16 May 22 – The Cardinal Virtues and Vices

Today’s Topics:

1) A virtue is a habitual and firm disposition to do good. Virtues and vices are what form a person’s “character.  The focus on the Cardinal Virtues and the corresponding vices will help us better understand where we stand in the sanctifying life we are all called to live. Knowing this can help each of us better form our lives and help us to lead those around us. The Cardinal Virtue of Prudence is the ability to distinguish what is good and bad in any given situation and to take appropriate action. The vices opposed to these virtues are precipitation, negligence, inconstancy, thoughtlessness, folly, injustice, cowardice, and intemperance,

2) Saint Thomas Aquinas ranked Justice as the second Cardinal Virtue because it deals with the will. Justice is the virtue that demands that we give everyone exactly what is due to them. Justice gives to each “what is due,” “what is right,” or “just desserts.” The vices opposed to the Virtue of Justice are superstition, tempting God, sacrilege opposed to religion; dishonor, disobedience, and neglect opposed to piety; ingratitude opposed to gratitude; opposed to truthfulness are lies, boasting, hypocrisy, and irony; opposed to friendliness are flattery and quarreling; and interestingly enough in the context of today’s society, the vice opposed to the vindication of God and neighbor is tolerance – that is, tolerating attacks on God and our neighbor,

3) Fortitude is the Cardinal Virtue that ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good. It strengthens the resolve to resist temptations and to overcome obstacles in moral life. In Christianity, Fortitude is the virtue that allows us to overcome our fears and continue in our Christian tasks. For the Cardinal Virtue of Fortitude, we have the Capital Virtue of Diligence, which helps us combat the deadly sin of envy,

4) Temperance is the Cardinal Virtue that moderates the attraction of pleasures… As Fortitude moderates the fear of pains. Our instinctive desire for pleasure and fear of pain is the matter, or raw material, to be formed and controlled by all four Cardinal Virtues. Prudence provides the map, Fortitude tames the fears, Temperance tames the appetites, and Justice regulates the resulting activities. For the Cardinal Virtue of Temperance, we also have the Capital Virtue of Temperance, which helps us combat the deadly sin of gluttony.