Authors/Thomas Aquinas/Summa Theologiae/Part IIb/Q119

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Q118 Q120



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IIª-IIae q. 119 pr. Deinde considerandum est de prodigalitate. Et circa hoc quaeruntur tria. Primo, utrum prodigalitas avaritiae opponatur. Secundo, utrum prodigalitas sit peccatum. Tertio, utrum sit gravius peccatum quam avaritia. Question 119. Prodigality 1. Is prodigality opposite to covetousness? 2. Is prodigality a sin? 3. Is it a graver sin that covetousness?
IIª-IIae q. 119 a. 1 arg. 1 Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod prodigalitas non opponatur avaritiae. Opposita enim non possunt esse simul in eodem. Sed aliqui sunt simul prodigi et illiberales. Ergo prodigalitas non opponitur avaritiae. Objection 1. It seems that prodigality is not opposite to covetousness. For opposites cannot be together in the same subject. But some are at the same time prodigal and covetous. Therefore prodigality is not opposite to covetousness.
IIª-IIae q. 119 a. 1 arg. 2 Praeterea, opposita sunt circa idem. Sed avaritia, secundum quod opponitur liberalitati, est circa passiones quasdam quibus homo afficitur ad pecuniam. Prodigalitas autem non videtur esse circa aliquas animae passiones, non enim afficitur circa pecunias, nec circa aliquid aliud huiusmodi. Non ergo prodigalitas opponitur avaritiae. Objection 2. Further, opposites relate to one same thing. But covetousness, as opposed to liberality, relates to certain passions whereby man is affected towards money: whereas prodigality does not seem to relate to any passions of the soul, since it is not affected towards money, or to anything else of the kind. Therefore prodigality is not opposite to covetousness.
IIª-IIae q. 119 a. 1 arg. 3 Praeterea, peccatum principaliter recipit speciem a fine, ut supra habitum est. Sed prodigalitas semper videtur ordinari ad aliquem finem illicitum, propter quem bona sua expendit, et praecipue propter voluptates, unde et Luc. XV dicitur de filio prodigo quod dissipavit substantiam suam luxuriose vivendo. Ergo videtur quod prodigalitas opponatur magis temperantiae et insensibilitati quam avaritiae et liberalitati. Objection 3. Further, sin takes its species chiefly from its end, as stated above (I-II, 62, 3). Now prodigality seems always to be directed to some unlawful end, for the sake of which the prodigal squanders his goods. Especially is it directed to pleasures, wherefore it is stated (Luke 15:13) of the prodigal son that he "wasted his substance living riotously." Therefore it seems that prodigality is opposed to temperance and insensibility rather than to covetousness and liberality.
IIª-IIae q. 119 a. 1 s. c. Sed contra est quod philosophus, in II et IV Ethic., ponit prodigalitatem oppositam liberalitati et illiberalitati, quam nunc avaritiam dicimus. On the contrary, The Philosopher says (Ethic. ii, 7; iv, 1) that prodigality is opposed to liberality, and illiberality, to which we give here the name of covetousness.
IIª-IIae q. 119 a. 1 co. Respondeo dicendum quod in moralibus attenditur oppositio vitiorum ad invicem et ad virtutem secundum superabundantiam et defectum. Differunt autem avaritia et prodigalitas secundum superabundantiam et defectum, diversimode. Nam in affectione divitiarum, avarus superabundat, plus debito eas diligens, prodigus autem deficit, minus debito earum sollicitudinem gerens. Circa exteriora vero, ad prodigalitatem pertinet excedere quidem in dando, deficere autem in retinendo et acquirendo, ad avaritiam autem pertinet e contrario deficere quidem in dando, superabundare autem in accipiendo et retinendo. Unde patet quod prodigalitas avaritiae opponitur. I answer that, In morals vices are opposed to one another and to virtue in respect of excess and deficiency. Now covetousness and prodigality differ variously in respect of excess and deficiency. Thus, as regards affection for riches, the covetous man exceeds by loving them more than he ought, while the prodigal is deficient, by being less careful of them than he ought: and as regards external action, prodigality implies excess in giving, but deficiency in retaining and acquiring, while covetousness, on the contrary, denotes deficiency in giving, but excess in acquiring and retaining. Hence it is evident that prodigality is opposed to covetousness.
IIª-IIae q. 119 a. 1 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod nihil prohibet eidem inesse opposita secundum diversa, ab illo tamen aliquid magis denominatur quod est principalius. Sicut autem in liberalitate, quae medium tenet, praecipua est datio, ad quam acceptio et retentio ordinantur; ita etiam avaritia et prodigalitas praecipue attenduntur secundum dationem. Unde ille qui superabundat in dando vocatur prodigus; qui autem deficit in dando vocatur avarus. Contingit autem quandoque quod aliquis deficit in dando qui tamen non excedit in accipiendo, ut philosophus dicit, in IV Ethic. Similiter etiam contingit quod aliquis excedat in dando, et ex hoc est prodigus; et simul cum hoc, excedat in accipiendo. Vel ex quadam necessitate, quia, dum superabundant in dando, deficiunt eis propria bona, unde coguntur indebite acquirere, quod pertinet ad avaritiam. Vel etiam propter animi inordinationem, dum enim non dant propter bonum, quasi contempta virtute, non curant undecumque et qualitercumque accipiant. Et sic non secundum idem sunt prodigi et avari. Reply to Objection 1. Nothing prevents opposites from being in the same subject in different respects. For a thing is denominated more from what is in it principally. Now just as in liberality, which observes the mean, the principal thing is giving, to which receiving and retaining are subordinate, so, too, covetousness and prodigality regard principally giving. Wherefore he who exceeds in giving is said to be "prodigal," while he who is deficient in giving is said to be "covetous." Now it happens sometimes that a man is deficient in giving, without exceeding in receiving, as the Philosopher observes (Ethic. iv, 1). And in like manner it happens sometimes that a man exceeds in giving, and therefore is prodigal, and yet at the same time exceeds in receiving. This may be due either to some kind of necessity, since while exceeding in giving he is lacking in goods of his own, so that he is driven to acquire unduly, and this pertains to covetousness; or it may be due to inordinateness of the mind, for he gives not for a good purpose, but, as though despising virtue, cares not whence or how he receives. Wherefore he is prodigal and covetous in different respects.
IIª-IIae q. 119 a. 1 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod prodigalitas attenditur circa passiones pecuniae non sicut superabundans in eis, sed sicut deficiens. Reply to Objection 2. Prodigality regards passions in respect of money, not as exceeding, but as deficient in them.
IIª-IIae q. 119 a. 1 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod prodigus non semper abundat in dando propter voluptates, circa quas est intemperantia, sed quandoque quidem ex eo quod taliter est dispositus ut divitias non curet; quandoque autem propter aliquid aliud. Ut frequentius tamen ad intemperantias declinant, tum quia, ex quo superflue expendunt in aliis, etiam in rebus voluptuosis expendere non verentur, ad quas magis inclinat concupiscentia carnis; tum etiam, quia non delectantur in bono virtutis, quaerunt sibi delectationes corporales. Et inde est quod philosophus dicit, in IV Ethic., quod multi prodigorum fiunt intemperati. Reply to Objection 3. The prodigal does not always exceed in giving for the sake of pleasures which are the matter of temperance, but sometimes through being so disposed as not to care about riches, and sometimes on account of something else. More frequently, however, he inclines to intemperance, both because through spending too much on other things he becomes fearless of spending on objects of pleasure, to which the concupiscence of the flesh is more prone; and because through taking no pleasure in virtuous goods, he seeks for himself pleasures of the body. Hence the Philosopher says (Ethic. iv, 1) "that many a prodigal ends in becoming intemperate."
IIª-IIae q. 119 a. 2 arg. 1 Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod prodigalitas non sit peccatum. Dicit enim apostolus, I ad Tim. ult., radix omnium malorum est cupiditas. Non autem est radix prodigalitatis, quae ei opponitur. Ergo prodigalitas non est peccatum. Objection 1. It seems that prodigality is not a sin. For the Apostle says (1 Timothy 6:10): "Covetousness [Douay: 'desire of money'] is the root of all evils." But it is not the root of prodigality, since this is opposed to it. Therefore prodigality is not a sin.
IIª-IIae q. 119 a. 2 arg. 2 Praeterea, apostolus, I ad Tim. ult., dicit, divitibus huius saeculi praecipe facile tribuere, communicare. Sed hoc maxime faciunt prodigi. Ergo prodigalitas non est peccatum. Objection 2. Further, the Apostle says (1 Timothy 6:17-18): "Charge the rich of this world . . . to give easily, to communicate to others." Now this is especially what prodigal persons do. Therefore prodigality is not a sin.
IIª-IIae q. 119 a. 2 arg. 3 Praeterea, ad prodigalitatem pertinet superabundare in datione et deficere in sollicitudine divitiarum. Sed hoc maxime convenit viris perfectis implentibus quod dominus dicit, Matth. VI, nolite solliciti esse in crastinum; et XIX, vende omnia quae habes, et da pauperibus. Ergo prodigalitas non est peccatum. Objection 3. Further, it belongs to prodigality to exceed in giving and to be deficient in solicitude about riches. But this is most becoming to the perfect, who fulfil the words of Our Lord (Matthew 6:34), "Be not . . . solicitous for tomorrow," and (Matthew 19:21), "Sell all [Vulgate: 'what'] thou hast, and give to the poor." Therefore prodigality is not a sin.
IIª-IIae q. 119 a. 2 s. c. Sed contra est quod filius prodigus vituperatur de sua prodigalitate, Luc. XV. On the contrary, The prodigal son is held to blame for his prodigality.
IIª-IIae q. 119 a. 2 co. Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut dictum est, prodigalitas opponitur avaritiae secundum oppositionem superabundantiae et defectus. Medium autem virtutis per utrumque horum corrumpitur. Ex hoc autem est aliquid vitiosum et peccatum quod corrumpit bonum virtutis. Unde relinquitur quod prodigalitas sit peccatum. I answer that, As stated above (Article 1), the opposition between prodigality and covetousness is one of excess and deficiency; either of which destroys the mean of virtue. Now a thing is vicious and sinful through corrupting the good of virtue. Hence it follows that prodigality is a sin.
IIª-IIae q. 119 a. 2 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod illud verbum apostoli quidam exponunt non de cupiditate actuali, sed de quadam habituali cupiditate, quae est concupiscentia fomitis, ex qua omnia peccata oriuntur. Alii vero dicunt quod loquitur de cupiditate generali respectu cuiuscumque boni. Et sic manifestum est quod etiam prodigalitas ex cupiditate oritur, prodigus enim aliquod bonum temporale cupit consequi inordinate; vel placere aliis, vel saltem satisfacere suae voluntati in dando. Sed si quis recte consideret, apostolus ibi loquitur, ad litteram, de cupiditate divitiarum, nam supra praemiserat, qui volunt divites fieri, et cetera. Et sic dicitur esse avaritia radix omnium malorum, non quia omnia mala semper ex avaritia oriantur, sed quia nullum malum est quod non interdum ex avaritia oriatur. Unde et prodigalitas quandoque ex avaritia nascitur, sicut cum aliquis prodige multa consumit intentione captandi favorem aliquorum, a quibus divitias accipiat. Reply to Objection 1. Some expound this saying of the Apostle as referring, not to actual covetousness, but to a kind of habitual covetousness, which is the concupiscence of the "fomes" [Cf. I-II, 81, 3, ad 2], whence all sins arise. Others say that he is speaking of a general covetousness with regard to any kind of good: and in this sense also it is evident that prodigality arises from covetousness; since the prodigal seeks to acquire some temporal good inordinately, namely, to give pleasure to others, or at least to satisfy his own will in giving. But to one that reviews the passage correctly, it is evident that the Apostle is speaking literally of the desire of riches, for he had said previously (1 Timothy 6:9): "They that will become rich," etc. On this sense covetousness is said to be "the root of all evils," not that all evils always arise from covetousness, but because there is no evil that does not at some time arise from covetousness. Wherefore prodigality sometimes is born of covetousness, as when a man is prodigal in going to great expense in order to curry favor with certain persons from whom he may receive riches.
IIª-IIae q. 119 a. 2 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod apostolus monet divites ut facile tribuant et communicent sua secundum quod oportet. Quod non faciunt prodigi, quia, ut philosophus dicit, in IV Ethic., dationes eorum non sunt bonae, neque boni gratia, neque secundum quod oportet, sed quandoque dant multa illis quos oporteret pauperes esse, scilicet histrionibus et adulatoribus, bonis autem nihil darent. Reply to Objection 2. The Apostle bids the rich to be ready to give and communicate their riches, according as they ought. The prodigal does not do this: since, as the Philosopher remarks (Ethic. iv, 1), "his giving is neither good, nor for a good end, nor according as it ought to be. For sometimes they give much to those who ought to be poor, namely, to buffoons and flatterers, whereas to the good they give nothing."
IIª-IIae q. 119 a. 2 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod superexcessus prodigalitatis non attenditur principaliter secundum quantitatem dati, sed magis inquantum excedit id quod fieri oportet. Unde quandoque liberalis maiora dat quam prodigus, si necessarium sit. Sic ergo dicendum est quod illi qui, intentione sequendi Christum, omnia sua dant, et ab animo suo omnem temporalium sollicitudinem removent, non sunt prodigi, sed perfecte liberales. Reply to Objection 3. The excess in prodigality consists chiefly, not in the total amount given, but in the amount over and above what ought to be given. Hence sometimes the liberal man gives more than the prodigal man, if it be necessary. Accordingly we must reply that those who give all their possessions with the intention of following Christ, and banish from their minds all solicitude for temporal things, are not prodigal but perfectly liberal.
IIª-IIae q. 119 a. 3 arg. 1 Ad tertium sic proceditur. Videtur quod prodigalitas sit gravius peccatum quam avaritia. Per avaritiam enim aliquis nocet proximo, cui bona sua non communicat. Per prodigalitatem autem aliquis sibi ipsi nocet, dicit enim philosophus, in IV Ethic., quod corruptio divitiarum, per quas homo vivit, est quaedam ipsius esse perditio. Gravius autem peccat qui sibi ipsi nocet, secundum illud Eccli. XIV, qui sibi nequam est, cui bonus erit? Ergo prodigalitas erit gravius peccatum quam avaritia. Objection 1. It seems that prodigality is a more grievous sin than covetousness. For by covetousness a man injures his neighbor by not communicating his goods to him, whereas by prodigality a man injures himself, because the Philosopher says (Ethic. iv, 1) that "the wasting of riches, which are the means whereby a man lives, is an undoing of his very being." Now he that injures himself sins more grievously, according to Sirach 14:5, "He that is evil to himself, to whom will he be good?" Therefore prodigality is a more grievous sin than covetousness.
IIª-IIae q. 119 a. 3 arg. 2 Praeterea, inordinatio quae provenit cum aliqua conditione laudabili, minus est vitiosa. Sed inordinatio avaritiae quandoque est cum aliqua laudabili conditione, ut patet in illis qui nolunt sua expendere nec aliena accipere. Prodigalitatis autem inordinatio provenit cum conditione vituperabili, unde et prodigalitatem attribuimus intemperatis hominibus, ut philosophus dicit, in IV Ethic. Ergo prodigalitas est gravius vitium quam avaritia. Objection 2. Further, a disorder that is accompanied by a laudable circumstance is less sinful. Now the disorder of covetousness is sometimes accompanied by a laudable circumstance, as in the case of those who are unwilling to spend their own, lest they be driven to accept from others: whereas the disorder of prodigality is accompanied by a circumstance that calls for blame, inasmuch as we ascribe prodigality to those who are intemperate, as the Philosopher observes (Ethic. iv, 1). Therefore prodigality is a more grievous sin than covetousness.
IIª-IIae q. 119 a. 3 arg. 3 Praeterea, prudentia est praecipua inter morales virtutes, ut supra habitum est. Sed prodigalitas magis opponitur prudentiae quam avaritia, dicitur enim Prov. XXI, thesaurus desiderabilis et oleum in tabernaculo iusti, et imprudens homo dissipabit illud; et philosophus dicit, in IV Ethic., quod insipientis est superabundanter dare et non accipere. Ergo prodigalitas est gravius peccatum quam avaritia. Objection 3. Further, prudence is chief among the moral virtues, as stated above (56, 1, ad 1; I-II, 61, 2, ad 1). Now prodigality is more opposed to prudence than covetousness is: for it is written (Proverbs 21:20): "There is a treasure to be desired, and oil in the dwelling of the just; and the foolish man shall spend it": and the Philosopher says (Ethic. iv, 6) that "it is the mark of a fool to give too much and receive nothing." Therefore prodigality is a more grievous sin than covetousness.
IIª-IIae q. 119 a. 3 s. c. Sed contra est quod philosophus dicit, in IV Ethic., quod prodigus multum videtur melior illiberali. On the contrary, The Philosopher says (Ethic. iv, 6) that "the prodigal seems to be much better than the illiberal man."
IIª-IIae q. 119 a. 3 co. Respondeo dicendum quod prodigalitas, secundum se considerata, minus peccatum est quam avaritia. Et hoc triplici ratione. Primo quidem, quia avaritia magis differt a virtute opposita. Magis enim ad liberalem pertinet dare, in quo superabundat prodigus, quam accipere vel retinere, in quo superabundat avarus. Secundo, quia prodigus est multis utilis, quibus dat, avarus autem nulli, sed nec sibi ipsi, ut dicitur in IV Ethic. Tertio, quia prodigalitas est facile sanabilis. Et per hoc quod declinat ad aetatem senectutis, quae est contraria prodigalitati. Et per hoc quod pervenit ad egestatem de facili, dum multa inutiliter consumit, et sic, pauper factus, non potest in dando superabundare. Et etiam quia de facili perducitur ad virtutem, propter similitudinem quam habet ad ipsam. Sed avarus non de facili sanatur, ratione supradicta. I answer that, Prodigality considered in itself is a less grievous sin than covetousness, and this for three reasons. First, because covetousness differs more from the opposite virtue: since giving, wherein the prodigal exceeds, belongs to liberality more than receiving or retaining, wherein the covetous man exceeds. Secondly, because the prodigal man is of use to the many to whom he gives, while the covetous man is of use to no one, not even to himself, as stated in Ethic. iv, 6. Thirdly, because prodigality is easily cured. For not only is the prodigal on the way to old age, which is opposed to prodigality, but he is easily reduced to a state of want, since much useless spending impoverishes him and makes him unable to exceed in giving. Moreover, prodigality is easily turned into virtue on account of its likeness thereto. On the other hand, the covetous man is not easily cured, for the reason given above (118, 5, ad 3).
IIª-IIae q. 119 a. 3 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod differentia prodigi et avari non attenditur secundum hoc quod est peccare in seipsum, et in alium. Nam prodigus peccat in seipsum, dum bona sua consumit, unde vivere debet, peccat etiam in alterum, consumendo bona ex quibus aliis deberet providere. Et praecipue hoc apparet in clericis, qui sunt dispensatores bonorum Ecclesiae, quae sunt pauperum, quos defraudant prodige expendendo. Similiter etiam avarus peccat in alios, inquantum deficit in dationibus, peccat etiam in seipsum, inquantum deficit in sumptibus; unde dicitur Eccle. VI, vir cui Deus dedit divitias, nec tribuit ei potestatem ut comedat ex eis. Sed tamen in hoc superabundat prodigus, quia sic sibi et quibusdam aliis nocet quod tamen aliquibus prodest. Avarus autem nec sibi nec aliis prodest, quia non audet uti etiam ad suam utilitatem bonis suis. Reply to Objection 1. The difference between the prodigal and the covetous man is not that the former sins against himself and the latter against another. For the prodigal sins against himself by spending that which is his, and his means of support, and against others by spending the wherewithal to help others. This applies chiefly to the clergy, who are the dispensers of the Church's goods, that belong to the poor whom they defraud by their prodigal expenditure. On like manner the covetous man sins against others, by being deficient in giving; and he sins against himself, through deficiency in spending: wherefore it is written (Ecclesiastes 6:2): "A man to whom God hath given riches . . . yet doth not give him the power to eat thereof." Nevertheless the prodigal man exceeds in this, that he injures both himself and others yet so as to profit some; whereas the covetous man profits neither others nor himself, since he does not even use his own goods for his own profit.
IIª-IIae q. 119 a. 3 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod cum de vitiis communiter loquimur, iudicamus de eis secundum proprias rationes ipsorum, sicut circa prodigalitatem attendimus quod superflue consumit divitias, circa avaritiam vero quod superflue eas retinet. Quod autem aliquis propter intemperantiam superflue consumat, hoc iam nominat simul multa peccata, unde et tales prodigi sunt peiores, ut dicitur IV Ethic. Quod autem illiberalis sive avarus abstineat ab accipiendis alienis, etsi in se laudabile videatur, tamen ex causa propter quam facit, vituperabile est, dum ideo non vult ab aliis accipere ne cogatur aliis dare. Reply to Objection 2. In speaking of vices in general, we judge of them according to their respective natures: thus, with regard to prodigality we note that it consumes riches to excess, and with regard to covetousness that it retains them to excess. That one spend too much for the sake of intemperance points already to several additional sins, wherefore the prodigal of this kind is worse, as stated in Ethic. iv, 1. That an illiberal or covetous man refrain from taking what belongs to others, although this appears in itself to call for praise, yet on account of the motive for which he does so it calls for blame, since he is unwilling to accept from others lest he be forced to give to others.
IIª-IIae q. 119 a. 3 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod omnia vitia prudentiae opponuntur, sicut et omnes virtutes a prudentia diriguntur. Et ideo vitium ex hoc ipso quod opponitur soli prudentiae, levius reputatur. Reply to Objection 3. All vices are opposed to prudence, even as all virtues are directed by prudence: wherefore if a vice be opposed to prudence alone, for this very reason it is deemed less grievous.

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