Summa Th. II-II EN Qu.50 a.4
Objection: 1. It would seem that military prudence should not be reckoned a part of prudence. For prudence is distinct from art, according to Ethic. vi, 3. Now military prudence seems to be the art of warfare, according to the Philosopher (Ethic. iii, 8). Therefore military prudence should not be accounted a species of prudence.
2. Further, just as military business is contained under political affairs, so too are many other matters, such as those of tradesmen, craftsmen, and so forth. But there are no species of prudence corresponding to other affairs in the state. Neither therefore should any be assigned to military business.
3. Further, the soldiers' bravery counts for a great deal in warfare. Therefore military prudence pertains to fortitude rather than to prudence.
On the contrary It is written (Pr 24,6): "War is managed by due ordering, and there shall be safety where there are many counsels." Now it belongs to prudence to take counsel. Therefore there is great need in warfare for that species of prudence which is called "military."
I answer that Whatever things are done according to art or reason, should be made to conform to those which are in accordance with nature, and are established by the Divine Reason. Now nature has a twofold tendency: first, to govern each thing in itself, secondly, to withstand outward assailants and corruptives: and for this reason she has provided animals not only with the concupiscible faculty, whereby they are moved to that which is conducive to their well-being, but also with the irascible power, whereby the animal withstands an assailant. Therefore in those things also which are in accordance with reason, there should be not only "political" prudence, which disposes in a suitable manner such things as belong to the common good, but also a "military" prudence, whereby hostile attacks are repelled.
Reply to Objection: 1. Military prudence may be an art, in so far as it has certain rules for the right use of certain external things, such as arms and horses, but in so far as it is directed to the common good, it belongs rather to prudence.
2. Other matters in the state are directed to the profit of individuals, whereas the business of soldiering is directed to the service belongs to fortitude, but the direction, protection of the entire common good.
3. The execution of military service belongs to fortitude, but the direction, especially in so far as it concerns the commander-in-chief, belongs to prudence.
In due sequence, we must consider the virtues that are connected with prudence, and which are its quasi-potential parts. Under this head there are four points of inquiry:
(1) Whether (euboulia), is a virtue?
(2) Whether it is a special virtue, distinct from prudence?
(3) Whether (synesis) is a special virtue?
(4) Whether (gnome) is a special virtue?
[*These three Greek words may be rendered as the faculties of deliberating well (euboulia), of judging well according to common law (synesis), and of judging well according to general law (gnome), respectively.]
Whether (euboulia) (deliberating well) is a virtue?
Objection: 1. It would seem that (euboulia) (deliberating well) is not a virtue. For, according to Augustine (De Lib. Arb. ii, 18,19) "no man makes evil use of virtue." Now some make evil use of (euboulia) (deliberating well) or good counsel, either through devising crafty counsels in order to achieve evil ends, or through committing sin in order that they may achieve good ends, as those who rob that they may give alms. Therefore (euboulia) (deliberating well) is not a virtue.
2. Further, virtue is a perfection, according to Phys. vii. But (euboulia) (deliberating well) is concerned with counsel, which implies doubt and research, and these are marks of imperfection. Therefore (euboulia) (deliberating well) is not a virtue.
3. Further, virtues are connected with one another, as stated above (I-II 65,0). Now (euboulia) (deliberating well) is not connected with the other virtues, since many sinners take good-counsel, and many godly men are slow in taking counsel. Therefore (euboulia) (deliberating well) is not a virtue.
On the contrary According to the Philosopher (Ethic. vi, 9) (euboulia) (deliberating well) "is a right counselling." Now the perfection of virtue consists in right reason. Therefore (euboulia) (deliberating well) is a virtue.
I answer that As stated above (Question , Article ) the nature of a human virtue consists in making a human act good. Now among the acts of man, it is proper to him to take counsel, since this denotes a research of the reason about the actions he has to perform and whereof human life consists, for the speculative life is above man, as stated in Ethic. x. But (euboulia) (deliberating well) signifies goodness of counsel, for it is derived from the (eu), good, and (boule), counsel, being "a good counsel" or rather "a disposition to take good counsel." Hence it is evident that (euboulia) (deliberating well) is a human virtue.
Reply to Objection: 1. There is no good counsel either in deliberating for an evil end, or in discovering evil means for attaining a good end, even as in speculative matters, there is no good reasoning either in coming to a false conclusion, or in coming to a true conclusion from false premisses through employing an unsuitable middle term. Hence both the aforesaid processes are contrary to (euboulia) (deliberating well), as the Philosopher declares (Ethic. vi, 9).
2. Although virtue is essentially a perfection, it does not follow that whatever is the matter of a virtue implies perfection. For man needs to be perfected by virtues in all his parts, and this not only as regards the acts of reason, of which counsel is one, but also as regards the passions of the sensitive appetite, which are still more imperfect.It may also be replied that human virtue is a perfection according to the mode of man, who is unable by simple insight to comprehend with certainty the truth of things, especially in matters of action which are contingent.
3. In no sinner as such is (euboulia) (deliberating well) to be found: since all sin is contrary to taking good counsel. For good counsel requires not only the discovery or devising of fit means for the end, but also other circumstances. Such are suitable time, so that one be neither too slow nor too quick in taking counsel, and the mode of taking counsel, so that one be firm in the counsel taken, and other like due circumstances, which sinners fail to observe when they sin. On the other hand, every virtuous man takes good counsel in those things which are directed to the end of virtue, although perhaps he does not take good counsel in other particular matters, for instance in matters of trade, or warfare, or the like.
Objection: 1. It would seem that (euboulia) (deliberating well) is not a distinct virtue from prudence. For, according to the Philosopher (Ethic. vi, 5), the "prudent man is, seemingly, one who takes good counsel." Now this belongs to (euboulia) (deliberating well) as stated above. Therefore (euboulia) (deliberating well) is not distinct from prudence.
2. Further, human acts to which human virtues are directed, are specified chiefly by their end, as stated above (I-II 1,3; I-II 18,4 I-II 18,6). Now (euboulia) (deliberating well) and prudence are directed to the same end, as stated in Ethic. vi, 9, not indeed to some particular end, but to the common end of all life. Therefore (euboulia) (deliberating well) is not a distinct virtue from prudence.
3. Further, in speculative sciences, research and decision belong to the same science. Therefore in like manner these belong to the same virtue in practical matters. Now research belongs to (euboulia) (deliberating well), while decision belongs to prudence. There (euboulia) (deliberating well) is not a distinct virtue from prudence.
On the contrary Prudence is preceptive, according to Ethic. vi, 10. But this does not apply to (euboulia) (deliberating well). Therefore (euboulia) (deliberating well) is a distinct virtue from prudence.
I answer that As stated above (Article ), virtue is properly directed to an act which it renders good; and consequently virtues must differ according to different acts, especially when there is a different kind of goodness in the acts. For, if various acts contained the same kind of goodness, they would belong to the same virtue: thus the goodness of love, desire and joy depends on the same, wherefore all these belong to the same virtue of charity.Now acts of the reason that are ordained to action are diverse, nor have they the same kind of goodness: since it is owing to different causes that a man acquires good counsel, good judgment, or good command, inasmuch as these are sometimes separated from one another. Consequently (euboulia) (deliberating well) which makes man take good counsel must needs be a distinct virtue from prudence, which makes man command well. And since counsel is directed to command as to that which is principal, so (euboulia) (deliberating well) is directed to prudence as to a principal virtue, without which it would be no virtue at all, even as neither are the moral virtues without prudence, nor the other virtues without charity.
Reply to Objection: 1. It belongs to prudence to take good counsel by commanding it, to (euboulia) (deliberating well) by eliciting it.
2. Different acts are directed in different degrees to the one end which is "a good life in general" [*Ethic. vi, 5]: for counsel comes first, judgment follows, and command comes last. The last named has an immediate relation to the last end: whereas the other two acts are related thereto remotely. Nevertheless these have certain proximate ends of their own, the end of counsel being the discovery of what has to be done, and the end of judgment, certainty. Hence this proves not that (euboulia) (deliberating well) is not a distinct virtue from prudence, but that it is subordinate thereto, as a secondary to a principal virtue.
3. Even in speculative matters the rational science of dialectics, which is directed to research and discovery, is distinct from demonstrative science, which decides the truth.
Objection: 1. It would seem that (synesis) is not a virtue. Virtues are not in us by nature, according to Ethic. ii, 1. But (synesis) (judging well according to common law) is natural to some, as the Philosopher states (Ethic. vi, 11). Therefore (synesis) (judging well according to common law) is not a virtue.
2. Further, as stated in the same book (10), (synesis) (judging well according to common law) is nothing but "a faculty of judging." But judgment without command can be even in the wicked. Since then virtue is only in the good, it seems that (synesis) (judging well according to common law) is not a virtue.
3. Further, there is never a defective command, unless there be a defective judgment, at least in a particular matter of action; for it is in this that every wicked man errs. If therefore (synesis) (judging well according to common law) be reckoned a virtue directed to good judgment, it seems that there is no need for any other virtue directed to good command: and consequently prudence would be superfluous, which is not reasonable. Therefore (synesis) (judging well according to common law) is not a virtue.
On the contrary Judgment is more perfect than counsel. But (euboulia), or good counsel, is a virtue. Much more, therefore, is (synesis) (judging well according to common law) a virtue, as being good judgment.
I answer that (synesis) (judging well according to common law) signifies a right judgment, not indeed about speculative matters, but about particular practical matters, about which also is prudence. Hence in Greek some, in respect of (synesis) (judging well according to common law) are said to be (synetoi), i.e. "persons of sense," or (eusynetoi), i.e. "men of good sense," just as on the other hand, those who lack this virtue are called (asynetoi), i.e. "senseless."
Now, different acts which cannot be ascribed to the same cause, must correspond to different virtues. And it is evident that goodness of counsel and goodness of judgment are not reducible to the same cause, for many can take good counsel, without having good sense so as to judge well. Even so, in speculative matters some are good at research, through their reason being quick at arguing from one thing to another (which seems to be due to a disposition of their power of imagination, which has a facility in forming phantasms), and yet such persons sometimes lack good judgment (and this is due to a defect in the intellect arising chiefly from a defective disposition of the common sense which fails to judge aright). Hence there is need, besides (euboulia) (deliberating well), for another virtue, which judges well, and this is called (synesis) (judging well according to common law).
Reply to Objection: 1. Right judgment consists in the cognitive power apprehending a thing just as it is in reality, and this is due to the right disposition of the apprehensive power. Thus if a mirror be well disposed the forms of bodies are reflected in it just as they are, whereas if it be ill disposed, the images therein appear distorted and misshapen. Now that the cognitive power be well disposed to receive things just as they are in reality, is radically due to nature, but, as to its consummation, is due to practice or to a gift of grace, and this in two ways. First directly, on the part of the cognitive power itself, for instance, because it is imbued, not with distorted, but with true and correct ideas: this belongs to (synesis) (judging well according to common law) which in this respect is a special virtue. Secondly indirectly, through the good disposition of the appetitive power, the result being that one judges well of the objects of appetite: and thus a good judgment of virtue results from the habits of moral virtue; but this judgment is about the ends, whereas (synesis) (judging well according to common law) is rather about the means.
2. In wicked men there may be right judgment of a universal principle, but their judgment is always corrupt in the particular matter of action, as stated above (Question , Article ).
3. Sometimes after judging aright we delay to execute or execute negligently or inordinately. Hence after the virtue which judges aright there is a further need of a final and principal virtue, which commands aright, and this is prudence.
Objection: 1. It would seem that (gnome) (judging well according to general law) is not a special virtue distinct from (synesis) (judging well according to common law). For a man is said, in respect of (synesis) (judging well according to common law), to have good judgment. Now no man can be said to have good judgment, unless he judge aright in all things. Therefore (synesis) (judging well according to common law) extends to all matters of judgment, and consequently there is no other virtue of good judgment called (gnome) (judging well according to general law).
2. Further, judgment is midway between counsel and precept. Now there is only one virtue of good counsel, viz. (euboulia) (deliberating well) and only one virtue of good command, viz. prudence. Therefore there is only one virtue of good judgment, viz. (synesis) (judging well according to common law).
3. Further, rare occurrences wherein there is need to depart from the common law, seem for the most part to happen by chance, and with such things reason is not concerned, as stated in Phys. ii, 5. Now all the intellectual virtues depend on right reason. Therefore there is no intellectual virtue about such matters.
On the contrary The Philosopher concludes (Ethic. vi, 11) that (gnome) (judging well according to general law) is a special virtue.
I answer that I answer that cognitive habits differ according to higher and lower principles: thus in speculative matters wisdom considers higher principles than science does, and consequently is distinguished from it; and so must it be also in practical matters. Now it is evident that what is beside the order of a lower principle or cause, is sometimes reducible to the order of a higher principle; thus monstrous births of animals are beside the order of the active seminal force, and yet they come under the order of a higher principle, namely, of a heavenly body, or higher still, of Divine Providence. Hence by considering the active seminal force one could not pronounce a sure judgment on such monstrosities, and yet this is possible if we consider Divine Providence.Now it happens sometimes that something has to be done which is not covered by the common rules of actions, for instance in the case of the enemy of one's country, when it would be wrong to give him back his deposit, or in other similar cases. Hence it is necessary to judge of such matters according to higher principles than the common laws, according to which (synesis) (judging according to common law) judges: and corresponding to such higher principles it is necessary to have a higher virtue of judgment, which is called (gnome) (judging according to general law), and which denotes a certain discrimination in judgment.
Reply to Objection: 1. (Synesis) (judging well according to common law) judges rightly about all actions that are covered by the common rules: but certain things have to be judged beside these common rules, as stated above.
2. Judgment about a thing should be formed from the proper principles thereof, whereas research is made by employing also common principles. Wherefore also in speculative matters, dialectics which aims at research proceeds from common principles; while demonstration which tends to judgment, proceeds from proper principles. Hence (euboulia) (deliberating well) to which the research of counsel belongs is one for all, but not so (synesis) (judging well according to common law) whose act is judicial. Command considers in all matters the one aspect of good, wherefore prudence also is only one.
3. It belongs to Divine Providence alone to consider all things that may happen beside the common course. On the other hand, among men, he who is most discerning can judge a greater number of such things by his reason: this belongs to (gnome) (judging well according to general law), which denotes a certain discrimination in judgment.
We must now consider the gift of counsel which corresponds to prudence. Under this head there are four points of inquiry:
(1) Whether counsel should be reckoned among the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost?
(2) Whether the gift of counsel corresponds to prudence?
(3) Whether the gift of counsel remains in heaven?
(4) Whether the fifth beatitude, "Blessed are the merciful," etc. corresponds to the gift of counsel?
Objection: 1. It would seem that counsel should not be reckoned among the gifts of the Holy Ghost. The gifts of the Holy Ghost are given as a help to the virtues, according to Gregory (Moral. ii, 49). Now for the purpose of taking counsel, man is sufficiently perfected by the virtue of prudence, or even of (euboulia) (deliberating well), as is evident from what has been said (Question , Article , ad 2; Question , Articles ,2). Therefore counsel should not be reckoned among the gifts of the Holy Ghost.
2. Further, the difference between the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost and the gratuitous graces seems to be that the latter are not given to all, but are divided among various people, whereas the gifts of the Holy Ghost are given to all who have the Holy Ghost. But counsel seems to be one of those things which are given by the Holy Ghost specially to certain persons, according to 1 Macc. 2:65: "Behold . . . your brother Simon is a man of counsel." Therefore counsel should be numbered among the gratuitous graces rather than among the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost.
3. Further, it is written (Rm 8,14): "Whosoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." But counselling is not consistent with being led by another. Since then the gifts of the Holy Ghost are most befitting the children of God, who "have received the spirit of adoption of sons," it would seem that counsel should not be numbered among the gifts of the Holy Ghost.
On the contrary It is written (Is 11,2): "(The Spirit of the Lord) shall rest upon him . . . the spirit of counsel, and of fortitude."
I answer that As stated above (I-II 68,1), the gifts of the Holy Ghost are dispositions whereby the soul is rendered amenable to the motion of the Holy Ghost. Now God moves everything according to the mode of the thing moved: thus He moves the corporeal creature through time and place, and the spiritual creature through time, but not through place, as Augustine declares (Gn ad lit. viii, 20,22). Again, it is proper to the rational creature to be moved through the research of reason to perform any particular action, and this research is called counsel. Hence the Holy Ghost is said to move the rational creature by way of counsel, wherefore counsel is reckoned among the gifts of the Holy Ghost.
Reply to Objection: 1. Prudence or (euboulia) (deliberating well), whether acquired or infused, directs man in the research of counsel according to principles that the reason can grasp; hence prudence or (euboulia) (deliberating well) makes man take good counsel either for himself or for another. Since, however, human reason is unable to grasp the singular and contingent things which may occur, the result is that "the thoughts of mortal men are fearful, and our counsels uncertain" (Sg 9,14). Hence in the research of counsel, man requires to be directed by God who comprehends all things: and this is done through the gift of counsel, whereby man is directed as though counseled by God, just as, in human affairs, those who are unable to take counsel for themselves, seek counsel from those who are wiser.
2. That a man be of such good counsel as to counsel others, may be due to a gratuitous grace; but that a man be counselled by God as to what he ought to do in matters necessary for salvation is common to all holy persons.
3. The children of God are moved by the Holy Ghost according to their mode, without prejudice to their free-will which is the "faculty of will and reason" [*Sent. iii, D, 24]. Accordingly the gift of counsel is befitting the children of God in so far as the reason is instructed by the Holy Ghost about what we have to do.
Objection: 1. It would seem that the gift of counsel does not fittingly correspond to the virtue of prudence. For "the highest point of that which is underneath touches that which is above," as Dionysius observes (Div. Nom. vii), even as a man comes into contact with the angel in respect of his intellect. Now cardinal virtues are inferior to the gifts, as stated above (I-II 68,8). Since, then, counsel is the first and lowest act of prudence, while command is its highest act, and judgment comes between, it seems that the gift corresponding to prudence is not counsel, but rather a gift of judgment or command.
2. Further, one gift suffices to help one virtue, since the higher a thing is the more one it is, as proved in De Causis. Now prudence is helped by the gift of knowledge, which is not only speculative but also practical, as shown above (Question , Article ). Therefore the gift of counsel does not correspond to the virtue of prudence.
3. Further, it belongs properly to prudence to direct, as stated above (Question , Article ). But it belongs to the gift of counsel that man should be directed by God, as stated above (Article ). Therefore the gift of counsel does not correspond to the virtue of prudence.
On the contrary The gift of counsel is about what has to be done for the sake of the end. Now prudence is about the same matter. Therefore they correspond to one another.
I answer that A lower principle of movement is helped chiefly, and is perfected through being moved by a higher principle of movement, as a body through being moved by a spirit. Now it is evident that the rectitude of human reason is compared to the Divine Reason, as a lower motive principle to a higher: for the Eternal Reason is the supreme rule of all human rectitude. Consequently prudence, which denotes rectitude of reason, is chiefly perfected and helped through being ruled and moved by the Holy Ghost, and this belongs to the gift of counsel, as stated above (Article ). Therefore the gift of counsel corresponds to prudence, as helping and perfecting it.
Reply to Objection: 1. To judge and command belongs not to the thing moved, but to the mover. Wherefore, since in the gifts of the Holy Ghost, the position of the human mind is of one moved rather than of a mover, as stated above (Article ; I-II 68,1), it follows that it would be unfitting to call the gift corresponding to prudence by the name of command or judgment rather than of counsel whereby it is possible to signify that the counselled mind is moved by another counselling it.
2. The gift of knowledge does not directly correspond to prudence, since it deals with speculative matters: yet by a kind of extension it helps it. On the other hand the gift of counsel corresponds to prudence directly, because it is concerned about the same things.
3. The mover that is moved, moves through being moved. Hence the human mind, from the very fact that it is directed by the Holy Ghost, is enabled to direct itself and others.
Objection: 1. It would seem that the gift of counsel does not remain in heaven. For counsel is about what has to be done for the sake of an end. But in heaven nothing will have to be done for the sake of an end, since there man possesses the last end. Therefore the gift of counsel is not in heaven.
2. Further, counsel implies doubt, for it is absurd to take counsel in matters that are evident, as the Philosopher observes (Ethic. iii, 3). Now all doubt will cease in heaven. Therefore there is no counsel in heaven.
3. Further, the saints in heaven are most conformed to God, according to 1Jn 3,2, "When He shall appear, we shall be like to Him." But counsel is not becoming to God, according to Rm 11,34, "Who hath been His counsellor?" Therefore neither to the saints in heaven is the gift of counsel becoming.
On the contrary Gregory says (Moral. xvii, 12): "When either the guilt or the righteousness of each nation is brought into the debate of the heavenly Court, the guardian of that nation is said to have won in the conflict, or not to have won."
I answer that As stated above (Article ; I-II 68,1), the gifts of the Holy Ghost are connected with the motion of the rational creature by God. Now we must observe two points concerning the motion of the human mind by God. First, that the disposition of that which is moved, differs while it is being moved from its disposition when it is in the term of movement. Indeed if the mover is the principle of the movement alone, when the movement ceases, the action of the mover ceases as regards the thing moved, since it has already reached the term of movement, even as a house, after it is built, ceases being built by the builder. On the other hand, when the mover is cause not only of the movement, but also of the form to which the movement tends, then the action of the mover does not cease even after the form has been attained: thus the sun lightens the air even after it is lightened. In this way, then, God causes in us virtue and knowledge, not only when we first acquire them, but also as long as we persevere in them: and it is thus that God causes in the blessed a knowledge of what is to be done, not as though they were ignorant, but by continuing that knowledge in them.Nevertheless there are things which the blessed, whether angels or men, do not know: such things are not essential to blessedness, but concern the government of things according to Divine Providence. As regards these, we must make a further observation, namely, that God moves the mind of the blessed in one way, and the mind of the wayfarer, in another. For God moves the mind of the wayfarer in matters of action, by soothing the pre-existing anxiety of doubt; whereas there is simple nescience in the mind of the blessed as regards the things they do not know. From this nescience the angel's mind is cleansed, according to Dionysius (Coel. Hier. vii), nor does there precede in them any research of doubt, for they simply turn to God; and this is to take counsel of God, for as Augustine says (Gn ad lit. v, 19) "the angels take counsel of God about things beneath them": wherefore the instruction which they receive from God in such matters is called "counsel."Accordingly the gift of counsel is in the blessed, in so far as God preserves in them the knowledge that they have, and enlightens them in their nescience of what has to be done.
Reply to Objection: 1. Even in the blessed there are acts directed to an end, or resulting, as it were, from their attainment of the end, such as the acts of praising God, or of helping on others to the end which they themselves have attained, for example the ministrations of the angels, and the prayers of the saints. In this respect the gift of counsel finds a place in them.
2. Doubt belongs to counsel according to the present state of life, but not to that counsel which takes place in heaven. Even so neither have the theological virtues quite the same acts in heaven as on the way thither.
3. Counsel is in God, not as receiving but as giving it: and the saints in heaven are conformed to God, as receivers to the source whence they receive.
Objection: 1. It would seem that the fifth beatitude, which is that of mercy, does not correspond to the gift of counsel. For all the beatitudes are acts of virtue, as stated above (I-II 69,1). Now we are directed by counsel in all acts of virtue. Therefore the fifth beatitude does not correspond more than any other to counsel.
2. Further, precepts are given about matters necessary for salvation, while counsel is given about matters which are not necessary for salvation. Now mercy is necessary for salvation, according to Jc 2,13, "Judgment without mercy to him that hath not done mercy." On the other hand poverty is not necessary for salvation, but belongs to the life of perfection, according to Mt 19,21. Therefore the beatitude of poverty corresponds to the gift of counsel, rather than to the beatitude of mercy.
3. Further, the fruits result from the beatitudes, for they denote a certain spiritual delight resulting from perfect acts of virtue. Now none of the fruits correspond to the gift of counsel, as appears from Ga 5,22-23. Therefore neither does the beatitude of mercy correspond to the gift of counsel.
On the contrary Augustine says (De Serm. Dom. iv): "Counsel is befitting the merciful, because the one remedy is to be delivered from evils so great, to pardon, and to give."
I answer that Counsel is properly about things useful for an end. Hence such things as are of most use for an end, should above all correspond to the gift of counsel. Now such is mercy, according to 1Tm 4,8, "Godliness [*'Pietas,' which our English word 'pity,' which is the same as mercy; see note on SS, Question , Article ] is profitable to all things." Therefore the beatitude of mercy specially corresponds to the gift of counsel, not as eliciting but as directing mercy.
Reply to Objection: 1. Although counsel directs in all the acts of virtue, it does so in a special way in works of mercy, for the reason given above.
2. Counsel considered as a gift of the Holy Ghost guides us in all matters that are directed to the end of eternal life whether they be necessary for salvation or not, and yet not every work of mercy is necessary for salvation.
3. Fruit denotes something ultimate. Now the ultimate in practical matters consists not in knowledge but in an action which is the end. Hence nothing pertaining to practical knowledge is numbered among the fruits, but only such things as pertain to action, in which practical knowledge is the guide. Among these we find "goodness" and "benignity" which correspond to mercy.
Summa Th. II-II EN Qu.50 a.4