Authors/Thomas Aquinas/Summa Theologiae/Part IIb/Q184

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Q183 Q185



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IIª-IIae q. 184 pr. Deinde considerandum est de his quae pertinent ad statum perfectionis, ad quem alii status ordinantur. Nam consideratio officiorum, quantum quidem ad alios actus, pertinet ad legispositores; quantum autem ad sacra ministeria, pertinet ad considerationem ordinum, de quibus in tertia parte agetur. Circa statum autem perfectorum triplex consideratio occurrit, primo quidem, de statu perfectionis in communi; secundo, de his quae pertinent ad perfectionem episcoporum; tertio, de his quae pertinent ad perfectionem religiosorum. Circa primum quaeruntur octo. Primo, utrum perfectio attendatur secundum caritatem. Secundo, utrum aliquis possit esse perfectus in hac vita. Tertio, utrum perfectio huius vitae consistat principaliter in consiliis, vel in praeceptis. Quarto, utrum quicumque est perfectus, sit in statu perfectionis. Quinto, utrum praelati et religiosi specialiter sint in statu perfectionis. Sexto, utrum omnes praelati sint in statu perfectionis. Septimo, quis status sit perfectior, utrum religiosorum vel episcoporum. Octavo, de comparatione religiosorum ad plebanos et archidiaconos. Question 184. The state of perfection in general 1. Does perfection bear any relation to charity? 2. Can one be perfect in this life? 3. Does the perfection of this life consist chiefly in observing the counsels or the commandments? 4. Is whoever is perfect in the state of perfection? 5. Are prelates and religious especially in the state of perfection? 6. Are all prelates in the state of perfection? 7. Which is the more perfect, the episcopal or the religious state? 8. The comparison between religious and parish priests and archdeacons
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 1 arg. 1 Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod perfectio Christianae vitae non attendatur specialiter secundum caritatem. Dicit enim apostolus, I ad Cor. XIV, malitia autem parvuli estote, sensibus autem perfecti. Sed caritas non pertinet ad sensum, sed magis ad affectum. Ergo videtur quod perfectio Christianae vitae non consistat principaliter in caritate. Objection 1. It would seem that the perfection of the Christian life does not consist chiefly in charity. For the Apostle says (1 Corinthians 14:20): "In malice be children, but in sense be perfect." But charity regards not the senses but the affections. Therefore it would seem that the perfection of the Christian life does not chiefly consist in charity.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 1 arg. 2 Praeterea, ad Ephes. ult. dicitur, accipite armaturam Dei, ut possitis resistere in die malo, et in omnibus perfecti stare. De armatura autem Dei subiungit dicens, state succincti lumbos vestros in veritate, et induite loricam iustitiae, in omnibus sumentes scutum fidei. Ergo perfectio Christianae vitae non solum attenditur secundum caritatem, sed etiam secundum alias virtutes. Objection 2. Further,'it is written (Ephesians 6:1)3): "Take unto you the armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and to stand in all things perfect"; and the text continues (Ephesians 6:1)4,16), speaking of the armor of God: "Stand therefore having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breast-plate of justice . . . in all things taking the shield of faith." Therefore the perfection of the Christian life consists not only in charity, but also in other virtues.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 1 arg. 3 Praeterea, virtutes specificantur per actus, sicut et alii habitus. Sed Iac. I dicitur quod patientia opus perfectum habet. Ergo videtur quod status perfectionis attendatur magis secundum patientiam. Objection 3. Further, virtues like other habits, are specified by their acts. Now it is written (James 1:4) that "patience hath a perfect work." Therefore seemingly the state of perfection consists more specially in patience.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 1 s. c. Sed contra est quod dicitur ad Coloss. III, super omnia, caritatem habete, quae est vinculum perfectionis, quia scilicet omnes alias virtutes quodammodo ligat in unitatem perfectam. On the contrary, It is written (Colossians 3:14): "Above all things have charity, which is the bond of perfection," because it binds, as it were, all the other virtues together in perfect unity.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 1 co. Respondeo dicendum quod unumquodque dicitur esse perfectum inquantum attingit proprium finem, qui est ultima rei perfectio. Caritas autem est quae unit nos Deo, qui est ultimus finis humanae mentis, quia qui manet in caritate, in Deo manet, et Deus in eo, ut dicitur I Ioan. IV. Et ideo secundum caritatem specialiter attenditur perfectio vitae Christianae. I answer that, A thing is said to be perfect in so far as it attains its proper end, which is the ultimate perfection thereof. Now it is charity that unites us to God, Who is the last end of the human mind, since "he that abideth in charity abideth in God, and God in him" (1 John 4:16). Therefore the perfection of the Christian life consists radically in charity.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 1 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod perfectio humanorum sensuum praecipue in hoc videtur consistere ut in unitatem veritatis conveniant, secundum illud I ad Cor. I, sitis perfecti in eodem sensu et in eadem scientia. Hoc autem fit per caritatem, quae consensum in hominibus operatur. Et ideo etiam perfectio sensuum radicaliter in perfectione caritatis radicatur. Reply to Objection 1. The perfection of the human senses would seem to consist chiefly in their concurring together in the unity of truth, according to (1 Corinthians 1:10), "That you be perfect in the same mind [sensu], and in the same judgment." Now this is effected by charity which operates consent in us men. Wherefore even the perfection of the senses consists radically in the perfection of charity.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 1 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod dupliciter potest dici aliquis perfectus. Uno modo, simpliciter, quae quidem perfectio attenditur secundum id quod pertinet ad ipsam rei naturam; puta si dicatur animal perfectum quando nihil ei deficit ex dispositione membrorum, et aliis huiusmodi quae requiruntur ad vitam animalis. Alio modo dicitur aliquid perfectum secundum quid, quae quidem perfectio attenditur secundum aliquid exterius adiacens, puta in albedine vel nigredine, vel aliquo huiusmodi. Vita autem Christiana specialiter in caritate consistit, per quam anima Deo coniungitur, unde dicitur I Ioan. III, qui non diligit, manet in morte. Et ideo secundum caritatem simpliciter attenditur perfectio Christianae vitae, sed secundum alias virtutes secundum quid. Et quia id quod est simpliciter est principium et maximum respectu aliorum, inde est quod perfectio caritatis est principium respectu perfectionis quae attenditur secundum alias virtutes. Reply to Objection 2. A man may be said to be perfect in two ways. First, simply: and this perfection regards that which belongs to a thing's nature, for instance an animal may be said to be perfect when it lacks nothing in the disposition of its members and in such things as are necessary for an animal's life. Secondly, a thing is said to be perfect relatively: and this perfection regards something connected with the thing externally, such as whiteness or blackness or something of the kind. Now the Christian life consists chiefly in charity whereby the soul is united to God; wherefore it is written (1 John 3:14): "He that loveth not abideth in death." Hence the perfection of the Christian life consists simply in charity, but in the other virtues relatively. And since that which is simply, is paramount and greatest in comparison with other things, it follows that the perfection of charity is paramount in relation to the perfection that regards the other virtues.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 1 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod patientia dicitur habere opus perfectum in ordine ad caritatem, inquantum scilicet ex abundantia caritatis provenit quod aliquis patienter toleret adversa, secundum illud Rom. VIII, quis nos separabit a caritate Dei? Tribulatio? An angustia? et cetera. Reply to Objection 3. Patience is stated to have a perfect work in relation to charity, in so far as it is an effect of the abundance of charity that a man bears hardships patiently, according to (Romans 8:3)5, "Who . . . shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation? Or distress?" etc.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 2 arg. 1 Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod nullus in hac vita possit esse perfectus. Dicit enim apostolus, I ad Cor. XIII, cum venerit quod perfectum est, evacuabitur quod ex parte est. Sed in hac vita non evacuatur quod ex parte est, manet enim in hac vita fides et spes, quae sunt ex parte. Ergo nullus in hac vita est perfectus. Objection 1. It would seem that none can be perfect in this life. For the Apostle says (1 Corinthians 13:1)0): "When that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away." Now in this life that which is in part is not done away; for in this life faith and hope, which are in part, remain. Therefore none can be perfect in this life.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 2 arg. 2 Praeterea, perfectum est cui nihil deest, ut dicitur in III Physic. Sed nullus est in hac vita cui non desit aliquid, dicitur enim Iac. III, in multis offendimus omnes; et in Psalmo dicitur, imperfectum meum viderunt oculi tui. Ergo nullus est in hac vita perfectus. Objection 2. Further, "The perfect is that which lacks nothing" (Phys. iii, 6). Now there is no one in this life who lacks nothing; for it is written (James 3:2): "In many things we all offend"; and (Psalm 138:16): "Thy eyes did see my imperfect being." Therefore none is perfect in this life.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 2 arg. 3 Praeterea, perfectio vitae Christianae, sicut dictum est, attenditur secundum caritatem, quae sub se comprehendit dilectionem Dei et proximi. Sed quantum ad dilectionem Dei, non potest aliquis perfectam caritatem in hac vita habere, quia, ut Gregorius dicit, super Ezech., amoris ignis, qui hic ardere inchoat, cum ipsum quem amat viderit, in amorem ipsius amplius ignescit. Neque etiam quantum ad dilectionem proximi, quia non possumus in hac vita omnes proximos actualiter diligere, etsi habitualiter eos diligamus; dilectio autem habitualis imperfecta est. Ergo videtur quod nullus in hac vita possit esse perfectus. Objection 3. Further, the perfection of the Christian life, as stated (1), relates to charity, which comprises the love of God and of our neighbor. Now, neither as to the love of God can one have perfect charity in this life, since according to Gregory (Hom. xiv in Ezech.) "the furnace of love which begins to burn here, will burn more fiercely when we see Him Whom we love"; nor as to the love of our neighbor, since in this life we cannot love all our neighbors actually, even though we love them habitually; and habitual love is imperfect. Therefore it seems that no one can be perfect in this life.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 2 s. c. Sed contra est quia lex divina non inducit ad impossibile. Inducit autem ad perfectionem secundum illud Matth. V, estote perfecti, sicut et pater vester caelestis perfectus est. Ergo videtur quod aliquis in hac vita possit esse perfectus. On the contrary, The Divine law does not prescribe the impossible. Yet it prescribes perfection according to Matthew 5:48, "Be you . . . perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect." Therefore seemingly one can be perfect in this life.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 2 co. Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut dictum est, perfectio Christianae vitae in caritate consistit. Importat autem perfectio quandam universalitatem, quia, ut dicitur in III Physic., perfectum est cui nihil deest, potest ergo triplex perfectio considerari. Una quidem absoluta, quae attenditur non solum secundum totalitatem ex parte diligentis, sed etiam ex parte diligibilis, prout scilicet Deus tantum diligitur quantum diligibilis est. Et talis perfectio non est possibilis alicui creaturae, sed competit soli Deo, in quo bonum integraliter et essentialiter invenitur. Alia autem est perfectio quae attenditur secundum totalitatem absolutam ex parte diligentis, prout scilicet affectus secundum totum suum posse semper actualiter tendit in Deum. Et talis perfectio non est possibilis in via, sed erit in patria. Tertia autem perfectio est, quae neque attenditur secundum totalitatem ex parte diligibilis, neque secundum totalitatem ex parte diligentis quantum ad hoc quod semper actu feratur in Deum, sed quantum ad hoc quod excludantur ea quae repugnant motui dilectionis in Deum; sicut Augustinus dicit, in libro octogintatrium quaest., quod venenum caritatis est cupiditas, perfectio nulla cupiditas. Et talis perfectio potest in hac vita haberi. Et hoc dupliciter. Uno modo, inquantum ab affectu hominis excluditur omne illud quod caritati contrariatur, sicut est peccatum mortale. Et sine tali perfectione caritas esse non potest. Unde est de necessitate salutis. Alio modo, inquantum ab affectu hominis excluditur non solum illud quod est caritati contrarium, sed etiam omne illud quod impedit ne affectus mentis totaliter dirigatur ad Deum. Sine qua perfectione caritas esse potest, puta in incipientibus et proficientibus. I answer that, As stated above (Article 1), the perfection of the Christian life consists in charity. Now perfection implies a certain universality because according to Phys. iii, 6, "the perfect is that which lacks nothing." Hence we may consider a threefold perfection. One is absolute, and answers to a totality not only on the part of the lover, but also on the part of the object loved, so that God be loved as much as He is lovable. Such perfection as this is not possible to any creature, but is competent to God alone, in Whom good is wholly and essentially. Another perfection answers to an absolute totality on the part of the lover, so that the affective faculty always actually tends to God as much as it possibly can; and such perfection as this is not possible so long as we are on the way, but we shall have it in heaven. The third perfection answers to a totality neither on the part of the object served, nor on the part of the lover as regards his always actually tending to God, but on the part of the lover as regards the removal of obstacles to the movement of love towards God, in which sense Augustine says (QQ. LXXXIII, qu. 36) that "carnal desire is the bane of charity; to have no carnal desires is the perfection of charity." Such perfection as this can be had in this life, and in two ways. First, by the removal from man's affections of all that is contrary to charity, such as mortal sin; and there can be no charity apart from this perfection, wherefore it is necessary for salvation. Secondly, by the removal from man's affections not only of whatever is contrary to charity, but also of whatever hinders the mind's affections from tending wholly to God. Charity is possible apart from this perfection, for instance in those who are beginners and in those who are proficient.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 2 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod apostolus ibi loquitur de perfectione patriae, quae non est in via possibilis. Reply to Objection 1. The Apostle is speaking there of heavenly perfection which is not possible to those who are on the way.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 2 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod illi qui sunt in hac vita perfecti, in multis dicuntur offendere secundum peccata venialia, quae consequuntur ex infirmitate praesentis vitae. Et quantum ad hoc etiam habent aliquid imperfectum, per comparationem ad perfectionem patriae. Reply to Objection 2. Those who are perfect in this life are said to "offend in many things" with regard to venial sins, which result from the weakness of the present life: and in this respect they have an "imperfect being" in comparison with the perfection of heaven.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 2 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod sicut modus praesentis vitae non patitur ut homo semper actu feratur in Deum, ita etiam non patitur quod actu feratur in omnes proximos singillatim, sed sufficit quod feratur communiter in omnes in universali, et in singulos habitualiter et secundum animi praeparationem. Potest autem etiam circa dilectionem proximi duplex perfectio attendi sicut et circa dilectionem Dei. Una quidem, sine qua caritas esse non potest, ut scilicet homo nihil habeat in affectu quod sit contrarium dilectioni proximi. Alia autem, sine qua caritas inveniri potest, quae quidem attenditur tripliciter. Primo quidem, secundum extensionem dilectionis, ut scilicet aliquis non solum diligat amicos et notos, sed etiam extraneos, et ulterius inimicos. Hoc enim, ut Augustinus dicit, in Enchirid., est perfectorum filiorum Dei. Secundo, secundum intensionem, quae ostenditur ex his quae homo propter proximum contemnit; ut scilicet homo non solum contemnat exteriora bona propter proximum, sed etiam afflictiones corporales, et ulterius mortem, secundum illud Ioan. XV, maiorem dilectionem nemo habet quam ut animam suam ponat quis pro amicis suis. Tertio, quantum ad effectum dilectionis, ut scilicet homo proximis impendat non solum temporalia beneficia, sed etiam spiritualia, et ulterius seipsum, secundum illud apostoli, II ad Cor. XII, ego autem libentissime impendam, et superimpendar ipse pro animabus vestris. Reply to Objection 3. As the conditions of the present life do not allow of a man always tending actually to God, so neither does it allow of his tending actually to each individual neighbor; but it suffices for him to tend to all in common and collectively, and to each individual habitually and according to the preparedness of his mind. Now in the love of our neighbor, as in the love of God we may observe a twofold perfection: one without which charity is impossible, and consisting in one's having in one's affections nothing that is contrary to the love of one's neighbor; and another without which it is possible to have charity. The latter perfection may be considered in three ways. First, as to the extent of love, through a man loving not only his friends and acquaintances but also strangers and even his enemies, for as Augustine says (Enchiridion lxxiii) this is a mark of the perfect children of God. Secondly, as to the intensity of love, which is shown by the things which man despises for his neighbor's sake, through his despising not only external goods for the sake of his neighbor, but also bodily hardships and even death, according to John 15:13, "Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends." Thirdly, as to the effect of love, so that a man will surrender not only temporal but also spiritual goods and even himself, for his neighbor's sake, according to the words of the Apostle (2 Corinthians 12:15), "But I most gladly will spend and be spent myself for your souls."
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 3 arg. 1 Ad tertium sic proceditur. Videtur quod perfectio viae non consistit in praeceptis, sed in consiliis. Dicit enim dominus, Matth. XIX, si vis perfectus esse, vade et vende omnia quae habes et da pauperibus, et veni, sequere me. Sed istud est consilium. Ergo perfectio attenditur secundum consilia, et non secundum praecepta. Objection 1. It would seem that, in this life, perfection consists in the observance not of the commandments but of the counsels. For our Lord said (Matthew 19:21): "If thou wilt be perfect, go sell all [Vulgate: 'what'] thou hast, and give to the poor . . . and come, follow Me." Now this is a counsel. Therefore perfection regards the counsels and not the precepts.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 3 arg. 2 Praeterea, ad observantiam praeceptorum omnes tenentur, cum sint de necessitate salutis. Si ergo perfectio Christianae vitae consistat in praeceptis, sequitur quod perfectio sit de necessitate salutis, et quod omnes ad eam teneantur. Quod patet esse falsum. Objection 2. Further, all are bound to the observance of the commandments, since this is necessary for salvation. Therefore, if the perfection of the Christian life consists in observing the commandments, it follows that perfection is necessary for salvation, and that all are bound thereto; and this is evidently false.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 3 arg. 3 Praeterea, perfectio Christianae vitae attenditur secundum caritatem, ut dictum est. Sed perfectio caritatis non videtur consistere in observantia praeceptorum, quia perfectionem caritatis praecedit et augmentum et inchoatio ipsius, ut patet per Augustinum, super canonicam Ioan.; non autem potest caritas inchoari ante observationem praeceptorum, quia, ut dicitur Ioan. XIV, si quis diligit me, sermonem meum servabit. Ergo perfectio vitae non attenditur secundum praecepta, sed secundum consilia. Objection 3. Further, the perfection of the Christian life is gauged according to charity, as stated above (Article 1). Now the perfection of charity, seemingly, does not consist in the observance of the commandments, since the perfection of charity is preceded both by its increase and by its beginning, as Augustine says (Super Canonic. Joan. Tract. ix). But the beginning of charity cannot precede the observance of the commandments, since according to John 14:2-3, "If any one love Me, he will keep My word." Therefore the perfection of life regards not the commandments but the counsels.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 3 s. c. Sed contra est quod dicitur Deut. VI, diliges dominum Deum tuum ex toto corde tuo. Et Levit. XIX dicitur, diliges proximum tuum sicut teipsum. Haec autem sunt duo praecepta de quibus dominus dicit, Matth. XXII in his duobus praeceptis pendet lex et prophetae. Perfectio autem caritatis, secundum quam dicitur vita Christiana esse perfecta, attenditur secundum hoc quod Deum ex toto corde diligamus et proximum sicut nos ipsos. Ergo videtur quod perfectio consistat in observantia praeceptorum. On the contrary, It is written (Deuteronomy 6:5): "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart," and (Leviticus 19:18): "Thou shalt love thy neighbor [Vulgate: 'friend'] as thyself"; and these are the commandments of which our Lord said (Matthew 22:40): "On these two commandments dependeth the whole law and the prophets." Now the perfection of charity, in respect of which the Christian life is said to be perfect, consists in our loving God with our whole heart, and our neighbor as ourselves. Therefore it would seem that perfection consists in the observance of the precepts.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 3 co. Respondeo dicendum quod perfectio dicitur in aliquo consistere dupliciter, uno modo, per se et essentialiter; alio modo, secundario et accidentaliter. Per se quidem et essentialiter consistit perfectio Christianae vitae in caritate, principaliter quidem secundum dilectionem Dei, secundario autem secundum dilectionem proximi, de quibus dantur praecepta principalia divinae legis, ut dictum est. Non autem dilectio Dei et proximi cadit sub praecepto secundum aliquam mensuram, ita quod id quod est plus sub consilio remaneat, ut patet ex ipsa forma praecepti, quae perfectionem demonstrat, ut cum dicitur, diliges dominum Deum tuum ex toto corde tuo, totum enim et perfectum idem sunt, secundum philosophum, in III Physic.; et cum dicitur, diliges proximum tuum sicut teipsum, unusquisque enim seipsum maxime diligit. Et hoc ideo est quia finis praecepti caritas est, ut apostolus dicit, I ad Tim. I, in fine autem non adhibetur aliqua mensura, sed solum in his quae sunt ad finem, ut philosophus dicit, in I Polit.; sicut medicus non adhibet mensuram quantum sanet, sed quanta medicina vel diaeta utatur ad sanandum. Et sic patet quod perfectio essentialiter consistit in praeceptis. Unde Augustinus dicit, in libro de perfectione iustitiae, cur ergo non praeciperetur homini ista perfectio, quamvis eam in hac vita nemo habeat? Secundario autem et instrumentaliter perfectio consistit in consiliis. Quae omnia, sicut et praecepta, ordinantur ad caritatem, sed aliter et aliter. Nam praecepta alia ordinantur ad removendum ea quae sunt caritati contraria, cum quibus scilicet caritas esse non potest, consilia autem ordinantur ad removendum impedimenta actus caritatis, quae tamen caritati non contrariantur, sicut est matrimonium, occupatio negotiorum saecularium, et alia huiusmodi. Unde Augustinus dicit, in Enchirid., quaecumque mandat Deus, ex quibus unum est, non moechaberis; et quaecumque non iubentur, sed speciali consilio monentur, ex quibus unum est, bonum est homini mulierem non tangere, tunc recte fiunt cum referuntur ad diligendum Deum et proximum propter Deum, et in hoc saeculo et in futuro. Et inde est quod in collationibus patrum dicit abbas Moyses, ieiunia, vigiliae, meditatio Scripturarum, nuditas ac privatio omnium facultatum, non perfectio, sed perfectionis instrumenta sunt quia non in ipsis consistit disciplinae illius finis, sed per illa pervenitur ad finem. Et supra praemisit quod ad perfectionem caritatis istis gradibus conscendere nitimur. I answer that, Perfection is said to consist in a thing in two ways: in one way, primarily and essentially; in another, secondarily and accidentally. Primarily and essentially the perfection of the Christian life consists in charity, principally as to the love of God, secondarily as to the love of our neighbor, both of which are the matter of the chief commandments of the Divine law, as stated above. Now the love of God and of our neighbor is not commanded according to a measure, so that what is in excess of the measure be a matter of counsel. This is evident from the very form of the commandment, pointing, as it does, to perfection--for instance in the words, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart": since "the whole" is the same as "the perfect," according to the Philosopher (Phys. iii, 6), and in the words, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself," since every one loves himself most. The reason of this is that "the end of the commandment is charity," according to the Apostle (1 Timothy 1:5); and the end is not subject to a measure, but only such things as are directed to the end, as the Philosopher observes (Polit. i, 3); thus a physician does not measure the amount of his healing, but how much medicine or diet he shall employ for the purpose of healing. Consequently it is evident that perfection consists essentially in the observance of the commandments; wherefore Augustine says (De Perf. Justit. viii): "Why then should not this perfection be prescribed to man, although no man has it in this life?" Secondarily and instrumentally, however, perfection consists in the observance of the counsels, all of which, like the commandments, are directed to charity; yet not in the same way. For the commandments, other than the precepts of charity, are directed to the removal of things contrary to charity, with which, namely, charity is incompatible, whereas the counsels are directed to the removal of things that hinder the act of charity, and yet are not contrary to charity, such as marriage, the occupation of worldly business, and so forth. Hence Augustine says (Enchiridion cxxi): "Whatever things God commands, for instance, 'Thou shalt not commit adultery,' and whatever are not commanded, yet suggested by a special counsel, for instance, 'It is good for a man not to touch a woman,' are then done aright when they are referred to the love of God, and of our neighbor for God's sake, both in this world and in the world to come." Hence it is that in the Conferences of the Fathers (Coll. i, cap. vii) the abbot Moses says: "Fastings, watchings, meditating on the Scriptures, penury and loss of all one's wealth, these are not perfection but means to perfection, since not in them does the school of perfection find its end, but through them it achieves its end," and he had already said that "we endeavor to ascend by these steps to the perfection of charity."
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 3 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod in illis verbis domini aliquid ponitur quasi via ad perfectionem, hoc scilicet quod dicitur, vade et vende omnia quae habes et da pauperibus, aliud autem subditur in quo perfectio consistit, scilicet quod dicit, et sequere me. Unde Hieronymus dicit, super Matth., quod quia non sufficit tantum relinquere, Petrus iungit quod perfectum est, idest, secuti sumus te. Ambrosius autem, super illud Luc. V, sequere me, dicit, sequi iubet non corporis gressu, sed mentis affectu, quod fit per caritatem. Et ideo ex ipso modo loquendi apparet quod consilia sunt quaedam instrumenta perveniendi ad perfectionem, dum dicitur, si vis perfectus esse, vade et vende etc., quasi dicat, hoc faciendo ad hunc finem pervenies. Reply to Objection 1. In this saying of our Lord something is indicated as being the way to perfection by the words, "Go, sell all thou hast, and give to the poor"; and something else is added wherein perfection consists, when He said, "And follow Me." Hence Jerome in his commentary on Matthew 19:27, says that "since it is not enough merely to leave, Peter added that which is perfect: 'And have followed Thee'"; and Ambrose, commenting on Luke 5:27, "Follow Me," says: "He commands him to follow, not with steps of the body, but with devotion of the soul, which is the effect of charity." Wherefore it is evident from the very way of speaking that the counsels are means of attaining to perfection, since it is thus expressed: "If thou wilt be perfect, go, sell," etc., as though He said: "By so doing thou shalt accomplish this end."
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 3 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod, sicut Augustinus dicit, in libro de Perfect. Iustit., perfectio caritatis homini in hac vita praecipitur, quia recte non curritur si quo currendum est nesciatur. Quomodo autem sciretur, si nullis praeceptis ostenderetur? Cum autem id quod cadit sub praecepto diversimode possit impleri, non efficitur transgressor praecepti aliquis ex hoc quod non optimo modo implet, sed sufficit quod quocumque modo impleat illud. Perfectio autem divinae dilectionis universaliter quidem cadit sub praecepto, ita quod etiam perfectio patriae non excluditur ab illo praecepto, ut Augustinus dicit, sed transgressionem praecepti evadit qui quocumque modo perfectionem divinae dilectionis attingit. Est aut infimus divinae dilectionis gradus ut nihil supra eum, aut contra eum, aut aequaliter ei diligatur, a quo gradu perfectionis qui deficit, nullo modo implet praeceptum. Est autem aliquis gradus perfectae dilectionis qui non potest impleri in via, ut dictum est, a quo qui deficit, manifestum est quod non est transgressor praecepti. Et similiter non est transgressor praecepti qui non attingit ad medios perfectionis gradus, dummodo attingat ad infimum. Reply to Objection 2. As Augustine says (De Perf. Justit. viii) "the perfection of charity is prescribed to man in this life, because one runs not right unless one knows whither to run. And how shall we know this if no commandment declares it to us?" And since that which is a matter of precept can be fulfilled variously, one does not break a commandment through not fulfilling it in the best way, but it is enough to fulfil it in any way whatever. Now the perfection of Divine love is a matter of precept for all without exception, so that even the perfection of heaven is not excepted from this precept, as Augustine says (De Perf. Justit. viii [Cf. De Spir. et Lit. XXXVI]), and one escapes transgressing the precept, in whatever measure one attains to the perfection of Divine love. The lowest degree of Divine love is to love nothing more than God, or contrary to God, or equally with God, and whoever fails from this degree of perfection nowise fulfils the precept. There is another degree of the Divine love, which cannot be fulfilled so long as we are on the way, as stated above (Article 2), and it is evident that to fail from this is not to be a transgressor of the precept; and in like manner one does not transgress the precept, if one does not attain to the intermediate degrees of perfection, provided one attain to the lowest.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 3 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod, sicut homo habet quandam perfectionem suae naturae statim cum nascitur, quae pertinet ad rationem speciei, est autem alia perfectio ad quam per augmentum adducitur, ita etiam est quaedam perfectio caritatis pertinens ad ipsam speciem caritatis, ut scilicet Deus super omnia diligatur et nihil contra eum ametur; est autem alia perfectio caritatis, etiam in hac vita, ad quam aliquis per aliquod spirituale augmentum pervenit, ut puta cum homo etiam a rebus licitis abstinet, ut liberius divinis obsequiis vacet. Reply to Objection 3. Just as man has a certain perfection of his nature as soon as he is born, which perfection belongs to the very essence of his species, while there is another perfection which he acquires by growth, so again there is a perfection of charity which belongs to the very essence of charity, namely that man love God above all things, and love nothing contrary to God, while there is another perfection of charity even in this life, whereto a man attains by a kind of spiritual growth, for instance when a man refrains even from lawful things, in order more freely to give himself to the service of God.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 4 arg. 1 Ad quartum sic proceditur. Videtur quod quicumque est perfectus, sit in statu perfectionis. Sicut enim per augmentum corporale pervenitur ad perfectionem corporalem, ita per augmentum spirituale pervenitur ad perfectionem spiritualem, ut dictum est. Sed post augmentum corporale aliquis dicitur esse in statu perfectae aetatis. Ergo etiam videtur quod post augmentum spirituale, cum quis iam adeptus est perfectionem, sit in statu perfectionis. Objection 1. It would seem that whoever is perfect is in the state of perfection. For, as stated above (3, ad 3), just as bodily perfection is reached by bodily growth, so spiritual perfection is acquired by spiritual growth. Now after bodily growth one is said to have reached the state of perfect age. Therefore seemingly also after spiritual growth, when one has already reached spiritual perfection, one is in the state of perfection.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 4 arg. 2 Praeterea, eadem ratione qua aliquid movetur de contrario in contrarium, movetur etiam aliquid de minori ad maius, ut dicitur in V Physic. Sed quando aliquis transmutatur de peccato ad gratiam, dicitur mutare statum, prout distinguitur status culpae et status gratiae. Ergo videtur quod, pari ratione, cum aliquis proficit de minori gratia ad maiorem quousque perveniat ad perfectum, quod adipiscatur perfectionis statum. Objection 2. Further, according to Phys. v, 2, movement "from one contrary to another" has the same aspect as "movement from less to more." Now when a man is changed from sin to grace, he is said to change his state, in so far as the state of sin differs from the state of grace. Therefore it would seem that in the same manner, when one progresses from a lesser to a greater grace, so as to reach the perfect degree, one is in the state of perfection.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 4 arg. 3 Praeterea, statum adipiscitur aliquis ex hoc quod a servitute liberatur. Sed per caritatem aliquis liberatur a servitute peccati, quia universa delicta operit caritas, ut dicitur Prov. X. Sed perfectus dicitur aliquis secundum caritatem, ut dictum est. Ergo videtur quod quicumque habeat perfectionem, ex hoc ipso habeat perfectionis statum. Objection 3. Further, a man acquires a state by being freed from servitude. But one is freed from the servitude of sin by charity, because "charity covereth all sins" (Proverbs 10:12). Now one is said to be perfect on account of charity, as stated above (Article 1). Therefore, seemingly, whoever has perfection, for this very reason has the state of perfection.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 4 s. c. Sed contra est quod aliqui sunt in statu perfectionis qui omnino caritate et gratia carent, sicut mali episcopi aut mali religiosi. Ergo videtur quod e contrario aliqui habent perfectionem vitae qui tamen non habent perfectionis statum. On the contrary, Some are in the state of perfection, who are wholly lacking in charity and grace, for instance wicked bishops or religious. Therefore it would seem that on the other hand some have the perfection of life, who nevertheless have not the state of perfection.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 4 co. Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut supra dictum est, status proprie pertinet ad conditionem libertatis vel servitutis. Spiritualis autem libertas aut servitus potest in homine attendi dupliciter, uno modo, secundum id quod interius agitur; alio modo, secundum id quod agitur exterius. Et quia, ut dicitur I Reg. XVI, homines vident ea quae parent, sed Deus intuetur cor, inde est quod secundum interiorem hominis dispositionem accipitur conditio spiritualis status in homine per comparationem ad iudicium divinum, secundum autem ea quae exterius aguntur, accipitur spiritualis status in homine per comparationem ad Ecclesiam. Et sic nunc de statibus loquimur, prout scilicet ex diversitate statuum quaedam Ecclesiae pulchritudo consurgit. Est autem considerandum quod, quantum ad homines, ad hoc quod aliquis adipiscatur statum libertatis vel servitutis, requiritur, primo quidem, aliqua obligatio vel absolutio. Non enim ex hoc quod aliquis servit alicui, efficitur servus, quia etiam liberi serviunt secundum illud Galat. V, per caritatem spiritus servite invicem. Neque etiam ex hoc quod aliquis desinit servire, efficitur liber, sicut patet de servis fugitivis. Sed ille proprie est servus qui obligatur ad serviendum, et ille est liber qui a servitute absolvitur. Secundo requiritur quod obligatio praedicta cum aliqua solemnitate fiat, sicut et ceteris quae inter homines obtinent perpetuam firmitatem, quaedam solemnitas adhibetur. Sic igitur et in statu perfectionis proprie dicitur esse aliquis, non ex hoc quod habet actum dilectionis perfectae, sed ex hoc quod obligat se perpetuo, cum aliqua solemnitate, ad ea quae sunt perfectionis. Contingit etiam quod aliqui se obligant qui non servant, et aliqui implent ad quod non se obligaverunt, ut patet Matth. XXI de duobus filiis, quorum unus patri dicenti, operare in vinea, respondit nolo, postea abiit; alter autem respondens ait, eo, et non ivit. Et ideo nihil prohibet aliquos esse perfectos qui non sunt in statu perfectionis, et aliquos esse in statu perfectionis qui non sunt perfecti. I answer that, As stated above (Question 183, Article 1), state properly regards a condition of freedom or servitude. Now spiritual freedom or servitude may be considered in man in two ways: first, with respect to his internal actions; secondly, with respect to his external actions. And since according to (1 Samuel 16:7), "man seeth those things that appear, but the Lord beholdeth the heart," it follows that with regard to man's internal disposition we consider his spiritual state in relation to the Divine judgment, while with regard to his external actions we consider man's spiritual state in relation to the Church. It is in this latter sense that we are now speaking of states, namely in so far as the Church derives a certain beauty from the variety of states [Cf. 183, 2]. Now it must be observed, that so far as men are concerned, in order that any one attain to a state of freedom or servitude there is required first of all an obligation or a release. For the mere fact of serving someone does not make a man a slave, since even the free serve, according to (Galatians 5:13), "By charity of the spirit serve one another": nor again does the mere fact of ceasing to serve make a man free, as in the case of a runaway slave; but properly speaking a man is a slave if he be bound to serve, and a man is free if he be released from service. Secondly, it is required that the aforesaid obligation be imposed with a certain solemnity; even as a certain solemnity is observed in other matters which among men obtain a settlement in perpetuity. Accordingly, properly speaking, one is said to be in the state of perfection, not through having the act of perfect love, but through binding himself in perpetuity and with a certain solemnity to those things that pertain to perfection. Moreover it happens that some persons bind themselves to that which they do not keep, and some fulfil that to which they have not bound themselves, as in the case of the two sons (Matthew 21:28-30), one of whom when his father said: "Work in my vineyard," answered: "I will not," and "afterwards . . . he went," while the other "answering said: I go . . . and he went not." Wherefore nothing hinders some from being perfect without being in the state of perfection, and some in the state of perfection without being perfect.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 4 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod per augmentum corporale aliquis proficit in his quae pertinent ad naturam, et ideo adipiscitur naturae statum, praesertim quia quod est secundum naturam, quodammodo immutabile est, inquantum natura determinatur ad unum. Et similiter per augmentum spirituale interius aliquis adipiscitur perfectionis statum quantum ad divinum iudicium. Sed quantum ad distinctiones ecclesiasticorum statuum, non adipiscitur aliquis statum perfectionis nisi per augmentum in his quae exterius aguntur. Reply to Objection 1. By bodily growth a man progresses in things pertaining to nature, wherefore he attains to the state of nature; especially since "what is according to nature is," in a way, "unchangeable" [Ethic. v, 7, inasmuch as nature is determinate to one thing. On like manner by inward spiritual growth a man reaches the state of perfection in relation to the Divine judgment. But as regards the distinctions of ecclesiastical states, a man does not reach the state of perfection except by growth in respect of external actions.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 4 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod illa etiam ratio procedit quantum ad interiorem statum. Et tamen, cum aliquis transit de peccato ad gratiam, transit de servitute ad libertatem, quod non contingit per simplicem profectum gratiae, nisi cum aliquis se obligat ad ea quae sunt gratiae. Reply to Objection 2. This argument also regards the interior state. Yet when a man passes from sin to grace, he passes from servitude to freedom; and this does not result from a mere progress in grace, except when a man binds himself to things pertaining to grace.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 4 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod illa etiam ratio procedit quantum ad interiorem statum. Et tamen, licet caritas variet conditionem spiritualis servitutis et libertatis, hoc tamen non facit caritatis augmentum. Reply to Objection 3. Again this argument considers the interior state. Nevertheless, although charity causes the change of condition from spiritual servitude to spiritual freedom, an increase of charity has not the same effect.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 5 arg. 1 Ad quintum sic proceditur. Videtur quod praelati et religiosi non sint in statu perfectionis. Status enim perfectionis distinguitur contra statum incipientium et proficientium. Sed non sunt aliqua genera hominum deputata specialiter statui proficientium vel incipientium. Ergo videtur quod nec etiam debeant esse aliqua genera hominum deputata statui perfectionis. Objection 1. It would seem that prelates and religious are not in the state of perfection. For the state of perfection differs from the state of the beginners and the proficient. Now no class of men is specially assigned to the state of the proficient or of the beginners. Therefore it would seem that neither should any class of men be assigned to the state of perfection.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 5 arg. 2 Praeterea, status exterior debet interiori statui respondere, alioquin incurritur mendacium, quod non solum est in falsis verbis, sed etiam in simulatis operibus, ut Ambrosius dicit, in quodam sermone. Sed multi sunt praelati vel religiosi qui non habent interiorem perfectionem caritatis. Si ergo omnes religiosi et praelati sunt in statu perfectionis, sequeretur quod quicumque eorum non sunt perfecti, sint in peccato mortali, tanquam simulatores et mendaces. Objection 2. Further, the outward state should answer to the inward, else one is guilty of lying, "which consists not only in false words, but also in deceitful deeds," according to Ambrose in one of his sermons (xxx de Tempore). Now there are many prelates and religious who have not the inward perfection of charity. Therefore, if all religious and prelates are in the state of perfection, it would follow that all of them that are not perfect are in mortal sin, as deceivers and liars.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 5 arg. 3 Praeterea, perfectio secundum caritatem attenditur, ut supra habitum est. Sed perfectissima caritas videtur esse in martyribus, secundum illud Ioan. XV, maiorem dilectionem nemo habet quam ut animam suam ponat quis pro amicis suis. Et super illud Heb. XII, nondum enim usque ad sanguinem etc., dicit Glossa, perfectior in hac vita dilectio nulla est ea ad quam sancti martyres pervenerunt, qui contra peccatum usque ad sanguinem certaverunt. Ergo videtur quod magis debeat attribui perfectionis status martyribus quam religiosis et episcopis. Objection 3. Further, as stated above (Article 1), perfection is measured according to charity. Now the most perfect charity would seem to be in the martyrs, according to John 15:13, "Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends": and a gloss on Hebrews 12:4, "For you have not yet resisted unto blood," says: "In this life no love is more perfect than that to which the holy martyrs attained, who strove against sin even unto blood." Therefore it would seem that the state of perfection should be ascribed to the martyrs rather than to religious and bishops.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 5 s. c. Sed contra est quod Dionysius, in V cap. Eccles. Hier., attribuit perfectionem episcopis tanquam perfectoribus. Et in VI cap. eiusdem libri, attribuit perfectionem religiosis, quos vocat monachos vel Therapeutas, idest, Deo famulantes, tanquam perfectis. On the contrary, Dionysius (Eccl. Hier. v) ascribes perfection to bishops as being perfecters, and (Eccl. Hier. vi) to religious (whom he calls monks or therapeutai, i.e. servants of God) as being perfected.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 5 co. Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut dictum est, ad statum perfectionis requiritur obligatio perpetua ad ea quae sunt perfectionis, cum aliqua solemnitate. Utrumque autem horum competit et religiosis et episcopis. Religiosi enim voto se adstringunt ad hoc quod a rebus saecularibus abstineant quibus licite uti poterant, ad hoc quod liberius Deo vacent, in quo consistit perfectio praesentis vitae. Unde Dionysius dicit, VI cap. Eccles. Hier., de religiosis loquens, alii quidem Therapeutas, idest famulos, ex Dei puro servitio et famulatu, alii vero monachos ipsos nominant, ex indivisibili et singulari vita uniente ipsos, indivisibilium sanctis convolutionibus, idest contemplationibus, ad deiformem unitatem et amabilem Deo perfectionem. Horum etiam obligatio fit cum quadam solemnitate professionis et benedictionis. Unde et ibidem subdit Dionysius, propter quod, perfectam ipsis donans gratiam, sancta legislatio quadam ipsos dignata est sanctificativa invocatione. Similiter etiam et episcopi obligant se ad ea quae sunt perfectionis, pastorale assumentes officium, ad quod pertinet ut animam suam ponat pastor pro ovibus suis, sicut dicitur Ioan. X. Unde apostolus dicit, I ad Tim. ult., confessus es bonam confessionem coram multis testibus, idest in tua ordinatione, ut Glossa ibidem dicit. Adhibetur etiam quaedam solemnitas consecrationis simul cum professione praedicta, secundum illud II ad Tim. I, resuscites gratiam Dei quae est in te per impositionem manuum mearum, quod Glossa exponit de gratia episcopali. Et Dionysius dicit, V cap. Eccles. Hier., quod summus sacerdos, idest episcopus, in sua ordinatione habet eloquiorum super caput sanctissimam superpositionem, ut significetur quod ipse est participativus integre totius hierarchiae virtutis, et quod ipse non solum sit illuminativus omnium quae pertinent ad sanctas locutiones et actiones, sed quod etiam haec aliis tradat. I answer that, As stated above (Article 4), there is required for the state of perfection a perpetual obligation to things pertaining to perfection, together with a certain solemnity. Now both these conditions are competent to religious and bishops. For religious bind themselves by vow to refrain from worldly affairs, which they might lawfully use, in order more freely to give themselves to God, wherein consists the perfection of the present life. Hence Dionysius says (Eccl. Hier. vi), speaking of religious: "Some call them therapeutai," i.e. servants, "on account of their rendering pure service and homage to God; others call them monachoi" [i.e. solitaries; whence the English word 'monk'], "on account of the indivisible and single-minded life which by their being wrapped in," i.e. contemplating, "indivisible things, unites them in a Godlike union and a perfection beloved of God" [Cf. 180, 6]. Moreover, the obligation in both cases is undertaken with a certain solemnity of profession and consecration; wherefore Dionysius adds (Eccl. Hier. vi): "Hence the holy legislation in bestowing perfect grace on them accords them a hallowing invocation." In like manner bishops bind themselves to things pertaining to perfection when they take up the pastoral duty, to which it belongs that a shepherd "lay down his life for his sheep," according to John 10:15. Wherefore the Apostle says (1 Timothy 6:1)2): "Thou . . . hast confessed a good confession before many witnesses," that is to say, "when he was ordained," as a gloss says on this passage. Again, a certain solemnity of consecration is employed together with the aforesaid profession, according to (2 Timothy 1:6): "Stir up the grace of God which is in thee by the imposition of my hands," which the gloss ascribes to the grace of the episcopate. And Dionysius says (Eccl. Hier. v) that "when the high priest," i.e. the bishop, "is ordained, he receives on his head the most holy imposition of the sacred oracles, whereby it is signified that he is a participator in the whole and entire hierarchical power, and that not only is he the enlightener in all things pertaining to his holy discourses and actions, but that he also confers this on others."
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 5 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod inchoatio et augmentum non quaeritur propter se, sed propter perfectionem. Et ideo ad solum perfectionis statum aliqui homines cum quadam obligatione et solemnitate assumuntur. Reply to Objection 1. Beginning and increase are sought not for their own sake, but for the sake of perfection; hence it is only to the state of perfection that some are admitted under certain obligations and with solemnity.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 5 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod homines statum perfectionis assumunt, non quasi profitentes se esse perfectos, sed quasi profitentes se ad perfectionem tendere. Unde et apostolus dicit, ad Philipp. III, non quod iam comprehenderim, aut perfectus sim, sequor autem, si quo modo comprehendam. Et postea subdit, quicumque ergo perfecti sumus, hoc sentiamus. Unde non committit aliquis mendacium vel simulationem ex hoc quod non est perfectus qui statum perfectionis assumit, sed ex eo quod ab intentione perfectionis animum revocat. Reply to Objection 2. Those who enter the state of perfection do not profess to be perfect, but to tend to perfection. Hence the Apostle says (Philippians 3:12): "Not as though I had already attained, or were already perfect; but I follow after, if I may by any means apprehend": and afterwards (Philippians 3:15): "Let us therefore as many as are perfect, be thus minded." Hence a man who takes up the state of perfection is not guilty of lying or deceit through not being perfect, but through withdrawing his mind from the intention of reaching perfection.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 5 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod martyrium in actu perfectissimo caritatis consistit. Actus autem perfectionis non sufficit ad statum faciendum, ut dictum est. Reply to Objection 3. Martyrdom is the most perfect act of charity. But an act of perfection does not suffice to make the state of perfection, as stated above (Article 4).
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 6 arg. 1 Ad sextum sic proceditur. Videtur quod omnes praelati ecclesiastici sint in statu perfectionis. Dicit enim Hieronymus, super Epist. ad Tit., olim idem presbyter qui et episcopus, et postea subdit, sicut ergo presbyteri sciunt se Ecclesiae consuetudine ei qui sibi praepositus fuerit, esse subiectos; ita episcopi noverint se magis consuetudine quam dispensationis dominicae veritate presbyteris esse maiores, et in communi debere Ecclesiam regere. Sed episcopi sunt in statu perfectionis. Ergo et presbyteri habentes curam animarum. Objection 1. It would seem that all ecclesiastical prelates are in a state of perfection. For Jerome commenting on Titus 1:5, "Ordain . . . in every city," etc. says: "Formerly priest was the same as bishop," and afterwards he adds: "Just as priests know that by the custom of the Church they are subject to the one who is placed over them, so too, bishops should recognize that, by custom rather than by the very ordinance of our Lord, they are above the priests, and are together the rightful governors of the Church." Now bishops are in the state of perfection. Therefore those priests also are who have the cure of souls.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 6 arg. 2 Praeterea, sicut episcopi suscipiunt curam animarum cum consecratione, ita etiam et presbyteri curati, et etiam archidiaconi, de quibus, super illud Act. VI, considerate, fratres, viros boni testimonii septem etc., dicit Glossa, hic decernebant apostoli per Ecclesiam constitui septem diacones, qui essent sublimioris gradus, et quasi columnae proximi circa aram. Ergo videtur quod ipsi etiam sint in statu perfectionis. Objection 2. Further, just as bishops together with their consecration receive the cure of souls, so also do parish priests and archdeacons, of whom a gloss on Acts 6:3, "Brethren, look ye out . . . seven men of good reputation," says: "The apostles decided here to appoint throughout the Church seven deacons, who were to be of a higher degree, and as it were the supports of that which is nearest to the altar." Therefore it would seem that these also are in the state of perfection.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 6 arg. 3 Praeterea, sicut episcopi obligantur ad hoc quod animam suam ponant pro ovibus suis, ita et presbyteri curati et archidiaconi. Sed hoc pertinet ad perfectionem caritatis, ut dictum est. Ergo videtur quod etiam presbyteri curati et archidiaconi sint in statu perfectionis. Objection 3. Further, just as bishops are bound to "lay down their life for their sheep," so too are parish priests and archdeacons. But this belongs to the perfection of charity, as stated above (2, ad 3). Therefore it would seem that parish priests and archdeacons also are in the state of perfection.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 6 s. c. Sed contra est quod dicit Dionysius, V cap. Eccles. Hier., pontificum quidem ordo consummativus est et perfectivus; sacerdotum autem illuminativus et lucidativus; ministrantium vero purgativus et discretivus. Ex quo patet quod perfectio solis episcopis attribuitur. On the contrary, Dionysius says (Eccl. Hier. v): "The order of pontiffs is consummative and perfecting, that of the priests is illuminative and light-giving, that of the ministers is cleansing and discretive." Hence it is evident that perfection is ascribed to bishops only.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 6 co. Respondeo dicendum quod in presbyteris et diaconibus habentibus curam animarum, duo possunt considerari, scilicet ordo, et cura. Ordo autem ipse ordinatur ad quendam actum in divinis officiis; unde supra dictum est quod distinctio ordinum sub distinctione officiorum continetur. Unde per hoc quod aliqui accipiunt sacrum ordinem, accipiunt potestatem quosdam sacros actus perficiendi, non autem obligantur ex hoc ipso ad ea quae sunt perfectionis, nisi quatenus, apud Occidentalem Ecclesiam, in susceptione sacri ordinis emittitur continentiae votum, quod est unum eorum quae ad perfectionem pertinent, ut infra dicetur. Unde patet quod ex hoc quod aliquis accipit sacrum ordinem, non ponitur simpliciter in statu perfectionis, quamvis interior perfectio ad hoc requiratur quod aliquis digne huiusmodi actus exerceat. Similiter etiam nec ex parte curae quam suscipiunt, ponuntur in statu perfectionis. Non enim obligantur ex hoc ipso vinculo perpetui voti ad hoc quod curam animarum retineant, sed possunt eam deserere, vel transeundo ad religionem, etiam absque licentia episcopi, ut habetur in decretis, XIX Caus. qu. II; et etiam, cum licentia episcopi, potest aliquis archidiaconatum vel parochiam dimittere et simplicem praebendam accipere sine cura. Quod nullo modo liceret si esset in statu perfectionis, nemo enim mittens manum ad aratrum et aspiciens retro, aptus est regno Dei, ut dicitur Luc. IX. Episcopi autem, quia sunt in statu perfectionis, non nisi auctoritate summi pontificis, ad quem etiam pertinet in votis perpetuis dispensare, possunt episcopalem curam deserere, et ex certis causis, ut infra dicetur. Unde manifestum est quod non omnes praelati sunt in statu perfectionis, sed soli episcopi. I answer that, In priests and deacons having cure of souls two things may be considered, namely their order and their cure. Their order is directed to some act in the Divine offices. Wherefore it has been stated above (183, 3, ad 3) that the distinction of orders is comprised under the distinction of offices. Hence by receiving a certain order a man receives the power of exercising certain sacred acts, but he is not bound on this account to things pertaining to perfection, except in so far as in the Western Church the receiving of a sacred order includes the taking of a vow of continence, which is one of the things pertaining to perfection, as we shall state further on (186, 4). Therefore it is clear that from the fact that a man receives a sacred order a man is not placed simply in the state of perfection, although inward perfection is required in order that one exercise such acts worthily. In like manner, neither are they placed in the state of perfection on the part of the cure which they take upon themselves. For they are not bound by this very fact under the obligation of a perpetual vow to retain the cure of souls; but they can surrender it--either by entering religion, even without their bishop's permission (cf. Decret. xix, qu. 2, can. Duae sunt)--or again an archdeacon may with his bishop's permission resign his arch-deaconry or parish, and accept a simple prebend without cure, which would be nowise lawful, if he were in the state of perfection; for "no man putting his hand to the plough and looking back is fit for the kingdom of God" (Luke 9:62). On the other hand bishops, since they are in the state of perfection, cannot abandon the episcopal cure, save by the authority of the Sovereign Pontiff (to whom alone it belongs also to dispense from perpetual vows), and this for certain causes, as we shall state further on (185, 4). Wherefore it is manifest that not all prelates are in the state of perfection, but only bishops.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 6 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod de presbytero et episcopo dupliciter loqui possumus. Uno modo, quantum ad nomen. Et sic olim non distinguebantur episcopi et presbyteri. Nam episcopi dicuntur ex eo quod superintendunt, sicut Augustinus dicit, XIX de Civ. Dei, presbyteri autem in Graeco dicuntur quasi seniores. Unde et apostolus communiter utitur nomine presbyterorum quantum ad utrosque, cum dicit, I ad Tim. V, qui bene praesunt presbyteri, duplici honore digni habeantur. Et similiter etiam nomine episcoporum, unde dicit, Act. XX, presbyteris Ecclesiae Ephesinae loquens, attendite vobis et universo gregi, in quo vos spiritus sanctus posuit episcopos regere Ecclesiam Dei. Sed secundum rem, semper inter eos fuit distinctio, etiam tempore apostolorum, ut patet per Dionysium, V cap. Eccles. Hier. Et Luc. X, super illud, post haec autem designavit dominus etc., dicit Glossa, sicut in apostolis forma est episcoporum, sic in septuagintaduobus discipulis forma est presbyterorum secundi ordinis. Postmodum tamen, ad schisma vitandum, necessarium fuit ut etiam nomina distinguerentur, ut scilicet maiores dicerentur episcopi. Minores autem dicuntur presbyteri. Dicere autem presbyteros non differre ab episcopis, inter dogmata haeretica numerat Augustinus, in libro de Haeres., ubi dicit quod Aeriani dicebant presbyterum ab episcopo nulla differentia debere discerni. Reply to Objection 1. We may speak of priest and bishop in two ways. First, with regard to the name: and thus formerly bishops and priests were not distinct. For bishops are so called "because they watch over others," as Augustine observes (De Civ. Dei xix, 19); while the priests according to the Greek are "elders." [Referring to the Greek episkopos and presbyteros from which the English 'bishop' and 'priest' are derived.] Hence the Apostle employs the term "priests" in reference to both, when he says (1 Timothy 5:1)7): "Let the priests that rule well be esteemed worthy of double honor"; and again he uses the term "bishops" in the same way, wherefore addressing the priests of the Church of Ephesus he says (Acts 20:28): "Take heed to yourselves" and "to the whole flock, wherein the Holy Ghost hath placed you bishops, to rule the church of God." But as regards the thing signified by these terms, there was always a difference between them, even at the time of the apostles. This is clear on the authority of Dionysius (Eccl. Hier. v), and of a gloss on (Luke 10:1), "After these things the Lord appointed," etc. which says: "Just as the apostles were made bishops, so the seventy-two disciples were made priests of the second order." Subsequently, however, in order to avoid schism, it became necessary to distinguish even the terms, by calling the higher ones bishops and the lower ones priests. But to assert that priests nowise differ from bishops is reckoned by Augustine among heretical doctrines (De Heres. liii), where he says that the Arians maintained that "no distinction existed between a priest and a bishop."
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 6 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod episcopi principaliter habent curam omnium suae dioecesis, presbyteri autem curati et archidiaconi habent aliquas subministrationes sub episcopis. Unde super illud I ad Cor. XII, alii opitulationes, alii gubernationes, dicit Glossa, opitulationes, idest, eos qui maioribus ferunt opem, ut Titus apostolo, vel archidiaconi episcopis. Gubernationes, scilicet minorum personarum praelationes, ut presbyteri sunt, qui plebi documento sunt. Et Dionysius dicit, V cap. Eccles. Hier., quod sicut universam hierarchiam videmus in Iesu terminatam, ita unamquamque in proprio divino hierarcha, idest episcopo. Et XVI, qu. I, dicitur, omnibus presbyteris et diaconibus attendendum est ut nihil absque proprii episcopi licentia agant. Ex quo patet quod ita se habent ad episcopum sicut ballivi vel praepositi ad regem. Et propter hoc, sicut in mundanis potestatibus solus rex solemnem benedictionem accipit, alii vero per simplicem commissionem instituuntur; ita etiam in Ecclesia cura episcopalis cum solemnitate consecrationis committitur, cura autem archidiaconatus vel plebanatus cum simplici iniunctione. Consecrantur tamen in susceptione ordinis, etiam antequam curam habeant. Reply to Objection 2. Bishops have the chief cure of the sheep of their diocese, while parish priests and archdeacons exercise an inferior ministry under the bishops. Hence a gloss on (1 Corinthians 12:2)8, "to one, helps, to another, governments [Vulgate: 'God hath set some in the church . . . helps, governments,' etc.]," says: "Helps, namely assistants to those who are in authority," as Titus was to the Apostle, or as archdeacons to the bishop; "governments, namely persons of lesser authority, such as priests who have to instruct the people": and Dionysius says (Eccl. Hier. v) that "just as we see the whole hierarchy culminating in Jesus, so each office culminates in its respective godlike hierarch or bishop." Also it is said (XVI, qu. i, can. Cunctis): "Priests and deacons must all take care not to do anything without their bishop's permission." Wherefore it is evident that they stand in relation to their bishop as wardens or mayors to the king; and for this reason, just as in earthly governments the king alone receives a solemn blessing, while others are appointed by simple commission, so too in the Church the episcopal cure is conferred with the solemnity of consecration, while the archdeacon or parish priest receives his cure by simple appointment; although they are consecrated by receiving orders before having a cure.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 6 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod sicut plebani et archidiaconi non habent principaliter curam, sed administrationem quandam secundum quod eis ab episcopo committitur; ita etiam ad eos non pertinet principaliter pastorale officium, nec obligatio ponendi animam pro ovibus, sed inquantum participant de cura. Unde magis habent quoddam officium ad perfectionem pertinens, quam obtineant perfectionis statum. Reply to Objection 3. As parish priests and archdeacons have not the chief cure, but a certain ministry as committed to them by the bishop, so the pastoral office does not belong to them in chief, nor are they bound to lay down their life for the sheep, except in so far as they have a share in their cure. Hence we should say that they have an office pertaining to perfection rather than that they attain the state of perfection.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 7 arg. 1 Ad septimum sic proceditur. Videtur quod status religiosorum sit perfectior quam status praelatorum. Dominus enim dicit, Matth. XIX, si vis perfectus esse, vade et vende omnia quae habes et da pauperibus, quod faciunt religiosi. Non autem ad hoc tenentur episcopi, dicitur enim XII, qu. I, episcopi de rebus propriis vel acquisitis, vel quidquid de proprio habent, heredibus suis derelinquant. Ergo religiosi sunt in perfectiori statu quam episcopi. Objection 1. It would seem that the religious state is more perfect than that of prelates. For our Lord said (Matthew 19:21): "If thou wilt be perfect, go" and "sell" all [Vulgate: 'what'] "thou hast, and give to the poor"; and religious do this. But bishops are not bound to do so; for it is said (XII, qu. i, can. Episcopi de rebus): "Bishops, if they wish, may bequeath to their heirs their personal or acquired property, and whatever belongs to them personally." Therefore religious are in a more perfect state than bishops.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 7 arg. 2 Praeterea, perfectio principalius consistit in dilectione Dei quam in dilectione proximi. Sed status religiosorum directe ordinatur ad dilectionem Dei, unde et ex Dei servitio et famulatu nominantur, ut Dionysius dicit, VI cap. Eccles. Hier. Status autem episcoporum videtur ordinari ad dilectionem proximi, cuius curae superintendunt, unde et nominantur, ut patet per Augustinum, XIX de Civ. Dei. Ergo videtur quod status religiosorum sit perfectior quam status episcoporum. Objection 2. Further, perfection consists more especially in the love of God than in the love of our neighbor. Now the religious state is directly ordered to the love of God, wherefore it takes its name from "service and homage to God," as Dionysius says (Eccl. Hier. vi); [Quoted above 5 whereas the bishop's state would seem to be ordered to the love of our neighbor, of whose cure he is the "warden," and from this he takes his name, as Augustine observes (De Civ. Dei. xix, 19). Therefore it would seem that the religious state is more perfect than that of bishops.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 7 arg. 3 Praeterea, status religiosorum ordinatur ad vitam contemplativam, quae potior est quam vita activa, ad quam ordinatur status episcoporum, dicit enim Gregorius, in Pastoral., quod per activam vitam prodesse proximis cupiens Isaias officium praedicationis appetiit, per contemplationem vero Ieremias, amori conditoris sedulo inhaerere desiderans, ne mitti ad praedicandum debeat, contradicit. Ergo videtur quod status religiosorum sit perfectior quam status episcoporum. Objection 3. Further, the religious state is directed to the contemplative life, which is more excellent than the active life to which the episcopal state is directed. For Gregory says (Pastor. i, 7) that "Isaias wishing to be of profit to his neighbor by means of the active life desired the office of preaching, whereas Jeremias, who was fain to hold fast to the love of his Creator, exclaimed against being sent to preach." Therefore it would seem that the religious state is more perfect than the episcopal state.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 7 s. c. Sed contra, nulli licet a maiori statu ad minorem transire, hoc enim esset retro aspicere. Sed potest aliquis a statu religionis transire ad statum episcopalem, dicitur enim XVIII, qu. I, quod sacra ordinatio de monacho episcopum facit. Ergo status episcoporum est perfectior quam religiosorum. On the contrary, It is not lawful for anyone to pass from a more excellent to a less excellent state; for this would be to look back [Cf. (Luke 9:62). Yet a man may pass from the religious to the episcopal state, for it is said (XVIII, qu. i, can. Statutum) that "the holy ordination makes a monk to be a bishop." Therefore the episcopal state is more perfect than the religious.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 7 co. Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut Augustinus dicit, XII super Gen. ad Litt., semper agens praestantius est patiente. In genere autem perfectionis, episcopi, secundum Dionysium, se habent ut perfectores, religiosi autem ut perfecti, quorum unum pertinet ad actionem, alterum autem ad passionem. Unde manifestum est quod status perfectionis potius est in episcopis quam in religiosis. I answer that, As Augustine says (Gen. ad lit. xii, 16), "the agent is ever more excellent than the patient." Now in the genus of perfection according to Dionysius (Eccl. Hier. v, vi), bishops are in the position of "perfecters," whereas religious are in the position of being "perfected"; the former of which pertains to action, and the latter to passion. Whence it is evident that the state of perfection is more excellent in bishops than in religious.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 7 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod abrenuntiatio propriarum facultatum dupliciter considerari potest. Uno modo, secundum quod est in actu. Et sic in ea non consistit essentialiter perfectio, sed est quoddam perfectionis instrumentum, sicut supra dictum est. Et ideo nihil prohibet statum perfectionis esse sine abrenuntiatione propriorum. Sic etiam dicendum est de aliis exterioribus observantiis. Alio modo potest considerari secundum praeparationem animi, ut scilicet homo sit paratus, si opus fuerit, omnia dimittere vel distribuere. Et hoc pertinet directe ad perfectionem. Unde Augustinus dicit, in libro de quaest. Evang., ostendit dominus filios sapientiae intelligere non in abstinendo nec in manducando esse iustitiam, sed in aequanimitate tolerandi inopiam. Unde et apostolus dicit, scio abundare et penuriam pati. Ad hoc autem maxime tenentur episcopi, quod omnia sua pro honore Dei et salute sui gregis contemnant, cum opus fuerit, vel pauperibus sui gregis largiendo, vel rapinam bonorum suorum cum gaudio sustinendo. Reply to Objection 1. Renunciation of one's possessions may be considered in two ways. First, as being actual: and thus it is not essential, but a means, to perfection, as stated above (Article 3). Hence nothing hinders the state of perfection from being without renunciation of one's possessions, and the same applies to other outward practices. Secondly, it may be considered in relation to one's preparedness, in the sense of being prepared to renounce or give away all: and this belongs directly to perfection. Hence Augustine says (De QQ. Evang. ii, qu. 11): "Our Lord shows that the children of wisdom understand righteousness to consist neither in eating nor in abstaining, but in bearing want patiently." Wherefore the Apostle says (Philippians 4:12): "I know . . . both to abound and to suffer need." Now bishops especially are bound to despise all things for the honor of God and the spiritual welfare of their flock, when it is necessary for them to do so, either by giving to the poor of their flock, or by suffering "with joy the being stripped of" their "own goods" [Hebrews 10:34].
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 7 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod hoc ipsum quod episcopi intendunt his quae pertinent ad proximorum dilectionem, provenit ex abundantia dilectionis divinae. Unde dominus primo a Petro quaesivit an eum diligeret, et postea ei gregis curam commisit. Et Gregorius dicit, in Pastoral., si dilectionis est testimonium cura pastoris, quisquis, virtutibus pollens, gregem Dei renuit pascere, pastorem summum convincitur non amare. Hoc autem est maioris dilectionis signum, ut homo propter amicum etiam alii serviat, quam etiam si soli amico velit servire. Reply to Objection 2. That bishops are busy about things pertaining to the love of their neighbor, arises out of the abundance of their love of God. Hence our Lord asked Peter first of all whether he loved Him, and afterwards committed the care of His flock to him. And Gregory says (Pastor. i, 5): "If the pastoral care is a proof of love, he who refuses to feed God's flock, though having the means to do so, is convicted of not loving the supreme Pastor." And it is a sign of greater love if a man devotes himself to others for his friend's sake, than if he be willing only to serve his friend.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 7 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod, sicut Gregorius dicit, in Pastoral., sit praesul actione praecipuus, prae cunctis contemplatione suspensus, quia ad ipsos pertinet non solum propter seipsos, sed etiam propter instructionem aliorum contemplari. Unde Gregorius dicit, super Ezech., quod de perfectis viris post contemplationem suam redeuntibus dicitur, memoriam suavitatis tuae eructabunt. Reply to Objection 3. As Gregory says (Pastor. ii, 1), "a prelate should be foremost in action, and more uplifted than others in contemplation," because it is incumbent on him to contemplate, not only for his own sake, but also for the purpose of instructing others. Hence Gregory applies (Hom. v in Ezech.) the words of Psalm 144:7, "They shall publish the memory . . . of Thy sweetness," to perfect men returning after their contemplation.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 8 arg. 1 Ad octavum sic proceditur. Videtur quod etiam presbyteri curati et archidiaconi sint maioris perfectionis quam religiosi. Dicit enim Chrysostomus, in suo dialogo, si talem mihi aliquem adducas monachum qualis, ut secundum exaggerationem dicam, Elias fuit, non tamen illi comparandus est qui, traditus populis et multorum peccata ferre compulsus, immobilis perseverat et fortis. Et parum post dicit, si quis mihi proponeret optionem ubi mallem placere, in officio sacerdotali an in solitudine monachorum, sine comparatione eligerem illud quod prius dixi. Et in eodem libro dicit, si quis bene administrato sacerdotio illius propositi, scilicet monachalis, sudores conferat, tantum eos distare reperiet quantum inter privatum distat et regem. Ergo videtur quod sacerdotes habentes curam animarum sint perfectiores religiosis. Objection 1. It would seem that also parish priests and archdeacons are more perfect than religious. For Chrysostom says in his Dialogue (De Sacerdot. vi): "Take for example a monk, such as Elias, if I may exaggerate somewhat, he is not to be compared with one who, cast among the people and compelled to carry the sins of many, remains firm and strong." A little further on he says: "If I were given the choice, where would I prefer to please, in the priestly office, or in the monastic solitude, without hesitation I should choose the former." Again in the same book (ch. 5) he says: "If you compare the toils of this project, namely of the monastic life, with a well-employed priesthood, you will find them as far distant from one another as a common citizen is from a king." Therefore it would seem that priests who have the cure of souls are more perfect than religious.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 8 arg. 2 Praeterea, Augustinus dicit, in epistola ad Valerium, cogitet religiosa prudentia tua nihil esse in hac vita, maxime hoc tempore, difficilius, laboriosius, periculosius episcopi aut presbyteri aut diaconi officio, sed apud Deum nihil beatius, si eo modo militetur quo noster imperator iubet. Non ergo religiosi sunt perfectiores presbyteris aut diaconibus. Objection 2. Further, Augustine says (ad Valerium, Ep. xxi): "Let thy religious prudence observe that in this life, and especially at these times, there is nothing so difficult, so onerous, so perilous as the office of bishop, priest, or deacon; while in God's sight there is no greater blessing, if one engage in the fight as ordered by our Commander-in-chief." Therefore religious are not more perfect than priests or deacons.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 8 arg. 3 Praeterea, Augustinus dicit, ad Aurelium, nimis dolendum est, si ad tam ruinosam superbiam monachos subrigimus, et tam gravi contumelia clericos dignos putamus, ut scilicet dicatur quod malus monachus bonus clericus est, cum aliquando bonus etiam monachus vix bonum clericum faciat. Et paulo ante praemittit, non esse viam dandam servis Dei, idest monachis, ut se facilius putent eligi ad aliquid melius, scilicet clericatum, si facti fuerint deteriores, scilicet abiecto monachatu. Ergo videtur quod illi qui sunt in statu clericali, sint perfectiores religiosis. Objection 3. Further, Augustine says (Ep. lx, ad Aurel.): "It would be most regrettable, were we to exalt monks to such a disastrous degree of pride, and deem the clergy deserving of such a grievous insult," as to assert that 'a bad monk is a good clerk,' "since sometimes even a good monk makes a bad clerk." And a little before this he says that "God's servants," i.e. monks, "must not be allowed to think that they may easily be chosen for something better," namely the clerical state, "if they should become worse thereby," namely by leaving the monastic state. Therefore it would seem that those who are in the clerical state are more perfect than religious.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 8 arg. 4 Praeterea, non licet de statu maiori ad minorem transire. Sed de statu monastico transire licet ad officium presbyteri curam habentis, ut patet XVI, qu. I, ex decreto Gelasii Papae, qui dicit, si quis monachus fuerit qui, venerabilis vitae merito, sacerdotio dignus praevideatur; et abbas sub cuius imperio regi Christo militat, illum fieri presbyterum petierit, ab episcopo debet eligi, et in loco quo iudicaverit ordinari. Et Hieronymus dicit, ad rusticum monachum, sic vive in monasterio ut clericus esse merearis. Ergo presbyteri curati et archidiaconi sunt perfectiores religiosis. Objection 4. Further, it is not lawful to pass from a more perfect to a less perfect state. Yet it is lawful to pass from the monastic state to a priestly office with a cure attached, as appears (XVI, qu. i, can. Si quis monachus) from a decree of Pope Gelasius, who says: "If there be a monk, who by the merit of his exemplary life is worthy of the priesthood, and the abbot under whose authority he fights for Christ his King, ask that he be made a priest, the bishop shall take him and ordain him in such place as he shall choose fitting." And Jerome says (Ad Rustic. Monach., Ep. cxxv): "In the monastery so live as to deserve to be a clerk." Therefore parish priests and archdeacons are more perfect than religious.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 8 arg. 5 Praeterea, episcopi sunt in statu perfectiori quam religiosi, ut ex supra dictis patet. Sed presbyteri curati et archidiaconi, ex eo quod habent curam animarum, similiores sunt episcopis quam religiosi. Ergo sunt maioris perfectionis. Objection 5. Further, bishops are in a more perfect state than religious, as shown above (Article 7). But parish priests and archdeacons. through having cure of souls, are more like bishops than religious are. Therefore they are more perfect.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 8 arg. 6 Praeterea, virtus consistit circa difficile et bonum, ut dicitur in II Ethic. Sed difficilius est quod aliquis bene vivat in officio presbyteri curati vel archidiaconi quam in statu religionis. Ergo presbyteri curati vel archidiaconi sunt perfectioris virtutis quam religiosi. Objection 6. Further, virtue "is concerned with the difficult and the good" (Ethic. ii, 3). Now it is more difficult to lead a good life in the office of parish priest or archdeacon than in the religious state. Therefore parish priests and archdeacons have more perfect virtue than religious.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 8 s. c. Sed contra est quod dicitur XIX, qu. II, cap. duae, si quis in Ecclesia sua sub episcopo populum retinet et saeculariter vivit, si, afflatus spiritu sancto, in aliquo monasterio vel regulari canonica salvari se voluerit, quia lege privata ducitur, nulla ratio exigit ut publica constringatur. Sed non ducitur aliquis a lege spiritus sancti, quae ibi dicitur lex privata, nisi in aliquid perfectius. Ergo videtur quod religiosi sint perfectiores quam archidiaconi vel presbyteri curati. On the contrary, It is stated (XIX, qu. ii, cap. Duce): "If a man while governing the people in his church under the bishop and leading a secular life is inspired by the Holy Ghost to desire to work out his salvation in a monastery or under some canonical rule, since he is led by a private law, there is no reason why he should be constrained by a public law." Now a man is not led by the law of the Holy Ghost, which is here called a "private law," except to something more perfect. Therefore it would seem that religious are more perfect than archdeacons or parish priests.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 8 co. Respondeo dicendum quod comparatio supereminentiae non habet locum inter aliquos ex ea parte in qua conveniunt, sed ex ea parte in qua differunt. In presbyteris autem curatis et archidiaconis tria est considerare, scilicet statum, ordinem et officium. Ad statum pertinet quod saeculares sunt; ad ordinem, quod sunt sacerdotes vel diaconi; ad officium, quod curam animarum habent sibi commissam. Si igitur ex alia parte ponamus statu religiosum, ordine diaconum vel sacerdotem, officio curam animarum habentem, sicut plerique monachi et canonici regulares habent, in primo quidem excellit, in aliis autem par erit. Si autem differat secundus a primo statu et officio, conveniat autem ordine, sicut sunt religiosi sacerdotes et diaconi curam animarum non habentes, manifestum est quod secundus primo erit statu quidem excellentior officio autem minor, ordine vero aequalis. Est ergo considerandum quae praeeminentia potior sit, utrum status, vel officii. Circa quod duo attendenda videntur, scilicet bonitas et difficultas. Si ergo fiat comparatio secundum bonitatem, sic praefertur status religionis officio presbyteri curati vel archidiaconi, quia religiosus totam vitam suam obligat ad perfectionis studium; presbyter autem curatus vel archidiaconus non obligat totam vitam suam ad curam animarum, sicut episcopus; nec etiam ei competit principalem curam subditorum habere, sicut episcopis; sed quaedam particularia circa curam animarum eorum officio committuntur, ut ex dictis patet. Et ideo comparatio status religionis ad eorum officium est sicut universalis ad particulare, et sicut holocausti ad sacrificium, quod est minus holocausto, ut patet per Gregorium, super Ezech. Unde et XIX, qu. I, dicitur, clericis qui monachorum propositum appetunt, quia meliorem vitam sequi cupiunt, liberos eis ab episcopo in monasteriis oportet largiri ingressus. Sed haec comparatio intelligenda est secundum genus operis. Nam secundum caritatem operantis, contingit quandoque quod opus ex genere suo minus existens, magis est meritorium, si ex maiori caritate fiat. Si vero attendatur difficultas bene conversandi in religione, et in officio habentis curam animarum, sic difficilius est bene conversari cum cura animarum, propter exteriora pericula, quamvis conversatio religionis sit difficilior quantum ad ipsum genus operis, propter arctitudinem observantiae regularis. Si vero religiosus etiam ordine careat, sicut patet de conversis religionum, sic manifestum est excellere praeeminentiam ordinis quantum ad dignitatem, quia per sacrum ordinem aliquis deputatur ad dignissima ministeria, quibus ipsi Christo servitur in sacramento altaris, ad quod requiritur maior sanctitas interior quam requirat etiam religionis status; quia, sicut Dionysius dicit, VI cap. Eccles. Hier., monasticus ordo debet sequi sacerdotales ordines, et ad eorum imitationem in divina ascendere. Unde gravius peccat, ceteris paribus, clericus in sacris ordinibus constitutus, si aliquid contrarium sanctitati agat, quam aliquis religiosus qui non habet ordinem sacrum, quamvis laicus religiosus teneatur ad observantias regulares, ad quas illi qui sunt in sacris ordinibus non tenentur. I answer that, When we compare things in the point of super-eminence, we look not at that in which they agree, but at that wherein they differ. Now in parish priests and archdeacons three things may be considered, their state, their order, and their office. It belongs to their state that they are seculars, to their order that they are priests or deacons, to their office that they have the cure of souls committed to them. Accordingly, if we compare these with one who is a religious by state, a deacon or priest by order, having the cure of souls by office, as many monks and canons regular have, this one will excel in the first point, and in the other points he will be equal. But if the latter differ from the former in state and office, but agree in order, such as religious priests and deacons not having the cure of souls, it is evident that the latter will be more excellent than the former in state, less excellent in office, and equal in order. We must therefore consider which is the greater, preeminence of state or of office; and here, seemingly, we should take note of two things, goodness and difficulty. Accordingly, if we make the comparison with a view to goodness, the religious state surpasses the office of parish priest or archdeacon, because a religious pledges his whole life to the quest of perfection, whereas the parish priest or archdeacon does not pledge his whole life to the cure of souls, as a bishop does, nor is it competent to him, as it is to a bishop, to exercise the cure of souls in chief, but only in certain particulars regarding the cure of souls committed to his charge, as stated above (6, ad 2). Wherefore the comparison of their religious state with their office is like the comparisons of the universal with the particular, and of a holocaust with a sacrifice which is less than a holocaust according to Gregory (Hom. xx in Ezech.). Hence it is said (XIX, qu. i, can. Clerici qui monachorum.): "Clerics who wish to take the monastic vows through being desirous of a better life must be allowed by their bishops the free entrance into the monastery." This comparison, however, must be considered as regarding the genus of the deed; for as regards the charity of the doer it happens sometimes that a deed which is of less account in its genus is of greater merit if it be done out of greater charity. On the other hand, if we consider the difficulty of leading a good life in religion, and in the office of one having the cure of souls, in this way it is more difficult to lead a good life together with the exercise of the cure of souls, on account of outward dangers: although the religious life is more difficult as regards the genus of the deed, by reason of the strictness of religious observance. If, however, the religious is also without orders, as in the case of religious lay brethren, then it is evident that the pre-eminence of order excels in the point of dignity, since by holy orders a man is appointed to the most august ministry of serving Christ Himself in the sacrament of the altar. For this requires a greater inward holiness than that which is requisite for the religious state, since as Dionysius says (Eccl. Hier. vi) the monastic order must follow the priestly orders, and ascend to Divine things in imitation of them. Hence, other things being equal, a cleric who is in holy orders, sins more grievously if he do something contrary to holiness than a religious who is not in holy orders: although a religious who is not in orders is bound to regular observance to which persons in holy orders are not bound.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 8 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod ad illas auctoritates Chrysostomi breviter responderi posset quod non loquitur de sacerdote curato minoris ordinis, sed de episcopo, qui dicitur summus sacerdos. Et hoc convenit intentioni illius libri, in quo consolatur se et Basilium de hoc quod erant in episcopos electi. Sed hoc praetermisso, dicendum est quod loquitur quantum ad difficultatem. Praemittit enim, cum fuerit gubernator in mediis fluctibus et de tempestate navem liberare potuerit, tunc merito testimonium perfecti gubernatoris ab omnibus promeretur. Et post concludit quod supra positum est de monacho, qui non est comparandus illi qui, traditus populis, immobilis perseverat, et subdit causam, quia sicut in tranquillitate, ita in tempestate gubernavit seipsum. Ex quo nihil aliud ostendi potest nisi quod periculosior est status habentis curam animarum quam monachi, in maiori autem periculo innocentem se servare est maioris virtutis indicium. Sed hoc etiam ad magnitudinem virtutis pertinet, quod aliquis vitet pericula religionem intrando. Unde non dicit quod mallet esse in officio sacerdotali quam in solitudine monachorum, sed quod mallet placere in hoc quam in illo, quia hoc est maioris virtutis argumentum. Reply to Objection 1. We might answer briefly these quotations from Chrysostom by saying that he speaks not of a priest of lesser order who has the cure of souls, but of a bishop, who is called a high-priest; and this agrees with the purpose of that book wherein he consoles himself and Basil in that they were chosen to be bishops. We may, however, pass this over and reply that he speaks in view of the difficulty. For he had already said: "When the pilot is surrounded by the stormy sea and is able to bring the ship safely out of the tempest, then he deserves to be acknowledged by all as a perfect pilot"; and afterwards he concludes, as quoted, with regard to the monk, "who is not to be compared with one who, cast among the people . . . remains firm"; and he gives the reason why, because "both in the calm end in the storm he piloted himself to safety." This proves nothing more than that the state of one who has the cure of souls is fraught with more danger than the monastic state; and to keep oneself innocent in face of a greater peril is proof of greater virtue. on the other hand, it also indicates greatness of virtue if a man avoid dangers by entering religion; hence he does not say that "he would prefer the priestly office to the monastic solitude," but that "he would rather please" in the former than in the latter, since this is a proof of greater virtue.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 8 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod etiam illa auctoritas Augustini manifeste loquitur quantum ad difficultatem, quae ostendit magnitudinem virtutis in his qui bene conversantur, sicut dictum est. Reply to Objection 2. This passage quoted from Augustine also clearly refers to the question of difficulty which proves the greatness of virtue in those who lead a good life, as stated above (ad 1).
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 8 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod Augustinus ibi comparat monachos clericis quantum ad distantiam ordinis, non quantum ad distantiam religionis et saecularis vitae. Reply to Objection 3. Augustine there compares monks with clerics as regards the pre-eminence of order, not as regards the distinction between religious and secular life.
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 8 ad 4 Ad quartum dicendum quod illi qui a statu religionis assumuntur ad curam animarum, cum prius essent in sacris ordinibus constituti assequuntur aliquid quod prius non habebant, scilicet officium curae, non autem deponunt quod prius habebant, scilicet religionis statum; dicitur enim in decretis, XVI causa, qu. I, de monachis qui, diu morantes in monasteriis, si postea ad clericatus ordines pervenerint, statuimus non debere eos a priori proposito discedere. Sed presbyteri curati vel archidiaconi, quando religionem ingrediuntur, curam deponunt ut adipiscantur perfectionem status. Unde ex hoc ipso excellentia ex parte religionis ostenditur. In hoc autem quod religiosi laici assumuntur ad clericatum et sacros ordines, manifeste promoventur ad melius, sicut supra dictum est. Et hoc ostenditur ex ipso modo loquendi, cum Hieronymus dicit, sic in monasterio vive ut clericus esse merearis. Reply to Objection 4. Those who are taken from the religious state to receive the cure of souls, being already in sacred orders, attain to something they had not hitherto, namely the office of the cure, yet they do not put aside what they had already. For it is said in the Decretals (XVI, qu. i, can. De Monachis): "With regard to those monks who after long residence in a monastery attain to the order of clerics, we bid them not to lay aside their former purpose." On the other hand, parish priests and archdeacons, when they enter religion, resign their cure, in order to enter the state of perfection. This very fact shows the excellence of the religious life. When religious who are not in orders are admitted to the clerical state and to the sacred orders, they are clearly promoted to something better, as stated: this is indicated by the very way in which Jerome expresses himself: "So live in the monastery as to deserve to be a clerk."
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 8 ad 5 Ad quintum dicendum quod presbyteri curati et archidiaconi sunt similiores episcopis quam religiosi quantum ad aliquid, scilicet quantum ad curam animarum, quam secundario habent. Sed quantum ad perpetuam obligationem, quae requiritur ad statum perfectionis, similiores sunt episcopo religiosi, ut ex supra dictis patet. Reply to Objection 5. Parish priests and archdeacons are more like bishops than religious are, in a certain respect, namely as regards the cure of souls which they have subordinately; but as regards the obligation in perpetuity, religious are more like a bishop, as appears from what we have said above (A5,6).
IIª-IIae q. 184 a. 8 ad 6 Ad sextum dicendum quod difficultas quae est ex arduitate operis, addit ad perfectionem virtutis. Difficultas autem quae provenit ex exterioribus impedimentis, quandoque quidem diminuit perfectionem virtutis, puta cum aliquis non tantum virtutem amat ut impedimenta virtutis declinare velit, secundum illud apostoli, I ad Cor. IX, omnis qui in agone contendit, ab omnibus se abstinet. Quandoque vero est signum perfectionis virtutis, puta cum alicui ex inopinato vel ex necessaria causa impedimenta virtutis occurrunt, propter quae tamen a virtute non declinat. In statu autem religionis est maior difficultas ex arduitate operum, sed in his qui in saeculo vivunt qualitercumque, est maior difficultas ex impedimentis virtutis, quae religiosi provide vitaverunt. Reply to Objection 6. The difficulty that arises from the arduousness of the deed adds to the perfection of virtue; but the difficulty that results from outward obstacles sometimes lessens the perfection of virtue--for instance, when a man loves not virtue so much as to wish to avoid the obstacles to virtue, according to the saying of the Apostle (1 Corinthians 9:25), "Everyone that striveth for the mastery refraineth himself from all things": and sometimes it is a sign of perfect virtue--for instance, when a man forsakes not virtue, although he is hindered in the practice of virtue unawares or by some unavoidable cause. On the religious state there is greater difficulty arising from the arduousness of deeds; whereas for those who in any way at all live in the world, there is greater difficulty resulting from obstacles to virtue, which obstacles the religious has had the foresight to avoid.

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