Authors/Thomas Aquinas/Summa Theologiae/Part IIb/Q157

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Q156 Q158



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IIª-IIae q. 157 pr. Deinde considerandum est de clementia et mansuetudine, et vitiis oppositis. Circa ipsas autem virtutes quaeruntur quatuor. Primo, utrum clementia et mansuetudo sint idem. Secundo, utrum utraque earum sit virtus. Tertio, utrum utraque earum sit pars temperantiae. Quarto, de comparatione earum ad alias virtutes. Question 157. Clemency and meekness 1. Are clemency and meekness altogether identical? 2. Is each of them a virtue? 3. Is each a part of temperance? 4. Their comparison with the other virtues
IIª-IIae q. 157 a. 1 arg. 1 Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod clementia et mansuetudo sint penitus idem. Mansuetudo enim est moderativa irarum, ut philosophus dicit, in IV Ethic. Ira autem est appetitus vindictae. Cum ergo clementia sit lenitas superioris adversus inferiorem in constituendis poenis, ut Seneca dicit, in II de clementia; per poenas autem fit vindicta, videtur quod clementia et mansuetudo sint idem. Objection 1. It would seem that clemency and meekness are absolutely the same. For meekness moderates anger, according to the Philosopher (Ethic. iv, 5). Now anger is "desire of vengeance" [Aristotle, Rhet. ii, 2]. Since, then, clemency "is leniency of a superior in inflicting punishment on an inferior," as Seneca states (De Clementia ii, 3), and vengeance is taken by means of punishment, it would seem that clemency and meekness are the same.
IIª-IIae q. 157 a. 1 arg. 2 Praeterea, Tullius dicit, in II Rhet., quod clementia est virtus per quam animus concitatus in odium alicuius, benignitate retinetur, et sic videtur quod clementia sit moderativa odii. Sed odium, ut Augustinus dicit, causatur ab ira, circa quam est mansuetudo. Ergo videtur quod mansuetudo et clementia sint idem. Objection 2. Further, Tully says (De Invent. Rhet. ii, 54) that "clemency is a virtue whereby the mind is restrained by kindness when unreasonably provoked to hatred of a person," so that apparently clemency moderates hatred. Now, according to Augustine [Ep. ccxi], hatred is caused by anger; and this is the matter of meekness and clemency. Therefore seemingly clemency and meekness are absolutely the same.
IIª-IIae q. 157 a. 1 arg. 3 Praeterea, idem vitium non contrariatur diversis virtutibus. Sed idem vitium opponitur mansuetudini et clementiae, scilicet crudelitas. Ergo videtur quod mansuetudo et clementia sint penitus idem. Objection 3. Further, the same vice is not opposed to different virtues. But the same vice, namely cruelty, is opposed to meekness and clemency. Therefore it seems that meekness and clemency are absolutely the same.
IIª-IIae q. 157 a. 1 s. c. Sed contra est quod secundum praedictam definitionem Senecae, clementia est lenitas superioris adversus inferiorem. Mansuetudo autem non solum est superioris ad inferiorem, sed cuiuslibet ad quemlibet. Ergo mansuetudo et clementia non sunt penitus idem. On the contrary, According to the aforesaid definition of Seneca (Objection 1) "clemency is leniency of a superior towards an inferior": whereas meekness is not merely of superior to inferior, but of each to everyone. Therefore meekness and clemency are not absolutely the same.
IIª-IIae q. 157 a. 1 co. Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut dicitur in II Ethic., virtus moralis consistit circa passiones et actiones. Passiones autem interiores sunt actionum exteriorum principia, aut etiam impedimenta. Et ideo virtutes quae moderantur passiones quodammodo concurrunt in eundem effectum cum virtutibus quae moderantur actiones, licet specie differant. Sicut ad iustitiam proprie pertinet cohibere hominem a furto, ad quod aliquis inclinatur per inordinatum amorem vel concupiscentiam pecuniae, quae moderantur per liberalitatem, et ideo liberalitas concurrit cum iustitia in hoc effectu qui est abstinere a furto. Et hoc etiam considerandum est in proposito. Nam ex passione irae provocatur aliquis ad hoc quod graviorem inferat poenam. Ad clementiam autem pertinet directe quod sit diminutiva poenarum, quod quidem impediri posset per excessum irae. Et ideo mansuetudo, inquantum refrenat impetum irae, concurrit in eundem effectum cum clementia. Differunt tamen ab invicem, inquantum clementia est moderativa exterioris punitionis, mansuetudo autem proprie diminuit passionem irae. I answer that, As stated in Ethic. ii, 3, a moral virtue is "about passions and actions." Now internal passions are principles of external actions, and are likewise obstacles thereto. Wherefore virtues that moderate passions, to a certain extent, concur towards the same effect as virtues that moderate actions, although they differ specifically. Thus it belongs properly to justice to restrain man from theft, whereunto he is inclined by immoderate love or desire of money, which is restrained by liberality; so that liberality concurs with justice towards the effect, which is abstention from theft. This applies to the case in point; because through the passion of anger a man is provoked to inflict a too severe punishment, while it belongs directly to clemency to mitigate punishment, and this might be prevented by excessive anger. Consequently meekness, in so far as it restrains the onslaught of anger, concurs with clemency towards the same effect; yet they differ from one another, inasmuch as clemency moderates external punishment, while meekness properly mitigates the passion of anger.
IIª-IIae q. 157 a. 1 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod mansuetudo proprie respicit ipsum vindictae appetitum. Sed clementia respicit ipsas poenas quae exterius adhibentur ad vindictam. Reply to Objection 1. Meekness regards properly the desire itself of vengeance; whereas clemency regards the punishment itself which is applied externally for the purpose of vengeance.
IIª-IIae q. 157 a. 1 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod affectus hominis inclinatur ad minorationem eorum quae homini per se non placent. Ex hoc autem quod aliquis amat aliquem, contingit quod non placet ei per se poena eius, sed solum in ordine ad aliud, puta ad iustitiam, vel ad correctionem eius qui punitur. Et ideo ex amore provenit quod aliquis sit promptus ad diminuendum poenas, quod pertinet ad clementiam, et ex odio impeditur talis diminutio. Et propter hoc Tullius dicit quod animus concitatus in odium, scilicet ad gravius puniendum, per clementiam retinetur, ne scilicet acriorem poenam inferat, non quod clementia sit directe odii moderativa, sed poenae. Reply to Objection 2. Man's affections incline to the moderation of things that are unpleasant to him in themselves. Now it results from one man loving another that he takes no pleasure in the latter's punishment in itself, but only as directed to something else, for instance justice, or the correction of the person punished. Hence love makes one quick to mitigate punishment --and this pertains to clemency--while hatred is an obstacle to such mitigation. For this reason Tully says that "the mind provoked to hatred" that is to punish too severely, "is restrained by clemency," from inflicting too severe a punishment, so that clemency directly moderates not hatred but punishment.
IIª-IIae q. 157 a. 1 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod mansuetudini, quae est directe circa iras proprie opponitur vitium iracundiae, quod importat excessum irae. Sed crudelitas importat excessum in puniendo. Unde dicit Seneca, in II de Clem., quod crudeles vocantur qui puniendi causam habent, modum non habent. Qui autem in poenis hominum propter se delectantur, etiam sine causa, possunt dici saevi vel feri, quasi affectum humanum non habentes, ex quo naturaliter homo diligit hominem. Reply to Objection 3. The vice of anger, which denotes excess in the passion of anger, is properly opposed to meekness, which is directly concerned with the passion of anger; while cruelty denotes excess in punishing. Wherefore Seneca says (De Clementia ii, 4) that "those are called cruel who have reason for punishing, but lack moderation in punishing." Those who delight in a man's punishment for its own sake may be called savage or brutal, as though lacking the human feeling that leads one man to love another.
IIª-IIae q. 157 a. 2 arg. 1 Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod neque clementia neque mansuetudo sit virtus. Nulla enim virtus alteri virtuti opponitur. Sed utraque videtur opponi severitati, quae est quaedam virtus. Ergo neque clementia neque mansuetudo est virtus. Objection 1. It would seem that neither clemency nor meekness is a virtue. For no virtue is opposed to another virtue. Yet both of these are apparently opposed to severity, which is a virtue. Therefore neither clemency nor meekness is a virtue.
IIª-IIae q. 157 a. 2 arg. 2 Praeterea, virtus corrumpitur per superfluum et diminutum. Sed tam clementia quam mansuetudo in diminutione quadam consistunt, nam clementia est diminutiva poenarum, mansuetudo autem est diminutiva irae. Ergo neque clementia neque mansuetudo est virtus. Objection 2. Further, "Virtue is destroyed by excess and defect" [Ethic. ii, 2. But both clemency and meekness consist in a certain decrease; for clemency decreases punishment, and meekness decreases anger. Therefore neither clemency nor meekness is a virtue.
IIª-IIae q. 157 a. 2 arg. 3 Praeterea, mansuetudo, sive mititas, ponitur, Matth. V, inter beatitudines; et inter fructus, Galat. V. Sed virtutes differunt et a beatitudinibus et a fructibus. Ergo non continetur sub virtute. Objection 3. Further, meekness or mildness is included (Matthew 5:4) among the beatitudes, and (Galatians 5:23) among the fruits. Now the virtues differ from the beatitudes and fruits. Therefore they are not comprised under virtue.
IIª-IIae q. 157 a. 2 s. c. Sed contra est quod Seneca dicit, in II de Clem., clementiam et mansuetudinem omnes boni viri praestabunt. Sed virtus est proprie quae pertinet ad bonos viros, nam virtus est quae bonum facit habentem, et opus eius bonum reddit, ut dicitur in II Ethic. Ergo clementia et mansuetudo sunt virtutes. On the contrary, Seneca says (De Clementia ii, 5): "Every good man is conspicuous for his clemency and meekness." Now it is virtue properly that belongs to a good man, since "virtue it is that makes its possessor good, and renders his works good also" (Ethic. ii, 6). Therefore clemency and meekness are virtues.
IIª-IIae q. 157 a. 2 co. Respondeo dicendum quod ratio virtutis moralis consistit in hoc quod appetitus rationi subdatur, ut patet per philosophum, in I Ethic. Hoc autem servatur tam in clementia quam in mansuetudine, nam clementia in diminuendo poenas aspicit ad rationem, ut Seneca dicit, in II de Clem.; similiter etiam mansuetudo secundum rationem rectam moderatur iras, ut dicitur in IV Ethic. Unde manifestum est quod tam clementia quam mansuetudo est virtus. I answer that, The nature of moral virtue consists in the subjection of appetite to reason, as the Philosopher declares (Ethic. i, 13). Now this is verified both in clemency and in meekness. For clemency, in mitigating punishment, "is guided by reason," according to Seneca (De Clementia ii, 5), and meekness, likewise, moderates anger according to right reason, as stated in Ethic. iv, 5. Wherefore it is manifest that both clemency and meekness are virtues.
IIª-IIae q. 157 a. 2 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod mansuetudo non directe opponitur severitati, nam mansuetudo est circa iras, severitas autem attenditur circa exteriorem inflictionem poenarum. Unde secundum hoc, videretur magis opponi clementiae, quae etiam circa exteriorem punitionem consideratur, ut dictum est. Non tamen opponitur, eo quod utrumque est secundum rationem rectam. Nam severitas inflexibilis est circa inflictionem poenarum quando hoc recta ratio requirit, clementia autem diminutiva est poenarum etiam secundum rationem rectam, quando scilicet oportet, et in quibus oportet. Et ideo non sunt opposita, quia non sunt circa idem. Reply to Objection 1. Meekness is not directly opposed to severity; for meekness is about anger. On the other hand, severity regards the external infliction of punishment, so that accordingly it would seem rather to be opposed to clemency, which also regards external punishing, as stated above (Article 1). Yet they are not really opposed to one another, since they are both according to right reason. For severity is inflexible in the infliction of punishment when right reason requires it; while clemency mitigates punishment also according to right reason, when and where this is requisite. Wherefore they are not opposed to one another as they are not about the same thing.
IIª-IIae q. 157 a. 2 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod, secundum philosophum, in IV Ethic., habitus qui medium tenet in ira, est innominatus; et ideo virtus nominatur a diminutione irae, quae significatur nomine mansuetudinis, eo quod virtus propinquior est diminutioni quam superabundantiae, propter hoc quod naturalius est homini appetere vindictam iniuriarum illatarum quam ab hoc deficere; quia vix alicui nimis parvae videntur iniuriae sibi illatae, ut dicit Sallustius. Clementia autem est diminutiva poenarum, non quidem in respectu ad id quod est secundum rationem rectam, sed in respectu ad id quod est secundum legem communem, quam respicit iustitia legalis, sed propter aliqua particularia considerata, clementia diminuit poenas, quasi decernens hominem non esse magis puniendum. Unde dicit Seneca, in II de Clem., clementia hoc primum praestat, ut quos dimittit, nihil aliud illos pati debuisse pronuntiat, venia vero debitae poenae remissio est. Ex quo patet quod clementia comparatur ad severitatem sicut epieikeia ad iustitiam legalem, cuius pars est severitas quantum ad inflictionem poenarum secundum legem. Differt tamen clementia ab epieikeia, ut infra dicetur. Reply to Objection 2. According to the Philosopher (Ethic. iv, 5), "the habit that observes the mean in anger is unnamed; so that the virtue is denominated from the diminution of anger, and is designated by the name of meekness." For the virtue is more akin to diminution than to excess, because it is more natural to man to desire vengeance for injuries done to him, than to be lacking in that desire, since "scarcely anyone belittles an injury done to himself," as Sallust observes [Cf. 120]. As to clemency, it mitigates punishment, not in respect of that which is according to right reason, but as regards that which is according to common law, which is the object of legal justice: yet on account of some particular consideration, it mitigates the punishment, deciding, as it were, that a man is not to be punished any further. Hence Seneca says (De Clementia ii, 1): "Clemency grants this, in the first place, that those whom she sets free are declared immune from all further punishment; and remission of punishment due amounts to a pardon." Wherefore it is clear that clemency is related to severity as equity [the Greek 'epieikeia' [Cf. 120] to legal justice, whereof severity is a part, as regards the infliction of punishment in accordance with the law. Yet clemency differs from equity, as we shall state further on (3, ad 1).
IIª-IIae q. 157 a. 2 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod beatitudines sunt actus virtutum, fructus autem sunt delectationes de actibus virtutum. Et ideo nihil prohibet mansuetudinem poni et virtutem et beatitudinem et fructum. Reply to Objection 3. The beatitudes are acts of virtue: while the fruits are delights in virtuous acts. Wherefore nothing hinders meekness being reckoned both virtue, and beatitude and fruit.
IIª-IIae q. 157 a. 3 arg. 1 Ad tertium sic proceditur. Videtur quod praedictae virtutes non sint partes temperantiae. Clementia enim est diminutiva poenarum, ut dictum est. Hoc autem philosophus, in V Ethic., attribuit epieikeiae, quae pertinet ad iustitiam, ut supra habitum est. Ergo videtur quod clementia non sit pars temperantiae. Objection 1. It would seem that the aforesaid virtues are not parts of temperance. For clemency mitigates punishment, as stated above (Article 2). But the Philosopher (Ethic. v, 10) ascribes this to equity, which pertains to justice, as stated above (Question 120, Article 2). Therefore seemingly clemency is not a part of temperance.
IIª-IIae q. 157 a. 3 arg. 2 Praeterea, temperantia est circa concupiscentias. Mansuetudo autem et clementia non respiciunt concupiscentias, sed magis iram et vindictam. Non ergo debent poni partes temperantiae. Objection 2. Further, temperance is concerned with concupiscences; whereas meekness and clemency regard, not concupiscences, but anger and vengeance. Therefore they should not be reckoned parts of temperance.
IIª-IIae q. 157 a. 3 arg. 3 Praeterea, Seneca dicit, in II de Clem., cui voluptati saevitia est, possumus insaniam vocare. Hoc autem opponitur clementiae et mansuetudini. Cum ergo insania opponatur prudentiae, videtur quod clementia et mansuetudo sint partes prudentiae, magis quam temperantiae. Objection 3. Further, Seneca says (De Clementia ii, 4): "A man may be said to be of unsound mind when he takes pleasure in cruelty." Now this is opposed to clemency and meekness. Since then an unsound mind is opposed to prudence, it seems that clemency and meekness are parts of prudence rather than of temperance.
IIª-IIae q. 157 a. 3 s. c. Sed contra est quod Seneca dicit, in II de Clem., quod clementia est temperantia animi in potestate ulciscendi. Tullius etiam ponit clementiam partem temperantiae. On the contrary, Seneca says (De Clementia ii, 3) that "clemency is temperance of the soul in exercising the power of taking revenge." Tully also (De Invent. Rhet. ii, 54) reckons clemency a part of temperance.
IIª-IIae q. 157 a. 3 co. Respondeo dicendum quod partes assignantur virtutibus principalibus secundum quod imitantur ipsas in aliquibus materiis secundariis, quantum ad modum ex quo principaliter dependet laus virtutis, unde et nomen accipit, sicut modus et nomen iustitiae in quadam aequalitate consistit; fortitudinis autem in quadam firmitate; temperantiae autem in quadam refrenatione, inquantum scilicet refrenat concupiscentias vehementissimas delectationum tactus. Clementia autem et mansuetudo similiter in quadam refrenatione consistit, quia scilicet clementia est diminutiva poenarum, mansuetudo vero est mitigativa irae, ut ex dictis patet. Et ideo tam clementia quam mansuetudo adiunguntur temperantiae sicut virtuti principali. Et secundum hoc ponuntur partes ipsius. I answer that, Parts are assigned to the principal virtues, in so far as they imitate them in some secondary matter as to the mode whence the virtue derives its praise and likewise its name. Thus the mode and name of justice consist in a certain "equality," those of fortitude in a certain "strength of mind," those of temperance in a certain "restraint," inasmuch as it restrains the most vehement concupiscences of the pleasures of touch. Now clemency and meekness likewise consist in a certain restraint, since clemency mitigates punishment, while meekness represses anger, as stated above (1 and 2). Therefore both clemency and meekness are annexed to temperance as principal virtue, and accordingly are reckoned to be parts thereof.
IIª-IIae q. 157 a. 3 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod in diminutione poenarum duo sunt consideranda. Quorum unum est quod diminutio poenarum fiat secundum intentionem legislatoris, licet non secundum verba legis. Et secundum hoc, pertinet ad epieikeiam. Aliud autem est quaedam moderatio affectus, ut homo non utatur sua potestate in inflictione poenarum. Et hoc proprie pertinet ad clementiam, propter quod Seneca dicit quod est temperantia animi in potestate ulciscendi. Et haec quidem moderatio animi provenit ex quadam dulcedine affectus, qua quis abhorret omne illud quod potest alium tristare. Et ideo dicit Seneca quod clementia est quaedam lenitas animi. Nam e contrario austeritas animi videtur esse in eo qui non veretur alios contristare. Reply to Objection 1. Two points must be considered in the mitigation of punishment. one is that punishment should be mitigated in accordance with the lawgiver's intention, although not according to the letter of the law; and in this respect it pertains to equity. The other point is a certain moderation of a man's inward disposition, so that he does not exercise his power of inflicting punishment. This belongs properly to clemency, wherefore Seneca says (De Clementia ii, 3) that "it is temperance of the soul in exercising the power of taking revenge." This moderation of soul comes from a certain sweetness of disposition, whereby a man recoils from anything that may be painful to another. Wherefore Seneca says (De Clementia ii, 3) that "clemency is a certain smoothness of the soul"; for, on the other hand, there would seem to be a certain roughness of soul in one who fears not to pain others.
IIª-IIae q. 157 a. 3 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod adiunctio virtutum secundariarum ad principales magis attenditur secundum modum virtutis, qui est quasi quaedam forma eius, quam secundum materiam. Mansuetudo autem et clementia conveniunt cum temperantia in modo, ut dictum est, licet non conveniant in materia. Reply to Objection 2. The annexation of secondary to principal virtues depends on the mode of virtue, which is, so to speak, a kind of form of the virtue, rather than on the matter. Now meekness and clemency agree with temperance in mode, as stated above, though they agree not in matter.
IIª-IIae q. 157 a. 3 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod insania dicitur per corruptionem sanitatis. Sicut autem sanitas corporalis corrumpitur per hoc quod corpus recedit a debita complexione humanae speciei, ita etiam insania secundum animam accipitur per hoc quod anima humana recedit a debita dispositione humanae speciei. Quod quidem contingit et secundum rationem, puta cum aliquis usum rationis amittit, et quantum ad vim appetitivam, puta cum aliquis amittit affectum humanum, secundum quem homo naturaliter est omni homini amicus, ut dicitur in VIII Ethic. Insania autem quae excludit usum rationis, opponitur prudentiae. Sed quod aliquis delectetur in poenis hominum, dicitur esse insania, quia per hoc videtur homo privatus affectu humano, quem sequitur clementia. Reply to Objection 3. "Unsoundness" is corruption of "soundness." Now just as soundness of body is corrupted by the body lapsing from the condition due to the human species, so unsoundness of mind is due to the mind lapsing from the disposition due to the human species. This occurs both in respect of the reason, as when a man loses the use of reason, and in respect of the appetitive power, as when a man loses that humane feeling whereby "every man is naturally friendly towards all other men" (Ethic. viii, 1). The unsoundness of mind that excludes the use of reason is opposed to prudence. But that a man who takes pleasure in the punishment of others is said to be of unsound mind, is because he seems on this account to be devoid of the humane feeling which gives rise to clemency.
IIª-IIae q. 157 a. 4 arg. 1 Ad quartum sic proceditur. Videtur quod clementia et mansuetudo sint potissimae virtutes. Laus enim virtutis praecipue consistit ex hoc quod ordinat hominem ad beatitudinem, quae in Dei cognitione consistit. Sed mansuetudo maxime ordinat hominem ad Dei cognitionem, dicitur enim Iac. I, in mansuetudine suscipite insitum verbum; et Eccli. V, esto mansuetus ad audiendum verbum Dei; et Dionysius dicit, in epistola ad Demophil., Moysen propter multam mansuetudinem Dei apparitione dignum habitum. Ergo mansuetudo est potissima virtutum. Objection 1. It would seem that clemency and meekness are the greatest virtues. For virtue is deserving of praise chiefly because it directs man to happiness that consists in the knowledge of God. Now meekness above all directs man to the knowledge of God: for it is written (James 1:21): "With meekness receive the ingrafted word," and (Sirach 5:13): "Be meek to hear the word" of God. Again, Dionysius says (Ep. viii ad Demophil.) that "Moses was deemed worthy of the Divine apparition on account of his great meekness." Therefore meekness is the greatest of virtues.
IIª-IIae q. 157 a. 4 arg. 2 Praeterea, tanto virtus aliqua potior esse videtur, quanto magis acceptatur a Deo et ab hominibus. Sed mansuetudo maxime videtur acceptari a Deo, dicitur enim Eccli. I, quod beneplacitum est Deo fides et mansuetudo. Unde et specialiter ad suae mansuetudinis imitationem Christus nos invitat, dicens, discite a me, quia mitis sum et humilis corde, et Hilarius dicit quod per mansuetudinem mentis nostrae habitat Christus in nobis. Est etiam hominibus acceptissima, unde dicitur Eccli. III, fili, in mansuetudine perfice opera tua, et super hominum gloria diligeris. Propter quod et Proverb. XX dicitur quod clementia thronus regius roboratur. Ergo mansuetudo et clementia sunt potissimae virtutes. Objection 2. Further, seemingly a virtue is all the greater according as it is more acceptable to God and men. Now meekness would appear to be most acceptable to God. For it is written (Sirach 1:34-35): "That which is agreeable" to God is "faith and meekness"; wherefore Christ expressly invites us to be meek like unto Himself (Matthew 11:29), where He says: "Learn of Me, because I am meek and humble of heart"; and Hilary declares [Comment. in Matth. iv, 3 that "Christ dwells in us by our meekness of soul." Again, it is most acceptable to men; wherefore it is written (Sirach 3:19): "My son, do thy works in meekness, and thou shalt be beloved above the glory of men": for which reason it is also declared (Proverbs 20:28) that the King's "throne is strengthened by clemency." Therefore meekness and clemency are the greatest of virtues.
IIª-IIae q. 157 a. 4 arg. 3 Praeterea, Augustinus dicit, in libro de Serm. domini in monte, quod mites sunt qui cedunt improbitatibus, et non resistunt in malo, sed vincunt in bono malum. Hoc autem videtur pertinere ad misericordiam vel pietatem, quae videtur esse potissima virtutum, quia super illud I ad Tim. IV, pietas ad omnia utilis est, dicit Glossa Ambrosii quod omnis summa religionis Christianae in pietate consistit. Ergo mansuetudo et clementia sunt maximae virtutes. Objection 3. Further, Augustine says (De Serm. Dom. in Monte i, 2) that "the meek are they who yield to reproaches, and resist not evil, but overcome evil by good." Now this seems to pertain to mercy or piety which would seem to be the greatest of virtues: because a gloss of Ambrose [Hilary the deacon] on 1 Timothy 4:8, "Piety [Douay: 'Godliness'] is profitable to all things," observes that "piety is the sum total of the Christian religion." Therefore meekness and clemency are the greatest virtues.
IIª-IIae q. 157 a. 4 s. c. Sed contra est, quia non ponuntur virtutes principales, sed adiunguntur alteri virtuti quasi principaliori. On the contrary, They are not reckoned as principal virtues, but are annexed to another, as to a principal, virtue.
IIª-IIae q. 157 a. 4 co. Respondeo dicendum quod nihil prohibet aliquas virtutes non esse potissimas simpliciter nec quoad omnia, sed secundum quid et in aliquo genere. Non est autem possibile quod clementia et mansuetudo sint potissimae virtutes simpliciter. Quia laus earum attenditur in hoc quod retrahunt a malo, inquantum scilicet diminuunt iram vel poenam. Perfectius autem est consequi bonum quam carere malo. Et ideo virtutes quae simpliciter ordinant in bonum, sicut fides, spes, caritas, et etiam prudentia et iustitia, sunt simpliciter maiores virtutes quam clementia et mansuetudo. Sed secundum quid, nihil prohibet mansuetudinem et clementiam habere quandam excellentiam inter virtutes quae resistunt affectionibus pravis. Nam ira, quam mitigat mansuetudo, propter suum impetum maxime impedit animum hominis ne libere iudicet veritatem. Et propter hoc, mansuetudo maxime facit hominem esse compotem sui, unde dicitur Eccli. X, fili, in mansuetudine serva animam tuam. Quamvis concupiscentiae delectationum tactus sint turpiores, et magis continue infestent, propter quod temperantia magis ponitur virtus principalis, ut ex dictis patet. Clementia vero, in hoc quod diminuit poenas, maxime videtur accedere ad caritatem, quae est potissima virtutum, per quam bona operamur ad proximos et eorum mala impedimus. I answer that, Nothing prevents certain virtues from being greatest, not indeed simply, nor in every respect, but in a particular genus. It is impossible for clemency or meekness to be absolutely the greatest virtues, since they owe their praise to the fact that they withdraw a man from evil, by mitigating anger or punishment. Now it is more perfect to obtain good than to lack evil. Wherefore those virtues like faith, hope, charity, and likewise prudence and justice, which direct one to good simply, are absolutely greater virtues than clemency and meekness. Yet nothing prevents clemency and meekness from having a certain restricted excellence among the virtues which resist evil inclinations. For anger, which is mitigated by meekness, is, on account of its impetuousness, a very great obstacle to man's free judgment of truth: wherefore meekness above all makes a man self-possessed. Hence it is written (Sirach 10:31): "My son, keep thy soul in meekness." Yet the concupiscences of the pleasures of touch are more shameful, and harass more incessantly, for which reason temperance is more rightly reckoned as a principal virtue. as stated above (141, 07, ad 2). As to clemency, inasmuch as it mitigates punishment, it would seem to approach nearest to charity, the greatest of the virtues, since thereby we do good towards our neighbor, and hinder his evil.
IIª-IIae q. 157 a. 4 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod mansuetudo praeparat hominem ad Dei cognitionem removendo impedimentum. Et hoc dupliciter. Primo quidem faciendo hominem compotem sui per diminutionem irae, ut dictum est. Alio modo, quia ad mansuetudinem pertinet quod homo non contradicat verbis veritatis, quod plerumque aliqui faciunt ex commotione irae. Et ideo Augustinus dicit, in II de Doct. Christ., quod mitescere est non contradicere divinae Scripturae, sive intellectae, si aliqua vitia nostra percutit; sive non intellectae, quasi nos melius et verius sapere et praecipere possemus. Reply to Objection 1. Meekness disposes man to the knowledge of God, by removing an obstacle; and this in two ways. First, because it makes man self-possessed by mitigating his anger, as stated above; secondly, because it pertains to meekness that a man does not contradict the words of truth, which many do through being disturbed by anger. Wherefore Augustine says (De Doctr. Christ. ii, 7): "To be meek is not to contradict Holy Writ, whether we understand it, if it condemn our evil ways, or understand it not, as though we might know better and have a clearer insight of the truth."
IIª-IIae q. 157 a. 4 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod mansuetudo et clementia reddunt hominem Deo et hominibus acceptum, secundum quod concurrunt in eundem effectum cum caritate, quae est maxima virtutum, scilicet in subtrahendo mala proximorum. Reply to Objection 2. Meekness and clemency make us acceptable to God and men, in so far as they concur with charity, the greatest of the virtues, towards the same effect, namely the mitigation of our neighbor's evils.
IIª-IIae q. 157 a. 4 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod misericordia et pietas conveniunt quidem cum mansuetudine et clementia, inquantum concurrunt in eundem effectum, qui est prohibere mala proximorum. Differunt tamen quantum ad motivum. Nam pietas removet mala proximorum ex reverentia quam habet ad aliquem superiorem, puta Deum vel parentem. Misericordia vero removet mala proximorum ex hoc quod in eis aliquis contristatur inquantum aestimat eas ad se pertinere, ut supra dictum est, quod provenit ex amicitia, quae facit amicos de eisdem gaudere et tristari. Mansuetudo vero hoc facit inquantum removet iram incitantem ad vindictam. Clementia vero hoc facit ex animi lenitate, inquantum iudicat esse aequum ut aliquis non amplius puniatur. Reply to Objection 3. Mercy and piety agree indeed with meekness and clemency by concurring towards the same effect, namely the mitigation of our neighbor's evils. Nevertheless they differ as to motive. For piety relieves a neighbor's evil through reverence for a superior, for instance God or one's parents: mercy relieves a neighbor's evil, because this evil is displeasing to one, in so far as one looks upon it as affecting oneself, as stated above (Question 30, Article 2): and this results from friendship which makes friends rejoice and grieve for the same things: meekness does this, by removing anger that urges to vengeance, and clemency does this through leniency of soul, in so far as it judges equitable that a person be no further punished.

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