Authors/Thomas Aquinas/Summa Theologiae/Part IIb/Q152

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Q151 Q153



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IIª-IIae q. 152 pr. Deinde considerandum est de virginitate. Et circa hoc quaeruntur quinque. Primo, in quo consistit virginitas. Secundo, utrum sit licita. Tertio, utrum sit virtus. Quarto, de excellentia eius respectu matrimonii. Quinto, de excellentia eius respectu aliarum virtutum. Question 152. Virginity 1. In what does virginity consist? 2. Is it lawful? 3. Is it a virtue? 4. Its excellence in comparison with marriage 5. Its excellence in comparison with the other virtues
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 1 arg. 1 Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod virginitas non consistat in integritate carnis. Dicit enim Augustinus, in libro de Nupt. et Concup., quod virginitas est in carne corruptibili incorruptionis perpetua meditatio. Sed meditatio non pertinet ad carnem. Ergo virginitas non consistit in carne. Objection 1. It would seem that virginity does not consist in integrity of the flesh. For Augustine says (De Nup. et Concup.) [The quotation is from De Sancta Virgin. xiii] that "virginity is the continual meditation on incorruption in a corruptible flesh." But meditation does not concern the flesh. Therefore virginity is not situated in the flesh.
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 1 arg. 2 Praeterea, virginitas pudicitiam quandam importat. Sed Augustinus dicit, in I de Civ. Dei, quod pudicitia consistit in anima. Ergo virginitas non consistit in carnis incorruptione. Objection 2. Further, virginity denotes a kind of purity. Now Augustine says (De Civ. Dei i, 18) that "purity dwells in the soul." Therefore virginity is not incorruption of the flesh.
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 1 arg. 3 Praeterea, carnis integritas videtur consistere in signaculo virginalis pudoris. Sed quandoque absque virginitatis praeiudicio frangitur illud signaculum. Dicit enim Augustinus, in I de Civ. Dei, quod membra illa possunt diversis casibus vulnerata vim perpeti; et medici aliquando, saluti opitulantes, haec ibi faciunt quae horret aspectus; obstetrix etiam virginis cuiusdam integritatem manu velut explorans, dum inspicit, perdidit. Et subdit, non opinor quemquam tam stulte sapere ut huic periisse aliquid existimet etiam de ipsius corporis sanctitate, quamvis membri illius integritate iam perdita. Ergo virginitas non consistit in carnis incorruptione. Objection 3. Further, the integrity of the flesh would seem to consist in the seal of virginal purity. Yet sometimes the seal is broken without loss of virginity. For Augustine says (De Civ. Dei i, 18) that "those organs may be injured through being wounded by mischance. Physicians, too, sometimes do for the sake of health that which makes one shudder to see: and a midwife has been known to destroy by touch the proof of virginity that she sought." And he adds: "Nobody, I think, would be so foolish as to deem this maiden to have forfeited even bodily sanctity, though she lost the integrity of that organ." Therefore virginity does not consist in incorruption of the flesh.
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 1 arg. 4 Praeterea, corruptio carnis maxime in seminis resolutione consistit, quae potest fieri sine concubitu, vel in dormiendo vel in vigilando. Sed sine concubitu non videtur perdi virginitas, dicit enim Augustinus, in libro de Virginit., quod virginalis integritas, et per piam continentiam ab omni concubitu immunitas, angelica portio est. Ergo virginitas non consistit in carnis incorruptione. Objection 4. Further, corruption of the flesh consists chiefly in resolution of the semen: and this may take place without copulation, whether one be asleep or awake. Yet seemingly virginity is not lost without copulation: for Augustine says (De Virgin. xiii) that "virginal integrity and holy continency that refrains from all sexual intercourse is the portion of angels." Therefore virginity does not consist in incorruption of the flesh.
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 1 s. c. Sed contra est quod Augustinus, in eodem libro, dicit quod virginitas est continentia qua integritas carnis ipsi creatori animae et carnis vovetur, consecratur, servatur. On the contrary, Augustine says (De Virgin. viii) that "virginity is continence whereby integrity of the flesh is vowed, consecrated and observed in honor of the Creator of both soul and flesh."
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 1 co. Respondeo dicendum quod nomen virginitatis a virore sumptum videtur. Et sicut illud dicitur virens in suo virore persistere quod non est ex superabundantia caloris adustionem expertum, ita etiam virginitas hoc importat, quod persona cui inest immunis sit a concupiscentiae adustione, quae esse videtur in consummatione maximae delectationis corporalis, qualis est venereorum delectatio. Unde Ambrosius dicit, in libro de virginitate, quod castitas virginalis est expers contagionis integritas. In delectatione autem venereorum tria est considerare. Unum quidem quod est ex parte corporis, scilicet violatio signaculi virginalis. Aliud autem est in quo coniungitur id quod est animae cum eo quod est corporis, scilicet ipsa resolutio seminis delectationem sensibilem causans. Tertium autem est solum ex parte animae, scilicet propositum perveniendi ad talem delectationem. In quibus tribus, id quod primo positum est, per accidens se habet ad moralem actum, qui non consideratur per se nisi secundum ea quae sunt animae. Secundum vero materialiter se habet ad actum moralem, nam sensibiles passiones sunt materia moralium actuum. Tertium vero se habet formaliter et completive, quia ratio moralium in eo quod est rationis completur. Quia igitur virginitas dicitur per remotionem praedictae corruptionis, consequens est quod integritas membri corporalis per accidens se habeat ad virginitatem. Ipsa autem immunitas a delectatione quae consistit in seminis resolutione, se habet materialiter. Ipsum autem propositum perpetuo abstinendi a tali delectatione se habet formaliter et completive in virginitate. I answer that, Virginity takes its name apparently from "viror" [freshness], and just as a thing is described as fresh and retaining its freshness, so long as it is not parched by excessive heat, so too, virginity denotes that the person possessed thereof is unseared by the heat of concupiscence which is experienced in achieving the greatest bodily pleasure which is that of sexual intercourse. Hence, Ambrose says (De Virgin. i, 5) that "virginal chastity is integrity free of pollution." Now venereal pleasures offer three points for consideration. The first is on the part of the body, viz. the violation of the seal of virginity. The second is the link between that which concerns the soul and that which concerns the body, and this is the resolution of the semen, causing sensible pleasure. The third is entirely on the part of the soul, namely the purpose of attaining this pleasure. Of these three the first is accidental to the moral act, which as such must be considered in reference to the soul. The second stands in the relation of matter to the moral act, since the sensible passions are the matters of moral acts. But the third stands in the position of form and complement, because the essence of morality is perfected in that which concerns the reason. Since then virginity consists in freedom from the aforesaid corruption, it follows that the integrity of the bodily organ is accidental to virginity; while freedom from pleasure in resolution of the semen is related thereto materially; and the purpose of perpetually abstaining from this pleasure is the formal and completive element in virginity.
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 1 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod illa definitio Augustini tangit quidem in recto id quod est formale in virginitate, nam per meditationem intelligitur propositum rationis. Quod autem additur, perpetua, non sic intelligitur quod oporteat virginem semper actu talem meditationem habere, sed quia hoc debet in proposito gerere, ut perpetuo in hoc perseveret. Id vero quod est materiale, tangitur in obliquo, cum dicitur, incorruptionis in carne corruptibili. Quod additur ad ostendendam virginitatis difficultatem, nam si caro corrumpi non posset, non esset difficile perpetuam incorruptionis meditationem habere. Reply to Objection 1. This definition of Augustine's expresses directly that which is formal in virginity. For "meditation" denotes reason's purpose; and the addition "perpetual" does not imply that a virgin must always retain this meditation actually, but that she should bear in mind the purpose of always persevering therein. The material element is expressed indirectly by the words "on incorruption in a corruptible body." This is added to show the difficulty of virginity: for if the flesh were incorruptible, it would not be difficult to maintain a perpetual meditation on incorruption.
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 1 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod pudicitia est quidem essentialiter in anima, materialiter autem in carne, et similiter virginitas. Unde Augustinus dicit, in libro de Virginit., quod licet virginitas in carne servetur, ac per hoc corporalis sit, tamen spiritualis est quam vovet et servat continentia pietatis. Reply to Objection 2. It is true that purity, as to its essence, is in the soul; but as to its matter, it is in the body: and it is the same with virginity. Wherefore Augustine says (De Virgin. viii) that "although virginity resides in the flesh," and for this reason is a bodily quality, "yet it is a spiritual thing, which a holy continency fosters and preserves."
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 1 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod, sicut dictum est, integritas corporalis membri per accidens se habet ad virginitatem, inquantum scilicet per hoc quod ex proposito voluntatis abstinet quis a delectatione venerea, remanet integritas in membro corporeo. Unde si contingat quod per alium modum aliquo casu membri integritas corrumpatur, non magis praeiudicat virginitati quam si corrumpatur manus aut pes. Reply to Objection 3. As stated above, the integrity of a bodily organ is accidental to virginity, in so far as a person, through purposely abstaining from venereal pleasure, retains the integrity of a bodily organ. Hence if the organ lose its integrity by chance in some other way, this is no more prejudicial to virginity than being deprived of a hand or foot.
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 1 ad 4 Ad quartum dicendum quod delectatio quae est ex seminis resolutione dupliciter potest contingere. Uno modo, ut procedat ex mentis proposito. Et sic tollit virginitatem, sive fiat per concubitum sive absque concubitu. Facit autem mentionem Augustinus de concubitu, quia huiusmodi resolutio communiter et naturaliter ex concubitu causatur. Alio modo potest provenire praeter propositum mentis, vel in dormiendo; vel per violentiam illatam, cui mens non consentit, quamvis caro delectationem experiatur; vel etiam ex infirmitate naturae, ut patet in his qui fluxum seminis patiuntur. Et sic non perditur virginitas, quia talis pollutio non accidit per impudicitiam, quam virginitas excludit. Reply to Objection 4. Pleasure resulting from resolution of semen may arise in two ways. If this be the result of the mind's purpose, it destroys virginity, whether copulation takes place or not. Augustine, however, mentions copulation, because such like resolution is the ordinary and natural result thereof. On another way this may happen beside the purpose of the mind, either during sleep, or through violence and without the mind's consent, although the flesh derives pleasure from it, or again through weakness of nature, as in the case of those who are subject to a flow of semen. On such cases virginity is not forfeit, because such like pollution is not the result of impurity which excludes virginity.
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 2 arg. 1 Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod virginitas sit illicita. Omne enim quod contrariatur praecepto legis naturae est illicitum sed sicut praeceptum legis naturae ad conservationem individui est quod tangitur Gen. II, de omni ligno quod est in Paradiso, comede; ita etiam praeceptum legis naturae est ad conservationem speciei, quod ponitur Gen. I, crescite et multiplicamini, et replete terram. Ergo, sicut peccaret qui abstineret ab omni cibo, utpote faciens contra bonum individui; ita etiam peccat qui omnino abstinet ab actu generationis, utpote faciens contra bonum speciei. Objection 1. It would seem that virginity is unlawful. For whatever is contrary to a precept of the natural law is unlawful. Now just as the words of Genesis 2:16, "Of every tree" that is in "paradise, thou shalt eat," indicate a precept of the natural law, in reference to the preservation of the individual, so also the words of Genesis 1:28, "Increase and multiply, and fill the earth," express a precept of the natural law, in reference to the preservation of the species. Therefore just as it would be a sin to abstain from all food, as this would be to act counter to the good of the individual, so too it is a sin to abstain altogether from the act of procreation, for this is to act against the good of the species.
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 2 arg. 2 Praeterea, omne id quod recedit a medio virtutis videtur esse vitiosum. Sed virginitas recedit a medio virtutis ab omnibus delectationibus venereis abstinens, dicit enim philosophus, in II Ethic., quod qui omni voluptate potitur, neque ab una recedit, intemperatus est; qui autem omnes fugit, agrestis est et insensibilis. Ergo virginitas est aliquid vitiosum. Objection 2. Further, whatever declines from the mean of virtue is apparently sinful. Now virginity declines from the mean of virtue, since it abstains from all venereal pleasures: for the Philosopher says (Ethic. ii, 2), that "he who revels in every pleasure, and abstains from not even one, is intemperate: but he who refrains from all is loutish and insensible." Therefore virginity is something sinful.
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 2 arg. 3 Praeterea, poena non debetur nisi vitio. Sed apud antiquos puniebantur secundum leges illi qui semper caelibem vitam ducebant, ut maximus Valerius dicit. Unde et Plato, secundum Augustinum, in libro de vera Relig., sacrificasse dicitur ut perpetua eius continentia tanquam peccatum aboleretur. Ergo virginitas est peccatum. Objection 3. Further, punishment is not due save for a vice. Now in olden times those were punished who led a celibate life, as Valerius Maximus asserts [Dict. Fact. Mem. ii, 9. Hence according to Augustine (De Vera Relig. iii) Plato "is said to have sacrificed to nature, in order that he might atone for his perpetual continency as though it were a sin." Therefore virginity is a sin.
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 2 s. c. Sed contra, nullum peccatum recte cadit sub consilio. Sed virginitas recte cadit sub consilio, dicitur enim I ad Cor. VII, de virginibus autem praeceptum domini non habeo, consilium autem do. Ergo virginitas non est aliquid illicitum. On the contrary, No sin is a matter of direct counsel. But virginity is a matter of direct counsel: for it is written (1 Corinthians 7:25): "Concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: but I give counsel." Therefore virginity is not an unlawful thing.
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 2 co. Respondeo dicendum quod in humanis actibus illud est vitiosum quod est praeter rationem rectam. Habet autem hoc ratio recta, ut his quae sunt ad finem utatur aliquis secundum eam mensuram qua congruit fini. Est autem triplex hominis bonum, ut dicitur in I Ethic., unum quidem quod consistit in exterioribus rebus, puta divitiis; aliud autem quod consistit in bonis corporis; tertium autem quod consistit in bonis animae, inter quae et bona contemplativae vitae sunt potiora bonis vitae activae, ut philosophus probat, in X Ethic., et dominus dicit, Lucae X, Maria optimam partem elegit. Quorum bonorum exteriora quidem ordinantur ad ea quae sunt corporis; ea vero quae sunt corporis, ad ea quae sunt animae; et ulterius ea quae sunt vitae activae, ad ea quae sunt vitae contemplativae. Pertinet igitur ad rectitudinem rationis ut aliquis utatur exterioribus bonis secundum eam mensuram qua competit corpori, et similiter de aliis. Unde si quis abstineat ab aliquibus possidendis, quae alias esset bonum possidere, ut consulat saluti corporali, vel etiam contemplationi veritatis, non esset hoc vitiosum, sed secundum rationem rectam. Et similiter si quis abstineat a delectationibus corporalibus ut liberius vacet contemplationi veritatis, pertinet hoc ad rectitudinem rationis. Ad hoc autem pia virginitas ab omni delectatione venerea abstinet, ut liberius divinae contemplationi vacet, dicit enim apostolus, I ad Cor. VII, mulier innupta et virgo cogitat quae domini sunt, ut sit sancta et corpore et spiritu, quae autem nupta est, cogitat quae sunt mundi, quomodo placeat viro. Unde relinquitur quod virginitas non est aliquid vitiosum, sed potius laudabile. I answer that, In human acts, those are sinful which are against right reason. Now right reason requires that things directed to an end should be used in a measure proportionate to that end. Again, man's good is threefold as stated in Ethic. i, 8; one consisting in external things, for instance riches; another, consisting in bodily goods; the third, consisting in the goods of the soul among which the goods of the contemplative life take precedence of the goods of the active life, as the Philosopher shows (Ethic. x, 7), and as our Lord declared (Luke 10:42), "Mary hath chosen the better part." Of these goods those that are external are directed to those which belong to the body, and those which belong to the body are directed to those which belong to the soul; and furthermore those which belong to the active life are directed to those which belong to the life of contemplation. Accordingly, right reason dictates that one use external goods in a measure proportionate to the body, and in like manner as regards the rest. Wherefore if a man refrain from possessing certain things (which otherwise it were good for him to possess), for the sake of his body's good, or of the contemplation of truth, this is not sinful, but in accord with right reason. On like manner if a man abstain from bodily pleasures, in order more freely to give himself to the contemplation of truth, this is in accordance with the rectitude of reason. Now holy virginity refrains from all venereal pleasure in order more freely to have leisure for Divine contemplation: for the Apostle says (1 Corinthians 7:34): "The unmarried woman and the virgin thinketh on the things of the Lord: that she may be holy in both body and in spirit. But she that is married thinketh on the things of the world, how she may please her husband." Therefore it follows that virginity instead of being sinful is worthy of praise.
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 2 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod praeceptum habet rationem debiti, ut supra dictum est. Dupliciter autem est aliquid debitum. Uno modo ut impleatur ab uno, et hoc debitum sine peccato praeteriri non potest. Aliud autem est debitum implendum a multitudine. Et ad tale debitum implendum non tenetur quilibet de multitudine, multa enim sunt multitudini necessaria ad quae implenda unus non sufficit, sed implentur a multitudine dum unus hoc, alius illud facit. Praeceptum igitur legis naturae homini datum de comestione, necesse est quod ab unoquoque impleatur, aliter enim individuum conservari non posset. Sed praeceptum datum de generatione respicit totam multitudinem hominum, cui necessarium est non solum quod multiplicetur corporaliter, sed etiam quod spiritualiter proficiat. Et ideo sufficienter providetur humanae multitudini si quidam carnali generationi operam dent, quidam vero, ab hac abstinentes, contemplationi divinorum vacent, ad totius humani generis pulchritudinem et salutem. Sicut etiam in exercitu quidam castra custodiunt, quidam signa deferunt, quidam gladiis decertant, quae tamen omnia debita sunt multitudini, sed per unum impleri non possunt. Reply to Objection 1. A precept implies a duty, as stated above (Question 122, Article 1). Now there are two kinds of duty. There is the duty that has to be fulfilled by one person; and a duty of this kind cannot be set aside without sin. The other duty has to be fulfilled by the multitude, and the fulfilment of this kind of duty is not binding on each one of the multitude. For the multitude has many obligations which cannot be discharged by the individual; but are fulfilled by one person doing this, and another doing that. Accordingly the precept of natural law which binds man to eat must needs be fulfilled by each individual, otherwise the individual cannot be sustained. On the other hand, the precept of procreation regards the whole multitude of men, which needs not only to multiply in body, but also to advance spiritually. Wherefore sufficient provision is made for the human multitude, if some betake themselves to carnal procreation, while others abstaining from this betake themselves to the contemplation of Divine things, for the beauty and welfare of the whole human race. Thus too in an army, some take sentry duty, others are standard-bearers, and others fight with the sword: yet all these things are necessary for the multitude, although they cannot be done by one person.
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 2 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod ille qui abstinet ab omnibus delectationibus praeter rationem rectam, quasi delectationes secundum se abhorrens, est insensibilis, sicut agricola. Virgo autem non abstinet ab omni delectatione, sed solum a delectatione venerea, et ab hac abstinet secundum rationem rectam, ut dictum est. Medium autem virtutis non secundum quantitatem, sed secundum rationem rectam determinatur, ut dicitur in II Ethic. Unde de magnanimo dicitur, in IV Ethic., quod est magnitudine extremus, eo autem quod ut oportet, medius. Reply to Objection 2. The person who, beside the dictate of right reason, abstains from all pleasures through aversion, as it were, for pleasure as such, is insensible as a country lout. But a virgin does not refrain from every pleasure, but only from that which is venereal: and abstains therefrom according to right reason, as stated above. Now the mean of virtue is fixed with reference, not to quantity but to right reason, as stated in Ethic. ii, 6: wherefore it is said of the magnanimous (Ethic. iv, 3) that "in point of quantity he goes to the extreme, but in point of becomingness he follows the mean."
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 2 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod leges feruntur secundum ea quae ut in pluribus accidunt. Hoc autem rarum erat apud antiquos, ut aliquis amore veritatis contemplandae ab omni delectatione venerea abstineret, quod solus Plato legitur fecisse. Unde non sacrificavit quasi hoc peccatum reputaret, sed perversae opinioni civium cedens, ut ibidem Augustinus dicit. Reply to Objection 3. Laws are framed according to what occurs more frequently. Now it seldom happened in olden times that anyone refrained from all venereal pleasure through love of the contemplation of truth: as Plato alone is related to have done. Hence it was not through thinking this a sin, that he offered sacrifice, but "because he yielded to the false opinion of his fellow countrymen," as Augustine remarks (De Vera Relig. iii).
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 3 arg. 1 Ad tertium sic proceditur. Videtur quod virginitas non sit virtus. Nulla enim virtus inest nobis a natura, ut philosophus dicit, in II Ethic. Sed virginitas inest a natura, quilibet enim mox natus virgo est. Ergo virginitas non est virtus. Objection 1. It would seem that virginity is not a virtue. For "no virtue is in us by nature," as the Philosopher says (Ethic. ii, 1). Now virginity is in us by nature, since all are virgins when born. Therefore virginity is not a virtue.
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 3 arg. 2 Praeterea, quicumque habet unam virtutem, habet omnes, ut supra habitum est. Sed aliqui habent alias virtutes qui non habent virginitatem, alioquin, cum sine virtute nullus ad regnum caelorum perveniat, nullus sine virginitate ad ipsum posset pervenire; quod esset matrimonium damnare. Ergo virginitas non est virtus. Objection 2. Further, whoever has one virtue has all virtues, as stated above (I-II, 65, 1). Yet some have other virtues without having virginity: else, since none can go to the heavenly kingdom without virtue, no one could go there without virginity, which would involve the condemnation of marriage. Therefore virginity is not a virtue.
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 3 arg. 3 Praeterea, omnis virtus restituitur per poenitentiam. Sed virginitas non reparatur per poenitentiam, unde Hieronymus dicit, cum cetera Deus possit, non potest virginem post ruinam reparare. Ergo videtur quod virginitas non sit virtus. Objection 3. Further, every virtue is recovered by penance. But virginity is not recovered by penance: wherefore Jerome says [Ep. xxii ad Eustoch.]: "Other things God can do, but He cannot restore the virgin after her downfall." Therefore seemingly virginity is not a virtue.
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 3 arg. 4 Praeterea, nulla virtus perditur sine peccato. Sed virginitas perditur sine peccato, scilicet per matrimonium. Ergo virginitas non est virtus. Objection 4. Further, no virtue is lost without sin. Yet virginity is lost without sin, namely by marriage. Therefore virginity is not a virtue.
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 3 arg. 5 Praeterea, virginitas condividitur viduitati et pudicitiae coniugali. Sed neutrum illorum ponitur virtus. Ergo virginitas non est virtus. Objection 5. Further, virginity is condivided with widowhood and conjugal purity. But neither of these is a virtue. Therefore virginity is not a virtue.
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 3 s. c. Sed contra est quod Ambrosius dicit, in libro de Virginit., invitat virginitatis amor ut aliquid de virginitate dicamus, ne veluti transitu quodam perstricta videatur quae principalis est virtus. On the contrary, Ambrose says (De Virgin. i, 3): "Love of virginity moves us to say something about virginity, lest by passing it over we should seem to cast a slight on what is a virtue of high degree."
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 3 co. Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut supra dictum est, in virginitate est sicut formale et completivum propositum perpetuo abstinendi a delectatione venerea, quod quidem propositum laudabile redditur ex fine, inquantum scilicet hoc fit ad vacandum rebus divinis. Materiale autem in virginitate est integritas carnis absque omni experimento venereae delectationis. Manifestum est autem quod ubi est specialis materia habens specialem excellentiam, ibi invenitur specialis ratio virtutis, sicut patet in magnificentia, quae est circa magnos sumptus, et ex hoc est specialis virtus a liberalitate distincta, quae communiter se habet circa omnem pecuniarum usum. Hoc autem quod est conservare se immunem ab experimento venereae voluptatis, habet quandam excellentiam laudis supra hoc quod est conservare se immunem ab inordinatione venereae voluptatis. Et ideo virginitas est quaedam specialis virtus, habens se ad castitatem sicut magnificentia ad liberalitatem. I answer that, As stated above (Article 1), the formal and completive element in virginity is the purpose of abstaining from venereal pleasure, which purpose is rendered praiseworthy by its end, in so far, to wit, as this is done in order to have leisure for Divine things: while the material element in virginity is integrity of the flesh free of all experience of venereal pleasure. Now it is manifest that where a good action has a special matter through having a special excellence, there is a special kind of virtue: for example, magnificence which is about great expenditure is for this reason a special virtue distinct from liberality, which is about all uses of money in general. Now to keep oneself free from the experience of venereal pleasure has an excellence of its own deserving of greater praise than keeping oneself free from inordinate venereal pleasure. Wherefore virginity is a special virtue being related to chastity as magnificence to liberality.
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 3 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod homines ex sua nativitate habent id quod est materiale in virginitate, scilicet integritatem carnis immunem ab experimento venereorum. Non tamen habent id quod est formale in virginitate, ut scilicet habeant propositum servandi huiusmodi integritatem propter Deum. Et ex hoc habet rationem virtutis. Unde Augustinus dicit, in libro de Virginit., nec nos in virginibus praedicamus quod virgines sunt, sed quod Deo dicatae pia continentia virgines. Reply to Objection 1. Men have from their birth that which is material in virginity, namely integrity of the flesh and freedom from venereal experience. But they have not that which is formal in virginity, namely the purpose of safeguarding this integrity for God's sake, which purpose gives virginity its character of virtue. Hence Augustine says (De Virgin. xi): "Nor do we praise virgins for being virgins, but, because their virginity is consecrated to God by holy continency."
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 3 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod connexio virtutum accipitur secundum id quod est formale in virtutibus, idest secundum caritatem vel secundum prudentiam, ut supra habitum est, non autem secundum id quod est materiale in virtutibus. Nihil enim prohibet alicui virtuoso suppetere materiam unius virtutis, non autem materiam alterius, sicut pauper habet materiam temperantiae, non autem materiam magnificentiae. Et hoc modo alicui habenti alias virtutes deest materia virginitatis, idest praedicta integritas carnis. Tamen potest id quod est formale in virginitate habere, ut scilicet in praeparatione mentis praedictae integritatis conservandae propositum, si hoc sibi competeret. Sicut pauper potest in praeparatione animi habere propositum magnificos sumptus faciendi, si sibi competeret, et similiter ille qui est in prosperitate habet in praeparatione animi propositum adversa aequanimiter tolerandi. Et sine hac praeparatione animi non potest esse aliquis virtuosus. Reply to Objection 2. Virtues are connected together by reason of that which is formal in them, namely charity, or by reason of prudence, as stated above (129, 3, ad 2), but not by reason of that which is material in them. For nothing hinders a virtuous man from providing the matter of one virtue, and not the matter of another virtue: thus a poor man has the matter of temperance, but not that of magnificence. It is in this way that one who has the other virtues lacks the matter of virginity, namely the aforesaid integrity of the flesh: nevertheless he can have that which is formal in virginity, his mind being so prepared that he has the purpose of safeguarding this same integrity of the flesh, should it be fitting for him to do so: even as a poor man may be so prepared in mind as to have the purpose of being magnificent in his expenditure, were he in a position to do so: or again as a prosperous man is so prepared in mind as to purpose bearing misfortune with equanimity: without which preparedness of the mind no man can be virtuous.
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 3 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod virtus per poenitentiam reparari potest quantum ad id quod est formale in virtute, non autem quantum ad id quod est materiale in ipsa. Non enim si quis magnificus consumpsit suas divitias, per poenitentiam peccati restituuntur ei divitiae. Et similiter ille qui peccando virginitatem amisit, per poenitentiam non recuperat virginitatis materiam, sed recuperat virginitatis propositum. Circa materiam autem virginitatis est aliquid quod miraculose reparari poterit divinitus, scilicet integritas membri, quam diximus accidentaliter se ad virginitatem habere. Aliud autem est quod nec miraculo reparari potest, ut scilicet qui expertus est voluptatem veneream, fiat non expertus, non enim Deus potest facere ut ea quae facta sunt non sint facta, ut in primo habitum est. Reply to Objection 3. Virtue can be recovered by penance as regards that which is formal in virtue, but not as to that which is material therein. For if a magnificent man has squandered all his wealth he does not recover his riches by repenting of his sin. On like manner a person who has lost virginity by sin, recovers by repenting, not the matter of virginity but the purpose of virginity. As regards the matter of virginity there is that which can be miraculously restored by God, namely the integrity of the organ, which we hold to be accidental to virginity: while there is something else which cannot be restored even by miracle, to wit, that one who has experienced venereal lust should cease to have had that experience. For God cannot make that which is done not to have been done, as stated in I, 25, 4.
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 3 ad 4 Ad quartum dicendum quod virginitas, secundum quod est virtus, importat propositum voto firmatum integritatis perpetuo servandae dicit enim Augustinus, in libro de Virginit., quod per virginitatem integritas carnis ipsi creatori animae et carnis vovetur, consecratur, servatur. Unde virginitas, secundum quod est virtus, nunquam amittitur nisi per peccatum. Reply to Objection 4. Virginity as a virtue denotes the purpose, confirmed by vow, of observing perpetual integrity. For Augustine says (De Virgin. viii) that "by virginity, integrity of the flesh is vowed, consecrated and observed in honor of the Creator of both soul and flesh." Hence virginity, as a virtue, is never lost without sin.
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 3 ad 5 Ad quintum dicendum quod castitas coniugalis ex hoc solo laudem habet quod abstinet ab illicitis voluptatibus, unde non habet aliquam excellentiam supra communem castitatem. Viduitas autem addit quidem aliquid supra communem castitatem, non tamen pervenit ad id quod est perfectum in materia ista, scilicet ad omnimodam immunitatem venereae voluptatis, sed sola virginitas. Et ideo sola virginitas ponitur virtus specialis, sicut supra castitatem sicut magnificentia supra liberalitatem. Reply to Objection 5. Conjugal chastity is deserving of praise merely because it abstains from unlawful pleasures: hence no excellence attaches to it above that of chastity in general. Widowhood, however, adds something to chastity in general; but it does not attain to that which is perfect in this matter, namely to entire freedom from venereal pleasure; virginity alone achieves this. Wherefore virginity alone is accounted a virtue above chastity, even as magnificence is reckoned above liberality.
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 4 arg. 1 Ad quartum sic proceditur. Videtur quod virginitas non sit excellentior matrimonio. Dicit enim Augustinus, in libro de bono coniugali, non impar meritum continentiae est in Ioanne, qui nullas expertus est nuptias, et in Abraham, qui filios generavit. Sed maioris virtutis maius est meritum. Ergo virginitas non est potior virtus quam castitas coniugalis. Objection 1. It would seem that virginity is not more excellent than marriage. For Augustine says (De Bono Conjug. xxi): "Continence was equally meritorious in John who remained unmarried and Abraham who begot children." Now a greater virtue has greater merit. Therefore virginity is not a greater virtue than conjugal chastity.
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 4 arg. 2 Praeterea, ex virtute dependet laus virtuosi. Si ergo virginitas praeferretur continentiae coniugali, videtur esse consequens quod quaelibet virgo esset laudabilior qualibet coniugata. Hoc autem est falsum. Ergo virginitas non praefertur coniugio. Objection 2. Further, the praise accorded a virtuous man depends on his virtue. If, then, virginity were preferable to conjugal continence, it would seem to follow that every virgin is to be praised more than any married woman. But this is untrue. Therefore virginity is not preferable to marriage.
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 4 arg. 3 Praeterea, bonum commune potius est bono privato, ut patet per philosophum, in I Ethic. Sed coniugium ordinatur ad bonum commune, dicit enim Augustinus, in libro de bono coniugali, quod est cibus ad salutem hominis, hoc est concubitus ad salutem humani generis. Virginitas autem ordinatur ad bonum speciale, ut scilicet vitent tribulationem carnis, quam sustinent coniugati, sicut patet per apostolum, I ad Cor. VII. Ergo virginitas non est potior continentia coniugali. Objection 3. Further, the common good takes precedence of the private good, according to the Philosopher (Ethic. i, 2). Now marriage is directed to the common good: for Augustine says (De Bono Conjug. xvi): "What food is to a man's wellbeing, such is sexual intercourse to the welfare of the human race." On the other hand, virginity is ordered to the individual good, namely in order to avoid what the Apostle calls the "tribulation of the flesh," to which married people are subject (1 Corinthians 7:28). Therefore virginity is not greater than conjugal continence.
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 4 s. c. Sed contra est quod dicit Augustinus, in libro de Virginit., certa ratione, et sanctarum Scripturarum auctoritate, nec peccatum esse nuptias invenimus, nec eas bono vel virginalis continentiae, vel etiam vidualis, aequamus. On the contrary, Augustine says (De Virgin. xix): "Both solid reason and the authority of Holy Writ show that neither is marriage sinful, nor is it to be equaled to the good of virginal continence or even to that of widowhood."
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 4 co. Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut patet in libro Hieronymi contra Iovin., hic error fuit Ioviniani, qui posuit virginitatem non esse matrimonio praeferendam. Qui quidem error praecipue destruitur et exemplo Christi, qui et matrem virginem elegit, et ipse virginitatem servavit; et ex doctrina apostoli, qui, I ad Cor. VII, virginitatem consuluit tanquam melius bonum; et etiam ratione. Tum quia bonum divinum est potius bono humano. Tum quia bonum animae praefertur bono corporis. Tum etiam quia bonum contemplativae vitae praefertur bono activae. Virginitas autem ordinatur ad bonum animae secundum vitam contemplativam, quod est cogitare ea quae sunt Dei. Coniugium autem ordinatur ad bonum corporis, quod est corporalis multiplicatio generis humani, et pertinet ad vitam activam, quia vir et mulier in matrimonio viventes necesse habent cogitare quae sunt mundi, ut patet per apostolum, I ad Cor. VII. Unde indubitanter virginitas praeferenda est continentiae coniugali. I answer that, According to Jerome (Contra Jovin. i) the error of Jovinian consisted in holding virginity not to be preferable to marriage. This error is refuted above all by the example of Christ Who both chose a virgin for His mother, and remained Himself a virgin, and by the teaching of the Apostle who (1 Corinthians 7) counsels virginity as the greater good. It is also refuted by reason, both because a Divine good takes precedence of a human good, and because the good of the soul is preferable to the good of the body, and again because the good of the contemplative life is better than that of the active life. Now virginity is directed to the good of the soul in respect of the contemplative life, which consists in thinking "on the things of God" [Vulgate: 'the Lord'], whereas marriage is directed to the good of the body, namely the bodily increase of the human race, and belongs to the active life, since the man and woman who embrace the married life have to think "on the things of the world," as the Apostle says (1 Corinthians 7:34). Without doubt therefore virginity is preferable to conjugal continence.
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 4 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod meritum non solum pensatur ex genere actus, sed magis ex animo operantis. Habuit autem Abraham animum sic dispositum ut paratus esset virginitatem servare si esset tempus congruum. Ex quo meritum continentiae coniugalis in ipso aequatur merito continentiae virginalis in Ioanne respectu praemii substantialis, non autem respectu praemii accidentalis. Unde Augustinus dicit, in libro de bono coniugali, quod Ioannis caelibatus et Abrahae connubium pro temporum distributione Christo militaverunt, sed continentiam Ioannes etiam in opere, Abraham vero in solo habitu habebat. Reply to Objection 1. Merit is measured not only by the kind of action, but still more by the mind of the agent. Now Abraham had a mind so disposed, that he was prepared to observe virginity, if it were in keeping with the times for him to do so. Wherefore in him conjugal continence was equally meritorious with the virginal continence of John, as regards the essential reward, but not as regards the accidental reward. Hence Augustine says (De Bono Conjug. xxi) that both "the celibacy of John and the marriage of Abraham fought Christ's battle in keeping with the difference of the times: but John was continent even in deed, whereas Abraham was continent only in habit."
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 4 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod, licet virginitas sit melior quam continentia coniugalis, potest tamen coniugatus esse melior quam virgo, duplici ratione. Primo quidem, ex parte ipsius castitatis, si scilicet ille qui est coniugatus, habeat animum magis paratum ad virginitatem servandam, si oporteret, quam ille qui est virgo actu. Unde Augustinus instruit virginem, in libro de bono coniugali, ut dicat, ego non sum melior quam Abraham, sed melior est castitas caelibum quam castitas nuptiarum. Et rationem postea subdit, dicens, quod enim ego nunc ago, melius illi egissent, si tunc agendum esset, quod autem illi egerunt, sic ego non agerem, etiam si nunc agendum esset. Secundo, quia forte ille qui non est virgo, habet aliquam excellentiorem virtutem. Unde Augustinus dicit, in libro de Virginit., unde scit virgo, quamvis sollicita quae sunt domini, ne forte, propter aliquam sibi incognitam infirmitatem, non sit matura martyrio, illa vero mulier cui se praeferre gestiebat, iam possit bibere calicem dominicae passionis? Reply to Objection 2. Though virginity is better than conjugal continence, a married person may be better than a virgin for two reasons. First, on the part of chastity itself; if to wit, the married person is more prepared in mind to observe virginity, if it should be expedient, than the one who is actually a virgin. Hence Augustine (De Bono Conjug. xxii) charges the virgin to say: "I am no better than Abraham, although the chastity of celibacy is better than the chastity of marriage." Further on he gives the reason for this: "For what I do now, he would have done better, if it were fitting for him to do it then; and what they did I would even do now if it behooved me now to do it." Secondly, because perhaps the person who is not a virgin has some more excellent virtue. Wherefore Augustine says (De Virgin. xliv): "Whence does a virgin know the things that belong to the Lord, however solicitous she be about them, if perchance on account of some mental fault she be not yet ripe for martyrdom, whereas this woman to whom she delighted in preferring herself is already able to drink the chalice of the Lord?"
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 4 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod bonum commune potius est bono privato si sit eiusdem generis, sed potest esse quod bonum privatum sit melius secundum suum genus. Et hoc modo virginitas Deo dicata praefertur fecunditati carnali. Unde Augustinus dicit, in libro de Virginit., quod fecunditas carnis, etiam illarum quae in hoc tempore nihil aliud in coniugio quam prolem requirunt quam mancipent Christo, pro amissa virginitate compensari non posse credenda est. Reply to Objection 3. The common good takes precedence of the private good, if it be of the same genus: but it may be that the private good is better generically. It is thus that the virginity that is consecrated to God is preferable to carnal fruitfulness. Hence Augustine says (De Virgin. ix): "It must be confessed that the fruitfulness of the flesh, even of those women who in these times seek naught else from marriage but children in order to make them servants of Christ, cannot compensate for lost virginity."
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 5 arg. 1 Ad quintum sic proceditur. Videtur quod virginitas sit maxima virtutum. Dicit enim Cyprianus, in libro de Virginit., nunc nobis ad virgines sermo est. Quarum quo sublimior gloria est, maior et cura. Flos est ille ecclesiastici germinis, decus atque ornamentum gratiae spiritualis, illustrior portio gregis Christi. Objection 1. It would seem that virginity is the greatest of virtues. For Cyprian says (De Virgin. [De Habitu Virg.]): "We address ourselves now to the virgins. Sublime is their glory, but no less exalted is their vocation. They are a flower of the Church's sowing, the pride and ornament of spiritual grace, the most honored portion of Christ's flock."
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 5 arg. 2 Praeterea, maius praemium debetur maiori virtuti. Sed virginitati debetur maximum praemium, scilicet fructus centesimus, ut patet Matth. XIII, in Glossa. Ergo virginitas est maxima virtutum. Objection 2. Further, a greater reward is due to the greater virtue. Now the greatest reward is due to virginity, namely the hundredfold fruit, according to a gloss on Matthew 13:23. Therefore virginity is the greatest of the virtues.
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 5 arg. 3 Praeterea, tanto aliqua virtus est maior, quanto per eam magis aliquis Christo conformatur. Sed maxime aliquis conformatur Christo per virginitatem, dicitur enim Apoc. XIV de virginibus, quod sequuntur agnum quocumque ierit, et quod cantant canticum novum, quod nemo alius poterat dicere. Ergo virginitas est maxima virtutum. Objection 3. Further, the more a virtue conforms us to Christ, the greater it is. Now virginity above all conforms us to Christ; for it is declared in the Apocalypse 14:4 that virgins "follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth," and (Apocalypse 14:3) that they sing "a new canticle," which "no" other "man" could say. Therefore virginity is the greatest of the virtues.
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 5 s. c. Sed contra est quod Augustinus dicit, in libro de Virginit., nemo, quantum puto, ausus fuit virginitatem praeferre monasterio. Et in eodem libro dicit, praeclarissimum testimonium perhibet ecclesiastica auctoritas, in qua fidelibus notum est quo loco martyres, et quo defunctae sanctimoniales ad altaris sacramenta recitentur. Per quod datur intelligi quod martyrium virginitati praefertur, et similiter monasterii status. On the contrary, Augustine says (De Virgin. xlvi): "No one, methinks, would dare prefer virginity to martyrdom," and (De Virgin. xlv): "The authority of the Church informs the faithful in no uncertain manner, so that they know in what place the martyrs and the holy virgins who have departed this life are commemorated in the Sacrament of the Altar." By this we are given to understand that martyrdom, and also the monastic state, are preferable to virginity.
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 5 co. Respondeo dicendum quod aliquid potest dici excellentissimum dupliciter. Uno modo, in aliquo genere. Et sic virginitas est excellentissima, scilicet in genere castitatis, transcendit enim et castitatem vidualem et coniugalem. Et quia castitati antonomastice attribuitur decor, ideo virginitati per consequens attribuitur excellentissima pulchritudo. Unde et Ambrosius dicit, in libro de Virginit., pulchritudinem quis potest maiorem aestimare decore virginis, quae amatur a rege, probatur a iudice, dedicatur domino, consecratur Deo? Alio modo potest dici aliquid excellentissimum simpliciter. Et sic virginitas non est excellentissima virtutum. Semper enim finis excellit id quod est ad finem, et quanto aliquid efficacius ordinatur ad finem, tanto melius est. Finis autem ex quo virginitas laudabilis redditur, est vacare rebus divinis, ut dictum est. Unde ipsae virtutes theologicae, et etiam virtus religionis, quarum actus est ipsa occupatio circa res divinas, praeferuntur virginitati. Similiter etiam vehementius operantur ad hoc quod inhaereant Deo martyres, qui ad hoc postponunt propriam vitam; et viventes in monasteriis, qui ad hoc postponunt propriam voluntatem et omnia quae possunt habere; quam virgines, quae ad hoc postponunt venereas voluptates. Et ideo virginitas non simpliciter est maxima virtutum. I answer that, A thing may excel all others in two ways. First, in some particular genus: and thus virginity is most excellent, namely in the genus of chastity, since it surpasses the chastity both of widowhood and of marriage. And because comeliness is ascribed to chastity antonomastically, it follows that surpassing beauty is ascribed to chastity. Wherefore Ambrose says (De Virgin. i, 7): "Can anyone esteem any beauty greater than a virgin's, since she is beloved of her King, approved by her Judge, dedicated to her Lord, consecrated to her God?" Secondly, a thing may be most excellent simply, and in this way virginity is not the most excellent of the virtues. Because the end always excels that which is directed to the end; and the more effectively a thing is directed to the end, the better it is. Now the end which renders virginity praiseworthy is that one may have leisure for Divine things, as stated above (Article 4). Wherefore the theological virtues as well as the virtue of religion, the acts of which consist in being occupied about Divine things, are preferable to virginity. Moreover, martyrs work more mightily in order to cleave to God--since for this end they hold their own life in contempt; and those who dwell in monasteries--since for this end they give up their own will and all that they may possess--than virgins who renounce venereal pleasure for that same purpose. Therefore virginity is not simply the greatest of virtues.
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 5 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod virgines sunt illustrior portio gregis Christi, et est earum sublimior gloria, per comparationem ad viduas et coniugatas. Reply to Objection 1. Virgins are "the more honored portion of Christ's flock," and "their glory more sublime" in comparison with widows and married women.
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 5 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod centesimus fructus attribuitur virginitati, secundum Hieronymum, propter excellentiam quam habet ad viduitatem, cui attribuitur sexagesimus, et ad matrimonium, cui attribuitur tricesimus. Sed sicut Augustinus dicit, in libro de quaest. Evang., centesimus fructus est martyrum, sexagesimus virginum, et tricesimus coniugatorum. Unde ex hoc non sequitur quod virginitas sit simpliciter maxima omnium virtutum, sed solum aliis gradibus castitatis. Reply to Objection 2. The hundredfold fruit is ascribed to virginity, according to Jerome [Ep. cxxiii ad Ageruch.], on account of its superiority to widowhood, to which the sixtyfold fruit is ascribed, and to marriage, to which is ascribed the thirtyfold fruit. But according to Augustine (De QQ. Evang. i, 9), "the hundredfold fruit is given to martyrs, the sixtyfold to virgins, and the thirtyfold to married persons." Wherefore it does not follow that virginity is simply the greatest of virtues, but only in comparison with other degrees of chastity.
IIª-IIae q. 152 a. 5 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod virgines sequuntur agnum quocumque ierit quia imitantur Christum non solum in integritate mentis, sed etiam in integritate carnis, ut Augustinus dicit, in libro de Virginit. Et ideo in pluribus sequuntur agnum. Non tamen oportet quod magis de propinquo, quia aliae virtutes faciunt propinquius inhaerere Deo per imitationem mentis. Canticum autem novum quod solae virgines cantant, est gaudium quod habent de integritate carnis servata. Reply to Objection 3. Virgins "follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth," because they imitate Christ, by integrity not only of the mind but also of the flesh, as Augustine says (De Virgin. xxvii). Wherefore they follow the Lamb in more ways, but this does not imply that they follow more closely, because other virtues make us cleave to God more closely by imitation of the mind. The "new hymn" which virgins alone sing, is their joy at having preserved integrity of the flesh.

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