Authors/Thomas Aquinas/Summa Theologiae/Part IIb/Q79

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Q78 Q80



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IIª-IIae q. 79 pr. Deinde considerandum est de partibus quasi integralibus iustitiae quae sunt facere bonum et declinare a malo, et de vitiis oppositis. Circa quod quaeruntur quatuor. Primo, utrum duo praedicta sint partes iustitiae. Secundo, utrum transgressio sit speciale peccatum. Tertio, utrum omissio sit speciale peccatum. Quarto, de comparatione omissionis ad transgressionem. Question 79. The quasi-integral parts of Justice 1. Are these two parts of justice? 2. Is transgression a special sin? 3. Is omission a special sin? 4. The comparison between omission and transgression
IIª-IIae q. 79 a. 1 arg. 1 Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod declinare a malo et facere bonum non sint partes iustitiae. Ad quamlibet enim virtutem pertinet facere bonum opus et vitare malum. Sed partes non excedunt totum. Ergo declinare a malo et facere bonum non debent poni partes iustitiae, quae est quaedam virtus specialis. Objection 1. It would seem that to decline from evil and to do good are not parts of justice. For it belongs to every virtue to perform a good deed and to avoid an evil one. But parts do not exceed the whole. Therefore to decline from evil and to do good should not be reckoned parts of justice, which is a special kind of virtue.
IIª-IIae q. 79 a. 1 arg. 2 Praeterea, super illud Psalm., diverte a malo et fac bonum, dicit Glossa, illud vitat culpam, scilicet divertere a malo; hoc meretur vitam et palmam, scilicet facere bonum. Sed quaelibet pars virtutis meretur vitam et palmam. Ergo declinare a malo non est pars iustitiae. Objection 2. Further, a gloss on Psalm 33:15, "Turn away from evil and do good," says: "The former," i.e. to turn away from evil, "avoids sin, the latter," i.e. to do good, "deserves the life and the palm." But any part of a virtue deserves the life and the palm. Therefore to decline from evil is not a part of justice.
IIª-IIae q. 79 a. 1 arg. 3 Praeterea, quaecumque ita se habent quod unum includitur in alio, non distinguuntur ab invicem sicut partes alicuius totius. Sed declinare a malo includitur in hoc quod est facere bonum, nullus enim simul facit malum et bonum. Ergo declinare a malo et facere bonum non sunt partes iustitiae. Objection 3. Further, things that are so related that one implies the other, are not mutually distinct as parts of a whole. Now declining from evil is implied in doing good: since no one does evil and good at the same time. Therefore declining from evil and doing good are not parts of justice.
IIª-IIae q. 79 a. 1 s. c. Sed contra est quod Augustinus, in libro de Corrept. et Grat., ponit ad iustitiam legis pertinere declinare a malo et facere bonum. On the contrary, Augustine (De Correp. et Grat. i) declares that "declining from evil and doing good" belong to the justice of the law.
IIª-IIae q. 79 a. 1 co. Respondeo dicendum quod si loquamur de bono et malo in communi, facere bonum et vitare malum pertinet ad omnem virtutem. Et secundum hoc non possunt poni partes iustitiae, nisi forte iustitia accipiatur prout est omnis virtus. Quamvis etiam iustitia hoc modo accepta respiciat quandam rationem boni specialem, prout scilicet est debitum in ordine ad legem divinam vel humanam. Sed iustitia secundum quod est specialis virtus, respicit bonum sub ratione debiti ad proximum. Et secundum hoc ad iustitiam specialem pertinet facere bonum sub ratione debiti in comparatione ad proximum, et vitare malum oppositum, scilicet quod est nocivum proximo. Ad iustitiam vero generalem pertinet facere bonum debitum in ordine ad communitatem vel ad Deum, et vitare malum oppositum. Dicuntur autem haec duo partes iustitiae generalis vel specialis quasi integrales, quia utrumque eorum requiritur ad perfectum actum iustitiae. Ad iustitiam enim pertinet aequalitatem constituere in his quae sunt ad alterum, ut ex supradictis patet. Eiusdem autem est aliquid constituere, et constitutum conservare. Constituit autem aliquis aequalitatem iustitiae faciendo bonum, idest reddendo alteri quod ei debetur. Conservat autem aequalitatem iustitiae iam constitutae declinando a malo, idest nullum nocumentum proximo inferendo. I answer that, If we speak of good and evil in general, it belongs to every virtue to do good and to avoid evil: and in this sense they cannot be reckoned parts of justice, except justice be taken in the sense of "all virtue" [Cf. 58, 5]. And yet even if justice be taken in this sense it regards a certain special aspect of good; namely, the good as due in respect of Divine or human law. On the other hand justice considered as a special virtue regards good as due to one's neighbor. And in this sense it belongs to special justice to do good considered as due to one's neighbor, and to avoid the opposite evil, that, namely, which is hurtful to one's neighbor; while it belongs to general justice to do good in relation to the community or in relation to God, and to avoid the opposite evil. Now these two are said to be quasi-integral parts of general or of special justice, because each is required for the perfect act of justice. For it belongs to justice to establish equality in our relations with others, as shown above (Question 58, Article 2): and it pertains to the same cause to establish and to preserve that which it has established. Now a person establishes the equality of justice by doing good, i.e. by rendering to another his due: and he preserves the already established equality of justice by declining from evil, that is by inflicting no injury on his neighbor.
IIª-IIae q. 79 a. 1 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod bonum et malum hic accipiuntur sub quadam speciali ratione, per quam appropriantur iustitiae. Ideo autem haec duo ponuntur partes iustitiae secundum aliquam propriam rationem boni et mali, non autem alterius alicuius virtutis moralis, quia aliae virtutes morales consistunt circa passiones, in quibus bonum facere est venire ad medium, quod est declinare ab extremis quasi a malis, et sic in idem redit quantum ad alias virtutes, facere bonum et declinare a malo. Sed iustitia consistit circa operationes et res exteriores, in quibus aliud est facere aequalitatem, et aliud est factam non corrumpere. Reply to Objection 1. Good and evil are here considered under a special aspect, by which they are appropriated to justice. The reason why these two are reckoned parts of justice under a special aspect of good and evil, while they are not reckoned parts of any other moral virtue, is that the other moral virtues are concerned with the passions wherein to do good is to observe the mean, which is the same as to avoid the extremes as evils: so that doing good and avoiding evil come to the same, with regard to the other virtues. On the other hand justice is concerned with operations and external things, wherein to establish equality is one thing, and not to disturb the equality established is another.
IIª-IIae q. 79 a. 1 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod declinare a malo, secundum quod ponitur pars iustitiae, non importat negationem puram, quod est non facere malum, hoc enim non meretur palmam, sed solum vitat poenam. Importat autem motum voluntatis repudiantis malum, ut ipsum nomen declinationis ostendit. Et hoc est meritorium, praecipue quando aliquis impugnatur ut malum faciat, et resistit. Reply to Objection 2. To decline from evil, considered as a part of justice, does not denote a pure negation, viz."not to do evil"; for this does not deserve the palm, but only avoids the punishment. But it implies a movement of the will in repudiating evil, as the very term "decline" shows. This is meritorious; especially when a person resists against an instigation to do evil.
IIª-IIae q. 79 a. 1 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod facere bonum est actus completivus iustitiae, et quasi pars principalis eius. Declinare autem a malo est actus imperfectior, et secundaria pars eius. Et ideo est quasi pars materialis, sine qua non potest esse pars formalis completiva. Reply to Objection 3. Doing good is the completive act of justice, and the principal part, so to speak, thereof. Declining from evil is a more imperfect act, and a secondary part of that virtue. Hence it is a. material part, so to speak, thereof, and a necessary condition of the formal and completive part.
IIª-IIae q. 79 a. 2 arg. 1 Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod transgressio non sit speciale peccatum. Nulla enim species ponitur in definitione generis. Sed transgressio ponitur in communi definitione peccati, dicit enim Ambrosius quod peccatum est transgressio legis divinae ergo transgressio non est species peccati. Objection 1. It would seem that transgression is not a special sin. For no species is included in the definition of its genus. Now transgression is included in the definition of sin; because Ambrose says (De Parad. viii) that sin is "a transgression of the Divine law." Therefore transgression is not a species of sin.
IIª-IIae q. 79 a. 2 arg. 2 Praeterea, nulla species excedit suum genus. Sed transgressio excedit peccatum, quia peccatum est dictum vel factum vel concupitum contra legem Dei, ut patet per Augustinum, XXII contra Faust.; transgressio est etiam contra naturam vel consuetudinem. Ergo transgressio non est species peccati. Objection 2. Further, no species is more comprehensive than its genus. But transgression is more comprehensive than sin, because sin is a "word, deed or desire against the law of God," according to Augustine (Contra Faust. xxii, 27), while transgression is also against nature, or custom. Therefore transgression is not a species of sin.
IIª-IIae q. 79 a. 2 arg. 3 Praeterea, nulla species continet sub se omnes partes in quas dividitur genus. Sed peccatum transgressionis se extendit ad omnia vitia capitalia, et etiam ad peccata cordis, oris et operis. Ergo transgressio non est speciale peccatum. Objection 3. Further, no species contains all the parts into which its genus is divided. Now the sin of transgression extends to all the capital vices, as well as to sins of thought, word and deed. Therefore transgression is not a special sin.
IIª-IIae q. 79 a. 2 s. c. Sed contra est quod opponitur speciali virtuti, scilicet iustitiae. On the contrary, It is opposed to a special virtue, namely justice.
IIª-IIae q. 79 a. 2 co. Respondeo dicendum quod nomen transgressionis a corporalibus motibus ad morales actus derivatum est. Dicitur autem aliquis secundum corporalem motum transgredi ex eo quod graditur trans terminum sibi praefixum. Terminus autem praefigitur homini, ut ultra non transeat, in moralibus per praeceptum negativum. Et ideo transgressio proprie dicitur ex eo quod aliquis agit aliquid contra praeceptum negativum. Quod quidem materialiter potest esse commune omnibus speciebus peccatorum, quia per quamlibet speciem peccati mortalis homo transgreditur aliquod praeceptum divinum. Sed si accipiatur formaliter, scilicet secundum hanc specialem rationem quod est facere contra praeceptum negativum, sic est speciale peccatum dupliciter. Uno quidem modo, secundum quod opponitur ad genera peccatorum opposita aliis virtutibus, sicut enim ad propriam rationem iustitiae legalis pertinet attendere debitum praecepti, ita ad propriam rationem transgressionis pertinet attendere contemptum praecepti. Alio modo, secundum quod distinguitur ab omissione, quae contrariatur praecepto affirmativo. I answer that, The term transgression is derived from bodily movement and applied to moral actions. Now a person is said to transgress in bodily movement, when he steps [graditur] beyond [trans] a fixed boundary--and it is a negative precept that fixes the boundary that man must not exceed in his moral actions. Wherefore to transgress, properly speaking, is to act against a negative precept. Now materially considered this may be common to all the species of sin, because man transgresses a Divine precept by any species of mortal sin. But if we consider it formally, namely under its special aspect of an act against a negative precept, it is a special sin in two ways. First, in so far as it is opposed to those kinds of sin that are opposed to the other virtues: for just as it belongs properly to legal justice to consider a precept as binding, so it belongs properly to a transgression to consider a precept as an object of contempt. Secondly, in so far as it is distinct from omission which is opposed to an affirmative precept.
IIª-IIae q. 79 a. 2 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod sicut iustitia legalis est omnis virtus subiecto et quasi materialiter, ita etiam iniustitia legalis est materialiter omne peccatum. Et hoc modo peccatum definivit Ambrosius, secundum scilicet rationem iniustitiae legalis. Reply to Objection 1. Even as legal justice is "all virtue" (58, 5) as regards its subject and matter, so legal injustice is materially "all sin." It is in this way that Ambrose defined sin, considering it from the point of view of legal injustice.
IIª-IIae q. 79 a. 2 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod inclinatio naturae pertinet ad praecepta legis naturalis. Consuetudo etiam honesta habet vim praecepti, quia ut Augustinus dicit, in epistola de ieiunio sabbati mos populi Dei pro lege habendus est. Et ideo tam peccatum quam transgressio potest esse contra consuetudinem honestam et contra inclinationem naturalem. Reply to Objection 2. The natural inclination concerns the precepts of the natural law. Again, a laudable custom has the force of a precept; since as Augustine says in an epistle On the Fast of the Sabbath (Ep. xxxvi), "a custom of God's people should be looked upon as law." Hence both sin and transgression may be against a laudable custom and against a natural inclination.
IIª-IIae q. 79 a. 2 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod omnes enumeratae species peccatorum possunt habere transgressionem non secundum proprias rationes, sed secundum quandam specialem rationem, ut dictum est. Peccatum tamen omissionis omnino a transgressione distinguitur. Reply to Objection 3. All these species of sin may include transgression, if we consider them not under their proper aspects, but under a special aspect, as stated above. The sin of omission, however, is altogether distinct from the sin of transgression.
IIª-IIae q. 79 a. 3 arg. 1 Ad tertium sic proceditur. Videtur quod omissio non sit speciale peccatum. Omne enim peccatum aut est originale aut actuale. Sed omissio non est originale peccatum, quia non contrahitur per originem. Nec est actuale, quia potest esse absque omni actu, ut supra habitum est, cum de peccatis in communi ageretur. Ergo omissio non est speciale peccatum. Objection 1. It would seem that omission is not a special sin. For every sin is either original or actual. Now omission is not original sin, for it is not contracted through origin nor is it actual sin, for it may be altogether without act, as stated above (I-II, 71, 5) when we were treating of sins in general. Therefore omission is not a special sin.
IIª-IIae q. 79 a. 3 arg. 2 Praeterea, omne peccatum est voluntarium. Sed omissio quandoque non est voluntaria, sed necessaria, puta cum mulier corrupta est quae virginitatem vovit; vel cum aliquis amittit rem quam restituere tenetur; vel cum sacerdos tenetur celebrare et habet aliquod impedimentum. Ergo omissio non semper est peccatum. Objection 2. Further, every sin is voluntary. Now omission sometimes is not voluntary but necessary, as when a woman is violated after taking a vow of virginity, or when one lose that which one is under an obligation to restore, or when a priest is bound to say Mass, and is prevented from doing so. Therefore omission is not always a sin.
IIª-IIae q. 79 a. 3 arg. 3 Praeterea, cuilibet speciali peccato est determinare aliquod tempus quando incipit esse. Sed hoc non est determinare in omissione, quia quandocumque non facit similiter se habet, nec tamen semper peccat. Ergo omissio non est speciale peccatum. Objection 3. Further, it is possible to fix the time when any special sin begins. But this is not possible in the case of omission, since one is not altered by not doing a thing, no matter when the omission occurs, and yet the omission is not always sinful. Therefore omission is not a special sin.
IIª-IIae q. 79 a. 3 arg. 4 Praeterea, omne peccatum speciale speciali virtuti opponitur. Sed non est dare aliquam specialem virtutem cui omissio opponitur. Tum quia bonum cuiuslibet virtutis omitti potest. Tum quia iustitia, cui specialius videtur opponi, semper requirit aliquem actum, etiam in declinatione a malo, ut dictum est, omissio autem potest esse absque omni actu. Ergo omissio non est speciale peccatum. Objection 4. Further, every special sin is opposed to a special virtue. But it is not possible to assign any special virtue to which omission is opposed, both because the good of any virtue can be omitted, and because justice to which it would seem more particularly opposed, always requires an act, even in declining from evil, as stated above (1, ad 2), while omission may be altogether without act. Therefore omission is not a special sin.
IIª-IIae q. 79 a. 3 s. c. Sed contra est quod dicitur Iac. IV, scienti bonum et non facienti, peccatum est illi. On the contrary, It is written (James 4:17): "To him . . . who knoweth to do good and doth it not, to him it is sin."
IIª-IIae q. 79 a. 3 co. Respondeo dicendum quod omissio importat praetermissionem boni, non autem cuiuscumque, sed boni debiti. Bonum autem sub ratione debiti pertinet proprie ad iustitiam, ad legalem quidem, si debitum accipiatur in ordine ad legem divinam vel humanam; ad specialem autem iustitiam, secundum quod debitum consideratur in ordine ad proximum. Unde eo modo quo iustitia est specialis virtus, ut supra habitum est, et omissio est speciale peccatum distinctum a peccatis quae opponuntur aliis virtutibus. Eo vero modo quo facere bonum, cui opponitur omissio, est quaedam specialis pars iustitiae distincta a declinatione mali, cui opponitur transgressio, etiam omissio a transgressione distinguitur. I answer that, omission signifies the non-fulfilment of a good, not indeed of any good, but of a good that is due. Now good under the aspect of due belongs properly to justice; to legal justice, if the thing due depends on Divine or human law; to special justice, if the due is something in relation to one's neighbor. Wherefore, in the same way as justice is a special virtue, as stated above (58, 6,7), omission is a special sin distinct from the sins which are opposed to the other virtues; and just as doing good, which is the opposite of omitting it, is a special part of justice, distinct from avoiding evil, to which transgression is opposed, so too is omission distinct from transgression.
IIª-IIae q. 79 a. 3 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod omissio non est peccatum originale, sed actuale, non quia habeat aliquem actum sibi essentialem; sed secundum quod negatio actus reducitur ad genus actus. Et secundum hoc non agere accipitur ut agere quoddam, sicut supra dictum est. Reply to Objection 2. Omission is not original but actual sin, not as though it had some act essential to it, but for as much as the negation of an act is reduced to the genus of act, and in this sense non-action is a kind of action, as stated above (I-II, 71, 6, ad 1).
IIª-IIae q. 79 a. 3 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod omissio, sicut dictum est, non est nisi boni debiti, ad quod aliquis tenetur. Nullus autem tenetur ad impossibile. Unde nullus, si non facit id quod facere non potest, peccat per omissionem. Mulier ergo corrupta quae virginitatem vovit, non omittit virginitatem non habendo, sed non poenitendo de peccato praeterito, vel non faciendo quod potest ad votum adimplendum per continentiae observantiam. Sacerdos etiam non tenetur dicere Missam nisi supposita debita opportunitate, quae si desit, non omittit. Et similiter aliquis tenetur ad restitutionem, supposita facultate, quam si non habet nec habere potest, non omittit, dummodo faciat quod potest. Et idem dicendum est in aliis. Reply to Objection 2. Omission, as stated above, is only of such good as is due and to which one is bound. Now no man is bound to the impossible: wherefore no man sins by omission, if he does not do what he cannot. Accordingly she who is violated after vowing virginity, is guilty of an omission, not through not having virginity, but through not repenting of her past sin, or through not doing what she can to fulfil her vow by observing continence. Again a priest is not bound to say Mass, except he have a suitable opportunity, and if this be lacking, there is no omission. And in like manner, a person is bound to restitution, supposing he has the wherewithal; if he has not and cannot have it, he is not guilty of an omission, provided he does what he can. The same applies to other similar cases.
IIª-IIae q. 79 a. 3 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod sicut peccatum transgressionis opponitur praeceptis negativis, quae pertinent ad declinandum a malo, ita peccatum omissionis opponitur praeceptis affirmativis, quae pertinent ad faciendum bonum. Praecepta autem affirmativa non obligant ad semper, sed ad tempus determinatum. Et pro illo tempore peccatum omissionis incipit esse. Potest tamen contingere quod aliquis tunc sit impotens ad faciendum quod debet. Quod quidem si sit praeter eius culpam, non omittit, ut dictum est. Si vero sit propter eius culpam praecedentem, puta cum aliquis de sero se inebriavit et non potest surgere ad matutinas ut debet, dicunt quidam quod tunc incoepit peccatum omissionis quando aliquis applicat se ad actum illicitum et incompossibilem cum illo actu ad quem tenetur. Sed hoc non videtur verum. Quia, dato quod excitaretur per violentiam et iret ad matutinas, non omitteret. Unde patet quod praecedens inebriatio non fuit omissio, sed omissionis causa. Unde dicendum est quod omissio incipit ei imputari ad culpam quando fuit tempus operandi, tamen propter causam praecedentem, ex qua omissio sequens redditur voluntaria. Reply to Objection 3. Just as the sin of transgression is opposed to negative precepts which regard the avoidance of evil, so the sin of omission is opposed to affirmative precepts, which regard the doing of good. Now affirmative precepts bind not for always, but for a fixed time, and at that time the sin of omission begins. But it may happen that then one is unable to do what one ought, and if this inability is without any fault on his part, he does not omit his duty, as stated above (ad 2; I-II, 71, 5). On the other hand if this inability is due to some previous fault of his (for instance, if a man gets drunk at night, and cannot get up for matins, as he ought to), some say that the sin of omission begins when he engages in an action that is illicit and incompatible with the act to which he is bound. But this does not seem to be true, for supposing one were to rouse him by violence and that he went to matins, he would not omit to go, so that, evidently, the previous drunkenness was not an omission, but the cause of an omission. Consequently, we must say that the omission begins to be imputed to him as a sin, when the time comes for the action; and yet this is on account of a preceding cause by reason of which the subsequent omission becomes voluntary.
IIª-IIae q. 79 a. 3 ad 4 Ad quartum dicendum quod omissio directe opponitur iustitiae, ut dictum est, non enim est omissio boni alicuius virtutis nisi sub ratione debiti, quod pertinet ad iustitiam. Plus autem requiritur ad actum virtutis meritorium quam ad demeritum culpae, quia bonum est ex integra causa, malum autem ex singularibus defectibus. Et ideo ad iustitiae meritum requiritur actus, non autem ad omissionem. Reply to Objection 4. Omission is directly opposed to justice, as stated above; because it is a non-fulfilment of a good of virtue, but only under the aspect of due, which pertains to justice. Now more is required for an act to be virtuous and meritorious than for it to be sinful and demeritorious, because "good results from an entire cause, whereas evil arises from each single defect" [Dionysius, De Div. Nom. iv]. Wherefore the merit of justice requires an act, whereas an omission does not.
IIª-IIae q. 79 a. 4 arg. 1 Ad quartum sic proceditur. Videtur quod peccatum omissionis sit gravius quam peccatum transgressionis. Delictum enim videtur idem esse quod derelictum, et sic per consequens videtur idem esse omissioni. Sed delictum est gravius quam peccatum transgressionis, quia maiori expiatione indigebat, ut patet Levit. V. Ergo peccatum omissionis est gravius quam peccatum transgressionis. Objection 1. It would seem that a sin of omission is more grievous than a sin of transgression. For "delictum" would seem to signify the same as "derelictum" [Augustine, QQ. in Levit., qu. xx], and therefore is seemingly the same as an omission. But "delictum" denotes a more grievous offence than transgression, because it deserves more expiation as appears from Leviticus 5. Therefore the sin of omission is more grievous than the sin of transgression.
IIª-IIae q. 79 a. 4 arg. 2 Praeterea, maiori bono maius malum opponitur, ut patet per philosophum, in VIII Ethic. Sed facere bonum, cui opponitur omissio, est nobilior pars iustitiae quam declinare a malo, cui opponitur transgressio, ut ex supradictis patet. Ergo omissio est gravius peccatum quam transgressio. Objection 2. Further, the greater evil is opposed to the greater good, as the Philosopher declares (Ethic. viii, 10). Now to do good is a more excellent part of justice, than to decline from evil, to which transgression is opposed, as stated above (1, ad 3). Therefore omission is a graver sin than transgression.
IIª-IIae q. 79 a. 4 arg. 3 Praeterea, peccatum commissionis potest esse et veniale et mortale. Sed peccatum omissionis videtur esse semper mortale, quia opponitur praecepto affirmativo. Ergo omissio videtur esse gravius peccatum quam sit transgressio. Objection 3. Further, sins of transgression may be either venial or mortal.But sins of omission seem to be always mortal, since they are opposed to an affirmative precept. Therefore omission would seem to be a graver sin than transgression.
IIª-IIae q. 79 a. 4 arg. 4 Praeterea, maior poena est poena damni, scilicet carentia visionis divinae, quae debetur peccato omissionis, quam poena sensus, quae debetur peccato transgressionis, ut patet per Chrysostomum super Matth. Sed poena proportionatur culpae. Ergo gravius est peccatum omissionis quam transgressionis. Objection 4. Further, the pain of loss which consists in being deprived of seeing God and is inflicted for the sin of omission, is a greater punishment than the pain of sense, which is inflicted for the sin of transgression, as Chrysostom states (Hom. xxiii super Matth.). Now punishment is proportionate to fault. Therefore the sin of omission is graver than the sin of transgression.
IIª-IIae q. 79 a. 4 s. c. Sed contra est quod facilius est abstinere a malo faciendo quam implere bonum. Ergo gravius peccat qui non abstinet a malo faciendo, quod est transgredi, quam qui non implet bonum, quod est omittere. On the contrary, It is easier to refrain from evil deeds than to accomplish good deeds. Therefore it is a graver sin not to refrain from an evil deed, i.e. "to transgress," than not to accomplish a good deed, which is "to omit."
IIª-IIae q. 79 a. 4 co. Respondeo dicendum quod peccatum intantum est grave inquantum a virtute distat. Contrarietas autem est maxima distantia, ut dicitur in X Metaphys. unde contrarium magis distat a suo contrario quam simplex eius negatio, sicut nigrum plus distat ab albo quam simpliciter non album; omne enim nigrum est non album, sed non convertitur. Manifestum est autem quod transgressio contrariatur actui virtutis, omissio autem importat negationem ipsius, puta peccatum omissionis est si quis parentibus debitam reverentiam non exhibeat, peccatum autem transgressionis si contumeliam vel quamcumque iniuriam eis inferat. Unde manifestum est quod, simpliciter et absolute loquendo, transgressio est gravius peccatum quam omissio, licet aliqua omissio possit esse gravior aliqua transgressione. I answer that, The gravity of a sin depends on its remoteness from virtue. Now contrariety is the greatest remoteness, according to Metaph. x [Didot. ed. ix, 4. Wherefore a thing is further removed from its contrary than from its simple negation; thus black is further removed from white than not-white is, since every black is not-white, but not conversely. Now it is evident that transgression is contrary to an act of virtue, while omission denotes the negation thereof: for instance it is a sin of omission, if one fail to give one's parents due reverence, while it is a sin of transgression to revile them or injure them in any way. Hence it is evident that, simply and absolutely speaking, transgression is a graver sin than omission, although a particular omission may be graver than a particular transgression.
IIª-IIae q. 79 a. 4 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod delictum communiter sumptum significat quamcumque omissionem. Quandoque tamen stricte accipitur pro eo quod omittitur aliquid de his quae pertinent ad Deum, vel quando scienter et quasi cum quodam contemptu derelinquit homo id quod facere debet. Et sic habet quandam gravitatem, ratione cuius maiori expiatione indiget. Reply to Objection 1. "Delictum" in its widest sense denotes any kind of omission; but sometimes it is taken strictly for the omission of something concerning God, or for a man's intentional and as it were contemptuous dereliction of duty: and then it has a certain gravity, for which reason it demands a greater expiation.
IIª-IIae q. 79 a. 4 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod ei quod est facere bonum opponitur et non facere bonum, quod est omittere, et facere malum, quod est transgredi, sed primum contradictorie, secundum contrarie, quod importat maiorem distantiam. Et ideo transgressio est gravius peccatum. Reply to Objection 2. The opposite of "doing good" is both "not doing good," which is an omission, and "doing evil," which is a transgression: but the first is opposed by contradiction, the second by contrariety, which implies greater remoteness: wherefore transgression is the more grievous sin.
IIª-IIae q. 79 a. 4 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod sicut omissio opponitur praeceptis affirmativis, ita transgressio opponitur praeceptis negativis. Et ideo utrumque, si proprie accipiatur, importat rationem peccati mortalis. Potest autem large dici transgressio vel omissio ex eo quod aliquid sit praeter praecepta affirmativa vel negativa, disponens ad oppositum ipsorum. Et sic utrumque, large accipiendo, potest esse peccatum veniale. Reply to Objection 3. Just as omission is opposed to affirmative precepts, so is transgression opposed to negative precepts: wherefore both, strictly speaking, have the character of mortal sin. Transgression and omission, however, may be taken broadly for any infringement of an affirmative or negative precept, disposing to the opposite of such precept: and so taking both in a broad sense they may be venial sins.
IIª-IIae q. 79 a. 4 ad 4 Ad quartum dicendum quod peccato transgressionis respondet et poena damni, propter aversionem a Deo; et poena sensus, propter inordinatam conversionem ad bonum commutabile. Similiter etiam omissioni non solum debetur poena damni, sed etiam poena sensus, secundum illud Matth. VII, omnis arbor quae non facit fructum bonum, excidetur et in ignem mittetur. Et hoc propter radicem ex qua procedit, licet non habeat ex necessitate actualem conversionem ad aliquod bonum commutabile. Reply to Objection 4. To the sin of transgression there correspond both the pain of loss on account of the aversion from God, and the pain of sense, on account of the inordinate conversion to a mutable good. On like manner omission deserves not only the pain of loss, but also the pain of sense, according to Matthew 7:19, "Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire"; and this on account of the root from which it grows, although it does not necessarily imply conversion to any mutable good.

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