Authors/Thomas Aquinas/Summa Theologiae/Part IIb/Q107

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Q106 Q108



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IIª-IIae q. 107 pr. Deinde considerandum est de ingratitudine. Et circa hoc quaeruntur quatuor. Primo, utrum ingratitudo semper sit peccatum. Secundo, utrum ingratitudo sit peccatum speciale. Tertio, utrum omnis ingratitudo sit peccatum mortale. Quarto, utrum ingrato sint beneficia subtrahenda. Question 107. Ingratitude 1. Is ingratitude always a sin? 2. Is ingratitude a special sin? 3. Is every act of ingratitude a mortal sin? 4. Should favors be withdrawn from the ungrateful?
IIª-IIae q. 107 a. 1 arg. 1 Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod ingratitudo non semper sit peccatum. Dicit enim Seneca, in III de Benefic., quod ingratus est qui non reddit beneficium. Sed quandoque non posset aliquis recompensare beneficium nisi peccando, puta si aliquis auxiliatus est homini ad peccandum. Cum ergo abstinere a peccato non sit peccatum, videtur quod ingratitudo non semper sit peccatum. Objection 1. It seems that ingratitude is not always a sin. For Seneca says (De Benef. ii.) that "he who does not repay a favor is ungrateful." But sometimes it is impossible to repay a favor without sinning, for instance if one man has helped another to commit a sin. Therefore, since it is not a sin to refrain from sinning, it seems that ingratitude is not always a sin.
IIª-IIae q. 107 a. 1 arg. 2 Praeterea, omne peccatum est in potestate peccantis, quia secundum Augustinum, nullus peccat in eo quod vitare non potest. Sed quandoque non est in potestate peccantis ingratitudinem vitare, puta cum non habet unde reddat. Oblivio etiam non est in potestate nostra, cum tamen Seneca dicat, in III de Benefic., quod ingratissimus omnium est qui oblitus est. Ergo ingratitudo non semper est peccatum. Objection 2. Further, every sin is in the power of the person who commits it: because, according to Augustine (De Lib. Arb. iii; Retract. i), "no man sins in what he cannot avoid." Now sometimes it is not in the power of the sinner to avoid ingratitude, for instance when he has not the means of repaying. Again forgetfulness is not in our power, and yet Seneca declares (De Benef. ii.) that "to forget a kindness is the height of ingratitude." Therefore ingratitude is not always a sin.
IIª-IIae q. 107 a. 1 arg. 3 Praeterea, non videtur peccare qui non vult aliquid debere, secundum illud apostoli, Rom. XIII, nemini quidquam debeatis. Sed qui invitus debet ingratus est, ut Seneca dicit, in IV de Benefic. Ergo non semper ingratitudo est peccatum. Objection 3. Further, there would seem to be no repayment in being unwilling to owe anything, according to the Apostle (Romans 13:8), "Owe no man anything." Yet "an unwilling debtor is ungrateful," as Seneca declares (De Benef. iv). Therefore ingratitude is not always a sin.
IIª-IIae q. 107 a. 1 s. c. Sed contra est quod II ad Tim. III, ingratitudo connumeratur aliis peccatis, cum dicitur, parentibus non obedientes, ingrati, scelesti. On the contrary, Ingratitude is reckoned among other sins (2 Timothy 3:2), where it is written: "Disobedient to parents, ungrateful, wicked." etc.
IIª-IIae q. 107 a. 1 co. Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut dictum est, debitum gratitudinis est quoddam debitum honestatis quam virtus requirit. Ex hoc autem aliquid est peccatum quod repugnat virtuti. Unde manifestum est quod omnis ingratitudo est peccatum. I answer that, As stated above (106, 4, ad 1, 6) a debt of gratitude is a moral debt required by virtue. Now a thing is a sin from the fact of its being contrary to virtue. Wherefore it is evident that every ingratitude is a sin.
IIª-IIae q. 107 a. 1 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod gratitudo respicit beneficium. Ille autem qui alicui auxiliatur ad peccandum non confert beneficium, sed magis nocumentum. Et ideo non debetur ei gratiarum actio, nisi forte propter voluntatem, si sit deceptus, dum credidit adiuvare ad bonum, adiuvit ad peccandum. Sed tunc non debetur recompensatio talis ut adiuvetur ad peccandum, quia hoc non esset recompensare bonum, sed malum, quod contrariatur gratitudini. Reply to Objection 1. Gratitude regards a favor received: and he that helps another to commit a sin does him not a favor but an injury: and so no thanks are due to him, except perhaps on account of his good will, supposing him to have been deceived, and to have thought to help him in doing good, whereas he helped him to sin. On such a case the repayment due to him is not that he should be helped to commit a sin, because this would be repaying not good but evil, and this is contrary to gratitude.
IIª-IIae q. 107 a. 1 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod nullus propter impotentiam reddendi ab ingratitudine excusatur, ex quo ad debitum gratitudinis reddendum sufficit sola voluntas, ut dictum est. Oblivio autem beneficii ad ingratitudinem pertinet, non quidem illa quae provenit ex naturali defectu, quae non subiacet voluntati; sed illa quae ex negligentia provenit. Ut enim dicit Seneca, in III de Benefic., apparet illum non saepe de reddendo cogitasse cui obrepsit oblivio. Reply to Objection 2. No man is excused from ingratitude through inability to repay, for the very reason that the mere will suffices for the repayment of the debt of gratitude, as stated above (106, 6, ad 1). Forgetfulness of a favor received amounts to ingratitude, not indeed the forgetfulness that arises from a natural defect, that is not subject to the will, but that which arises from negligence. For, as Seneca observes (De Benef. ii.), "when forgetfulness of favors lays hold of a man, he has apparently given little thought to their repayment."
IIª-IIae q. 107 a. 1 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod debitum gratitudinis ex debito amoris derivatur, a quo nullus debet velle absolvi. Unde quod aliquis invitus hoc debitum debeat, videtur provenire ex defectu amoris ad eum qui beneficium dedit. Reply to Objection 3. The debt of gratitude flows from the debt of love, and from the latter no man should wish to be free. Hence that anyone should owe this debt unwillingly seems to arise from lack of love for his benefactor.
IIª-IIae q. 107 a. 2 arg. 1 Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod ingratitudo non sit speciale peccatum. Quicumque enim peccat, contra Deum agit, qui est summus benefactor. Sed hoc pertinet ad ingratitudinem. Ergo ingratitudo non est speciale peccatum. Objection 1. It seems that ingratitude is not a special sin. For whoever sins acts against God his sovereign benefactor. But this pertains to ingratitude. Therefore ingratitude is not a special sin.
IIª-IIae q. 107 a. 2 arg. 2 Praeterea, nullum speciale peccatum sub diversis generibus peccatorum continetur. Sed diversis peccatorum generibus potest aliquis esse ingratus, puta si quis benefactori detrahat, si quis furetur, vel aliquid aliud huiusmodi contra eum committat. Ergo ingratitudo non est speciale peccatum. Objection 2. Further, no special sin is contained under different kinds of sin. But one can be ungrateful by committing different kinds of sin, for instance by calumny, theft, or something similar committed against a benefactor. Therefore ingratitude is not a special sin.
IIª-IIae q. 107 a. 2 arg. 3 Praeterea, Seneca dicit, in III de Benefic., ingratus est qui dissimulat; ingratus qui non reddit; ingratissimus omnium qui oblitus est. Sed ista non videntur ad unam peccati speciem pertinere. Ergo ingratitudo non est speciale peccatum. Objection 3. Further, Seneca writes (De Benef. ii.): "It is ungrateful to take no notice of a kindness, it is ungrateful not to repay one, but it is the height of ingratitude to forget it." Now these do not seem to belong to the same species of sin. Therefore ingratitude is not a special sin.
IIª-IIae q. 107 a. 2 s. c. Sed contra est quod ingratitudo opponitur gratitudini sive gratiae, quae est specialis virtus. Ergo est speciale peccatum. On the contrary, Ingratitude is opposed to gratitude or thankfulness, which is a special virtue. Therefore it is a special sin.
IIª-IIae q. 107 a. 2 co. Respondeo dicendum quod omne vitium ex defectu virtutis nominatur quod magis virtuti opponitur, sicut illiberalitas magis opponitur liberalitati quam prodigalitas. Potest autem virtuti gratitudinis aliquod vitium opponi per excessum, puta si recompensatio beneficii fiat vel pro quibus non debet, vel citius quam debet, ut ex dictis patet. Sed magis opponitur gratitudini vitium quod est per defectum, quia virtus gratitudinis, ut supra habitum est, in aliquid amplius tendit. Et ideo proprie ingratitudo nominatur ex gratitudinis defectu. Omnis autem defectus seu privatio speciem sortitur secundum habitum oppositum, differunt enim caecitas et surditas secundum differentiam visus et auditus. Unde sicut gratitudo vel gratia est una specialis virtus, ita etiam ingratitudo est unum speciale peccatum. Habet tamen diversos gradus, secundum ordinem eorum quae ad gratitudinem requiruntur. In qua primum est quod homo beneficium acceptum recognoscat; secundum est quod laudet et gratias agat; tertium est quod retribuat, pro loco et tempore, secundum suam facultatem. Sed quia quod est ultimum in generatione est primum in resolutione, ideo primus ingratitudinis gradus est ut homo beneficium non retribuat; secundus est ut dissimulet, quasi non demonstrans se beneficium accepisse; tertium, et gravissimum est quod non recognoscat, sive per oblivionem, sive quocumque alio modo. Et quia in affirmatione opposita intelligitur negatio, ideo ad primum ingratitudinis gradum pertinet quod aliquis retribuat mala pro bonis; ad secundum, quod beneficium vituperet; ad tertium, quod beneficium quasi maleficium reputet. I answer that, Every vice is denominated from a deficiency of virtue, because deficiency is more opposed to virtue: thus illiberality is more opposed to liberality than prodigality is. Now a vice may be opposed to the virtue of gratitude by way of excess, for instance if one were to show gratitude for things for which gratitude is not due, or sooner than it is due, as stated above (Question 106, Article 4). But still more opposed to gratitude is the vice denoting deficiency of gratitude, because the virtue of gratitude, as stated above (Question 106, Article 6), inclines to return something more. Wherefore ingratitude is properly denominated from being a deficiency of gratitude. Now every deficiency or privation takes its species from the opposite habit: for blindness and deafness differ according to the difference of sight and hearing. Therefore just as gratitude or thankfulness is one special virtue, so also is ingratitude one special sin. It has, however, various degrees corresponding in their order to the things required for gratitude. The first of these is to recognize the favor received, the second to express one's appreciation and thanks, and the third to repay the favor at a suitable place and time according to one's means. And since what is last in the order of generation is first in the order of destruction, it follows that the first degree of ingratitude is when a man fails to repay a favor, the second when he declines to notice or indicate that he has received a favor, while the third and supreme degree is when a man fails to recognize the reception of a favor, whether by forgetting it or in any other way. Moreover, since opposite affirmation includes negation, it follows that it belongs to the first degree of ingratitude to return evil for good, to the second to find fault with a favor received, and to the third to esteem kindness as though it were unkindness.
IIª-IIae q. 107 a. 2 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod in quolibet peccato est materialis ingratitudo ad Deum, inquantum scilicet facit homo aliquid quod potest ad ingratitudinem pertinere. Formalis autem ingratitudo est quando actualiter beneficium contemnitur. Et hoc est speciale peccatum. Reply to Objection 1. In every sin there is material ingratitude to God, inasmuch as a man does something that may pertain to ingratitude. But formal ingratitude is when a favor is actually contemned, and this is a special sin.
IIª-IIae q. 107 a. 2 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod nihil prohibet formalem rationem alicuius specialis peccati in pluribus peccatorum generibus materialiter inveniri. Et secundum hoc, in multis generibus peccatorum invenitur ingratitudinis ratio. Reply to Objection 2. Nothing hinders the formal aspect of some special sin from being found materially in several kinds of sin, and in this way the aspect of ingratitude is to be found in many kinds of sin.
IIª-IIae q. 107 a. 2 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod illa tria non sunt diversae species, sed diversi gradus unius specialis peccati. Reply to Objection 3. These three are not different species but different degrees of one special sin.
IIª-IIae q. 107 a. 3 arg. 1 Ad tertium sic proceditur. Videtur quod ingratitudo semper sit peccatum mortale. Deo enim maxime debet aliquis esse gratus. Sed peccando venialiter homo non est ingratus Deo, alioquin omnes essent ingrati. Ergo nulla ingratitudo est veniale peccatum. Objection 1. It seems that ingratitude is always a mortal sin. For one ought to be grateful to God above all. But one is not ungrateful to God by committing a venial sin: else every man would be guilty of ingratitude. Therefore no ingratitude is a venial sin.
IIª-IIae q. 107 a. 3 arg. 2 Praeterea, ex hoc aliquod peccatum est mortale quod contrariatur caritati, ut supra dictum est. Sed ingratitudo contrariatur caritati, ex qua procedit debitum gratitudinis, ut supra dictum est. Ergo ingratitudo semper est peccatum mortale. Objection 2. Further, a sin is mortal through being contrary to charity, as stated above (Question 24, Article 12). But ingratitude is contrary to charity, since the debt of gratitude proceeds from that virtue, as stated above (106, 1, ad 3; 6, ad 2). Therefore ingratitude is always a mortal sin.
IIª-IIae q. 107 a. 3 arg. 3 Praeterea, Seneca dicit, in II de Benefic., haec beneficii lex est, alter statim oblivisci debet dati, alter memor esse accepti. Sed propter hoc, ut videtur, debet oblivisci, ut lateat eum peccatum recipientis, si contingat eum esse ingratum. Quod non oporteret si ingratitudo esset leve peccatum. Ergo ingratitudo semper est mortale peccatum. Objection 3. Further, Seneca says (De Benef. ii): "Between the giver and the receiver of a favor there is this law, that the former should forthwith forget having given, and the latter should never forget having received." Now, seemingly, the reason why the giver should forget is that he may be unaware of the sin of the recipient, should the latter prove ungrateful; and there would be no necessity for that if ingratitude were a slight sin. Therefore ingratitude is always a mortal sin.
IIª-IIae q. 107 a. 3 s. c. Sed contra est quod nulli est danda via peccandi mortaliter. Sed sicut Seneca dicit, ibidem, interdum qui iuvatur fallendus est, ut habeat, nec a quo acceperit sciat, quod videtur viam ingratitudinis recipienti praebere. Ergo ingratitudo non semper est peccatum mortale. Objection 4.On the contrary, No one should be put in the way of committing a mortal sin. Yet, according to Seneca (De Benef. ii), "sometimes it is necessary to deceive the person who receives assistance, in order that he may receive without knowing from whom he has received." But this would seem to put the recipient in the way of ingratitude. Therefore ingratitude is not always a mortal sin.
IIª-IIae q. 107 a. 3 co. Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut ex dictis patet, ingratus dicitur aliquis dupliciter. Uno modo, per solam omissionem, puta quia non recognoscit, vel non laudat, vel non retribuit vices pro beneficio accepto. Et hoc non semper est peccatum mortale. Quia, ut supra dictum est, debitum gratitudinis est ut homo aliquid etiam liberaliter tribuat ad quod non tenetur, et ideo, si illud praetermittit, non peccat mortaliter. Est tamen peccatum veniale, quia hoc provenit ex negligentia quadam, aut ex aliqua indispositione hominis ad virtutem. Potest tamen contingere quod etiam talis ingratitudo sit mortale peccatum, vel propter interiorem contemptum; vel etiam propter conditionem eius quod subtrahitur, quod ex necessitate debetur benefico, sive simpliciter sive in aliquo necessitatis casu. Alio modo dicitur aliquis ingratus, quia non solum praetermittit implere gratitudinis debitum, sed etiam contrarium agit. Et hoc etiam, secundum conditionem eius quod agitur, quandoque est peccatum mortale, quandoque veniale. Sciendum tamen quod ingratitudo quae provenit ex peccato mortali habet perfectam ingratitudinis rationem, illa vero quae provenit ex peccato veniali, imperfectam. I answer that, As appears from what we have said above (Article 2), a man may be ungrateful in two ways: first, by mere omission, for instance by failing to recognize the favor received, or to express his appreciation of it or to pay something in return, and this is not always a mortal sin, because, as stated above (Question 106, Article 6), the debt of gratitude requires a man to make a liberal return, which, however, he is not bound to do; wherefore if he fail to do so, he does not sin mortally. It is nevertheless a venial sin, because it arises either from some kind of negligence or from some disinclination to virtue in him. And yet ingratitude of this kind may happen to be a mortal sin, by reason either of inward contempt, or of the kind of thing withheld, this being needful to the benefactor, either simply, or in some case of necessity. Secondly, a man may be ungrateful, because he not only omits to pay the debt of gratitude, but does the contrary. This again is sometimes mortal and sometimes a venial sin, according to the kind of thing that is done. It must be observed, however, that when ingratitude arises from a mortal sin, it has the perfect character of ingratitude, and when it arises from venial sin, it has the imperfect character.
IIª-IIae q. 107 a. 3 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod per peccatum veniale non est aliquis ingratus Deo secundum perfectam ingratitudinis rationem. Habet tamen aliquid ingratitudinis, inquantum peccatum veniale tollit aliquem actum virtutis, per quem homo Deo obsequitur. Reply to Objection 1. By committing a venial sin one is not ungrateful to God to the extent of incurring the guilt of perfect ingratitude: but there is something of ingratitude in a venial sin, in so far as it removes a virtuous act of obedience to God.
IIª-IIae q. 107 a. 3 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod ingratitudo quae est cum peccato veniali non est contraria caritati, sed est praeter ipsam, quia non tollit habitum caritatis, sed aliquem actum ipsius excludit. Reply to Objection 2. When ingratitude is a venial sin it is not contrary to, but beside charity: since it does not destroy the habit of charity, but excludes some act thereof.
IIª-IIae q. 107 a. 3 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod idem Seneca dicit, in VII de Benefic., errat si quis aestimat, cum dicimus eum qui beneficium dedit oblivisci oportere, excutere nos illi memoriam rei, praesertim honestissimae. Cum ergo dicimus, meminisse non debet, hoc volumus intelligi, praedicare non debet, nec iactare. Reply to Objection 3. Seneca also says (De Benef. vii): "When we say that a man after conferring a favor should forget about it, it is a mistake to suppose that we mean him to shake off the recollection of a thing so very praiseworthy. When we say: He must not remember it, we mean that he must not publish it abroad and boast about it."
IIª-IIae q. 107 a. 3 ad 4 Ad quartum dicendum quod ille qui ignorat beneficium non est ingratus si beneficium non recompenset, dummodo sit paratus recompensare si noscet. Est autem laudabile quandoque ut ille cui providetur beneficium ignoret, tum propter inanis gloriae vitationem, sicut beatus Nicolaus, aurum furtim in domum proiiciens, vitare voluit humanum favorem; tum etiam quia in hoc ipso amplius beneficium facit quod consulit verecundiae eius qui beneficium accipit. Reply to Objection 4. He that is unaware of a favor conferred on him is not ungrateful, if he fails to repay it, provided he be prepared to do so if he knew. It is nevertheless commendable at times that the object of a favor should remain in ignorance of it, both in order to avoid vainglory, as when Blessed Nicolas threw gold into a house secretly, wishing to avoid popularity: and because the kindness is all the greater through the benefactor wishing not to shame the person on whom he is conferring the favor.
IIª-IIae q. 107 a. 4 arg. 1 Ad quartum sic proceditur. Videtur quod ingratis sint beneficia subtrahenda. Dicitur enim Sap. XVI, ingratis spes tanquam hibernalis glacies tabescet. Non autem eius spes tabesceret si non esset ei beneficium subtrahendum. Ergo sunt subtrahenda beneficia ingratis. Objection 1. It seems that favors should withheld from the ungrateful. For it is written (Wisdom 16:29): "The hope of the unthankful shall melt away as the winter's ice." But this hope would not melt away unless favors were withheld from him. Therefore favors should be withheld from the ungrateful.
IIª-IIae q. 107 a. 4 arg. 2 Praeterea, nullus debet alteri praebere occasionem peccandi. Sed ingratus beneficium recipiens sumit ingratitudinis occasionem ergo non est ingrato beneficium dandum. Objection 2. Further, no one should afford another an occasion of committing sin. But the ungrateful in receiving a favor is given an occasion of ingratitude. Therefore favors should not be bestowed on the ungrateful.
IIª-IIae q. 107 a. 4 arg. 3 Praeterea, in quo quis peccat, per hoc et torquetur, ut dicitur Sap. XI. Sed ille qui ingratus est beneficio accepto, peccat contra beneficium. Ergo est beneficio privandus. Objection 3. Further, "By what things a man sinneth, by the same also he is tormented" (Wisdom 11:17). Now he that is ungrateful when he receives a favor sins against the favor. Therefore he should be deprived of the favor.
IIª-IIae q. 107 a. 4 s. c. Sed contra est quod dicitur Luc. VI, quod altissimus benignus est super ingratos et malos. Sed eius per imitationem nos filios esse oportet, ut ibidem dicitur. Ergo non debemus beneficia ingratis subtrahere. On the contrary, It is written (Luke 6:35) that "the Highest . . . is kind to the unthankful, and to the evil." Now we should prove ourselves His children by imitating Him (Luke 6:36). Therefore we should not withhold favors from the ungrateful.
IIª-IIae q. 107 a. 4 co. Respondeo dicendum quod circa ingratum duo consideranda sunt. Primo quidem, quid ipse dignus sit pati. Et sic certum est quod meretur beneficii subtractionem. Alio modo, considerandum est quid oporteat beneficum facere. Primo namque, debet non esse facilis ad ingratitudinem iudicandam, quia frequenter aliquis, ut Seneca dicit, qui non reddidit, gratus est; quia forte non occurrit ei facultas aut debita opportunitas reddendi. Secundo, debet tendere ad hoc quod de ingrato gratum faciat, quod si non potest primo beneficio facere, forte faciet secundo. Si vero ex beneficiis multiplicatis ingratitudinem augeat et peior fiat, debet a beneficiorum exhibitione cessare. I answer that, There are two points to be considered with regard to an ungrateful person. The first is what he deserves to suffer and thus it is certain that he deserves to be deprived of our favor. The second is, what ought his benefactor to do? For in the first place he should not easily judge him to be ungrateful, since, as Seneca remarks (De Benef. ii.), "a man is often grateful although he repays not," because perhaps he has not the means or the opportunity of repaying. Secondly, he should be inclined to turn his ungratefulness into gratitude, and if he does not achieve this by being kind to him once, he may by being so a second time. If, however, the more he repeats his favors, the more ungrateful and evil the other becomes, he should cease from bestowing his favors upon him.
IIª-IIae q. 107 a. 4 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod auctoritas illa loquitur quantum ad id quod ingratus dignus est pati. Reply to Objection 1. The passage quoted speaks of what the ungrateful man deserves to suffer.
IIª-IIae q. 107 a. 4 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod ille qui ingrato beneficium exhibet non dat ei occasionem peccandi, sed magis gratitudinis et amoris. Si vero ille qui accipit ingratitudinis exinde occasionem sumat, non est danti imputandum. Reply to Objection 2. He that bestows a favor on an ungrateful person affords him an occasion not of sin but of gratitude and love. And if the recipient takes therefrom an occasion of ingratitude, this is not to be imputed to the bestower.
IIª-IIae q. 107 a. 4 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod ille qui beneficium dat non statim debet se exhibere punitorem ingratitudinis, sed prius pium medicum, ut scilicet iteratis beneficiis ingratitudinem sanet. Reply to Objection 3. He that bestows a favor must not at once act the part of a punisher of ingratitude, but rather that of a kindly physician, by healing the ingratitude with repeated favors.

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