Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Cardinal Virtues

From The Catholic Gentleman's Guide:
Saint Thomas Aquinas ranked them in this way: Prudence, Justice, Temperance, and Fortitude. His rationale will be considered when the time is taken in future guides to look at each of the Cardinal Virtues individually. Broadly speaking, these virtues are human virtues, as distinct from the three Theological Virtues. Yet, together with the three Theological Virtues, the Cardinal Virtues form the Seven Virtues, which traditionally counter the Cardinal Sins mentioned above.

Now to the main point of this discussion: Why are they called Cardinal? That answer goes back to the meaning of cardo, cardinis. A “hinge” is something upon which something pivots. Or, when something “hinges” upon something else, it depends upon it, even as a gate depends upon the hinge for it to open and close. Cardinal Virtues are known as Hinge Virtues because all other human and moral virtues pivot upon them. In other words all the other virtues can be categorized under the Cardinal Virtues. In short, if we want to be growing in virtue as Catholic Gentlemen, we’d better understand the four Cardinal Virtues so as to understand how they are at work in all the other virtuous habits we set out to practice. (Read more.)

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