American University.

American University Bulletin Catalog Issue: College of Arts and Sciences Announcements (Volume 1941-1942) online

. (page 18 of 26)
Online LibraryAmerican UniversityAmerican University Bulletin Catalog Issue: College of Arts and Sciences Announcements (Volume 1941-1942) → online text (page 18 of 26)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

as being a witness to the Christian faith, which teaches us
to despise things visible for the sake of things invisible,
as stated in Heb. xi. Accordingly it belongs to martyrdom
that a man bear witness to the faith in showing by deed
that he despises all things present, in order to obtain in-
visible goods to come. Now so long as a man retains the

223 MARTYRDOM Q. 124. Art. 4

life of the body he does not show by deed that he despises
all things relating to the body. For men are wont to despise
both their kindred and all they possess, and even to suffer
bodily pain, rather than lose life. Hence Satan testified
against Job (Job ii. 4): Skin for skin, and all that a man
hath he will give for his soul (Douay, — life) i.e. for the life
of his body. Therefore the perfect notion of martyrdom
requires that a man suffer death for Christ's sake.

Reply Ohj. i. The authorities quoted, and the like that
one may meet with, speak of martyrdom by way of simili-

Reply Ohj. 2. When a woman forfeits the integrity of the
flesh, or is condemned to forfeit it under pretext of the
Christian faith, it is not evident to men whether she suffers
this for love of the Christian faith, or rather through con-
tempt of chastity. Wherefore in the sight of men her
testimony is not held to be sufhcient, and consequently
this is not mart3^dom properly speaking. In the sight of
God, however, Who searcheth the heart, this may be deemed
worthy of a reward, as Lucy said.

Reply Ohj. 3. As stated above (Q. CXXIIL, AA. 4, 5),
fortitude regards danger of death chiefly, and other dangers
consequently; wherefore a person is not called a martyr
merely for suffering imprisonment, or exile, or forfeiture
of his wealth, except in so far as these result in death.

Reply Ohj. 4. The merit of martyrdom is not after death,
but in the voluntary endurance of death, namely in the
fact that a person willingly suffers being put to death. It
happens sometimes, however, that a man Hves for some time
after being mortally wounded for Christ's sake, or after
suffering for the faith of Christ any other kind of hardship
inflicted by persecution and continued until death ensues.
The act of martyrdom is meritorious while a man is in
this state, and at the very time that he is suffering these

Q. 124. Art. 5 THE " SUMMA THEOLOGICA " 224

Fifth Article.

whether faith alone is the cause of
martyrdom ?

We proceed thus to the Fifth Article : —

Objection i. It seems that faith alone is the cause of
martyrdom. For it is written (i Pet. iv. 15, 16): Let none
of you suffer as a murderer, or a thief, or a railer, or a coveter
of other men's things. But if as a Christian, let him not he
ashamed, hut let him glorify God in this name. Now a man
is said to be a Christian because he holds the faith of Christ.
Therefore only faith in Christ gives the glory of martyrdom
to those who suffer.

Ohj. 2. Further, A martyr is a kind of witness. But
witness is borne to the truth alone. Now one is not called
a martyr for bearing witness to any truth, but only for
witnessing to the Divine truth, otherwise a man would be
a martyr if he were to die for confessing a truth of geometry
or some other speculative science, which seems ridiculous.
Therefore faith alone is the cause of martyrdom.

Ohj. 3. Further, Those virtuous deeds would seem to be
of most account which are directed to the common good,
since the good of the nation is hetter than the good of the indi-
vidual, according to the Philosopher {Ethic, i. 2). If, then,
some other good were the cause of martyrdom, it would
seem that before all those would be martyrs who die for
the defence of their country. Yet this is not consistent
with Church observance, for we do not celebrate the martyr-
dom of those who die in a just war. Therefore faith alone
is the cause of martyrdom.

On the contrary. It is written (Matth. v. 10) : Blessed are
they that suffer persecution for justice sake, which pertains
to martyrdom, according to a gloss, as well as Jerome's
commentary on this passage. Now not only faith but also
the other virtues pertain to justice. Therefore other
virtues can be the cause of martyrdom.

I answer that, As stated above (A. 4), martyrs are so

225 MARTYRDOM Q. 124. Art. 5

called as being witnesses, because by suffering in body
unto death they bear witness to the truth; not indeed to
any truth, but to the truth which is in accordance with
godliness, and was made known to us by Christ : wherefore
Christ's martyrs are His witnesses. Now this truth is
the truth of faith. Wherefore the cause of all martyrdom
is the truth of faith.

But the truth of faith includes not only inward belief,
but also outward profession, which is expressed not only
by words, whereby one confesses the faith, but also by deeds,
whereby a person shows that he has faith, according to
James ii. 18, / will show thee, by works, my faith. Hence it
is written of certain people (Tit. i. 16) : They profess that they
know God hut in their works they deny Him. Thus all virtuous
deeds, inasmuch as they are referred to God, are professions
of the faith whereby we come to know that God requires
these works of us, and rewards us for them : and in this way
they can be the cause of martjnrdom. For this reason the
Church celebrates the martyrdom of Blessed John the
Baptist, who suffered death, not for refusing to deny the
faith, but for reproving adultery.

Reply Ohj. i. A Christian is one who is Christ's. Now a
person is said to be Christ's, not only through having faith
in Christ, but also because he is actuated to virtuous deeds
by the Spirit of Christ, according to Rom. viii. 9, If any man
have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His ; and again
because in imitation of Christ he is dead to sins, according to
Gal. V. 24, They that are Christ's have crucified their flesh
with the vices and concupiscences. Hence to suffer as a
Christian is not only to suffer in confession of the faith,
which is done by words, but also to suffer for doing any
good work, or for avoiding any sin, for Christ's sake, because
this all comes under the head of witnessing to the faith.

Reply Ohj. 2. The truth of other sciences has no connexion
with the worship of the Godhead : hence it is not called truth
according to godliness, and consequently the confession
thereof cannot be said to be the direct cause of martyrdom.
Yet, since every lie is a sin, as stated above (Q. CX., AA. 3, 4),

II. ii. 4 15

Q. 124. Art. 5 THE " SUMMA THEOLOGICA " 226

avoidance of a lie, to whatever truth it may be contrary,
may be the cause of martyrdom inasmuch as a He is a sin
against the Divine Law.

Reply Ohj. 3. The good of one's country is paramount
among human goods: yet the Divine good, which is the
proper cause of martyrdom, is of more account than human
good. Nevertheless, since human good may become Divine,
for instance when it is referred to God, it follows that any
human good in so far as it is referred to God, may be the
cause of martyrdom.



{In Four Articles),

We must now consider the vices opposed to fortitude:
(i) Fear; (2) Fearlessness; (3) Daring.

Under the first head there are four points of inquiry:
(i) Whether fear is a sin ? (2) Whether it is opposed to
fortitude ? (3) Whether it is a mortal sin ? (4) Whether
it excuses from sin, or diminishes it ?

First Article.

whether fear is a sin ?

We proceed thus to the First Article : —
Objection i. It seems that fear is not a sin. For fear is a
passion, as stated above (I.-II., Q. XXIII., A. 4: Q. XLII.)

Now we are neither praised nor blamed for passions, as stated
in Ethic, ii. Since then every sin is blameworthy, it seems
that fear is not a sin.

Ohj. 2. Further, Nothing that is commanded in the
Divine Law is a sin : since the law oj the Lord is unspotted
(Ps. xviii. 8). Yet fear is commanded in God's law, for it is
written (Eph. vi. 5) : Servants, be obedient to them that are
your lords according to the flesh, with fear and trembling.
Therefore fear is not a sin.

Obj. 3. Further, Nothing that is naturally in man is a sin,
for sin is contrary to nature according to Damascene {De

* S. Thomas calls this vice indifferently fear or timidity. The
translation requires one to adhere to these terms on account of the
connexion with the passion of fear. Otherwise cowardice would be a
better rendering.


Q. 125. Art. i THE " SUMMA THEOLOGICA " 228

Fide Orthod. iii.). Now fear is natural to man: wherefore
the Philosopher says (Ethic, iii. 7) that a man would he
insane or insensible to fain, if nothing, not even earthquakes
nor deluges, inspired him with fear. Therefore fear is not a
sin. On the contrary. Our Lord said (Matth. x. 28) : Fear ye
not them that kill the body, and it is written (Ezech. ii. 6) :
Fear not, neither be thou afraid of their words.

I answer that, A human act is said to be a sin on account
of its being inordinate, because the good of a human act
consists in order, as stated above (Q. CIX., A. 2: Q. CXIV.,
A. i) . Now this due order requires that the appetite be subj ect
to the ruling of reason. And reason dictates that certain things
should be shunned and some sought after. Among things to
be shunned, it dictates that some are to be shunned more
than others ; and among things to be sought after, that some
are to be sought after more than others. Moreover, the more
a good is to be sought after, the more is the opposite evil to
be shunned. The result is that reason dictates that certain
goods are to be sought after more than certain evils are to be
avoided. Accordingly when the appetite shuns what the
reason dictates that we should endure rather than forfeit
others that we should rather seek for, fear is inordinate and
sinful. On the other hand, when the appetite fears so as to
shun what reason requires to be shunned, the appetite is
neither inordinate nor sinful.

Reply Obj. i. Fear in its generic acceptation denotes
avoidance in general. Hence in this way it does not include
the notion of good or evil: and the same applies to every
other passion. Wherefore the Philosopher says that passions
call for neither praise nor blame, because, to wit, we neither
praise nor blame those who are angry or afraid, but only
those who behave thus in an ordinate or inordinate manner.

Reply Obj. 2. The fear which the Apostle inculcates is
in accordance with reason, namely that servants should fear
lest they be lacking in the service they owe their masters.

Reply Obj. 3. Reason dictates that we should shun the
evils that we cannot withstand, and the endurance of which
profits us nothing. Hence there is no sin in fearing them.

229 TIMIDITY Q. 125. Art 2

Second Article,
whether the sin of fear is contrary to fortitude ?

We proceed thus to the Second Article : —

Objection i. It seems that the sin of fear is not contrary
to fortitude: because fortitude is about dangers of death,
as stated above (Q. CXXIIL, AA. 4, 5). But the sin of fear
is not always connected with dangers of death, for a gloss on
Ps. cxxvii. I, Blessed are all they that fear the Lord, says that
it is human fear whereby we dread to suffer carnal dangers,
or to lose worldly goods. Again a gloss on Matth. xxvii. 44,
He prayed the third time, saying the selfsame word, says that
evil fear is threefold, fear of death, fear of pain, and fear of
contempt. Therefore the sin of fear is not contrary to

Obj. 2. Further, The chief reason why a man is com-
mended for fortitude is that he exposes himself to the danger
of death. Now sometimes a man exposes himself to death
through fear of slavery or shame. Thus Augustine relates
[De Civ. Dei i.) that Cato, in order not to be Caesar's slave,
gave himself up to death. Therefore the sin of fear bears
a certain likeness to fortitude instead of being opposed

Obj. 3. Further, All despair arises from fear. But
despair is opposed not to fortitude but to hope, as stated
above (Q. XX., A. i ; I.-II., Q. XL., A. 4). Neither therefore is
the sin of fear opposed to fortitude.

On the contrary. The Philosopher {Ethic, ii. 7 ; iii. 7) states
that timidity is opposed to fortitude.

I answer that, As stated above (Q. XIX., A. 3: I.-II.,
Q. XLIIL, A. i), all fear arises from love; since no one fears
save what is contrary to something he loves. Now love is
not confined to any particular kind of virtue or vice: but
ordinate love is included in every virtue, since every
virtuous man loves the good proper to his virtue; while
inordinate love is included in every sin, because inordinate
love gives use to inordinate desire. Hence in like manner

Q. 125. Art. 2 THE "SUMMA THEOLOGICA" 230

inordinate fear is included in every sin; thus tlie covetous
man fears the loss of money, the intemperate man the loss
of pleasure, and so on. But the greatest fear of all is that
which has the danger of death for its object, as we find
proved in Ethic, iii. 6. Wherefore the inordinateness of
this fear is opposed to fortitude which regards dangers of
death. For this reason timidity is said to be antonomasti-
cally* opposed to fortitude.

Reply Obj. i. The passages quoted refer to inordinate
fear in its generic acceptation, which can be opposed to
various virtues.

Reply Obj. 2. Human acts are estimated chiefly with refer-
ence to the end, as stated above (I. -II., Q. I., A. 3 : Q. XVIII. ,
A. 6) : and it belongs to a brave man to expose himself to
danger of death for the sake of a good. But a man who
exposes himself to danger of death in order to escape from
slavery or hardships is overcome by fear, which is contrary
to fortitude. Hence the Philosopher says (Ethic, iii. 7),
that to die in order to escape poverty, want, or something
disagreeable is an act not of fortitude but of cowardice: for
to shun hardships is a mark of effeminacy.

Reply Obj. 3. As stated above (I.-IL, Q., XLV., A. 2), fear
is the beginning of despair even as hope is the beginning
of daring. Wherefore, just as fortitude which employs
daring in moderation presupposes hope, so on the other
hand despair proceeds from some kind of fear. It does not
follow, however, that any kind of despair results from any
kind of fear, but that only from fear of the same kind.
Now the despair that is opposed to hope is referred to another
kind, namely to Divine things; whereas the fear that is
opposed to fortitude regards dangers of death. Hence the
argument does not prove.

* Antonomasia is the figure of speech whereby we substitute the
general for the individual term; e.g. The Philosopher for Aristotle:
and so timidity, which is inordinate fear of any evil, is employed to
denote inordinate fear of the danger of death.

231 TIMIDITY Q. 125. Art 3

Third Article,
whether fear is a mortal sin ?

We proceed thus to the Third Article : —

Objection i. It seems that fear is not a mortal sin. For,
as stated above \-II., Q. XXIII. , A. i), fear is in the irascible
faculty which . ■ a part of the sensuality. Now there is
none but venial sin in the sensuality, as stated above (I.-IL,
Q. LXXIV., A. 4). Therefore fear is not a mortal sin.

Ohj. 2. Further, Every mortal sin turns the heart wholly
from God. But fear does not this, for a gloss on Judges vii. 3,
Whosoever is fearful, etc., says that a man is fearful when
he trembles at the very thought of conflict; yet he is not so wholly
terrified at heart, but that he can rally and take courage.
Therefore fear is not a mortal sin.

Obj. 3. Further, Mortal sin is a lapse not only from
perfection but also from a precept. But fear does not make
one lapse from a precept, but only from perfection; for a
gloss on Deut. xx. g. What man is there that is fearful and
fainthearted ? says : We learn from this that no man can take
up the profession of contemplation or spiritual warfare, if he
still fears to be despoiled of earthly riches. Therefore fear is
not a mortal sin.

On the contrary, For mortal sin alone is the pain of hell
due: and yet this is due to the fearful, according to
Apoc. xxi. 8, But the fearful and unbelieving and the abomin-
able, etc., shall have their portion in the pool burning with fire
and brimstone which is the second death. Therefore fear is a
mortal sin.

I answer that, As stated above (A. i), fear is a sin through
being inordinate, that is to say, through shunning what
ought not to be shunned according to reason. Now some-
times this inordinateness of fear is confined to the sensitive
appetites, without the accession of the rational appetite's
consent: and then it cannot be a mortal, but only a venial
sin. But sometimes this inordinateness of fear reaches
to the rational appetite which is called the will, which

g. 125. Art. 3 THE ''SUMMA THEOLOGICA" 232

deliberately shuns something against the dictate of reason :
and this inordinateness of fear is sometimes a mortal, some-
times a venial sin. For if a man through fear of the danger
of death or of any other temporal evil is so disposed as to
do what is forbidden, or to omit what is commanded by the
Divine law, such fear is a mortal sin : otherwise it is a venial

Reply Obj. i. This argument considers fear as confined
to the sensuality.

Reply Obj. 2. This gloss also can be understood as referring
to the fear that is confined within the sensuality. Or
better still we may reply that a man is terrified with his
whole heart when fear banishes his courage beyond remedy.
Now even when fear is a mortal sin, it may happen never-
theless that one is not so wilfully terrified that one cannot
be persuaded to put fear aside : thus sometimes a man sins
mortally by consenting to concupiscence, and is turned
aside from accomplishing what he purposed doing.

Reply Obj. 3. This gloss speaks of the fear that turns man
aside from a good that is necessary, not for the fulfilment
of a precept, but for the perfection of a counsel. SuchHke
fear is not a mortal sin, but is sometimes venial: and some-
times it is not a sin, for instance when one has a reasonable
cause for fear.

Fourth Article,
whether fear excuses from sin ?

We proceed thus to the Fourth Article : —

Objection i. It seems that fear does not excuse from sin.
For fear is a sin, as stated above (A. i). But sin does not
excuse from sin, rather does it aggravate it. Therefore
fear does not excuse from sin.

Obj. 2. Further, If any fear excuses from sin, most of all
would this be true of the fear of death, to which, as the
saying is, a courageous man is subject. Yet this fear,
seemingly, is no excuse, because, since death comes, of
necessity, to all, it does not seem to be an object of fear.
Therefore fear does not excuse from sin.

233 TIMIDITY Q. 125. Art. 4

Ohj. 3. Further, All fear is of evil, either temporal or
spiritual. Now fear of spiritual evil cannot excuse sin,
because instead of inducing one to sin, it withdraws one
from sin: and fear of temporal evil does not excuse from
sin, because according to the Philosopher {Ethic, iii. 6) one
should not fear poverty, nor sickness, nor anything that is not
a result of one's own wickedness. Therefore it seems that
in no sense does fear excuse from sin.

On the contrary. It is stated in the Decretals (I., Q. I., Cap.
Constat.): A man who has been forcibly and unwillingly
ordained by heretics, has an ostensible excuse.

I answer that, As stated above (A. 3), fear is sinful in so
far as it runs counter to the order of reason. Now reason
judges certain evils to be shunned rather than others.
Wherefore it is no sin not to shun what is less to be shunned
in order to avoid what reason judges to be more avoided:
thus death of the body is more to be avoided than the loss
of temporal goods. Hence a man would be excused from
sin if through fear of death he were to promise or give
something to a robber, and yet he would be guilty of sin
were he to give to sinners, rather than to the good to whom
he should give in preference. On the other hand, if through
fear a man were to avoid evils which according to reason
are less to be avoided, and so incur evils which according
to reason are more to be avoided, he could not be wholly
excused from sin, because suchlike fear would be inordinate.
Now the evils of the soul are more to be feared than the evils
of the body ; and evils of the body more than evils of external
things. Wherefore if one were to incur evils of the soul,
namely sins, in order to avoid evils of the body, such as
blows or death, or evils of external things, such as loss of
money; or if one were to endure evils of the body in order
to avoid loss of money, one would not be wholly excused
from sin. Yet one's sin would be extenuated somewhat,
for what is done through fear is less voluntary, because
when fear lays hold of a man he is under a certain necessity
of doing a certain thing. Hence the Philosopher [Ethic, iii. i)
says that these things that are done through fear are not

Q. 125. Art. 4 THE " SUMMA THEOLOGICA " 234

simply voluntary, but a mixture of voluntary and in-

Reply Ohj. i. Fear excuses, not in the point of its sinful-
ness, but in the point of its involuntariness.

Reply Ohj. 2. Although death comes, of necessity, to all,
yet the shortening of temporal life is an evil and conse-
quently an object of fear.

Reply Ohj. 3. According to the opinion of Stoics, who held
temporal goods not to be man's goods, it follows in con-
sequence that temporal evils are not man's evils, and that
therefore they are nowise to be feared. But according to
Augustine {De Lib. Arh. ii.) these temporal things are
goods of the least account, and this was also the opinion
of the Peripatetics. Hence their contraries are indeed to
be feared; but not so much that one ought for their sake
to renounce that which is good according to virtue.



[In Two Articles).

We must now consider the vice of fearlessness : under which
head there are two points of inquiry: (i) Whether it is a
sin to be fearless ? (2) Whether it is opposed to fortitude ?

First Article,
whether fearlessness is a sin ?

We proceed, thus to the First Article : —

Objection i. It seems that fearlessness is not a sin. For
that which is reckoned to the praise of a just man is not
a sin. Now it is written in praise of the just man (Pro v.
xxviii. i): The just, hold as a lion, shall he without dread.
Therefore it is not a sin to be without fear.

Ohj. 2. Further, Nothing is so fearful as death, according
to the Philosopher (Ethic, iii. 6). Yet one ought not to fear
even death, according to Matth. x. 28, Fear ye not them that
kill the hody, etc, nor anything that can be inflicted by man,
according to Isa. li. 12, Who art thou, that thou shouldst he
afraid of a mortal man ? Therefore it is not a sin to be

Ohj. 3. Further, Fear is born of love, as stated above
(Q. CXXV., A. 2). Now it belongs to the perfection of
virtue to love nothing earthly, since according to Augustine
[De Civ. Dei xiv.), the love of God to the abasement of self
makes us citizens of the heavenly city. Therefore it is seem-
ingly not a sin to fear nothing earthly.


Q. 126. Art. i THE " SUMMA THEOLOGICA " 236

On the contrary, It is said of the unjust judge (Luke xviii. 2)
that he feared not God nor regarded man.

I answer that, Since fear is born of love, we must seemingly
judge alike of love and fear. Now it is here a question of
that fear whereby one dreads temporal evils, and which
results from the love of temporal goods. And every man
has it instilled in him by nature to love his own life and
whatever is directed thereto; and to do so in due measure,
that is, to love these things not as placing his end therein,
but as things to be used for the sake of his last end. Hence
it is contrary to the natural inclination, and therefore a sin,
to fall short of loving them in due measure. Nevertheless,
one never lapses entirely from this love: since what is
natural cannot be wholly lost : for which reason the Apostle
says (Eph. v. 29) : No man ever hated his own flesh. Where-
fore even those that slay themselves do so from love of
their own flesh, which they desire to free from present
stress. Hence it may happen that a man fears death and
other temporal evils less than he ought, for the reason that
he loves them* less than he ought. But that he fear none
of these things cannot result from an entire lack of kve,
but only from the fact that he thinks it impossible for him
to be afflicted by the evils contrary to the goods he loves.
This is sometimes the result of pride of soul presuming on
self and despising others, according to the saying of

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 18 20 21 22 23 24 25 26

Online LibraryAmerican UniversityAmerican University Bulletin Catalog Issue: College of Arts and Sciences Announcements (Volume 1941-1942) → online text (page 18 of 26)