Summa Th. II-II EN Qu.28 a.2
Objection: 1. It would seem that the spiritual joy that results from charity is compatible with an admixture of sorrow. For it belongs to charity to rejoice in our neighbor's good, according to 1Co 13,4 1Co 13,6: "Charity . . . rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth with the truth." But this joy is compatible with an admixture of sorrow, according to Rm 12,15: "Rejoice with them that rejoice, weep with them that weep." Therefore the spiritual joy of charity is compatible with an admixture of sorrow.
2. Further, according to Gregory (Hom. in Evang. xxxiv), "penance consists in deploring past sins, and in not committing again those we have deplored." But there is no true penance without charity. Therefore the joy of charity has an admixture of sorrow.
3. Further, it is through charity that man desires to be with Christ according to Ph 1,23: "Having a desire to be dissolved and to be with Christ." Now this desire gives rise, in man, to a certain sadness, according to Ps 119,5: "Woe is me that my sojourning is prolonged!" Therefore the joy of charity admits of a seasoning of sorrow.
On the contrary The joy of charity is joy about the Divine wisdom. Now such like joy has no admixture of sorrow, according to Sg 8,16: "Her conversation hath no bitterness." Therefore the joy of charity is incompatible with an admixture of sorrow.
I answer that As stated above (Article , ad 3), a twofold joy in God arises from charity. One, the more excellent, is proper to charity; and with this joy we rejoice in the Divine good considered in itself. This joy of charity is incompatible with an admixture of sorrow, even as the good which is its object is incompatible with any admixture of evil: hence the Apostle says (Ph 4,4): "Rejoice in the Lord always."The other is the joy of charity whereby we rejoice in the Divine good as participated by us. This participation can be hindered by anything contrary to it, wherefore, in this respect, the joy of charity is compatible with an admixture of sorrow, in so far as a man grieves for that which hinders the participation of the Divine good, either in us or in our neighbor, whom we love as ourselves.
Reply to Objection: 1. Our neighbor does not weep save on account of some evil. Now every evil implies lack of participation in the sovereign good: hence charity makes us weep with our neighbor in so far as he is hindered from participating in the Divine good.
2. Our sins divide between us and God, according to Is 59,2; wherefore this is the reason why we grieve for our past sins, or for those of others, in so far as they hinder us from participating in the Divine good.
3. Although in this unhappy abode we participate, after a fashion, in the Divine good, by knowledge and love, yet the unhappiness of this life is an obstacle to a perfect participation in the Divine good: hence this very sorrow, whereby a man grieves for the delay of glory, is connected with the hindrance to a participation of the Divine good.
Objection: 1. It would seem that the spiritual joy which proceeds from charity cannot be filled. For the more we rejoice in God, the more is our joy in Him filled. But we can never rejoice in Him as much as it is meet that we should rejoice in God, since His goodness which is infinite, surpasses the creature's joy which is finite. Therefore joy in God can never be filled.
2. Further, that which is filled cannot be increased. But the joy, even of the blessed, can be increased, since one's joy is greater than another's. Therefore joy in God cannot be filled in a creature.
3. Further, comprehension seems to be nothing else than the fulness of knowledge. Now, just as the cognitive power of a creature is finite, so is its appetitive power. Since therefore God cannot be comprehended by any creature, it seems that no creature's joy in God can be filled.
On the contrary Our Lord said to His disciples (Jn 15,11): "That My joy may be in you, and your joy may be filled."
I answer that Fulness of joy can be understood in two ways; first, on the part of the thing rejoiced in, so that one rejoice in it as much as it is meet that one should rejoice in it, and thus God's joy alone in Himself is filled, because it is infinite; and this is condignly due to the infinite goodness of God: but the joy of any creature must needs be finite. Secondly, fulness of joy may be understood on the part of the one who rejoices. Now joy is compared to desire, as rest to movement, as stated above (I-II 25,1,2), when we were treating of the passions: and rest is full when there is no more movement. Hence joy is full, when there remains nothing to be desired. But as long as we are in this world, the movement of desire does not cease in us, because it still remains possible for us to approach nearer to God by grace, as was shown above (Question , Articles ,7). When once, however, perfect happiness has been attained, nothing will remain to be desired, because then there will be full enjoyment of God, wherein man will obtain whatever he had desired, even with regard to other goods, according to Ps 102,5: "Who satisfieth thy desire with good things." Hence desire will be at rest, not only our desire for God, but all our desires: so that the joy of the blessed is full to perfection---indeed over-full, since they will obtain more than they were capable of desiring: for "neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love Him" (1Co 2,9). This is what is meant by the words of Lc 6,38: "Good measure and pressed down, and shaken together, and running over shall they give into your bosom." Yet, since no creature is capable of the joy condignly due to God, it follows that this perfectly full joy is not taken into man, but, on the contrary, man enters into it, according to Mt 25,21: "Enter into the joy of thy Lord."
Reply to Objection: 1. This argument takes the fulness of joy in reference to the thing in which we rejoice.
2. When each one attains to happiness he will reach the term appointed to him by Divine predestination, and nothing further will remain to which he may tend, although by reaching that term, some will approach nearer to God than others. Hence each one's joy will be full with regard to himself, because his desire will be fully set at rest; yet one's joy will be greater than another's, on account of a fuller participation of the Divine happiness.
3. Comprehension denotes fulness of knowledge in respect of the thing known, so that it is known as much as it can be. There is however a fulness of knowledge in respect of the knower, just as we have said of joy. Wherefore the Apostle says (Col 1,9): "That you may be filled with the knowledge of His will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding."
Objection: 1. It would seem that joy is a virtue. For vice is contrary to virtue. Now sorrow is set down as a vice, as in the case of sloth and envy. Therefore joy also should be accounted a virtue.
2. Further, as love and hope are passions, the object of which is "good," so also is joy. Now love and hope are reckoned to be virtues. Therefore joy also should be reckoned a virtue.
3. Further, the precepts of the Law are about acts of virtue. But we are commanded to rejoice in the Lord, according to Ph 4,4: "Rejoice in the Lord always." Therefore joy is a virtue.
On the contrary It is not numbered among the theological virtues, nor among the moral, nor among the intellectual virtues, as is evident from what has been said above (FS, Questions ,60,62).
I answer that As stated above (I-II 55,2,4), virtue is an operative habit, wherefore by its very nature it has an inclination to a certain act. Now it may happen that from the same habit there proceed several ordinate and homogeneous acts, each of which follows from another. And since the subsequent acts do not proceed from the virtuous habit except through the preceding act, hence it is that the virtue is defined and named in reference to that preceding act, although those other acts also proceed from the virtue. Now it is evident from what we have said about the passions (I-II 25,2 I-II 25,4) that love is the first affection of the appetitive power, and that desire and joy follow from it. Hence the same virtuous habit inclines us to love and desire the beloved good, and to rejoice in it. But in as much as love is the first of these acts, that virtue takes its name, not from joy, nor from desire, but from love, and is called charity. Hence joy is not a virtue distinct from charity, but an act, or effect, of charity: for which reason it is numbered among the Fruits (Ga 5,22).
Reply to Objection: 1. The sorrow which is a vice is caused by inordinate self-love, and this is not a special vice, but a general source of the vices, as stated above (I-II 77,4); so that it was necessary to account certain particular sorrows as special vices, because they do not arise from a special, but from a general vice. On the other hand love of God is accounted a special virtue, namely charity, to which joy must be referred, as its proper act, as stated above (here and Article ).
2. Hope proceeds from love even as joy does, but hope adds, on the part of the object, a special character, viz. "difficult," and "possible to obtain"; for which reason it is accounted a special virtue. On the other hand joy does not add to love any special aspect, that might cause a special virtue.
3. The Law prescribes joy, as being an act of charity, albeit not its first act.
We must now consider Peace, under which head there are four points of inquiry:
(1) Whether peace is the same as concord?
(2) Whether all things desire peace?
(3) Whether peace is an effect of charity?
(4) Whether peace is a virtue?
Objection: 1. It would seem that peace is the same as concord. For Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xix, 13): "Peace among men is well ordered concord." Now we are speaking here of no other peace than that of men. Therefore peace is the same as concord.
2. Further, concord is union of wills. Now the nature of peace consists in such like union, for Dionysius says (Div. Nom. xi) that peace unites all, and makes them of one mind. Therefore peace is the same as concord.
3. Further, things whose opposites are identical are themselves identical. Now the one same thing is opposed to concord and peace, viz. dissension; hence it is written (1Co 16,33): "God is not the God of dissension but of peace." Therefore peace is the same as concord.
On the contrary There can be concord in evil between wicked men. But "there is no peace to the wicked" (Is 48,22). Therefore peace is not the same as concord.
I answer that Peace includes concord and adds something thereto. Hence wherever peace is, there is concord, but there is not peace, wherever there is concord, if we give peace its proper meaning.For concord, properly speaking, is between one man and another, in so far as the wills of various hearts agree together in consenting to the same thing. Now the heart of one man may happen to tend to diverse things, and this in two ways. First, in respect of the diverse appetitive powers: thus the sensitive appetite tends sometimes to that which is opposed to the rational appetite, according to Ga 5,17: "The flesh lusteth against the spirit." Secondly, in so far as one and the same appetitive power tends to diverse objects of appetite, which it cannot obtain all at the same time: so that there must needs be a clashing of the movements of the appetite. Now the union of such movements is essential to peace, because man's heart is not at peace, so long as he has not what he wants, or if, having what he wants, there still remains something for him to want, and which he cannot have at the same time. On the other hand this union is not essential to concord: wherefore concord denotes union of appetites among various persons, while peace denotes, in addition to this union, the union of the appetites even in one man.
Reply to Objection: 1. Augustine is speaking there of that peace which is between one man and another, and he says that this peace is concord, not indeed any kind of concord, but that which is well ordered, through one man agreeing with another in respect of something befitting to both of them . For if one man concord with another, not of his own accord, but through being forced, as it were, by the fear of some evil that besets him, such concord is not really peace, because the order of each concordant is not observed, but is disturbed by some fear-inspiring cause. For this reason he premises that "peace is tranquillity of order," which tranquillity consists in all the appetitive movements in one man being set at rest together.
2. If one man consent to the same thing together with another man, his consent is nevertheless not perfectly united to himself, unless at the same time all his appetitive movements be in agreement.
3. A twofold dissension is opposed to peace, namely dissension between a man and himself, and dissension between one man and another. The latter alone is opposed to concord.
Objection: 1. It would seem that not all things desire peace. For, according to Dionysius (Div. Nom. xi), peace "unites consent." But there cannot be unity of consent in things which are devoid of knowledge. Therefore such things cannot desire peace.
2. Further, the appetite does not tend to opposite things at the same time. Now many desire war and dissension. Therefore all men do not desire peace.
3. Further, good alone is an object of appetite. But a certain peace is, seemingly, evil, else Our Lord would not have said (Mt 10,34): "I came not to send peace." Therefore all things do not desire peace.
4. Further, that which all desire is, seemingly, the sovereign good which is the last end. But this is not true of peace, since it is attainable even by a wayfarer; else Our Lord would vainly command (Mc 9,49): "Have peace among you." Therefore all things do not desire peace.
On the contrary Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xix, 12,14) that "all things desire peace": and Dionysius says the same (Div. Nom. xi).
I answer that From the very fact that a man desires a certain thing it follows that he desires to obtain what he desires, and, in consequence, to remove whatever may be an obstacle to his obtaining it. Now a man may be hindered from obtaining the good he desires, by a contrary desire either of his own or of some other, and both are removed by peace, as stated above. Hence it follows of necessity that whoever desires anything desires peace, in so far as he who desires anything, desires to attain, with tranquillity and without hindrance, to that which he desires: and this is what is meant by peace which Augustine defines (De Civ. Dei xix, 13) "the tranquillity of order."
Reply to Objection: 1. Peace denotes union not only of the intellective or rational appetite, or of the animal appetite, in both of which consent may be found, but also of the natural appetite. Hence Dionysius says that "peace is the cause of consent and of connaturalness," where "consent" denotes the union of appetites proceeding from knowledge, and "connaturalness," the union of natural appetites.
2. Even those who seek war and dissension, desire nothing but peace, which they deem themselves not to have. For as we stated above, there is no peace when a man concords with another man counter to what he would prefer. Consequently men seek by means of war to break this concord, because it is a defective peace, in order that they may obtain peace, where nothing is contrary to their will. Hence all wars are waged that men may find a more perfect peace than that which they had heretofore.
3. Peace gives calm and unity to the appetite. Now just as the appetite may tend to what is good simply, or to what is good apparently, so too, peace may be either true or apparent. There can be no true peace except where the appetite is directed to what is truly good, since every evil, though it may appear good in a way, so as to calm the appetite in some respect, has, nevertheless many defects, which cause the appetite to remain restless and disturbed. Hence true peace is only in good men and about good things. The peace of the wicked is not a true peace but a semblance thereof, wherefore it is written (Sg 14,22): "Whereas they lived in a great war of ignorance, they call so many and so great evils peace."
4. Since true peace is only about good things, as the true good is possessed in two ways, perfectly and imperfectly, so there is a twofold true peace. One is perfect peace. It consists in the perfect enjoyment of the sovereign good, and unites all one's desires by giving them rest in one object. This is the last end of the rational creature, according to Ps 147,3: "Who hath placed peace in thy borders." The other is imperfect peace, which may be had in this world, for though the chief movement of the soul finds rest in God, yet there are certain things within and without which disturb the peace.
Objection: 1. It would seem that peace is not the proper effect of charity. For one cannot have charity without sanctifying grace. But some have peace who have not sanctifying grace, thus heathens sometimes have peace. Therefore peace is not the effect of charity.
2. Further, if a certain thing is caused by charity, its contrary is not compatible with charity. But dissension, which is contrary to peace, is compatible with charity, for we find that even holy doctors, such as Jerome and Augustine, dissented in some of their opinions. We also read that Paul and Barnabas dissented from one another (Ac 15). Therefore it seems that peace is not the effect of charity.
3. Further, the same thing is not the proper effect of different things. Now peace is the effect of justice, according to Is 32,17: "And the work of justice shall be peace." Therefore it is not the effect of charity.
On the contrary It is written (Ps 118,165): "Much peace have they that love Thy Law."
I answer that Peace implies a twofold union, as stated above (Article ). The first is the result of one's own appetites being directed to one object; while the other results from one's own appetite being united with the appetite of another: and each of these unions is effected by charity---the first, in so far as man loves God with his whole heart, by referring all things to Him, so that all his desires tend to one object---the second, in so far as we love our neighbor as ourselves, the result being that we wish to fulfil our neighbor's will as though it were ours: hence it is reckoned a sign of friendship if people "make choice of the same things" (Ethic. ix, 4), and Tully says (De Amicitia) that friends "like and dislike the same things" (Sallust, Catilin.)
Reply to Objection: 1. Without sin no one falls from a state of sanctifying grace, for it turns man away from his due end by making him place his end in something undue: so that his appetite does not cleave chiefly to the true final good, but to some apparent good. Hence, without sanctifying grace, peace is not real but merely apparent.
2. As the Philosopher says (Ethic. ix, 6) friends need not agree in opinion, but only upon such goods as conduce to life, and especially upon such as are important; because dissension in small matters is scarcely accounted dissension. Hence nothing hinders those who have charity from holding different opinions. Nor is this an obstacle to peace, because opinions concern the intellect, which precedes the appetite that is united by peace. In like manner if there be concord as to goods of importance, dissension with regard to some that are of little account is not contrary to charity: for such a dissension proceeds from a difference of opinion, because one man thinks that the particular good, which is the object of dissension, belongs to the good about which they agree, while the other thinks that it does not. Accordingly such like dissension about very slight matters and about opinions is inconsistent with a state of perfect peace, wherein the truth will be known fully, and every desire fulfilled; but it is not inconsistent with the imperfect peace of the wayfarer.
3. Peace is the "work of justice" indirectly, in so far as justice removes the obstacles to peace: but it is the work of charity directly, since charity, according to its very nature, causes peace. For love is "a unitive force" as Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv): and peace is the union of the appetite's inclinations.
Objection: 1. It would seem that peace is a virtue. For nothing is a matter of precept, unless it be an act of virtue. But there are precepts about keeping peace, for example: "Have peace among you" (Mc 9,49). Therefore peace is a virtue.
2. Further, we do not merit except by acts of virtue. Now it is meritorious to keep peace, according to Mt 5,9: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God." Therefore peace is a virtue.
3. Further, vices are opposed to virtues. But dissensions, which are contrary to peace, are numbered among the vices (Ga 5,20). Therefore peace is a virtue.
On the contrary Virtue is not the last end, but the way thereto. But peace is the last end, in a sense, as Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xix, 11). Therefore peace is not a virtue.
I answer that As stated above (Question , Article ), when a number of acts all proceeding uniformly from an agent, follow one from the other, they all arise from the same virtue, nor do they each have a virtue from which they proceed, as may be seen in corporeal things. For, though fire by heating, both liquefies and rarefies, there are not two powers in fire, one of liquefaction, the other of rarefaction: and fire produces all such actions by its own power of calefaction.Since then charity causes peace precisely because it is love of God and of our neighbor, as shown above (Article ), there is no other virtue except charity whose proper act is peace, as we have also said in reference to joy (Question , Article ).
Reply to Objection: 1. We are commanded to keep peace because it is an act of charity; and for this reason too it is a meritorious act. Hence it is placed among the beatitudes, which are acts of perfect virtue, as stated above (I-II 69,1 I-II 69,3). It is also numbered among the fruits, in so far as it is a final good, having spiritual sweetness.
2. This suffices for the Reply to the Second Objection.
3. Several vices are opposed to one virtue in respect of its various acts: so that not only is hatred opposed to charity, in respect of its act which is love, but also sloth and envy, in respect of joy, and dissension in respect of peace.
[*The one Latin word "misericordia" signifies either pity or mercy. The distinction between these two is that pity may stand either for the act or for the virtue, whereas mercy stands only for the virtue.]
We must now go on to consider Mercy, under which head there are four points of inquiry:
(1) Whether evil is the cause of mercy on the part of the person pitied?
(2) To whom does it belong to pity?
(3) Whether mercy is a virtue?
(4) Whether it is the greatest of virtues?
Objection: 1. It would seem that, properly speaking, evil is not the motive of mercy. For, as shown above (Question , Article ; I-II 79,1, ad 4; I 48,6), fault is an evil rather than punishment. Now fault provokes indignation rather than mercy. Therefore evil does not excite mercy.
2. Further, cruelty and harshness seem to excel other evils. Now the Philosopher says (Rhet. ii, 8) that "harshness does not call for pity but drives it away." Therefore evil, as such, is not the motive of mercy.
3. Further, signs of evils are not true evils. But signs of evils excite one to mercy, as the Philosopher states (Rhet. ii, 8). Therefore evil, properly speaking, is not an incentive to mercy.
On the contrary Damascene says (De Fide Orth. ii, 2) that mercy is a kind of sorrow. Now evil is the motive of sorrow. Therefore it is the motive of mercy.
I answer that As Augustine says (De Civ. Dei ix, 5), mercy is heartfelt sympathy for another's distress, impelling us to succor him if we can. For mercy takes its name "misericordia" from denoting a man's compassionate heart [miserum cor] for another's unhappiness. Now unhappiness is opposed to happiness: and it is essential to beatitude or happiness that one should obtain what one wishes; for, according to Augustine (De Trin. xiii, 5), "happy is he who has whatever he desires, and desires nothing amiss." Hence, on the other hand, it belongs to unhappiness that a man should suffer what he wishes not.Now a man wishes a thing in three ways: first, by his natural appetite; thus all men naturally wish to be and to live: secondly, a man wishes a thing from deliberate choice: thirdly, a man wishes a thing, not in itself, but in its cause, thus, if a man wishes to eat what is bad for him, we say that, in a way, he wishes to be ill.Accordingly the motive of "mercy," being something pertaining to "misery," is, in the first way, anything contrary to the will's natural appetite, namely corruptive or distressing evils, the contrary of which man desires naturally, wherefore the Philosopher says (Rhet. ii, 8) that "pity is sorrow for a visible evil, whether corruptive or distressing." Secondly, such like evils are yet more provocative of pity if they are contrary to deliberate choice, wherefore the Philosopher says (Rhet. ii, 8) that evil excites our pity "when it is the result of an accident, as when something turns out ill, whereas we hoped well of it." Thirdly, they cause yet greater pity, if they are entirely contrary to the will, as when evil befalls a man who has always striven to do well: wherefore the Philosopher says (Rhet. ii, 8) that "we pity most the distress of one who suffers undeservedly."
Reply to Objection: 1. It is essential to fault that it be voluntary; and in this respect it deserves punishment rather than mercy. Since, however, fault may be, in a way, a punishment, through having something connected with it that is against the sinner's will, it may, in this respect, call for mercy. It is in this sense that we pity and commiserate sinners. Thus Gregory says in a homily (Hom. in Evang. xxxiv) that "true godliness is not disdainful but compassionate," and again it is written (Mt 9,36) that Jesus "seeing the multitudes, had compassion on them: because they were distressed, and lying like sheep that have no shepherd."
2. Since pity is sympathy for another's distress, it is directed, properly speaking, towards another, and not to oneself, except figuratively, like justice, according as a man is considered to have various parts (Ethic. v, 11). Thus it is written (Si 30,24): "Have pity on thy own soul, pleasing God" [*Cf. Question , Article , ad 1].Accordingly just as, properly speaking, a man does not pity himself, but suffers in himself, as when we suffer cruel treatment in ourselves, so too, in the case of those who are so closely united to us, as to be part of ourselves, such as our children or our parents, we do not pity their distress, but suffer as for our own sores; in which sense the Philosopher says that "harshness drives pity away."
3. Just as pleasure results from hope and memory of good things, so does sorrow arise from the prospect or the recollection of evil things; though not so keenly as when they are present to the senses. Hence the signs of evil move us to pity, in so far as they represent as present, the evil that excites our pity.
Objection: 1. It would seem that the reason for taking pity is not a defect in the person who takes pity. For it is proper to God to be merciful, wherefore it is written (Ps 144,9): "His tender mercies are over all His works." But there is no defect in God. Therefore a defect cannot be the reason for taking pity.
2. Further, if a defect is the reason for taking pity, those in whom there is most defect, must needs take most pity. But this is false: for the Philosopher says (Rhet. ii, 8) that "those who are in a desperate state are pitiless." Therefore it seems that the reason for taking pity is not a defect in the person who pities.
3. Further, to be treated with contempt is to be defective. But the Philosopher says (Rhet. ii, 8) that "those who are disposed to contumely are pitiless." Therefore the reason for taking pity, is not a defect in the person who pities.
On the contrary Pity is a kind of sorrow. But a defect is the reason of sorrow, wherefore those who are in bad health give way to sorrow more easily, as we shall say further on (Question , Article , ad 2). Therefore the reason why one takes pity is a defect in oneself.
I answer that Since pity is grief for another's distress, as stated above (Article ), from the very fact that a person takes pity on anyone, it follows that another's distress grieves him. And since sorrow or grief is about one's own ills, one grieves or sorrows for another's distress, in so far as one looks upon another's distress as one's own.Now this happens in two ways: First, through union of the affections, which is the effect of love. For, since he who loves another looks upon his friend as another self, he counts his friend's hurt as his own, so that he grieves for his friend's hurt as though he were hurt himself. Hence the Philosopher (Ethic. ix, 4) reckons "grieving with one's friend" as being one of the signs of friendship, and the Apostle says (Rm 12,15): "Rejoice with them that rejoice, weep with them that weep."Secondly, it happens through real union, for instance when another's evil comes near to us, so as to pass to us from him. Hence the Philosopher says (Rhet. ii, 8) that men pity such as are akin to them, and the like, because it makes them realize that the same may happen to themselves. This also explains why the old and the wise who consider that they may fall upon evil times, as also feeble and timorous persons, are more inclined to pity: whereas those who deem themselves happy, and so far powerful as to think themselves in no danger of suffering any hurt, are not so inclined to pity.Accordingly a defect is always the reason for taking pity, either because one looks upon another's defect as one's own, through being united to him by love, or on account of the possibility of suffering in the same way.
Reply to Objection: 1. God takes pity on us through love alone, in as much as He loves us as belonging to Him.
2. Those who are already in infinite distress, do not fear to suffer more, wherefore they are without pity. In like manner this applies to those also who are in great fear, for they are so intent on their own passion, that they pay no attention to the suffering of others.
3. Those who are disposed to contumely, whether through having been contemned, or because they wish to contemn others, are incited to anger and daring, which are manly passions and arouse the human spirit to attempt difficult things. Hence they make a man think that he is going to suffer something in the future, so that while they are disposed in that way they are pitiless, according to Pr 27,4: "Anger hath no mercy, nor fury when it breaketh forth." For the same reason the proud are without pity, because they despise others, and think them wicked, so that they account them as suffering deservedly whatever they suffer. Hence Gregory says (Hom. in Evang. xxxiv) that "false godliness," i.e. of the proud, "is not compassionate but disdainful."
Objection: 1. It would seem that mercy is not a virtue. For the chief part of virtue is choice as the Philosopher states (Ethic. ii, 5). Now choice is "the desire of what has been already counselled" (Ethic. iii, 2). Therefore whatever hinders counsel cannot be called a virtue. But mercy hinders counsel, according to the saying of Sallust (Catilin.): "All those that take counsel about matters of doubt, should be free from . . . anger . . . and mercy, because the mind does not easily see aright, when these things stand in the way." Therefore mercy is not a virtue.
2. Further, nothing contrary to virtue is praiseworthy. But nemesis is contrary to mercy, as the Philosopher states (Rhet. ii, 9), and yet it is a praiseworthy passion (Rhet. ii, 9). Therefore mercy is not a virtue.
3. Further, joy and peace are not special virtues, because they result from charity, as stated above (Question , Article ; Question , Article ). Now mercy, also, results from charity; for it is out of charity that we weep with them that weep, as we rejoice with them that rejoice. Therefore mercy is not a special virtue.
4. Further, since mercy belongs to the appetitive power, it is not an intellectual virtue, and, since it has not God for its object, neither is it a theological virtue. Moreover it is not a moral virtue, because neither is it about operations, for this belongs to justice; nor is it about passions, since it is not reduced to one of the twelve means mentioned by the Philosopher (Ethic. ii, 7). Therefore mercy is not a virtue.
On the contrary Augustine says (De Civ. Dei ix, 5): "Cicero in praising Caesar expresses himself much better and in a fashion at once more humane and more in accordance with religious feeling, when he says: 'Of all thy virtues none is more marvelous or more graceful than thy mercy.'" Therefore mercy is a virtue.
I answer that Mercy signifies grief for another's distress. Now this grief may denote, in one way, a movement of the sensitive appetite, in which case mercy is not a virtue but a passion; whereas, in another way, it may denote a movement of the intellective appetite, in as much as one person's evil is displeasing to another. This movement may be ruled in accordance with reason, and in accordance with this movement regulated by reason, the movement of the lower appetite may be regulated. Hence Augustine says (De Civ. Dei ix, 5) that "this movement of the mind" (viz. mercy) "obeys the reason, when mercy is vouchsafed in such a way that justice is safeguarded, whether we give to the needy or forgive the repentant." And since it is essential to human virtue that the movements of the soul should be regulated by reason, as was shown above (I-II 59,4 I-II 59,5), it follows that mercy is a virtue.
Reply to Objection: 1. The words of Sallust are to be understood as applying to the mercy which is a passion unregulated by reason: for thus it impedes the counselling of reason, by making it wander from justice.
2. The Philosopher is speaking there of pity and nemesis, considered, both of them, as passions. They are contrary to one another on the part of their respective estimation of another's evils, for which pity grieves, in so far as it esteems someone to suffer undeservedly, whereas nemesis rejoices, in so far as it esteems someone to suffer deservedly, and grieves, if things go well with the undeserving: "both of these are praiseworthy and come from the same disposition of character" (Rhet. ii, 9). Properly speaking, however, it is envy which is opposed to pity, as we shall state further on (Question , Article ).
3. Joy and peace add nothing to the aspect of good which is the object of charity, wherefore they do not require any other virtue besides charity. But mercy regards a certain special aspect, namely the misery of the person pitied.
4. Mercy, considered as a virtue, is a moral virtue having relation to the passions, and it is reduced to the mean called nemesis, because "they both proceed from the same character" (Rhet. ii, 9). Now the Philosopher proposes these means not as virtues, but as passions, because, even as passions, they are praiseworthy. Yet nothing prevents them from proceeding from some elective habit, in which case they assume the character of a virtue.
Summa Th. II-II EN Qu.28 a.2