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.
Ad tertium dicendum quod hoc ipsum quod parentibus carnalibus ex pietate exhibemus, in Deum referimus, sicut et alia misericordiae opera quae quibuscumque proximis impendimus, Deo exhibita videntur secundum illud Matth. XXV, quod uni ex minimis meis fecistis, mihi fecistis. Et ideo si carnalibus parentibus nostra obsequia sunt necessaria, ut sine his sustentari non possint; nec nos ad aliquid contra Deum inducant, non debemus intuitu religionis eos deserere. Si autem sine peccato eorum obsequiis vacare non possumus; vel etiam si absque nostro obsequio possunt sustentari, licitum est eorum obsequia praetermittere ad hoc quod amplius religioni vacemus.
Reply Obj. 3: Whatever we give our parents out of piety is referred by us to God; just as other works of mercy which we perform with regard to any of our neighbors are offered to God, according to Matt. 25:40: As long as you did it to one of . . . My least . . . you did it to Me. Accordingly, if our carnal parents stand in need of our assistance, so that they have no other means of support, provided they incite us to nothing against God, we must not abandon them for the sake of religion. But if we cannot devote ourselves to their service without sin, or if they can be supported without our assistance, it is lawful to forego their service, so as to give more time to religion.
Ad quartum dicendum quod aliud est dicendum de eo qui est adhuc in saeculo constitutus, et aliud de eo qui est iam in religione professus. Ille enim qui est in saeculo constitutus, si habet parentes qui sine ipso sustentari non possunt, non debet, eis relictis, religionem intrare, quia transgrederetur praeceptum de honoratione parentum. Quamvis dicant quidam quod etiam in hoc casu licite posset eos deserere, eorum curam Deo committens. Sed si quis recte consideret, hoc esset tentare Deum, cum habens ex humano consilio quid ageret, periculo parentes exponeret sub spe divini auxilii. Si vero sine eo parentes vitam transigere possent, licitum esset ei, desertis parentibus, religionem intrare. Quia filii non tenentur ad sustentationem parentum nisi causa necessitatis, ut dictum est. Ille vero qui iam est in religione professus, reputatur iam quasi mortuus mundo. Unde non debet occasione sustentationis parentum exire claustrum, in quo Christo consepelitur, et se iterum saecularibus negotiis implicare. Tenetur tamen, salva sui praelati obedientia et suae religionis statu, pium studium adhibere qualiter eius parentibus subveniatur.
Reply Obj. 4: We must speak differently of one who is yet in the world, and of one who has made his profession in religion. For he that is in the world, if he has parents unable to find support without him, he must not leave them and enter religion, because he would be breaking the commandment prescribing the honoring of parents. Some say, however, that even then he might abandon them, and leave them in God’s care. But this, considered aright, would be to tempt God: since, while having human means at hand, he would be exposing his parents to danger, in the hope of God’s assistance. On the other hand, if the parents can find means of livelihood without him, it is lawful for him to abandon them and enter religion, because children are not bound to support their parents except in cases of necessity, as stated above. He that has already made his profession in religion is deemed to be already dead to the world: wherefore he ought not, under pretext of supporting his parents, to leave the cloister where he is buried with Christ, and busy himself once more with worldly affairs. Nevertheless he is bound, saving his obedience to his superiors, and his religious state withal, to make points efforts for his parents’ support.
Deinde considerandum est de observantia, et partibus eius. Per quae de oppositis vitiis erit manifestum.
We must now consider observance and its parts, the considerations of which will manifest the contrary vices.
Circa observantiam autem quaeruntur tria.
Under the head of observance there are three points of inquiry:
Primo, utrum observantia sit specialis virtus ab aliis distincta.
(1) Whether observance is a special virtue, distinct from other virtues?
Secundo, quid observantia exhibeat.
(2) What does observance offer?
Tertio, de comparatione eius ad pietatem.
(3) Of its comparison with piety.
Utrum observantia sit specialis virtus ab aliis distincta
Whether observance is a special virtue, distinct from other virtues?
Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod observantia non sit specialis virtus ab aliis distincta. Virtutes enim distinguuntur secundum obiecta. Sed obiectum observantiae non distinguitur ab obiecto pietatis. Dicit enim Tullius, in sua rhetorica, quod observantia est per quam homines aliqua dignitate antecedentes quodam cultu et honore dignantur. Sed cultum et honorem etiam pietas exhibet parentibus, qui dignitate antecedunt. Ergo observantia non est virtus distincta a pietate.
Objection 1: It seems that observance is not a special virtue, distinct from other virtues. For virtues are distinguished by their objects. But the object of observance is not distinct from the object of piety: for Tully says (De Invent. Rhet. ii) that it is by observance that we pay worship and honor to those who excel in some kind of dignity. But worship and honor are paid also by piety to our parents, who excel in dignity. Therefore observance is not a distinct virtue from piety.
Praeterea, sicut hominibus in dignitate constitutis debetur honor et cultus, ita etiam eis qui excellunt in scientia et virtute. Sed non est aliqua specialis virtus per quam honorem et cultum exibeamus hominibus qui scientiae vel virtutis excellentiam habent. Ergo etiam observantia, per quam cultum et honorem exhibemus his qui nos in dignitate antecedunt, non est specialis virtus ab aliis distincta.
Obj. 2: Further, just as honor and worship are due to those that are in a position of dignity, so also are they due to those who excel in science and virtue. But there is no special virtue whereby we pay honor and worship to those who excel in science and virtue. Therefore observance, whereby we pay worship and honor to those who excel in dignity, is not a special virtue distinct from other virtues.
Praeterea, hominibus in dignitate constitutis multa debentur ad quae solvenda lex cogit, secundum illud Rom. XIII, reddite omnibus debita, cui tributum, tributum, et cetera. Ea vero ad quae per legem compellimur, pertinent ad iustitiam legalem, seu etiam ad iustitiam specialem. Ergo observantia non est per se specialis virtus ab aliis distincta.
Obj. 3: Further, we have many duties towards those who are in a position of dignity, the fulfilment of which is required by law, according to Rom. 13:7, Render . . . to all men their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due, etc. Now the fulfilment of the requirements of the law belongs to legal justice, or even to special justice. Therefore observance is not by itself a special virtue distinct from other virtues.
Sed contra est quod Tullius condividit observantiam aliis iustitiae partibus, quae sunt speciales virtutes.
On the contrary, Tully (De Invent. Rhet. ii) reckons observance along with the other parts of justice, which are special virtues.
Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut ex dictis patet, necesse est ut eo modo per quendam ordinatum descensum distinguantur virtutes, sicut et excellentia personarum quibus est aliquid reddendum. Sicut autem carnalis pater particulariter participat rationem principii, quae universaliter invenitur in Deo; ita etiam persona quae quantum ad aliquid providentiam circa nos gerit, particulariter participat proprietatem patris, quia pater est principium et generationis et educationis et disciplinae, et omnium quae ad perfectionem humanae vitae pertinent. Persona autem in dignitate constituta est sicut principium gubernationis respectu aliquarum rerum, sicut princeps civitatis in rebus civilibus, dux autem exercitus in rebus bellicis, magister autem in disciplinis, et simile est in aliis. Et inde est quod omnes tales personae patres appellantur, propter similitudinem curae, sicut IV Reg. V, servi Naaman dixerunt ad eum, pater, etsi rem grandem dixisset tibi propheta, et cetera.
I answer that, As explained above (Q. 101, AA. 1, 3; Q. 80), according to the various excellences of those persons to whom something is due, there must needs be a corresponding distinction of virtues in a descending order. Now just as a carnal father partakes of the character of principle in a particular way, which character is found in God in a universal way, so too a person who, in some way, exercises providence in one respect, partakes of the character of father in a particular way, since a father is the principle of generation, of education, of learning and of whatever pertains to the perfection of human life: while a person who is in a position of dignity is as a principle of government with regard to certain things: for instance, the governor of a state in civil matters, the commander of an army in matters of warfare, a professor in matters of learning, and so forth. Hence it is that all such persons are designated as fathers, on account of their being charged with like cares: thus the servants of Naaman said to him (4 Kgs 5:13): Father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, etc.
Et ideo sicut sub religione, per quam cultus tribuitur Deo, quodam ordine invenitur pietas, per quam coluntur parentes; ita sub pietate invenitur observantia, per quam cultus et honor exhibetur personis in dignitate constitutis.
Therefore, just as, in a manner, beneath religion, whereby worship is given to God, we find piety, whereby we worship our parents; so under piety we find observance, whereby worship and honor are paid to persons in positions of dignity.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod sicut supra dictum est quod religio per quandam supereminentiam pietas dicitur, et tamen pietas proprie dicta a religione distinguitur; ita etiam pietas per quandam excellentiam potest dici observantia, et tamen observantia proprie dicta a pietate distinguitur.
Reply Obj. 1: As stated above (Q. 101, A. 3, ad 2), religion goes by the name of piety by way of supereminence, although piety properly so called is distinct from religion; and in the same way piety can be called observance by way of excellence, although observance properly speaking is distinct from piety.
Ad secundum dicendum quod aliquis ex hoc quod est in dignitate constitutus, non solum quandam status excellentiam habet, sed etiam quandam potestatem gubernandi subditos. Unde competit sibi ratio principii, prout est aliorum gubernator. Ex hoc autem quod aliquis habet perfectionem scientiae vel virtutis, non sortitur rationem principii quantum ad alios, sed solum quandam excellentiam in seipso. Et ideo specialiter quaedam virtus determinatur ad exhibendum honorem et cultum his qui sunt in dignitate constituti. Verum quia per scientiam et virtutem, et omnia alia huiusmodi, aliquis idoneus redditur ad dignitatis statum, reverentia quae propter quamcumque excellentiam aliquibus exhibetur, ad eandem virtutem pertinet.
Reply Obj. 2: By the very fact of being in a position of dignity a man not only excels as regards his position, but also has a certain power of governing subjects, wherefore it is fitting that he should be considered as a principle inasmuch as he is the governor of others. On the other hand, the fact that a man has perfection of science and virtue does not give him the character of a principle in relation to others, but merely a certain excellence in himself. Wherefore a special virtue is appointed for the payment of worship and honor to persons in positions of dignity. Yet, forasmuch as science, virtue and all like things render a man fit for positions of dignity, the respect which is paid to anyone on account of any excellence whatever belongs to the same virtue.
Ad tertium dicendum quod ad iustitiam specialem proprie sumptam pertinet reddere aequale ei cui aliquid debetur. Quod quidem non potest fieri ad virtuosos, et ad eos qui bene statu dignitatis utuntur, sicut nec ad Deum, nec ad parentes. Et ideo ad quandam virtutem adiunctam hoc pertinet, non autem ad iustitiam specialem, quae est principalis virtus.
Reply Obj. 3: It belongs to special justice, properly speaking, to pay the equivalent to those to whom we owe anything. Now this cannot be done to the virtuous, and to those who make good use of their position of dignity, as neither can it be done to God, nor to our parents. Consequently these matters belong to an annexed virtue, and not to special justice, which is a principal virtue.
Iustitia vero legalis se extendit ad actus omnium virtutum, ut supra dictum est.
Legal justice extends to the acts of all the virtues, as stated above (Q. 58, A. 6).