Summa Th. II-II EN Qu.20 a.2

Whether there can be despair without unbelief?

Objection: 1. It would seem that there can be no despair without unbelief. For the certainty of hope is derived from faith; and so long as the cause remains the effect is not done away. Therefore a man cannot lose the certainty of hope, by despairing, unless his faith be removed.
2. Further, to prefer one's own guilt to God's mercy and goodness, is to deny the infinity of God's goodness and mercy, and so savors of unbelief. But whoever despairs, prefers his own guilt to the Divine mercy and goodness, according to Gn 4,13: "My iniquity is greater than that I may deserve pardon." Therefore whoever despairs, is an unbeliever.
3. Further, whoever falls into a condemned heresy, is an unbeliever. But he that despairs seems to fall into a condemned heresy, viz. that of the Novatians, who say that there is no pardon for sins after Baptism. Therefore it seems that whoever despairs, is an unbeliever.

On the contrary If we remove that which follows, that which precedes remains. But hope follows faith, as stated above (Question [17], Article [7]). Therefore when hope is removed, faith can remain; so that, not everyone who despairs, is an unbeliever.
I answer that Unbelief pertains to the intellect, but despair, to the appetite: and the intellect is about universals, while the appetite is moved in connection with particulars, since the appetitive movement is from the soul towards things, which, in themselves, are particular. Now it may happen that a man, while having a right opinion in the universal, is not rightly disposed as to his appetitive movement, his estimate being corrupted in a particular matter, because, in order to pass from the universal opinion to the appetite for a particular thing, it is necessary to have a particular estimate (De Anima iii, 2), just as it is impossible to infer a particular conclusion from an universal proposition, except through the holding of a particular proposition. Hence it is that a man, while having right faith, in the universal, fails in an appetitive movement, in regard to some particular, his particular estimate being corrupted by a habit or a passion, just as the fornicator, by choosing fornication as a good for himself at this particular moment, has a corrupt estimate in a particular matter, although he retains the true universal estimate according to faith, viz. that fornication is a mortal sin. In the same way, a man while retaining in the universal, the true estimate of faith, viz. that there is in the Church the power of forgiving sins, may suffer a movement of despair, to wit, that for him, being in such a state, there is no hope of pardon, his estimate being corrupted in a particular matter. In this way there can be despair, just as there can be other mortal sins, without belief.

Reply to Objection: 1. The effect is done away, not only when the first cause is removed, but also when the secondary cause is removed. Hence the movement of hope can be done away, not only by the removal of the universal estimate of faith, which is, so to say, the first cause of the certainty of hope, but also by the removal of the particular estimate, which is the secondary cause, as it were.
2. If anyone were to judge, in universal, that God's mercy is not infinite, he would be an unbeliever. But he who despairs judges not thus, but that, for him in that state, on account of some particular disposition, there is no hope of the Divine mercy.
3. The same answer applies to the Third Objection, since the Novatians denied, in universal, that there is remission of sins in the Church.

Whether despair is the greatest of sins?

Objection: 1. It would seem that despair is not the greatest of sins. For there can be despair without unbelief, as stated above (Article [2]). But unbelief is the greatest of sins because it overthrows the foundation of the spiritual edifice. Therefore despair is not the greatest of sins.
2. Further, a greater evil is opposed to a greater good, as the Philosopher states (Ethic. viii, 10). But charity is greater than hope, according to 1Co 13,13. Therefore hatred of God is a greater sin than despair.
3. Further, in the sin of despair there is nothing but inordinate aversion from God: whereas in other sins there is not only inordinate aversion from God, but also an inordinate conversion. Therefore the sin of despair is not more but less grave than other sins.

On the contrary An incurable sin seems to be most grievous, according to Jr 30,12: "Thy bruise is incurable, thy wound is very grievous." Now the sin of despair is incurable, according to Jr 15,18: "My wound is desperate so as to refuse to be healed." [*Vulg.: 'Why is my wound,' etc.] Therefore despair is a most grievous sin.
I answer that Those sins which are contrary to the theological virtues are in themselves more grievous than others: because, since the theological virtues have God for their object, the sins which are opposed to them imply aversion from God directly and principally. Now every mortal sin takes its principal malice and gravity from the fact of its turning away from God, for if it were possible to turn to a mutable good, even inordinately, without turning away from God, it would not be a mortal sin. Consequently a sin which, first and of its very nature, includes aversion from God, is most grievous among mortal sins.Now unbelief, despair and hatred of God are opposed to the theological virtues: and among them, if we compare hatred of God and unbelief to despair, we shall find that, in themselves, that is, in respect of their proper species, they are more grievous. For unbelief is due to a man not believing God's own truth; while the hatred of God arises from man's will being opposed to God's goodness itself; whereas despair consists in a man ceasing to hope for a share of God's goodness. Hence it is clear that unbelief and hatred of God are against God as He is in Himself, while despair is against Him, according as His good is partaken of by us. Wherefore strictly speaking it is more grievous sin to disbelieve God's truth, or to hate God, than not to hope to receive glory from Him.If, however, despair be compared to the other two sins from our point of view, then despair is more dangerous, since hope withdraws us from evils and induces us to seek for good things, so that when hope is given up, men rush headlong into sin, and are drawn away from good works. Wherefore a gloss on Pr 24,10, "If thou lose hope being weary in the day of distress, thy strength shall be diminished," says: "Nothing is more hateful than despair, for the man that has it loses his constancy both in the every day toils of this life, and, what is worse, in the battle of faith." And Isidore says (De Sum. Bono ii, 14): "To commit a crime is to kill the soul, but to despair is to fall into hell."

Whether despair arises from sloth?

Objection: 1. It would seem that despair does not arise from sloth. Because different causes do not give rise to one same effect. Now despair of the future life arises from lust, according to Gregory (Moral. xxxi, 45). Therefore it does not arise from sloth.
2. Further, just as despair is contrary to hope, so is sloth contrary to spiritual joy. But spiritual joy arises from hope, according to Rm 12,12, "rejoicing in hope." Therefore sloth arises from despair, and not vice versa.
3. Further, contrary effects have contrary causes. Now hope, the contrary of which is despair, seems to proceed from the consideration of Divine favors, especially the Incarnation, for Augustine says (De Trin. xiii, 10): "Nothing was so necessary to raise our hope, than that we should be shown how much God loves us. Now what greater proof could we have of this than that God's Son should deign to unite Himself to our nature?" Therefore despair arises rather from the neglect of the above consideration than from sloth.

On the contrary Gregory (Moral. xxxi, 45) reckons despair among the effects of sloth.
I answer that As stated above (Question [17], Article [1]; I-II 40,1), the object of hope is a good, difficult but possible to obtain by oneself or by another. Consequently the hope of obtaining happiness may be lacking in a person in two ways: first, through his not deeming it an arduous good; secondly, through his deeming it impossible to obtain either by himself, or by another. Now, the fact that spiritual goods taste good to us no more, or seem to be goods of no great account, is chiefly due to our affections being infected with the love of bodily pleasures, among which, sexual pleasures hold the first place: for the love of those pleasures leads man to have a distaste for spiritual things, and not to hope for them as arduous goods. In this way despair is caused by lust.On the other hand, the fact that a man deems an arduous good impossible to obtain, either by himself or by another, is due to his being over downcast, because when this state of mind dominates his affections, it seems to him that he will never be able to rise to any good. And since sloth is a sadness that casts down the spirit, in this way despair is born of sloth.Now this is the proper object of hope---that the thing is possible, because the good and the arduous regard other passions also. Hence despair is born of sloth in a more special way: though it may arise from lust, for the reason given above.

Reply to Objection: 1. This suffices for the Reply to the First Objection.
2. According to the Philosopher (Rhet. i, 11), just as hope gives rise to joy, so, when a man is joyful he has greater hope: and, accordingly, those who are sorrowful fall the more easily into despair, according to 2Co 2,7: "Lest . . . such an one be swallowed up by overmuch sorrow." Yet, since the object of hope is good, to which the appetite tends naturally, and which it shuns, not naturally but only on account of some supervening obstacle, it follows that, more directly, hope gives birth to joy, while on the contrary despair is born of sorrow.
3. This very neglect to consider the Divine favors arises from sloth. For when a man is influenced by a certain passion he considers chiefly the things which pertain to that passion: so that a man who is full of sorrow does not easily think of great and joyful things, but only of sad things, unless by a great effort he turn his thoughts away from sadness.


We must now consider presumption, under which head there are four points of inquiry:

(1) What is the object in which presumption trusts?

(2) Whether presumption is a sin?

(3) To what is it opposed?

(4) From what vice does it arise?

Whether presumption trusts in God or in our own power?

Objection: 1. It would seem that presumption, which is a sin against the Holy Ghost, trusts, not in God, but in our own power. For the lesser the power, the more grievously does he sin who trusts in it too much. But man's power is less than God's. Therefore it is a more grievous sin to presume on human power than to presume on the power of God. Now the sin against the Holy Ghost is most grievous. Therefore presumption, which is reckoned a species of sin against the Holy Ghost, trusts to human rather than to Divine power.
2. Further, other sins arise from the sin against the Holy Ghost, for this sin is called malice which is a source from which sins arise. Now other sins seem to arise from the presumption whereby man presumes on himself rather than from the presumption whereby he presumes on God, since self-love is the origin of sin, according to Augustine (De Civ. Dei xiv, 28). Therefore it seems that presumption which is a sin against the Holy Ghost, relies chiefly on human power.
3. Further, sin arises from the inordinate conversion to a mutable good. Now presumption is a sin. Therefore it arises from turning to human power, which is a mutable good, rather than from turning to the power of God, which is an immutable good.

On the contrary Just as, through despair, a man despises the Divine mercy, on which hope relies, so, through presumption, he despises the Divine justice, which punishes the sinner. Now justice is in God even as mercy is. Therefore, just as despair consists in aversion from God, so presumption consists in inordinate conversion to Him.
I answer that Presumption seems to imply immoderate hope. Now the object of hope is an arduous possible good: and a thing is possible to a man in two ways: first by his own power; secondly, by the power of God alone. With regard to either hope there may be presumption owing to lack of moderation. As to the hope whereby a man relies on his own power, there is presumption if he tends to a good as though it were possible to him, whereas it surpasses his powers, according to Jdt 6,15: "Thou humblest them that presume of themselves." This presumption is contrary to the virtue of magnanimity which holds to the mean in this kind of hope.But as to the hope whereby a man relies on the power of God, there may be presumption through immoderation, in the fact that a man tends to some good as though it were possible by the power and mercy of God, whereas it is not possible, for instance, if a man hope to obtain pardon without repenting, or glory without merits. This presumption is, properly, the sin against the Holy Ghost, because, to wit, by presuming thus a man removes or despises the assistance of the Holy Spirit, whereby he is withdrawn from sin.

Reply to Objection: 1. As stated above (Question [20], Article [3]; I-II 73,3) a sin which is against God is, in its genus, graver than other sins. Hence presumption whereby a man relies on God inordinately, is a more grievous sin than the presumption of trusting in one's own power, since to rely on the Divine power for obtaining what is unbecoming to God, is to depreciate the Divine power, and it is evident that it is a graver sin to detract from the Divine power than to exaggerate one's own.
2. The presumption whereby a man presumes inordinately on God, includes self-love, whereby he loves his own good inordinately. For when we desire a thing very much, we think we can easily procure it through others, even though we cannot.
3. Presumption on God's mercy implies both conversion to a mutable good, in so far as it arises from an inordinate desire of one's own good, and aversion from the immutable good, in as much as it ascribes to the Divine power that which is unbecoming to it, for thus man turns away from God's power.

Whether presumption is a sin?

Objection: 1. It would seem that presumption is not a sin. For no sin is a reason why man should be heard by God. Yet, through presumption some are heard by God, for it is written (Jdt 9,17): "Hear me a poor wretch making supplication to Thee, and presuming of Thy mercy." Therefore presumption on God's mercy is not a sin.
2. Further, presumption denotes excessive hope. But there cannot be excess of that hope which is in God, since His power and mercy are infinite. Therefore it seems that presumption is not a sin.
3. Further, that which is a sin does not excuse from sin: for the Master says (Sent. ii, D, 22) that "Adam sinned less, because he sinned in the hope of pardon," which seems to indicate presumption. Therefore presumption is not a sin.

On the contrary It is reckoned a species of sin against the Holy Ghost.
I answer that As stated above (Question [20], Article [1]) with regard to despair, every appetitive movement that is conformed to a false intellect, is evil in itself and sinful. Now presumption is an appetitive movement, since it denotes an inordinate hope. Moreover it is conformed to a false intellect, just as despair is: for just as it is false that God does not pardon the repentant, or that He does not turn sinners to repentance, so is it false that He grants forgiveness to those who persevere in their sins, and that He gives glory to those who cease from good works: and it is to this estimate that the movement of presumption is conformed.Consequently presumption is a sin, but less grave than despair, since, on account of His infinite goodness, it is more proper to God to have mercy and to spare, than to punish: for the former becomes God in Himself, the latter becomes Him by reason of our sins.

Reply to Objection: 1. Presumption sometimes stands for hope, because even the right hope which we have in God seems to be presumption, if it be measured according to man's estate: yet it is not, if we look at the immensity of the goodness of God.
2. Presumption does not denote excessive hope, as though man hoped too much in God; but through man hoping to obtain from God something unbecoming to Him; which is the same as to hope too little in Him, since it implies a depreciation of His power; as stated above (Article [1], ad 1).
3. To sin with the intention of persevering in sin and through the hope of being pardoned, is presumptuous, and this does not diminish, but increases sin. To sin, however, with the hope of obtaining pardon some time, and with the intention of refraining from sin and of repenting of it, is not presumptuous, but diminishes sin, because this seems to indicate a will less hardened in sin.

Whether presumption is more opposed to fear than to hope?

Objection: 1. It would seem that presumption is more opposed to fear than to hope. Because inordinate fear is opposed to right fear. Now presumption seems to pertain to inordinate fear, for it is written (Sg 17,10): "A troubled conscience always presumes [Douay: 'forecasteth'] grievous things," and (Sg 17,11) that "fear is a help to presumption [*Vulg.: 'Fear is nothing else but a yielding up of the succours from thought.']." Therefore presumption is opposed to fear rather than to hope.
2. Further, contraries are most distant from one another. Now presumption is more distant from fear than from hope, because presumption implies movement to something, just as hope does, whereas fear denotes movement from a thing. Therefore presumption is contrary to fear rather than to hope.
3. Further, presumption excludes fear altogether, whereas it does not exclude hope altogether, but only the rectitude of hope. Since therefore contraries destroy one another, it seems that presumption is contrary to fear rather than to hope.

On the contrary When two vices are opposed to one another they are contrary to the same virtue, as timidity and audacity are opposed to fortitude. Now the sin of presumption is contrary to the sin of despair, which is directly opposed to hope. Therefore it seems that presumption also is more directly opposed to hope.
I answer that As Augustine states (Contra Julian. iv, 3), "every virtue not only has a contrary vice manifestly distinct from it, as temerity is opposed to prudence, but also a sort of kindred vice, alike, not in truth but only in its deceitful appearance, as cunning is opposed to prudence." This agrees with the Philosopher who says (Ethic. ii, 8) that a virtue seems to have more in common with one of the contrary vices than with the other, as temperance with insensibility, and fortitude with audacity.Accordingly presumption appears to be manifestly opposed to fear, especially servile fear, which looks at the punishment arising from God's justice, the remission of which presumption hopes for; yet by a kind of false likeness it is more opposed to hope, since it denotes an inordinate hope in God. And since things are more directly opposed when they belong to the same genus, than when they belong to different genera, it follows that presumption is more directly opposed to hope than to fear. For they both regard and rely on the same object, hope inordinately, presumption inordinately.

Reply to Objection: 1. Just as hope is misused in speaking of evils, and properly applied in speaking of good, so is presumption: it is in this way that inordinate fear is called presumption.
2. Contraries are things that are most distant from one another within the same genus. Now presumption and hope denote a movement of the same genus, which can be either ordinate or inordinate. Hence presumption is more directly opposed to hope than to fear, since it is opposed to hope in respect of its specific difference, as an inordinate thing to an ordinate one, whereas it is opposed to fear, in respect of its generic difference, which is the movement of hope.
3. Presumption is opposed to fear by a generic contrariety, and to the virtue of hope by a specific contrariety. Hence presumption excludes fear altogether even generically, whereas it does not exclude hope except by reason of its difference, by excluding its ordinateness.

Whether presumption arises from vainglory?

Objection: 1. It would seem that presumption does not arise from vainglory. For presumption seems to rely most of all on the Divine mercy. Now mercy [misericordia] regards unhappiness [miseriam] which is contrary to glory. Therefore presumption does not arise from vainglory.
2. Further, presumption is opposed to despair. Now despair arises from sorrow, as stated above (Question [20], Article [4], ad 2). Since therefore opposites have opposite causes, presumption would seem to arise from pleasure, and consequently from sins of the flesh, which give the most absorbing pleasure.
3. Further, the vice of presumption consists in tending to some impossible good, as though it were possible. Now it is owing to ignorance that one deems an impossible thing to be possible. Therefore presumption arises from ignorance rather than from vainglory.

On the contrary Gregory says (Moral. xxxi, 45) that "presumption of novelties is a daughter of vainglory."
I answer that As stated above (Article [1]), presumption is twofold; one whereby a man relies on his own power, when he attempts something beyond his power, as though it were possible to him. Such like presumption clearly arises from vainglory; for it is owing to a great desire for glory, that a man attempts things beyond his power, and especially novelties which call for greater admiration. Hence Gregory states explicitly that presumption of novelties is a daughter of vainglory.The other presumption is an inordinate trust in the Divine mercy or power, consisting in the hope of obtaining glory without merits, or pardon without repentance. Such like presumption seems to arise directly from pride, as though man thought so much of himself as to esteem that God would not punish him or exclude him from glory, however much he might be a sinner.

Reply to Objection: 1. This suffices for the Replies to the Objections.


We must now consider the precepts relating to hope and fear: under which head there are two points of inquiry:

(1) The precepts relating to hope;

(2) The precepts relating to fear.

Whether there should be a precept of hope?

Objection: 1. It would seem that no precept should be given relating to the virtue of hope. For when an effect is sufficiently procured by one cause, there is no need to induce it by another. Now man is sufficiently induced by his natural inclination to hope for good. Therefore there is no need of a precept of the Law to induce him to do this.
2. Further, since precepts are given about acts of virtue, the chief precepts are about the acts of the chief virtues. Now the chief of all the virtues are the three theological virtues, viz. hope, faith and charity. Consequently, as the chief precepts of the Law are those of the decalogue, to which all others may be reduced, as stated above (I-II 100,3), it seems that if any precept of hope were given, it should be found among the precepts of the decalogue. But it is not to be found there. Therefore it seems that the Law should contain no precept of hope.
3. Further, to prescribe an act of virtue is equivalent to a prohibition of the act of the opposite vice. Now no precept is to be found forbidding despair which is contrary to hope. Therefore it seems that the Law should contain no precept of hope.

On the contrary Augustine says on Jn 15,12, "This is My commandment, that you love one another" (Tract. lxxxiii in Joan.): "How many things are commanded us about faith! How many relating to hope!" Therefore it is fitting that some precepts should be given about hope.
I answer that Among the precepts contained in Holy Writ, some belong to the substance of the Law, others are preambles to the Law. The preambles to the Law are those without which no law is possible: such are the precepts relating to the act of faith and the act of hope, because the act of faith inclines man's mind so that he believes the Author of the Law to be One to Whom he owes submission, while, by the hope of a reward, he is induced to observe the precepts. The precepts that belong to the substance of the Law are those which relate to right conduct and are imposed on man already subject and ready to obey: wherefore when the Law was given these precepts were set forth from the very outset under form of a command.Yet the precepts of hope and faith were not to be given under the form of a command, since, unless man already believed and hoped, it would be useless to give him the Law: but, just as the precept of faith had to be given under the form of an announcement or reminder, as stated above (Question [16], Article [1]), so too, the precept of hope, in the first promulgation of the Law, had to be given under the form of a promise. For he who promises rewards to them that obey him, by that very fact, urges them to hope: hence all the promises contained in the Law are incitements to hope.Since, however, when once the Law has been given, it is for a wise man to induce men not only to observe the precepts, but also, and much more, to safeguard the foundation of the Law, therefore, after the first promulgation of the Law, Holy Writ holds out to man many inducements to hope, even by way of warning or command, and not merely by way of promise, as in the Law; for instance, in the Ps 61,9: "Hope [Douay: 'Trust'] in Him all ye congregation of the people," and in many other passages of the Scriptures.

Reply to Objection: 1. Nature inclines us to hope for the good which is proportionate to human nature; but for man to hope for a supernatural good he had to be induced by the authority of the Divine law, partly by promises, partly by admonitions and commands. Nevertheless there was need for precepts of the Divine law to be given even for those things to which natural reason inclines us, such as the acts of the moral virtues, for sake of insuring a greater stability, especially since the natural reason of man was clouded by the lusts of sin.
2. The precepts of the law of the decalogue belong to the first promulgation of the Law: hence there was no need for a precept of hope among the precepts of the decalogue, and it was enough to induce men to hope by the inclusion of certain promises, as in the case of the first and fourth commandments.
3. In those observances to which man is bound as under a duty, it is enough that he receive an affirmative precept as to what he has to do, wherein is implied the prohibition of what he must avoid doing: thus he is given a precept concerning the honor due to parents, but not a prohibition against dishonoring them, except by the law inflicting punishment on those who dishonor their parents. And since in order to be saved it is man's duty to hope in God, he had to be induced to do so by one of the above ways, affirmatively, so to speak, wherein is implied the prohibition of the opposite.

Whether there should have been given a precept of fear?

Objection: 1. It would seem that, in the Law, there should not have been given a precept of fear. For the fear of God is about things which are a preamble to the Law, since it is the "beginning of wisdom." Now things which are a preamble to the Law do not come under a precept of the Law. Therefore no precept of fear should be given in the Law.
2. Further, given the cause, the effect is also given. Now love is the cause of fear, since "every fear proceeds from some kind of love," as Augustine states (Qq. lxxxiii, qu. 33). Therefore given the precept of love, it would have been superfluous to command fear.
3. Further, presumption, in a way, is opposed to fear. But the Law contains no prohibition against presumption. Therefore it seems that neither should any precept of fear have been given.

On the contrary It is written (Dt 10,12): "And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but that thou fear the Lord thy God?" But He requires of us that which He commands us to do. Therefore it is a matter of precept that man should fear God.
I answer that Fear is twofold, servile and filial. Now just as man is induced, by the hope of rewards, to observe precepts of law, so too is he induced thereto by the fear of punishment, which fear is servile.And just as according to what has been said (Article [1]), in the promulgation of the Law there was no need for a precept of the act of hope, and men were to be induced thereto by promises, so neither was there need for a precept, under form of command, of fear which regards punishment, and men were to be induced thereto by the threat of punishment: and this was realized both in the precepts of the decalogue, and afterwards, in due sequence, in the secondary precepts of the Law.Yet, just as wise men and the prophets who, consequently, strove to strengthen man in the observance of the Law, delivered their teaching about hope under the form of admonition or command, so too did they in the matter of fear.On the other hand filial fear which shows reverence to God, is a sort of genus in respect of the love of God, and a kind of principle of all observances connected with reverence for God. Hence precepts of filial fear are given in the Law, even as precepts of love, because each is a preamble to the external acts prescribed by the Law and to which the precepts of the decalogue refer. Hence in the passage quoted in the argument, "On the contrary," man is required "to have fear, to walk in God's ways," by worshipping Him, and "to love Him."

Reply to Objection: 1. Filial fear is a preamble to the Law, not as though it were extrinsic thereto, but as being the beginning of the Law, just as love is. Hence precepts are given of both, since they are like general principles of the whole Law.
2. From love proceeds filial fear as also other good works that are done from charity. Hence, just as after the precept of charity, precepts are given of the other acts of virtue, so at the same time precepts are given of fear and of the love of charity, just as, in demonstrative sciences, it is not enough to lay down the first principles, unless the conclusions also are given which follow from them proximately or remotely.
3. Inducement to fear suffices to exclude presumption, even as inducement to hope suffices to exclude despair, as stated above (Article [1], ad 3).

ON CHARITY (Questions [23]-46)


In proper sequence, we must consider charity; and (1) charity itself; (2) the corresponding gift of wisdom. The first consideration will be fivefold: (1) Charity itself; (2) The object of charity; (3) Its acts; (4) The opposite vices; (5) The precepts relating thereto.

The first of these considerations will be twofold: (1) Charity, considered as regards itself; (2) Charity, considered in its relation to its subject. Under the first head there are eight points of inquiry:

(1) Whether charity is friendship?

(2) Whether it is something created in the soul?

(3) Whether it is a virtue?

(4) Whether it is a special virtue?

(5) Whether it is one virtue?

(6) Whether it is the greatest of the virtues?

(7) Whether any true virtue is possible without it?

(8) Whether it is the form of the virtues?

Whether charity is friendship?

Objection: 1. It would seem that charity is not friendship. For nothing is so appropriate to friendship as to dwell with one's friend, according to the Philosopher (Ethic. viii, 5). Now charity is of man towards God and the angels, "whose dwelling [Douay: 'conversation'] is not with men" (Da 2,11). Therefore charity is not friendship.
2. Further, there is no friendship without return of love (Ethic. viii, 2). But charity extends even to one's enemies, according to Mt 5,44: "Love your enemies." Therefore charity is not friendship.
3. Further, according to the Philosopher (Ethic. viii, 3) there are three kinds of friendship, directed respectively towards the delightful, the useful, or the virtuous. Now charity is not the friendship for the useful or delightful; for Jerome says in his letter to Paulinus which is to be found at the beginning of the Bible: "True friendship cemented by Christ, is where men are drawn together, not by household interests, not by mere bodily presence, not by crafty and cajoling flattery, but by the fear of God, and the study of the Divine Scriptures." No more is it friendship for the virtuous, since by charity we love even sinners, whereas friendship based on the virtuous is only for virtuous men (Ethic. viii). Therefore charity is not friendship.

On the contrary It is written (Jn 15,15): "I will not now call you servants . . . but My friends." Now this was said to them by reason of nothing else than charity. Therefore charity is friendship.
I answer that According to the Philosopher (Ethic. viii, 2,3) not every love has the character of friendship, but that love which is together with benevolence, when, to wit, we love someone so as to wish good to him. If, however, we do not wish good to what we love, but wish its good for ourselves, (thus we are said to love wine, or a horse, or the like), it is love not of friendship, but of a kind of concupiscence. For it would be absurd to speak of having friendship for wine or for a horse.Yet neither does well-wishing suffice for friendship, for a certain mutual love is requisite, since friendship is between friend and friend: and this well-wishing is founded on some kind of communication.Accordingly, since there is a communication between man and God, inasmuch as He communicates His happiness to us, some kind of friendship must needs be based on this same communication, of which it is written (1Co 1,9): "God is faithful: by Whom you are called unto the fellowship of His Son." The love which is based on this communication, is charity: wherefore it is evident that charity is the friendship of man for God.

Reply to Objection: 1. Man's life is twofold. There is his outward life in respect of his sensitive and corporeal nature: and with regard to this life there is no communication or fellowship between us and God or the angels. The other is man's spiritual life in respect of his mind, and with regard to this life there is fellowship between us and both God and the angels, imperfectly indeed in this present state of life, wherefore it is written (Ph 3,20): "Our conversation is in heaven." But this "conversation" will be perfected in heaven, when "His servants shall serve Him, and they shall see His face" (Ap 22,3-4). Therefore charity is imperfect here, but will be perfected in heaven.
2. Friendship extends to a person in two ways: first in respect of himself, and in this way friendship never extends but to one's friends: secondly, it extends to someone in respect of another, as, when a man has friendship for a certain person, for his sake he loves all belonging to him, be they children, servants, or connected with him in any way. Indeed so much do we love our friends, that for their sake we love all who belong to them, even if they hurt or hate us; so that, in this way, the friendship of charity extends even to our enemies, whom we love out of charity in relation to God, to Whom the friendship of charity is chiefly directed.
3. The friendship that is based on the virtuous is directed to none but a virtuous man as the principal person, but for his sake we love those who belong to him, even though they be not virtuous: in this way charity, which above all is friendship based on the virtuous, extends to sinners, whom, out of charity, we love for God's sake.

Summa Th. II-II EN Qu.20 a.2