunt circa eandem materiam. On the contrary, The Philosopher says (Ethic. vii, 4) that "continence and incontinence are about the same things as temperance and intemperance." Now temperance and intemperance are about the desires for pleasures of touch, as stated above (Question [141], Article [4]). Therefore continence and incontinence are also about that same matter.
Respondeo dicendum quod nomen continentiae refrenationem quandam importat, inquantum scilicet tenet se aliquis ne passiones sequatur. Et ideo proprie continentia dicitur circa illas passiones quae impellunt ad aliquid prosequendum, in quibus laudabile est ut ratio retrahat hominem a prosequendo, non autem proprie est circa illas passiones quae important retractionem quandam, sicut timor et alia huiusmodi; in his enim laudabile est firmitatem servare in prosequendo quod ratio dictat ut supra dictum est. Est autem considerandum quod naturales inclinationes principia sunt omnium supervenientium, ut supra dictum est. Et ideo passiones tanto vehementius impellunt ad aliquid prosequendum, quanto magis sequuntur inclinationem naturae. Quae praecipue inclinat ad ea quae sunt sibi necessaria, vel ad conservationem individui, sicut sunt cibi; vel ad conservationem speciei, sicut sunt actus venerei. Quorum delectationes ad tactum pertinent. Et ideo continentia et incontinentia proprie dicuntur circa concupiscentias delectationum tactus. I answer that, Continence denotes, by its very name, a certain curbing, in so far as a man contains himself from following his passions. Hence continence is properly said in reference to those passions which urge a man towards the pursuit of something, wherein it is praiseworthy that reason should withhold man from pursuing: whereas it is not properly about those passions, such as fear and the like, which denote some kind of withdrawal: since in these it is praiseworthy to remain firm in pursuing what reason dictates, as stated above (Question [123], Articles [3],4). Now it is to be observed that natural inclinations are the principles of all supervening inclinations, as stated above (FP, Question [60], Article [2]). Wherefore the more they follow the inclination of nature, the more strongly do the passions urge to the pursuance of an object. Now nature inclines chiefly to those things that are necessary to it, whether for the maintenance of the individual, such as food, or for the maintenance of the species, such as venereal acts, the pleasures of which pertain to the touch. Therefore continence and incontinence refer properly to desires for pleasures of touch.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod, sicut nomen temperantiae potest communiter accipi in quacumque materia, proprie tamen dicitur in illa materia in qua est optimum hominem refrenari; ita etiam continentia proprie dicitur in materia in qua est optimum et difficillimum continere, scilicet in concupiscentiis delectationum tactus. Communiter autem et secundum quid potest dici in quacumque alia materia. Et hoc modo utitur Ambrosius nomine continentiae. Reply to Objection 1: Just as temperance may be used in a general sense in connection with any matter; but is properly applied to that matter wherein it is best for man to be curbed: so, too, continence properly speaking regards that matter wherein it is best and most difficult to contain oneself, namely desires for pleasures of touch, and yet in a general sense and relatively may be applied to any other matter: and in this sense Ambrose speaks of continence.
Ad secundum dicendum quod circa timorem non proprie laudatur continentia, sed magis firmitas animi, quam fortitudo importat. Ira autem impetum quidem facit ad aliquid prosequendum, iste tamen impetus magis sequitur apprehensionem animalem, prout scilicet aliquis apprehendit se esse ab alio laesum, quam inclinationem naturalem. Et ideo dicitur quidem aliquis secundum quid continens irae, non tamen simpliciter. Reply to Objection 2: Properly speaking we do not speak of continence in relation to fear, but rather of firmness of mind which fortitude implies. As to anger, it is true that it begets an impulse to the pursuit of something, but this impulse follows an apprehension of the soul—in so far as a man apprehends that someone has injured him—rather than an inclination of nature. Wherefore a man may be said to be continent of anger, relatively but not simply.
Ad tertium dicendum quod huiusmodi exteriora bona, sicut honores, divitiae et huiusmodi, ut philosophus dicit, in VII Ethic., videntur quidem secundum se esse eligibilia, non autem quasi necessaria ad conservationem naturae. Et ideo circa ea non dicimus simpliciter aliquos continentes vel incontinentes, sed secundum quid, apponendo quod sint continentes vel incontinentes vel lucri, vel honoris, vel alicuius huiusmodi. Et ideo vel Tullius communiter usus est nomine continentiae, prout comprehendit sub se etiam continentiam secundum quid, vel accipit cupiditatem stricte pro concupiscentia delectabilium tactus. Reply to Objection 3: External goods, such as honors, riches and the like, as the Philosopher says (Ethic. vii, 4), seem to be objects of choice in themselves indeed, but not as being necessary for the maintenance of nature. Wherefore in reference to such things we speak of a person as being continent or incontinent, not simply, but relatively, by adding that they are continent or incontinent in regard to wealth, or honor and so forth. Hence Tully either understood continence in a general sense, as including relative continence, or understood cupidity in a restricted sense as denoting desire for pleasures of touch.
Ad quartum dicendum quod delectationes venereorum sunt vehementiores quam delectationes ciborum. Et ideo circa venerea magis consuevimus continentiam et incontinentiam dicere quam circa cibos, licet, secundum philosophum, circa utrumque possit dici. Reply to Objection 4: Venereal pleasures are more vehement than pleasures of the palate: wherefore we are wont to speak of continence and incontinence in reference to venereal matters rather than in reference to food; although according to the Philosopher they are applicable to both.
Ad quintum dicendum quod continentia est bonum rationis humanae, et ideo attenditur circa passiones quae possunt esse homini connaturales. Unde philosophus dicit, in VII Ethic., quod si aliquis tenens puerum concupiscat eum vel comedere, vel ad venereorum inconvenientem delectationem, sive sequatur concupiscentiam sive non, non dicetur simpliciter continens, sed secundum quid. Reply to Objection 5: Continence is a good of the human reason: wherefore it regards those passions which can be connatural to man. Hence the Philosopher says (Ethic. vii, 5) that "if a man were to lay hold of a child with desire of eating him or of satisfying an unnatural passion whether he follow up his desire or not, he is said to be continent [*See Article [4]], not absolutely, but relatively."

Index [<<� | >>]
Second Part of the Second Part [ << | >> ]
Question: 155 [ << | >> ]
Article: 3  [ << | >> ]

Whether the subject of continence is the concupiscible power?

Ad tertium sic proceditur. Videtur quod subiectum continentiae sit vis concupiscibilis. Subiectum enim alicuius virtutis oportet esse proportionatum materiae. Sed materia continentiae, sicut dictum est, sunt concupiscentiae delectabilium tactus, quae pertinent ad vim concupiscibilem. Ergo continentia est in vi concupiscibili. Objection 1: It would seem that the subject of continence is the concupiscible power. For the subject of a virtue should be proportionate to the virtue's matter. Now the matter of continence, as stated (Article [2]), is desires for the pleasures of touch, which pertain to the concupiscible power. Therefore continence is in the concupiscible power.
Praeterea, opposita sunt circa idem. Sed incontinentia est in concupiscibili, cuius passiones superant rationem, dicit enim Andronicus quod incontinentia est malitia concupiscibilis, secundum quam eligit pravas delectationes, prohibente rationali. Ergo et continentia, pari ratione, est in concupiscibili. Objection 2: Further, "Opposites are referred to one same thing" [*Categ. viii]. But incontinence is in the concupiscible, whose passions overcome reason, for Andronicus says [*De Affectibus] that "incontinence is the evil inclination of the concupiscible, by following which it chooses wicked pleasures in disobedience to reason." Therefore continence is likewise in the concupiscible.
Praeterea, subiectum virtutis humanae vel est ratio, vel vis appetitiva, quae dividitur in voluntatem, concupiscibilem et irascibilem. Sed continentia non est in ratione, quia sic esset virtus intellectualis. Neque etiam est in voluntate, quia continentia est circa passiones, quae non sunt in voluntate. Nec etiam est in irascibili, quia non est proprie circa passiones irascibilis, ut dictum est. Ergo relinquitur quod sit in concupiscibili. Objection 3: Further, the subject of a human virtue is either the reason, or the appetitive power, which is divided into the will, the concupiscible and the irascible. Now continence is not in the reason, for then it would be an intellectual virtue; nor is it in the will, since continence is about the passions which are not in the will; nor again is it in the irascible, because it is not properly about the passions of the irascible, as stated above (Article [2], ad 2). Therefore it follows that it is in the concupiscible.
Sed contra, omnis virtus in aliqua potentia existens aufert malum actum illius potentiae. Sed continentia non aufert malum actum concupiscibilis, habet enim continens concupiscentias pravas, ut philosophus dicit, in VII Ethic. Ergo continentia non est in concupiscibili. On the contrary, Every virtue residing in a certain power removes the evil act of that power. But continence does not remove the evil act of the concupiscible: since "the continent man has evil desires," according to the Philosopher (Ethic. vii, 9). Therefore continence is not in the concupiscible power.
Respondeo dicendum quod omnis virtus in aliquo subiecto existens facit illud differre a dispositione quam habet dum subiicitur opposito vitio. Concupiscibilis autem eodem modo se habet in eo qui est continens, et in eo qui est incontinens, quia in utroque prorumpit ad concupiscentias pravas vehementes. Unde manifestum est quod continentia non est in concupiscibili sicut in subiecto. Similiter etiam ratio eodem modo se habet in utroque, quia tam continens quam incontinens habet rationem rectam; et uterque, extra passionem existens, gerit in proposito concupiscentias illicitas non sequi. Prima autem differentia eorum invenitur in electione, quia continens, quamvis patiatur vehementes concupiscentias, tamen eligit non sequi eas, propter rationem; incontinens autem eligit sequi eas, non obstante contradictione rationis. Et ideo oportet quod continentia sit, sicut in subiecto, in illa vi animae cuius actus est electio. Et haec est voluntas, ut supra habitum est. I answer that, Every virtue while residing in a subject, makes that subject have a different disposition from that which it has while subjected to the opposite vice. Now the concupiscible has the same disposition in one who is continent and in one who is incontinent, since in both of them it breaks out into vehement evil desires. Wherefore it is manifest that continence is not in the concupiscible as its subject. Again the reason has the same disposition in both, since both the continent and the incontinent have right reason, and each of them, while undisturbed by passion, purposes not to follow his unlawful desires. Now the primary difference between them is to be found in their choice: since the continent man, though subject to vehement desires, chooses not to follow them, because of his reason; whereas the incontinent man chooses to follow them, although his reason forbids. Hence continence must needs reside in that power of the soul, whose act it is to choose; and that is the will, as stated above (FS, Question [13], Article [1]).
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod continentia habet materiam concupiscentias delectationum tactus, non sicut quas moderetur, quod pertinet ad temperantiam, quae est in concupiscibili, sed est circa eas quasi eis resistens. Unde oportet quod sit in alia vi, quia resistentia est alterius ad alterum. Reply to Objection 1: Continence has for its matter the desires for pleasures of touch, not as moderating them (this belongs to temperance which is in the concupiscible), but its business with them is to resist them. For this reason it must be in another power, since resistance is of one thing against another.
Ad secundum dicendum quod voluntas media est inter rationem et concupiscibilem, et potest ab utroque moveri. In eo autem qui est continens, movetur a ratione, in eo autem qui est incontinens, movetur a concupiscibili. Et ideo continentia potest attribui rationi sicut primo moventi, et incontinentia concupiscibili, quamvis utrumque immediate pertineat ad voluntatem sicut ad proprium subiectum. Reply to Objection 2: The will stands between reason and the concupiscible, and may be moved by either. In the continent man it is moved by the reason, in the incontinent man it is moved by the concupiscible. Hence continence may be ascribed to the reason as to its first mover, and incontinence to the concupiscible power: though both belong immediately to the will as their proper subject.
Ad tertium dicendum quod, licet passiones non sint in voluntate sicut in subiecto, est tamen in potestate voluntatis eis resistere et hoc modo voluntas continentis resistit concupiscentiis. Reply to Objection 3: Although the passions are not in the will as their subject, yet it is in the power of the will to resist them: thus it is that the will of the continent man resists desires.

Index [<<� | >>]
Second Part of the Second Part [ << | >> ]
Question: 155 [ << | >> ]
Article: 4  [ << | >> ]

Whether continence is better than temperance?

Ad quartum sic proceditur. Videtur quod continentia sit melior quam temperantia. Dicitur enim Eccli. XXVI, omnis autem ponderatio non est digna continentis animae. Ergo nulla virtus potest continentiae adaequari. Objection 1: It would seem that continence is better than temperance. For it is written (Ecclus. 26:20): "No price is worthy of a continent soul." Therefore no virtue can be equalled to continence.
Praeterea, quanto aliqua virtus meretur maius praemium, tanto potior est. Sed continentia videtur mereri maius praemium, dicitur enim II ad Tim. II, non coronabitur nisi qui legitime certaverit; magis autem certat continens, qui patitur vehementes concupiscentias pravas, quam temperatus, qui non habet eas vehementes. Ergo continentia est potior virtus quam temperantia. Objection 2: Further, the greater the reward a virtue merits, the greater the virtue. Now continence apparently merits the greater reward; for it is written (2 Tim. 2:5): "He... is not crowned, except he strive lawfully," and the continent man, since he is subject to vehement evil desires, strives more than the temperate man, in whom these things are not vehement. Therefore continence is a greater virtue than temperance.
Praeterea, voluntas est dignior potentia quam vis concupiscibilis. Sed continentia est in voluntate, temperantia autem in vi concupiscibili, ut ex dictis patet. Ergo continentia est potior virtus quam temperantia. Objection 3: Further, the will is a more excellent power than the concupiscible. But continence is in the will, whereas temperance is in the concupiscible, as stated above (Article [3]). Therefore continence is a greater virtue than temperance.
Sed contra est quod Tullius et Andronicus ponunt continentiam adiunctam temperantiae sicut principali virtuti. On the contrary, Tully (De Invent. Rhet. ii, 54) and Andronicus [*De Affectibus] reckon continence to be annexed to temperance, as to a principal virtue.
Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut supra dictum est, nomen continentiae dupliciter accipitur. Uno modo, secundum quod importat cessationem ab omnibus delectationibus venereis. Et sic sumendo nomen continentiae, continentia est potior temperantia simpliciter dicta, ut patet ex his quae supra dicta sunt de praeeminentia virginitatis ad castitatem simpliciter dictam. Alio modo potest accipi nomen continentiae secundum quod importat resistentiam rationis ad concupiscentias pravas quae sunt in homine vehementes. Et secundum hoc, temperantia est multo potior quam continentia. Quia bonum virtutis laudabile est ex eo quod est secundum rationem. Plus autem viget bonum rationis in eo qui est temperatus, in quo etiam ipse appetitus sensitivus est subiectus rationi et quasi a ratione edomitus, quam in eo qui est continens, in quo appetitus sensitivus vehementer resistit rationi per concupiscentias pravas. Unde continentia comparatur ad temperantiam sicut imperfectum ad perfectum. I answer that, As stated above (Article [1]), continence has a twofold signification. In one way it denotes cessation from all venereal pleasures; and if continence be taken in this sense, it is greater than temperance considered absolutely, as may be gathered from what we said above (Question [152], Article [5]) concerning the preeminence of virginity over chastity considered absolutely. In another way continence may be taken as denoting the resistance of the reason to evil desires when they are vehement in a man: and in this sense temperance is far greater than continence, because the good of a virtue derives its praise from that which is in accord with reason. Now the good of reason flourishes more in the temperate man than in the continent man, because in the former even the sensitive appetite is obedient to reason, being tamed by reason so to speak, whereas in the continent man the sensitive appetite strongly resists reason by its evil desires. Hence continence is compared to temperance, as the imperfect to the perfect.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod auctoritas illa potest dupliciter intelligi. Uno modo, secundum quod accipitur continentia prout abstinet ab omnibus venereis. Et hoc modo dicitur quod omnis ponderatio non est digna animae continentis, in genere castitatis, quia nec etiam fecunditas carnis, quae quaeritur in matrimonio, adaequatur continentiae virginali vel viduali, ut supra dictum est. Alio modo potest intelligi secundum quod nomen continentiae accipitur communiter pro omni abstinentia a rebus illicitis. Et sic dicitur quod omnis ponderatio non est digna animae continentis, quia non respicit aestimationem auri vel argenti, quae commutantur ad pondus. Reply to Objection 1: The passage quoted may be understood in two ways. First in reference to the sense in which continence denotes abstinence from all things venereal: and thus it means that "no price is worthy of a continent soul," in the genus of chastity the fruitfulness of the flesh is the purpose of marriage is equalled to the continence of virginity or of widowhood, as stated above (Question [152], Articles [4],5). Secondly it may be understood in reference to the general sense in which continence denotes any abstinence from things unlawful: and thus it means that "no price is worthy of a continent soul," because its value is not measured with gold or silver, which are appreciable according to weight.
Ad secundum dicendum quod magnitudo concupiscentiae, seu debilitas eius, ex duplici causa procedere potest. Quandoque enim procedit ex causa corporali. Quidam enim ex naturali complexione sunt magis proni ad concupiscendum quam alii. Et iterum quidam habent opportunitates delectationum, concupiscentiam inflammantes, magis paratas quam alii. Et talis debilitas concupiscentiae diminuit meritum, magnitudo vero auget. Quandoque vero debilitas vel magnitudo concupiscentiae provenit ex causa spirituali laudabili, puta ex vehementia caritatis vel fortitudine rationis, sicut est in homine temperato. Et hoc modo debilitas concupiscentiae auget meritum, ratione suae causae, magnitudo vero minuit. Reply to Objection 2: The strength or weakness of concupiscence may proceed from two causes. For sometimes it is owing to a bodily cause: because some people by their natural temperament are more prone to concupiscence than others; and again opportunities for pleasure which inflame the concupiscence are nearer to hand for some people than for others. Such like weakness of concupiscence diminishes merit, whereas strength of concupiscence increases it. on the other hand, weakness or strength of concupiscence arises from a praiseworthy spiritual cause, for instance the vehemence of charity, or the strength of reason, as in the case of a temperate man. In this way weakness of concupiscence, by reason of its cause, increases merit, whereas strength of concupiscence diminishes it.
Ad tertium dicendum quod voluntas propinquior est rationi quam vis concupiscibilis. Unde bonum rationis, ex quo virtus laudatur, maius esse ostenditur ex hoc quod pertingit non solum usque ad voluntatem, sed etiam usque ad vim concupiscibilem, quod accidit in eo qui est temperatus, quam si pertingat solum ad voluntatem, ut accidit in eo qui est continens. Reply to Objection 3: The will is more akin to the reason than the concupiscible power is. Wherefore the good of reason—on account of which virtue is praised by the very fact that it reaches not only to the will but also to the concupiscible power, as happens in the temperate man—is shown to be greater than if it reach only to the will, as in the case of one who is continent.

This document converted to HTML on Fri Jan 02 19:10:36 1998.