Summa Th. II-II EN Qu.35
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.
Under the first head there are four points of inquiry:
(1) Whether sloth is a sin?
(2) Whether it is a special vice?
(3) Whether it is a mortal sin?
(4) Whether it is a capital sin?
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 , Article ). Therefore sloth is not a sin.
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.
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.
4. Further, all sin is to be avoided, according to Si 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.
On the contrary Whatever is forbidden in Holy Writ is a sin. Now such is sloth [acedia]: for it is written (Si 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.
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."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 (2Co 2,7) did not wish those who repented to be "swallowed up with overmuch sorrow."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 , Article ; FS, Question , Article ).
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.
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.
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.
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 (1Co 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.
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 ), it seems that sloth is not a special sin.
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.
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.
On the contrary Gregory (Moral. xxxi, 45) distinguishes sloth from the other vices. Therefore it is a special vice.
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 , Article ), 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.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.
Reply to Objection: 1. This suffices for the Replies to the Objections.
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.
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.
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.
On the contrary It is written (2Co 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.
I answer that As stated above (FS, Question , Articles ,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 , Article ), 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.
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.
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.
3. Imperfect movements of sloth are to be found in holy men, but they do not reach to the consent of reason.
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 , Article ). 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.
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 , Article ); "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.
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.
On the contrary The same Gregory (Moral. xxxi, 45) states that sloth is a capital sin, and has the daughters aforesaid.
I answer that As stated above (FS, Question , Articles ,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 ; FS, Question , Article ), it is fittingly reckoned a capital sin.
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.
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.
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 ), 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.
We must now consider envy, and under this head there are four points of inquiry:
(1) What is envy?
(2) Whether it is a sin?
(3) Whether it is a mortal sin?
(4) Whether it is a capital sin, and which are its daughters?
Objection: 1. It would seem that envy is not a kind of sorrow. For the object of envy is a good, for Gregory says (Moral. v, 46) of the envious man that "self-inflicted pain wounds the pining spirit, which is racked by the prosperity of another." Therefore envy is not a kind of sorrow.
2. Further, likeness is a cause, not of sorrow but rather of pleasure. But likeness is a cause of envy: for the Philosopher says (Rhet. ii, 10): "Men are envious of such as are like them in genus, in knowledge, in stature, in habit, or in reputation." Therefore envy is not a kind of sorrow.
3. Further, sorrow is caused by a defect, wherefore those who are in great defect are inclined to sorrow, as stated above (FS, Question , Article ) when we were treating of the passions. Now those who lack little, and who love honors, and who are considered wise, are envious, according to the Philosopher (Rhet. ii, 10). Therefore envy is not a kind of sorrow.
4. Further, sorrow is opposed to pleasure. Now opposite effects have not one and the same cause. Therefore, since the recollection of goods once possessed is a cause of pleasure, as stated above (FS, Question , Article ) it will not be a cause of sorrow. But it is a cause of envy; for the Philosopher says (Rhet. ii, 10) that "we envy those who have or have had things that befitted ourselves, or which we possessed at some time." Therefore sloth is not a kind of sorrow.
On the contrary Damascene (De Fide Orth. ii, 14) calls envy a species of sorrow, and says that "envy is sorrow for another's good."
I answer that The object of a man's sorrow is his own evil. Now it may happen that another's good is apprehended as one's own evil, and in this way sorrow can be about another's good. But this happens in two ways: First, when a man is sorry about another's good, in so far as it threatens to be an occasion of harm to himself, as when a man grieves for his enemy's prosperity, for fear lest he may do him some harm: such like sorrow is not envy, but rather an effect of fear, as the Philosopher states (Rhet. ii, 9).Secondly, another's good may be reckoned as being one's own evil, in so far as it conduces to the lessening of one's own good name or excellence. It is in this way that envy grieves for another's good: and consequently men are envious of those goods in which a good name consists, and about which men like to be honored and esteemed, as the Philosopher remarks (Rhet. ii, 10).
Reply to Objection: 1. Nothing hinders what is good for one from being reckoned as evil for another: and in this way it is possible for sorrow to be about good, as stated above.
2. Since envy is about another's good name in so far as it diminishes the good name a man desires to have, it follows that a man is envious of those only whom he wishes to rival or surpass in reputation. But this does not apply to people who are far removed from one another: for no man, unless he be out of his mind, endeavors to rival or surpass in reputation those who are far above him. Thus a commoner does not envy the king, nor does the king envy a commoner whom he is far above. Wherefore a man envies not those who are far removed from him, whether in place, time, or station, but those who are near him, and whom he strives to rival or surpass. For it is against our will that these should be in better repute than we are, and that gives rise to sorrow. On the other hand, likeness causes pleasure in so far as it is in agreement with the will.
3. A man does not strive for mastery in matters where he is very deficient; so that he does not envy one who surpasses him in such matters, unless he surpass him by little, for then it seems to him that this is not beyond him, and so he makes an effort; wherefore, if his effort fails through the other's reputation surpassing his, he grieves. Hence it is that those who love to be honored are more envious; and in like manner the faint-hearted are envious, because all things are great to them, and whatever good may befall another, they reckon that they themselves have been bested in something great. Hence it is written (Jb 5,2): "Envy slayeth the little one," and Gregory says (Moral. v, 46) that "we can envy those only whom we think better in some respect than ourselves."
4. Recollection of past goods in so far as we have had them, causes pleasure; in so far as we have lost them, causes sorrow; and in so far as others have them, causes envy, because that, above all, seems to belittle our reputation. Hence the Philosopher says (Rhet. ii) that the old envy the young, and those who have spent much in order to get something, envy those who have got it by spending little, because they grieve that they have lost their goods, and that others have acquired goods.
Objection: 1. It would seem that envy is not a sin. For Jerome says to Laeta about the education of her daughter (Ep. cvii): "Let her have companions, so that she may learn together with them, envy them, and be nettled when they are praised." But no one should be advised to commit a sin. Therefore envy is not a sin
2. Further, "Envy is sorrow for another's good," as Damascene says (De Fide Orth. ii, 14). But this is sometimes praiseworthy: for it is written (Pr 29,2): "When the wicked shall bear rule, the people shall mourn." Therefore envy is not always a sin.
3. Further, envy denotes a kind of zeal. But there is a good zeal, according to Ps 68,10: "The zeal of Thy house hath eaten me up." Therefore envy is not always a sin.
4. Further, punishment is condivided with fault. But envy is a kind of punishment: for Gregory says (Moral. v, 46): "When the foul sore of envy corrupts the vanquished heart, the very exterior itself shows how forcibly the mind is urged by madness. For paleness seizes the complexion, the eyes are weighed down, the spirit is inflamed, while the limbs are chilled, there is frenzy in the heart, there is gnashing with the teeth." Therefore envy is not a sin.
On the contrary It is written (Ga 5,26): "Let us not be made desirous of vainglory, provoking one another, envying one another."
I answer that As stated above (Article ), envy is sorrow for another's good. Now this sorrow may come about in four ways. First, when a man grieves for another's good, through fear that it may cause harm either to himself, or to some other goods. This sorrow is not envy, as stated above (Article ), and may be void of sin. Hence Gregory says (Moral. xxii, 11): "It very often happens that without charity being lost, both the destruction of an enemy rejoices us, and again his glory, without any sin of envy, saddens us, since, when he falls, we believe that some are deservedly set up, and when he prospers, we dread lest many suffer unjustly."Secondly, we may grieve over another's good, not because he has it, but because the good which he has, we have not: and this, properly speaking, is zeal, as the Philosopher says (Rhet. ii, 9). And if this zeal be about virtuous goods, it is praiseworthy, according to 1Co 14,1: "Be zealous for spiritual gifts": while, if it be about temporal goods, it may be either sinful or sinless. Thirdly, one may grieve over another's good, because he who happens to have that good is unworthy of it. Such sorrow as this cannot be occasioned by virtuous goods, which make a man righteous, but, as the Philosopher states, is about riches, and those things which can accrue to the worthy and the unworthy; and he calls this sorrow (nemesis) [*The nearest equivalent is "indignation." The use of the word "nemesis" to signify "revenge" does not represent the original Greek.], saying that it belongs to good morals. But he says this because he considered temporal goods in themselves, in so far as they may seem great to those who look not to eternal goods: whereas, according to the teaching of faith, temporal goods that accrue to those who are unworthy, are so disposed according to God's just ordinance, either for the correction of those men, or for their condemnation, and such goods are as nothing in comparison with the goods to come, which are prepared for good men. Wherefore sorrow of this kind is forbidden in Holy Writ, according to Ps 36,1: "Be not emulous of evil doers, nor envy them that work iniquity," and elsewhere (Ps 72,2-3): "My steps had well nigh slipped, for I was envious of the wicked, when I saw the prosperity of sinners [*Douay: 'because I had a zeal on occasion of the wicked, seeing the prosperity of sinners']." Fourthly, we grieve over a man's good, in so far as his good surpasses ours; this is envy properly speaking, and is always sinful, as also the Philosopher states (Rhet. ii, 10), because to do so is to grieve over what should make us rejoice, viz. over our neighbor's good.
Reply to Objection: 1. Envy there denotes the zeal with which we ought to strive to progress with those who are better than we are.
2. This argument considers sorrow for another's good in the first sense given above.
3. Envy differs from zeal, as stated above. Hence a certain zeal may be good, whereas envy is always evil.
4. Nothing hinders a sin from being penal accidentally, as stated above (FS, Question , Article ) when we were treating of sins.
Objection: 1. It would seem that envy is not a mortal sin. For since envy is a kind of sorrow, it is a passion of the sensitive appetite. Now there is no mortal sin in the sensuality, but only in the reason, as Augustine declares (De Trin. xii, 12) [*Cf. FS, Question , Article ]. Therefore envy is not a mortal sin. Aquin.: SMT SS Question  Article  Obj. 2 Para. 1/1 OBJ 2:
2. Further, there cannot be mortal sin in infants. But envy can be in them, for Augustine says (Confess. i): "I myself have seen and known even a baby envious, it could not speak, yet it turned pale and looked bitterly on its foster-brother." Therefore envy is not a mortal sin.
3. Further, every mortal sin is contrary to some virtue. But envy is contrary, not to a virtue but to (nemesis), which is a passion, according to the Philosopher (Rhet. ii, 9). Therefore envy is not a mortal sin.
On the contrary It is written (Jb 5,2): "Envy slayeth the little one." Now nothing slays spiritually, except mortal sin. Therefore envy is a mortal sin.
I answer that Envy is a mortal sin, in respect of its genus. For the genus of a sin is taken from its object; and envy according to the aspect of its object is contrary to charity, whence the soul derives its spiritual life, according to 1Jn 3,14: "We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren." Now the object both of charity and of envy is our neighbor's good, but by contrary movements, since charity rejoices in our neighbor's good, while envy grieves over it, as stated above (Article ). Therefore it is evident that envy is a mortal sin in respect of its genus.Nevertheless, as stated above (Question , Article ; FS, Question , Article , ad 1), in every kind of mortal sin we find certain imperfect movements in the sensuality, which are venial sins: such are the first movement of concupiscence, in the genus of adultery, and the first movement of anger, in the genus of murder, and so in the genus of envy we find sometimes even in perfect men certain first movements, which are venial sins.
Reply to Objection: 1. The movement of envy in so far as it is a passion of the sensuality, is an imperfect thing in the genus of human acts, the principle of which is the reason, so that envy of that kind is not a mortal sin. The same applies to the envy of little children who have not the use of reason:
2. wherefore the Reply to the Second Objection is manifest.
3. According to the Philosopher (Rhet. ii, 9), envy is contrary both to (nemesis) and to pity, but for different reasons. For it is directly contrary to pity, their principal objects being contrary to one another, since the envious man grieves over his neighbor's good, whereas the pitiful man grieves over his neighbor's evil, so that the envious have no pity, as he states in the same passage, nor is the pitiful man envious. On the other hand, envy is contrary to (nemesis) on the part of the man whose good grieves the envious man, for (nemesis) is sorrow for the good of the undeserving according to Ps 72,3: "I was envious of the wicked, when I saw the prosperity of sinners" [*Douay: 'because I had a zeal on occasion of the wicked, seeing the prosperity of sinners'], whereas the envious grieves over the good of those who are deserving of it. Hence it is clear that the former contrariety is more direct than the latter. Now pity is a virtue, and an effect proper to charity: so that envy is contrary to pity and charity.
Objection: 1. It would seem that envy is not a capital vice. For the capital vices are distinct from their daughters. Now envy is the daughter of vainglory; for the Philosopher says (Rhet. ii, 10) that "those who love honor and glory are more envious." Therefore envy is not a capital vice.
2. Further, the capital vices seem to be less grave than the other vices which arise from them. For Gregory says (Moral. xxxi, 45): "The leading vices seem to worm their way into the deceived mind under some kind of pretext, but those which follow them provoke the soul to all kinds of outrage, and confuse the mind with their wild outcry." Now envy is seemingly a most grave sin, for Gregory says (Moral. v, 46): "Though in every evil thing that is done, the venom of our old enemy is infused into the heart of man, yet in this wickedness the serpent stirs his whole bowels and discharges the bane of spite fitted to enter deep into the mind." Therefore envy is not a capital sin.
3. Further, it seems that its daughters are unfittingly assigned by Gregory (Moral. xxxi, 45), who says that from envy arise "hatred, tale-bearing, detraction, joy at our neighbor's misfortunes, and grief for his prosperity." For joy at our neighbor's misfortunes and grief for his prosperity seem to be the same as envy, as appears from what has been said above (Article ). Therefore these should not be assigned as daughters of envy.
On the contrary On the contrary stands the authority of Gregory (Moral. xxxi, 45) who states that envy is a capital sin and assigns the aforesaid daughters thereto.
I answer that Just as sloth is grief for a Divine spiritual good, so envy is grief for our neighbor's good. Now it has been stated above (Question , Article ) that sloth is a capital vice for the reason that it incites man to do certain things, with the purpose either of avoiding sorrow or of satisfying its demands. Wherefore envy is accounted a capital vice for the same reason.
Reply to Objection: 1. As Gregory says (Moral. xxxi, 45), "the capital vices are so closely akin to one another that one springs from the other. For the first offspring of pride is vainglory, which by corrupting the mind it occupies begets envy, since while it craves for the power of an empty name, it repines for fear lest another should acquire that power." Consequently the notion of a capital vice does not exclude its originating from another vice, but it demands that it should have some principal reason for being itself the origin of several kinds of sin. However it is perhaps because envy manifestly arises from vainglory, that it is not reckoned a capital sin, either by Isidore (De Summo Bono) or by Cassian (De Instit. Caenob. v, 1).
2. It does not follow from the passage quoted that envy is the greatest of sins, but that when the devil tempts us to envy, he is enticing us to that which has its chief place in his heart, for as quoted further on in the same passage, "by the envy of the devil, death came into the world" (Sg 2,24).There is, however, a kind of envy which is accounted among the most grievous sins, viz. envy of another's spiritual good, which envy is a sorrow for the increase of God's grace, and not merely for our neighbor's good. Hence it is accounted a sin against the Holy Ghost, because thereby a man envies, as it were, the Holy Ghost Himself, Who is glorified in His works.
3. The number of envy's daughters may be understood for the reason that in the struggle aroused by envy there is something by way of beginning, something by way of middle, and something by way of term. The beginning is that a man strives to lower another's reputation, and this either secretly, and then we have "tale-bearing," or openly, and then we have "detraction." The middle consists in the fact that when a man aims at defaming another, he is either able to do so, and then we have "joy at another's misfortune," or he is unable, and then we have "grief at another's prosperity." The term is hatred itself, because just as good which delights causes love, so does sorrow cause hatred, as stated above (Question , Article ). Grief at another's prosperity is in one way the very same as envy, when, to Wit, a man grieves over another's prosperity, in so far as it gives the latter a good name, but in another way it is a daughter of envy, in so far as the envious man sees his neighbor prosper notwithstanding his efforts to prevent it. On the other hand, "joy at another's misfortune" is not directly the same as envy, but is a result thereof, because grief over our neighbor's good which is envy, gives rise to joy in his evil.
Summa Th. II-II EN Qu.35