The virtue of temperance 30 November, The Catechism of the Catholic Church treats temperance in the context of the dignity of the human person, the human vocation and human virtues as the power for right living. It is not depriving a person of anything, but is totally a positive acquisition. A person of virtue is not a wimp; quite the opposite.
Because I am summarizing a large amount of material here, I have not included references for each specific point below. Please allow the previous citation of the Summa to serve for the entire post. Temperance, in its broad sense as a general virtue, disposes us to act in moderation and do what is ordinate or measured.
Virtue is the middle ground between excess and defect, as St. Thomas often notes in the Summa. In a more specific sense, though, we usually restrict the cardinal virtue of temperance to the virtue that helps us to moderate our appetite for tactile and bodily delights, specifically food, drink, and sexual activity.
The senses of taste and touch are especially involved and only to a lesser degree those of sight and hearing, insofar as they present to our intellect the food, drink, or sexual things that must be moderated.
Temperance not only controls our pursuit of pleasurable goods; it also helps to curb our distress when we lack them. As a virtue, temperance stands in the middle of defect and excess: Insensibility is the defect. It involves an unreasonable rejection of the pleasures associated with preserving our life.
Because food, drink, and sexual activity are necessary for our survival either as individuals or as a race, God has associated pleasures with them to assist us in not neglecting them.
Rejecting the pleasures associated with them to the extent that they harm our well-being is what is meant by insensibility. Unhealthy fasting would be an example of this. There are some among us who perpetually abstain from sexual pleasure through virginity and celibacy.
This is not to be confused with insensibility because it is not necessary for every person to engage in sexual activity for the human race to survive. Intemperance is the excess.
As the literal opposite of temperance, it consists in the immoderate indulgence of taste and touch through excessive and unreasonable indulgence in food, or drink, or sex. Thomas reminds us that intemperance is the most disgraceful of the vices because it indulges those pleasures that man has in common with animals.
It also plays a powerful role in dimming the light of our reason we noted this in our discussion of lust last week. Just as the seven deadly sins have related sins that spring from them St.
Shamefacedness — This is a passion whereby one recoils from what is disgraceful because of the shame resulting from the consequences of sin. People feel this and fear this most in the face of those they know. One way of avoiding this is to live virtuously. Sadly, some are unashamed not so much due to a lack of virtue but because they are so accustomed to sin that they have lost the normal shame it should bring.
Healthy shame should make us recoil from deserved reproach, humiliation, or the loss of our good reputation.
In this way it can assist us in moderating or tempering our sinful desires. Decorousness decency — This is a love of the beauty that virtue brings. Because temperance repels what is most unbecoming in us, namely the indulgence of our lower or animal-like desires, it helps us in being decent and possessing that which is beautiful in us, which decorousness desires.
Abstinence — This refers to refraining from some lawful pleasure or thing entirely or for a specific period of time.
It must be ordinate, however, lest it become insensitivity. Because temperance helps us to moderate and have authority over matters of taste and touch, abstinence is a species or subset of temperance.
Fasting — his refers to refraining from food for a specific timeframe. The same observations and distinctions apply as for abstinence. Sobriety — This is the reasonable, moderate use of intoxicating beverages.
To be sober indicates a clear mind, rather than one distorted by excessive drink. Thomas observes that moderation may need to vary from individual to individual. There are some who do not tolerate alcohol well and may need to refrain entirely.
For most, however, drinking in moderation is what is meant by sobriety. We curb or hold it in control based on our state in life. Virginity — This is the perpetual refraining from the use or pleasures of sexual activity.
Sex is a necessary and essential good for the propagation of the human race, and though required for people in general, it is not necessary that everyone engage in it. Those who vow themselves to virginity do so in order to be more wholly devoted to the spiritual life.
Continence — This refers to the general controlling or resisting of lustful desires.The virtue of temperance 30 November, The Catechism of the Catholic Church treats temperance in the context of the dignity of the human person, the human vocation and human virtues as the power for right living.
Jun 09, · Temperance is one of the four cardinal virtues, which the ancients saw as character qualities necessary for people to live a truly good life. We're covering the virtues with our daily BreakPoint commentaries, including this arteensevilla.comtion: Christian Post Contributor.
St. Thomas Aquinas ranked temperance as the fourth of the cardinal virtues because temperance serves prudence, justice, and fortitude.
The moderation of our own desires is essential to acting rightly (the virtue of prudence), giving each man his due (the virtue of justice), and standing strong in the face of adversity (the virtue of fortitude).
Temperance is the first virtue that perfects mans ability to act well with ones self from within ones self. For it brings order to the concupiscible a. The paths of temperance, or brahmacharya, and eroticism most assuredly do not move in the same direction.
As current history has indicated, the former leads to . This is the spiritual beauty that comes from the excellence and honorable state resulting from the cultivation of the virtue of temperance, the beauty of a heart that recoils from the disgrace that is contrary to temperance and a love of the honor that belongs to it; in short, the beauty of an unselfish heart.