Respondeo dicendum quod homo efficitur diversimode aliis debitor secundum diversam eorum excellentiam, et diversa beneficia ab eis suscepta. In utroque autem Deus summum obtinet locum, qui et excellentissimus est, et est nobis essendi et gubernationis primum principium. Secundario vero nostri esse et gubernationis principium sunt parentes et patria, a quibus et in qua et nati et nutriti sumus. Et ideo post Deum, maxime est homo debitor parentibus et patriae. Unde sicut ad religionem pertinet cultum Deo exhibere, ita secundo gradu ad pietatem pertinet exhibere cultum parentibus et patriae.
I answer that, Man becomes a debtor to other men in various ways, according to their various excellence and the various benefits received from them. On both counts God holds first place, for He is supremely excellent, and is for us the first principle of being and government. In the second place, the principles of our being and government are our parents and our country, that have given us birth and nourishment. Consequently man is debtor chiefly to his parents and his country, after God. Wherefore just as it belongs to religion to give worship to God, so does it belong to piety, in the second place, to give worship to one’s parents and one’s country.
In cultu autem parentum includitur cultus omnium consanguineorum, quia etiam consanguinei ex hoc dicuntur quod ex eisdem parentibus processerunt, ut patet per philosophum, in VIII Ethic. In cultu autem patriae intelligitur cultus concivium, et omnium patriae amicorum. Et ideo ad hos principaliter pietas se extendit.
The worship due to our parents includes the worship given to all our kindred, since our kinsfolk are those who descend from the same parents, according to the Philosopher (Ethic. viii, 12). The worship given to our country includes homage to all our fellow-citizens and to all the friends of our country. Therefore piety extends chiefly to these.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod in maiori includitur minus. Et ideo cultus qui Deo debetur includit in se, sicut aliquid particulare, cultum qui debetur parentibus. Unde dicitur Malach. I, si ego pater, ubi honor meus? Et ideo nomen pietatis etiam ad divinum cultum refertur.
Reply Obj. 1: The greater includes the lesser: wherefore the worship due to God includes the worship due to our parents as a particular. Hence it is written (Mal 1:6): If I be a father, where is My honor? Consequently the term piety extends also to the divine worship.
Ad secundum dicendum quod, sicut Augustinus dicit, in X de Civ. Dei, more vulgi nomen pietatis etiam in operibus misericordiae frequentatur. Quod ideo arbitror evenisse quia haec fieri praecipue mandat Deus, eaque sibi vel pro sacrificiis placere testatur. Ex qua consuetudine factum est ut et Deus ipse pius dicatur.
Reply Obj. 2: As Augustine says (De Civ. Dei x), the term piety is often used in connection with works of mercy, in the language of the common people; the reason for which I consider to be the fact that God Himself has declared that these works are more pleasing to Him than sacrifices. This custom has led to the application of the word ‘pious’ to God Himself.
Ad tertium dicendum quod communicatio consanguineorum et concivium magis referuntur ad principia nostri esse quam aliae communicationes. Et ideo ad hoc nomen pietatis magis extenditur.
Reply Obj. 3: The relations of a man with his kindred and fellow-citizens are more referable to the principles of his being than other relations: wherefore the term piety is more applicable to them.
Utrum pietas exhibeat parentibus sustentationem
Whether piety provides support for our parents?
Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod pietas non exhibeat parentibus sustentationem. Ad pietatem enim videtur pertinere illud praeceptum Decalogi, honora patrem tuum et matrem tuam. Sed ibi non praecipitur nisi honoris exhibitio. Ergo ad pietatem non pertinet sustentationem parentibus exhibere.
Objection 1: It seems that piety does not provide support for our parents. For, seemingly, the precept of the decalogue, Honor thy father and mother, belongs to piety. But this prescribes only the giving of honor. Therefore it does not belong to piety to provide support for one’s parents.
Praeterea, illis debet homo thesaurizare quos tenetur sustentare. Sed secundum apostolum, II ad Cor. XII, filii non debent thesaurizare parentibus. Ergo non tenentur eos per pietatem sustentare.
Obj. 2: Further, a man is bound to lay up for those whom he is bound to support. Now according to the Apostle (2 Cor 12:14), neither ought the children to lay up for the parents. Therefore piety does not oblige them to support their parents.
Praeterea, pietas non solum se extendit ad parentes, sed etiam ad alios consanguineos et concives, ut dictum est. Sed non tenetur aliquis omnes consanguineos et concives sustentare. Ergo nec etiam tenetur ad sustentationem parentum.
Obj. 3: Further, piety extends not only to one’s parents, but also to other kinsmen and to one’s fellow-citizens, as stated above (A. 1). But one is not bound to support all one’s kindred and fellow-citizens. Therefore neither is one bound to support one’s parents.
Sed contra est quod dominus, Matth. XV, redarguit Pharisaeos quod impediebant filios ne parentibus sustentationem exhiberent.
On the contrary, our Lord (Matt 15:3–6) reproved the Pharisees for hindering children from supporting their parents.
Respondeo dicendum quod parentibus aliquid debetur dupliciter, uno modo, per se; alio modo, per accidens. Per se quidem debetur eis id quod decet patrem inquantum est pater. Qui cum sit superior, quasi principium filii existens, debetur ei a filio reverentia et obsequium. Per accidens autem aliquid debetur patri quod decet eum accipere secundum aliquid quod ei accidit, puta, si sit infirmus, quod visitetur, et eius curationi intendatur; et si sit pauper, quod sustentetur; et sic de aliis huiusmodi, quae omnia sub debito obsequio continentur. Et ideo Tullius dicit quod pietas exhibet et officium et cultum. Ut officium referatur ad obsequium, cultus vero ad reverentiam sive honorem; quia, ut Augustinus dicit, in X de Civ. Dei, dicimur colere homines quos honorificatione, vel recordatione, vel praesentia frequentamus.
I answer that, We owe something to our parents in two ways: that is to say, both essentially, and accidentally. We owe them essentially that which is due to a father as such: and since he is his son’s superior through being the principle of his being, the latter owes him reverence and service. Accidentally, that is due to a father, which it befits him to receive in respect of something accidental to him, for instance, if he be ill, it is fitting that his children should visit him and see to his cure; if he be poor, it is fitting that they should support him; and so on in like instance, all of which come under the head of service due. Hence Tully says (De Invent. Rhet. ii) that piety gives both duty and homage: duty referring to service, and homage to reverence or honor, because, as Augustine says (De Civ. Dei x), we are said to give homage to those whose memory or presence we honor.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod in honoratione parentum intelligitur omnis subventio quae debet parentibus exhiberi, ut dominus interpretatur, Matth. XV. Et hoc ideo, quia subventio fit patri ex debito, tanquam maiori.
Reply Obj. 1: According to our Lord’s interpretation (Matt 15:3–6) the honor due to our parents includes whatever support we owe them; and the reason for this is that support is given to one’s father because it is due to him as to one greater.
Ad secundum dicendum quod quia pater habet rationem principii, filius autem habet rationem a principio existentis, ideo per se patri convenit ut subveniat filio; et propter hoc, non solum ad horam debet ei subvenire, sed ad totam suam vitam, quod est thesaurizare. Sed quod filius aliquid conferat patri, hoc est per accidens, ratione alicuius necessitatis instantis, in qua tenetur ei subvenire, non autem thesaurizare, quasi in longinquum, quia naturaliter non parentes filiorum, sed filii parentum sunt successores.
Reply Obj. 2: Since a father stands in the relation of principle, and his son in the relation of that which is from a principle, it is essentially fitting for a father to support his son: and consequently he is bound to support him not only for a time, but for all his life, and this is to lay by. On the other hand, for the son to bestow something on his father is accidental, arising from some momentary necessity, wherein he is bound to support him, but not to lay by as for a long time beforehand, because naturally parents are not the successors of their children, but children of their parents.
Ad tertium dicendum quod cultus et officium, ut Tullius dicit, debetur omnibus sanguine iunctis et patriae benevolis, non tamen aequaliter omnibus, sed praecipue parentibus, aliis autem secundum propriam facultatem et decentiam personarum.
Reply Obj. 3: As Tully says (De Invent. Rhet. ii), we offer homage and duty to all our kindred and to the well-wishers of our country; not, however, equally to all, but chiefly to our parents, and to others according to our means and their personal claims.
Utrum pietas sit specialis virtus ab aliis distincta
Whether piety is a special virtue distinct from other virtues?
Ad tertium sic proceditur. Videtur quod pietas non sit specialis virtus ab aliis distincta. Exhibere enim obsequium et cultum aliquibus ex amore procedit. Sed hoc pertinet ad pietatem. Ergo pietas non est virtus a caritate distincta.
Objection 1: It seems that piety is not a special virtue distinct from other virtues. For the giving of service and homage to anyone proceeds from love. But it belongs to piety. Therefore piety is not a distinct virtue from charity.
Praeterea, cultum Deo exhibere est proprium religionis. Sed etiam pietas exhibet Deo cultum, ut Augustinus dicit, X de Civ. Dei. Ergo pietas non distinguitur a religione.
Obj. 2: Further, it is proper to religion to give worship to God. But piety also gives worship to God, according to Augustine (De Civ. Dei x). Therefore piety is not distinct from religion.
Praeterea, pietas quae exhibet cultum et officium patriae videtur idem esse cum iustitia legali, quae respicit bonum commune. Sed iustitia legalis est virtus generalis, ut patet per philosophum, in V Ethic. Ergo pietas non est virtus specialis.
Obj. 3: Further, piety, whereby we give our country worship and duty, seems to be the same as legal justice, which looks to the common good. But legal justice is a general virtue, according to the Philosopher (Ethic. v, 1, 2). Therefore piety is not a special virtue.
Sed contra est quod ponitur a Tullio pars iustitiae.
On the contrary, It is accounted by Tully (De Invent. Rhet. ii) as a part of justice.
Respondeo dicendum quod virtus aliqua est specialis ex hoc quod respicit aliquod obiectum secundum aliquam rationem specialem. Cum autem ad rationem iustitiae pertineat quod debitum alii reddat, ubi invenitur specialis ratio debiti alicui personae, ibi est specialis virtus. Debetur autem aliquid specialiter alicui quia est connaturale principium producens in esse et gubernans. Hoc autem principium respicit pietas, inquantum parentibus et patriae, et his qui ad haec ordinantur, officium et cultum impendit. Et ideo pietas est specialis virtus.
I answer that, A special virtue is one that regards an object under a special aspect. Since, then, the nature of justice consists in rendering another person his due, wherever there is a special aspect of something due to a person, there is a special virtue. Now a thing is indebted in a special way to that which is its connatural principle of being and government. And piety regards this principle, inasmuch as it pays duty and homage to our parents and country, and to those who are related thereto. Therefore piety is a special virtue.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod sicut religio est quaedam protestatio fidei, spei et caritatis, quibus homo primordialiter ordinatur in Deum; ita etiam pietas est quaedam protestatio caritatis quam quis habet ad parentes et ad patriam.
Reply Obj. 1: Just as religion is a protestation of faith, hope and charity, whereby man is primarily directed to God, so again piety is a protestation of the charity we bear towards our parents and country.
Ad secundum dicendum quod Deus longe excellentiori modo est principium essendi et gubernationis quam pater vel patria. Et ideo alia virtus est religio, quae cultum Deo exhibet, a pietate, quae exhibet cultum parentibus et patriae. Sed ea quae sunt creaturarum per quandam superexcellentiam et causalitatem transferuntur in Deum, ut Dionysius dicit, in libro de Div. Nom. Unde per excellentiam pietas cultus Dei nominatur, sicut et Deus excellenter dicitur pater noster.
Reply Obj. 2: God is the principle of our being and government in a far more excellent manner than one’s father or country. Hence religion, which gives worship to God, is a distinct virtue from piety, which pays homage to our parents and country. But things relating to creatures are transferred to God as the summit of excellence and causality, as Dionysius says (Div. Nom. i): wherefore, by way of excellence, piety designates the worship of God, even as God, by way of excellence, is called Our Father.
Ad tertium dicendum quod pietas se extendit ad patriam secundum quod est nobis quoddam essendi principium, sed iustitia legalis respicit bonum patriae secundum quod est bonum commune. Et ideo iustitia legalis magis habet quod sit virtus generalis quam pietas.
Reply Obj. 3: Piety extends to our country insofar as the latter is for us a principle of being: but legal justice regards the good of our country, considered as the common good: wherefore legal justice has more of the character of a general virtue than piety has.
Utrum occasione religionis sint praetermittenda pietatis officia in parentes
Whether the duties of piety towards one’s parents should be omitted for the sake of religion?
Ad quartum sic proceditur. Videtur quod occasione religionis sint praetermittenda pietatis officia in parentes. Dicit enim dominus, Luc. XIV, si quis venit ad me, et non odit patrem suum et matrem et uxorem, fratres, filios et sorores, adhuc autem et animam suam, non potest meus esse discipulus. Unde et in laudem Iacobi et Ioannis, Matth. IV, dicitur quod, relictis retibus et patre, secuti sunt Christum. Et in laudem Levitarum dicitur, Deut. XXXIII, qui dixit patri suo et matri suae, nescio vos; et fratribus suis, ignoro illos; et nescierunt filios suos, hi custodierunt eloquium tuum. Sed ignorando parentes et alios consanguineos, vel etiam eos odiendo, necesse est quod praetermittantur pietatis officia. Ergo propter religionem officia pietatis sunt praetermittenda.
Objection 1: It seems that the duties of piety towards one’s parents should be omitted for the sake of religion. For Our Lord said (Luke 14:26): If any man come to Me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. Hence it is said in praise of James and John (Matt 4:22) that they left their nets and father, and followed Christ. Again it is said in praise of the Levites (Deut 33:9): Who hath said to his father, and to his mother: I do not know you; and to his brethren: I know you not; and their own children they have not known. These have kept Thy word. Now a man who knows not his parents and other kinsmen, or who even hates them, must needs omit the duties of piety. Therefore the duties of piety should be omitted for the sake of religion.
Praeterea, Matth. VIII et Luc. IX dicitur quod dominus dicenti sibi, permitte mihi primum ire et sepelire patrem meum, respondit, sine ut mortui sepeliant mortuos suos. Tu autem vade et annuntia regnum Dei, quod pertinet ad religionem. Sepultura autem patris pertinet ad pietatis officium. Ergo pietatis officium est praetermittendum propter religionem.
Obj. 2: Further, it is written (Luke 9:59, 60) that in answer to him who said: Suffer me first to go and bury my father, Our Lord replied: Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou, and preach the kingdom of God. Now the latter pertains to religion, while it is a duty of piety to bury one’s father. Therefore a duty of piety should be omitted for the sake of religion.
Praeterea, Deus per excellentiam dicitur pater noster. Sed sicut per pietatis obsequia colimus parentes, ita per religionem colimus Deum. Ergo praetermittenda sunt pietatis obsequia propter religionis cultum.
Obj. 3: Further, God is called Our Father by excellence. Now just as we worship our parents by paying them the duties of piety so do we worship God by religion. Therefore the duties of piety should be omitted for the sake of the worship of religion.
Praeterea, religiosi tenentur ex voto, quod transgredi non licet, suae religionis observantias implere. Secundum quas suis parentibus subvenire impediuntur, tum propter paupertatem, quia proprio carent; tum etiam propter inobedientiam, quia sine licentia suorum praelatorum eis claustrum exire non licet. Ergo propter religionem praetermittenda sunt pietatis officia in parentes.
Obj. 4: Further, religious are bound by a vow which they may not break to fulfill the observances of religion. Now in accordance with those observances they are hindered from supporting their parents, both on the score of poverty, since they have nothing of their own, and on the score of obedience, since they may not leave the cloister without the permission of their superior. Therefore the duties of piety towards one’s parents should be omitted for the sake of religion.
Sed contra est quod dominus, Matth. XV, redarguit Pharisaeos, qui intuitu religionis honorem parentibus debitum subtrahere docebant.
On the contrary, Our Lord reproved the Pharisees (Matt 15:3–6) who taught that for the sake of religion one ought to refrain from paying one’s parents the honor we owe them.
Respondeo dicendum quod religio et pietas sunt duae virtutes. Nulla autem virtus alii virtuti contrariatur aut repugnat, quia secundum philosophum, in praedicamentis, bonum non est bono contrarium. Unde non potest esse quod pietas et religio se mutuo impediant, ut propter unam alterius actus excludatur. Cuiuslibet enim virtutis actus, ut ex supra dictis patet, debitis circumstantiis limitatur, quas si praetereat, iam non erit virtutis actus, sed vitii. Unde ad pietatem pertinet officium et cultum parentibus exhibere secundum debitum modum. Non est autem debitus modus ut plus homo intendat ad colendum patrem quam ad colendum Deum, sed sicut Ambrosius dicit, super Luc., necessitudini generis divinae religionis pietas antefertur.
I answer that, Religion and piety are two virtues. Now no virtue is opposed to another virtue, since according to the Philosopher, in his book on the Categories (Cap. De Oppos.), good is not opposed to good. Therefore it is impossible that religion and piety mutually hinder one another, so that the act of one be excluded by the act of the other. Now, as stated above (I-II, Q. 7, A. 2; Q. 18, A. 3), the act of every virtue is limited by the circumstances due thereto, and if it overstep them it will be an act no longer of virtue but of vice. Hence it belongs to piety to pay duty and homage to one’s parents according to the due mode. But it is not the due mode that man should tend to worship his father rather than God, but, as Ambrose says on Luke 12:52, the piety of divine religion takes precedence of the claims of kindred.
Si ergo cultus parentum abstrahat nos a cultu Dei, iam non esset pietatis parentum insistere cultui contra Deum. Unde Hieronymus dicit, in epistola ad Heliodorum, per calcatum perge patrem, per calcatam perge matrem, ad vexillum crucis evola. Summum genus pietatis est in hac re fuisse crudelem. Et ideo in tali casu dimittenda sunt officia in parentes propter divinum religionis cultum. Si vero exhibendo debita obsequia parentibus non abstrahamur a divino cultu, hoc iam pertinebit ad pietatem. Et sic non oportebit propter religionem pietatem deserere.
Accordingly, if the worship of one’s parents take one away from the worship of God it would no longer be an act of piety to pay worship to one’s parents to the prejudice of God. Hence Jerome says (Ep. ad Heliod.): Though thou trample upon thy father, though thou spurn thy mother, turn not aside, but with dry eyes hasten to the standard of the cross; it is the highest degree of piety to be cruel in this matter. Therefore in such a case the duties of piety towards one’s parents should be omitted for the sake of the worship religion gives to God. If, however, by paying the services due to our parents, we are not withdrawn from the service of God, then will it be an act of piety, and there will be no need to set piety aside for the sake of religion.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod Gregorius, exponens illud verbum domini, dicit quod parentes quos adversarios in via Dei patimur, odiendo et fugiendo nescire debemus. Si enim parentes nostri nos provocent ad peccandum, et abstrahant nos a cultu divino, debemus quantum ad hoc eos deserere et odire. Et hoc modo dicuntur Levitae suos consanguineos ignorasse, quia idololatris, secundum mandatum domini, non pepercerunt, ut habetur Exod. XXXII. Iacobus autem et Ioannes laudantur ex hoc quod secuti sunt dominum dimisso parente, non quia eorum pater eos provocaret ad malum, sed quia aliter aestimabant ipsum posse vitam transigere, eis sequentibus Christum.
Reply Obj. 1: Gregory expounding this saying of our Lord says (Hom. xxxvii in Ev.) that when we find our parents to be a hindrance in our way to God, we must ignore them by hating and fleeing from them. For if our parents incite us to sin, and withdraw us from the service of God, we must, as regards this point, abandon and hate them. It is in this sense that the Levites are said to have not known their kindred, because they obeyed the Lord’s command, and spared not the idolaters (Exod 32). James and John are praised for leaving their parents and following our Lord, not that their father incited them to evil, but because they deemed it possible for him to find another means of livelihood, if they followed Christ.
Ad secundum dicendum quod dominus ideo prohibuit discipulum a sepultura patris, quia, sicut Chrysostomus dicit, per hoc eum dominus a multis malis eripuit, puta luctibus et maeroribus, et aliis quae hinc expectantur. Post sepulturam enim necesse erat et testamenta scrutari, et haereditatis divisionem, et alia huiusmodi. Et praecipue quia alii erant qui complere poterant huius funeris sepulturam. Vel, sicut Cyrillus exponit, super Lucam, discipulus ille non petiit quod patrem iam defunctum sepeliret, sed adhuc viventem in senectute sustentaret usquequo sepeliret. Quod dominus non concessit, quia erant alii qui eius curam habere poterant, linea parentelae adstricti.
Reply Obj. 2: Our Lord forbade the disciple to bury his father because, according to Chrysostom (Hom. xxviii in Matth.), Our Lord by so doing saved him from many evils, such as the sorrows and worries and other things that one anticipates under these circumstances. For after the burial the will had to be read, the estate had to be divided, and so forth: but chiefly, because there were others who could see to the funeral. Or, according to Cyril’s commentary on Luke 9, this disciple’s request was, not that he might bury a dead father, but that he might support a yet living father in the latter’s old age, until at length he should bury him. This is what Our Lord did not grant, because there were others, bound by the duties of kindred, to take care of him.