St. Thomas Aquinas

The Summa Theologica

(Benziger Bros. edition, 1947)
Translated by
Fathers of the English Dominican Province


Index  [<< | >>]
Third Part  [<< | >>]
Question: 88  [<< | >>]


Deinde considerandum est de reditu peccatorum post poenitentiam dimissorum. Et circa hoc quaeruntur quatuor.    We must now consider the return of sins which have been taken away by Penance: under which head there are four points of inquiry:
Primo, utrum peccata per poenitentiam dimissa redeant simpliciter per sequens peccatum.     (1) Whether sins which have been taken away by Penance return simply through a subsequent sin?
Secundo, utrum aliquo modo per ingratitudinem redeant specialius secundum quaedam peccata.     (2) Whether more specially as regards certain sins they return, in a way, on account of ingratitude?
Tertio, utrum redeant in aequali reatu.     (3) Whether the debt of punishment remains the same for sins thus returned?
Quarto, utrum illa ingratitudo per quam redeunt, sit speciale peccatum.     (4) Whether this ingratitude, on account of which sins return, is a special sin?


Index  [<< | >>]
Third Part  [<< | >>]
Question: 88  [<< | >>]
Article: 1  [<< | >>]

Whether sins once forgiven return through a subsequent sin?

Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod peccata dimissa redeant per sequens peccatum. Dicit enim Augustinus, in libro I de Baptismo, redire dimissa peccata ubi fraterna caritas non est, apertissime dominus in Evangelio docet in illo servo a quo dimissum debitum dominus petiit eo quod ille conservo suo debitum nollet dimittere. Sed fraterna caritas tollitur per quodlibet peccatum mortale. Ergo per quodlibet sequens mortale peccatum redeunt peccata prius per poenitentiam dimissa.   Objection 1: It would seem that sins once forgiven return through a subsequent sin. For Augustine says (De Bapt. contra Donat. i, 12): "Our Lord teaches most explicitly in the Gospel that sins which have been forgiven return, when fraternal charity ceases, in the example of the servant from whom his master exacted the payment of the debt already forgiven, because he had refused to forgive the debt of his fellow-servant." Now fraternal charity is destroyed through each mortal sin. Therefore sins already taken away through Penance, return through each subsequent mortal sin.
Praeterea, super illud Luc. XI, revertar in domum meam unde exivi, dicit Beda, timendus est ille versiculus, non exponendus, ne culpa quam in nobis extinctam credebamus, per incuriam nos vacantes opprimat. Hoc autem non esset nisi rediret. Ergo culpa per poenitentiam dimissa redit.   Objection 2: Further, on Lk. 11:24, "I will return into my house, whence I came out," Bede says: "This verse should make us tremble, we should not endeavor to explain it away lest through carelessness we give place to the sin which we thought to have been taken away, and become its slave once more." Now this would not be so unless it returned. Therefore a sin returns after once being taken away by Penance.
Praeterea, Ezech. XVIII dominus dicit, si averterit se iustus a iustitia sua et fecerit iniquitatem, omnes iustitiae eius quas fecerat, non recordabuntur amplius. Sed inter alias iustitias quas fecit, etiam praecedens poenitentia concurrit, cum supra dictum sit poenitentiam esse partem iustitiae. Ergo, postquam poenitens peccat, non imputatur ei praecedens poenitentia, per quam consecutus est veniam peccatorum. Redeunt ergo illa peccata.   Objection 3: Further, the Lord said (Ezech. 18:24): "If the just man turn himself away from his justice, and do iniquity . . . all his justices which he hath done, shall not be remembered." Now among the other "justices" which he had done, is also his previous penance, since it was said above (Question [85], Article [3]) that penance is a part of justice. Therefore when one who has done penance, sins, his previous penance, whereby he received forgiveness of his sins, is not imputed to him. Therefore his sins return.
Praeterea, peccata praeterita per gratiam teguntur, ut patet per apostolum, Rom. IV, inducentem illud Psalmi, beati quorum remissae sunt iniquitates et quorum tecta sunt peccata. Sed per peccatum mortale sequens gratia tollitur. Ergo peccata quae fuerant prius commissa, remanent detecta. Et ita videtur quod redeant.   Objection 4: Further, past sins are covered by grace, as the Apostle declares (Rm. 4:7) where he quotes Ps. 31:1: "Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered." But a subsequent mortal sin takes away grace. Therefore the sins committed previously, become uncovered: and so, seemingly, they return.
Sed contra est quod apostolus dicit, Rom. XI, sine poenitentia sunt dona Dei, et vocatio. Sed peccata poenitentis sunt remissa per donum Dei. Ergo per peccatum sequens non redeunt dimissa peccata, quasi Deus de dono remissionis poeniteat.   On the contrary, The Apostle says (Rm. 11:29): "The gifts and the calling of God are without repentance." Now the penitent's sins are taken away by a gift of God. Therefore the sins which have been taken away do not return through a subsequent sin, as though God repented His gift of forgiveness.
Praeterea, Augustinus dicit, in libro responsionum prosperi, qui recedit a Christo et alienatus a gratia finit hanc vitam, quid nisi in perditionem vadit? Sed non in id quod dimissum est recidit, nec pro originali peccato damnabitur.    Moreover, Augustine says (Lib. Resp. Prosperi i [*Cf. Prosper, Responsiones ad Capitula Gallorum ii]): "When he that turns away from Christ, comes to the end of this life a stranger to grace, whither does he go, except to perdition? Yet he does not fall back into that which had been forgiven, nor will he be condemned for original sin."
Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut supra dictum est, in peccato mortali sunt duo, scilicet aversio a Deo, et conversio ad bonum creatum. Quidquid autem est aversionis in peccato mortali secundum se consideratum, est commune omnibus peccatis mortalibus, quia per quodlibet peccatum mortale homo avertitur a Deo. Unde et per consequens macula, quae est per privationem gratiae, et reatus poenae aeternae, communia sunt omnibus peccatis mortalibus. Et secundum hoc intelligitur id quod dicitur Iac. II, qui offendit in uno, factus est omnium reus. Sed ex parte conversionis, peccata mortalia sunt diversa, et interdum contraria. Unde manifestum est quod ex parte conversionis peccatum mortale sequens non facit redire peccata mortalia prius abolita. Alioquin sequeretur quod homo per peccatum prodigalitatis reduceretur in habitum vel dispositionem avaritiae prius abolitae et sic contrarium esset causa sui contrarii, quod est impossibile. Sed considerando in peccatis mortalibus id quod est ex parte aversionis absolute, per peccatum mortale sequens homo privatur gratia et fit reus poenae aeternae, sicut et prius erat. Verum, quia aversio in peccato mortali ex conversione quodammodo diversitatem induit per comparationem ad diversas conversiones sicut ad diversas causas, ita quod sit alia aversio et alia macula et alius reatus prout consurgit ex alio actu peccati mortalis, hoc ergo in quaestionem vertitur, utrum macula et reatus poenae aeternae, secundum quod causabantur ex actibus peccatorum prius dimissorum, redeant per peccatum mortale sequens.   I answer that, As stated above (Question [86], Article [4]), mortal sin contains two things, aversion from God and adherence to a created good. Now, in mortal sin, whatever attaches to the aversion, is, considered in itself, common to all mortal sins, since man turns away from God by every mortal sin, so that, in consequence, the stain resulting from the privation of grace, and the debt of everlasting punishment are common to all mortal sins. This is what is meant by what is written (James 2:10): "Whosoever . . . shall offend in one point, is become guilty of all." On the other hand, as regards their adherence they are different from, and sometimes contrary to one another. Hence it is evident, that on the part of the adherence, a subsequent mortal sin does not cause the return of mortal sins previously dispelled, else it would follow that by a sin of wastefulness a man would be brought back to the habit or disposition of avarice previously dispelled, so that one contrary would be the cause of another, which is impossible. But if in mortal sins we consider that which attaches to the aversion absolutely, then a subsequent mortal sin [causes the return of that which was comprised in the mortal sins before they were pardoned, in so far as the subsequent mortal sin] [*The words in brackets are omitted in the Leonine edition.] deprives man of grace, and makes him deserving of everlasting punishment, just as he was before. Nevertheless, since the aversion of mortal sin is [in a way, caused by the adherence, those things which attach to the aversion are*] diversified somewhat in relation to various adherences, as it were to various causes, so that there will be a different aversion, a different stain, a different debt of punishment, according to the different acts of mortal sin from which they arise; hence the question is moved whether the stain and the debt of eternal punishment, as caused by acts of sins previously pardoned, return through a subsequent mortal sin.
Quibusdam igitur visum est quod simpliciter hoc modo redeant. Sed hoc non potest esse. Quia opus Dei per opus hominis irritari non potest. Remissio autem priorum peccatorum est opus divinae misericordiae. Unde non potest irritari per sequens peccatum hominis, secundum illud Rom. III, nunquid incredulitas illorum fidem Dei evacuavit?    Accordingly some have maintained that they return simply even in this way. But this is impossible, because what God has done cannot be undone by the work of man. Now the pardon of the previous sins was a work of Divine mercy, so that it cannot be undone by man's subsequent sin, according to Rm. 3:3: "Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?"
Et ideo alii, ponentes peccata redire, dixerunt quod Deus non remittit peccata poenitenti postmodum peccaturo secundum praescientiam, sed solum secundum praesentem iustitiam. Praescit enim eum pro his peccatis aeternaliter puniendum, et tamen per gratiam facit eum praesentialiter iustum. Sed nec hoc stare potest. Quia, si causa absolute ponatur, et effectus ponitur absolute. Si ergo absolute non fieret peccatorum remissio, sed cum quadam conditione in futurum dependente, per gratiam et gratiae sacramenta, sequeretur quod gratia et gratiae sacramenta non essent sufficiens causa remissionis peccatorum. Quod est erroneum, utpote derogans gratiae Dei.    Wherefore others who maintained the possibility of sins returning, said that God pardons the sins of a penitent who will afterwards sin again, not according to His foreknowledge, but only according to His present justice: since He foresees that He will punish such a man eternally for his sins, and yet, by His grace, He makes him righteous for the present. But this cannot stand: because if a cause be placed absolutely, its effect is placed absolutely; so that if the remission of sins were effected by grace and the sacraments of grace, not absolutely but under some condition dependent on some future event, it would follow that grace and the sacraments of grace are not the sufficient causes of the remission of sins, which is erroneous, as being derogatory to God's grace.
Et ideo nullo modo potest esse quod macula et reatus praecedentium peccatorum redeant secundum quod ex talibus actibus causabantur. Contingit autem quod sequens actus peccati virtualiter continet reatum prioris peccati, inquantum scilicet aliquis secundo peccans ex hoc ipso videtur gravius peccare quam prius peccaverat; secundum illud Rom. II, secundum duritiam tuam et cor impoenitens thesaurizas tibi iram in die irae, ex hoc solo scilicet quod contemnitur Dei bonitas, quae ad poenitentiam expectat; multo autem magis contemnitur Dei bonitas si, post remissionem prioris peccati, secundo peccatum iteretur; quanto maius est beneficium peccatum remittere quam sustinere peccatorem.    Consequently it is in no way possible for the stain of past sins and the debt of punishment incurred thereby, to return, as caused by those acts. Yet it may happen that a subsequent sinful act virtually contains the debt of punishment due to the previous sin, in so far as when a man sins a second time, for this very reason he seems to sin more grievously than before, as stated in Rm. 2:5: "According to thy hardness and impenitent heart, thou treasurest up to thyself wrath against the day of wrath," from the mere fact, namely, that God's goodness, which waits for us to repent, is despised. And so much the more is God's goodness despised, if the first sin is committed a second time after having been forgiven, as it is a greater favor for the sin to be forgiven than for the sinner to be endured.
Sic igitur per peccatum sequens poenitentiam redit quodammodo reatus peccatorum prius dimissorum, non inquantum causabatur ex illis peccatis prius dimissis, sed inquantum causatur ex peccato ultimo perpetrato, quod aggravatur ex peccatis prioribus. Et hoc non est peccata dimissa redire simpliciter, sed secundum quid, inquantum scilicet virtualiter in peccato sequenti continentur.    Accordingly the sin which follows repentance brings back, in a sense, the debt of punishment due to the sins previously forgiven, not as caused by those sins already forgiven but as caused by this last sin being committed, on account of its being aggravated in view of those previous sins. This means that those sins return, not simply, but in a restricted sense, viz., in so far as they are virtually contained in the subsequent sin.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod illud verbum Augustini videtur esse intelligendum de reditu peccatorum quantum ad reatum poenae aeternae in se consideratum, quia scilicet post poenitentiam peccans incurrit reatum poenae aeternae sicut et prius; non tamen omnino propter eandem rationem. Unde Augustinus, in libro de responsionibus prosperi, cum dixisset quod non in id quod remissum est recidit, nec pro originali peccato damnabitur, subdit, qui tamen ea morte afficitur quae ei propter peccata dimissa debebatur, quia scilicet incurrit mortem aeternam, quam meruerat per peccata praeterita.   Reply to Objection 1: This saying of Augustine seems to refer to the return of sins as to the debt of eternal punishment considered in itself, namely, that he who sins after doing penance incurs a debt of eternal punishment, just as before, but not altogether for the same "reason." Wherefore Augustine, after saying (Lib. Resp. Prosperi i [*Cf. Prosper, Responsiones ad Capitula Gallorum ii]) that "he does not fall back into that which was forgiven, nor will he be condemned for original sin," adds: "Nevertheless, for these last sins he will be condemned to the same death, which he deserved to suffer for the former," because he incurs the punishment of eternal death which he deserved for his previous sins.
Ad secundum dicendum quod in illis verbis non intendit Beda dicere quod culpa prius dimissa hominem opprimat per reditum praeteriti reatus, sed per iterationem actus.   Reply to Objection 2: By these words Bede means that the guilt already forgiven enslaves man, not by the return of his former debt of punishment, but by the repetition of his act.
Ad tertium dicendum quod per sequens peccatum iustitiae priores oblivioni traduntur inquantum erant meritoriae vitae aeternae, non tamen inquantum erant impeditivae peccati. Unde, si aliquis peccet mortaliter postquam restituit debitum, non efficitur reus quasi debitum non reddidisset. Et multo minus traditur oblivioni poenitentia prius acta quantum ad remissionem culpae, cum remissio culpae magis sit opus Dei quam hominis.   Reply to Objection 3: The effect of a subsequent sin is that the former "justices" are not remembered, in so far as they were deserving of eternal life, but not in so far as they were a hindrance to sin. Consequently if a man sins mortally after making restitution, he does not become guilty as though he had not paid back what he owed; and much less is penance previously done forgotten as to the pardon of the guilt, since this is the work of God rather than of man.
Ad quartum dicendum quod gratia simpliciter tollit maculam et reatum poenae aeternae, tegit autem actus peccati praeteritos, ne scilicet propter eos Deus hominem gratia privet et reum habeat poenae aeternae. Et quod gratia semel facit, perpetuo manet.   Reply to Objection 4: Grace removes the stain and the debt of eternal punishment simply; but it covers the past sinful acts, lest, on their account, God deprive man of grace, and judge him deserving of eternal punishment; and what grace has once done, endures for ever.


Index  [<< | >>]
Third Part  [<< | >>]
Question: 88  [<< | >>]
Article: 2  [<< | >>]

Whether sins that have been forgiven, return through ingratitude which is shown especially in four kinds of sin?

Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod peccata dimissa non redeant per ingratitudinem quae specialiter est secundum quatuor genera peccatorum, scilicet secundum odium fraternum, apostasiam a fide, contemptum confessionis, et dolorem de poenitentia habita, secundum quod quidam metrice dixerunt,
fratres odit,
apostata fit,
spernitque fateri,
poenituisse piget,
pristina culpa redit.
Tanto enim est maior ingratitudo quanto gravius est peccatum quod quis contra Deum committit post beneficium remissionis peccatorum. Sed quaedam alia peccata sunt his graviora, sicut blasphemia contra Deum, et peccatum in spiritum sanctum. Ergo videtur quod peccata dimissa non redeant magis secundum ingratitudinem commissam secundum haec peccata, quam secundum alia.
  Objection 1: It would seem that sins do not return through ingratitude, which is shown especially in four kinds of sin, viz., hatred of one's neighbor, apostasy from faith, contempt of confession and regret for past repentance, and which have been expressed in the following verse:[not in Benziger]
He hates his brothers,
He becomes an apostate,
He spurns confession,
too lazy to repent.
He earlier guilt returns.
For the more grievous the sin committed against God after one has received the grace of pardon, the greater the ingratitude. But there are sins more grievous than these, such as blasphemy against God, and the sin against the Holy Ghost. Therefore it seems that sins already pardoned do not return through ingratitude as manifested in these sins, any more than as shown in other sins.
Praeterea, Rabanus dicit, nequam servum tradidit Deus tortoribus quoadusque redderet universum debitum, quia non solum peccata quae post Baptismum homo egit reputabuntur ei ad poenam, sed originalia, quae ei sunt dimissa in Baptismo. Sed etiam inter debita peccata venialia computantur, pro quibus dicimus, dimitte nobis debita nostra. Ergo ipsa etiam redeunt per ingratitudinem. Et pari ratione videtur quod per peccata venialia redeant peccata prius dimissa, et non solum per praedicta peccata.   Objection 2: Further, Rabanus says: "God delivered the wicked servant to the torturers, until he should pay the whole debt, because a man will be deemed punishable not only for the sins he commits after Baptism, but also for original sin which was taken away when he was baptized." Now venial sins are reckoned among our debts, since we pray in their regard: "Forgive us our trespasses [debita]." Therefore they too return through ingratitude; and, in like manner seemingly, sins already pardoned return through venial sins, and not only through those sins mentioned above.
Praeterea, tanto est maior ingratitudo quanto post maius beneficium acceptum aliquis peccat. Sed beneficium Dei est etiam ipsa innocentia, qua peccatum vitamus, dicit enim Augustinus, in II Confess., gratiae tuae deputo quaecumque peccata non feci. Maius autem donum est innocentia quam etiam remissio omnium peccatorum. Ergo non minus est ingratus Deo qui primo peccat post innocentiam, quam qui peccat post poenitentiam. Et ita videtur quod per ingratitudinem quae fit secundum peccata praedicta, non maxime redeant peccata dimissa.   Objection 3: Further, ingratitude is all the greater, according as one sins after receiving a greater favor. Now innocence whereby one avoids sin is a Divine favor, for Augustine says (Confess. ii): "Whatever sins I have avoided committing, I owe it to Thy grace." Now innocence is a greater gift, than even the forgiveness of all sins. Therefore the first sin committed after innocence is no less an ingratitude to God, than a sin committed after repentance, so that seemingly ingratitude in respect of the aforesaid sins is not the chief cause of sins returning.
Sed contra est quod Gregorius dicit, XVIII Moral., ex dictis evangelicis constat quia, si quod in nos delinquitur ex corde non dimittimus, et illud rursus exigetur quod nobis iam per poenitentiam dimissum fuisse gaudebamus. Et ita propter odium fraternum specialiter peccata dimissa redeunt per ingratitudinem. Et eadem ratio videtur de aliis.   On the contrary, Gregory says (Moral. xviii [*Cf. Dial. iv]): "It is evident from the words of the Gospel that if we do not forgive from our hearts the offenses committed against us, we become once more accountable for what we rejoiced in as forgiven through Penance": so that ingratitude implied in the hatred of one's brother is a special cause of the return of sins already forgiven: and the same seems to apply to the others.
Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut supra dictum est, peccata dimissa per poenitentiam redire dicuntur inquantum reatus eorum, ratione ingratitudinis, virtualiter continetur in peccato sequenti. Ingratitudo autem potest committi dupliciter. Uno modo, ex eo quod aliquid fit contra beneficium. Et hoc modo per omne peccatum mortale quo Deum offendit, redditur homo ingratus Deo, qui peccata remisit. Et sic per quodlibet peccatum mortale sequens redeunt peccata prius dimissa, ratione ingratitudinis. Alio modo committitur ingratitudo non solum faciendo contra ipsum beneficium, sed etiam faciendo contra formam beneficii praestiti. Quae quidem forma, si attendatur ex parte benefactoris, est remissio debitorum. Unde contra hanc formam facit qui fratri petenti veniam non remittit, sed odium tenet. Si autem attendatur ex parte poenitentis, qui recipit hoc beneficium, invenitur duplex motus liberi arbitrii. Quorum primus est motus liberi arbitrii in Deum, qui est actus fidei formatae, et contra hoc facit homo apostatando a fide, secundus autem, motus liberi arbitrii in peccatum, qui est actus poenitentiae. Ad quam primo pertinet, ut supra dictum est, quod homo detestetur peccata praeterita, et contra hoc facit ille qui dolet se poenituisse. Secundo pertinet ad actum poenitentiae ut poenitens proponat se subiicere clavibus Ecclesiae per confessionem, secundum illud Psalmi, dixi, confitebor adversum me iniustitiam meam domino, et ut remisisti impietatem peccati mei. Et contra hoc facit ille qui contemnit confiteri, secundum quod proposuerat.   I answer that, As stated above (Article [1]), sins pardoned through Penance are said to return, in so far as their debt of punishment, by reason of ingratitude, is virtually contained in the subsequent sin. Now one may be guilty of ingratitude in two ways: first by doing something against the favor received, and, in this way, man is ungrateful to God in every mortal sin whereby he offends God Who forgave his sins, so that by every subsequent mortal sin, the sins previously pardoned return, on account of the ingratitude. Secondly, one is guilty of ingratitude, by doing something not only against the favor itself, but also against the form of the favor received. If this form be considered on the part of the benefactor, it is the remission of something due to him; wherefore he who does not forgive his brother when he asks pardon, and persists in his hatred, acts against this form. If, however, this form be taken in regard to the penitent who receives this favor, we find on his part a twofold movement of the free-will. The first is the movement of the free-will towards God, and is an act of faith quickened by charity; and against this a man acts by apostatizing from the faith. The second is a movement of the free-will against sin, and is the act of penance. This act consists first, as we have stated above (Question [85], Articles [2],5) in man's detestation of his past sins; and against this a man acts when he regrets having done penance. Secondly, the act of penance consists in the penitent purposing to subject himself to the keys of the Church by confession, according to Ps. 31:5: "I said: I will confess against myself my injustice to the Lord: and Thou hast forgiven the wickedness of my sin": and against this a man acts when he scorns to confess as he had purposed to do.
Et ideo dicitur quod specialiter ingratitudo horum peccatorum facit redire peccata prius dimissa.    Accordingly it is said that the ingratitude of sinners is a special cause of the return of sins previously forgiven.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod hoc non dicitur specialiter de istis peccatis quia sint ceteris graviora, sed quia directius opponuntur beneficio remissionis peccatorum.   Reply to Objection 1: This is not said of these sins as though they were more grievous than others, but because they are more directly opposed to the favor of the forgiveness of sin.
Ad secundum dicendum quod etiam peccata venialia et peccatum originale redeunt modo praedicto, sicut et peccata mortalia, inquantum contemnitur Dei beneficium quo haec peccata sunt remissa. Non tamen per peccatum veniale aliquis incurrit ingratitudinem, quia homo, peccando venialiter, non facit contra Deum, sed praeter ipsum. Et ideo per peccata venialia nullo modo peccata dimissa redeunt.   Reply to Objection 2: Even venial sins and original sin return in the way explained above, just as mortal sins do, in so far as the favor conferred by God in forgiving those sins is despised. A man does not, however, incur ingratitude by committing a venial sin, because by sinning venially man does not act against God, but apart from Him, wherefore venial sins nowise cause the return of sins already forgiven.
Ad tertium dicendum quod beneficium aliquod habet pensari dupliciter. Uno modo, ex quantitate ipsius beneficii. Et secundum hoc, innocentia est maius Dei beneficium quam poenitentia, quae dicitur secunda tabula post naufragium. Alio modo potest pensari beneficium ex parte recipientis, qui minus est dignus, et sic magis sibi fit gratia. Unde et ipse magis est ingratus si contemnat. Et hoc modo beneficium remissionis culpae est maius, inquantum praestatur totaliter indigno. Et ideo ex hoc sequitur maior ingratitudo.   Reply to Objection 3: A favor can be weighed in two ways. First by the quantity of the favor itself, and in this way innocence is a greater favor from God than penance, which is called the second plank after shipwreck (cf. Question [84], Article [6]). Secondly, a favor may be weighed with regard to the recipient, who is less worthy, wherefore a greater favor is bestowed on him, so that he is the more ungrateful if he scorns it. In this way the favor of the pardon of sins is greater when bestowed on one who is altogether unworthy, so that the ingratitude which follows is all the greater.


Index  [<< | >>]
Third Part  [<< | >>]
Question: 88  [<< | >>]
Article: 3  [<< | >>]

Whether the debt of punishment that arises through ingratitude in respect of a subsequent sin is as great as that of the sins previously pardoned?

Ad tertium sic proceditur. Videtur quod per ingratitudinem peccati sequentis consurgat tantus reatus quantus fuerat peccatorum prius dimissorum. Quia secundum magnitudinem peccati est magnitudo beneficii quo peccatum remittitur; et per consequens magnitudo ingratitudinis qua hoc beneficium contemnitur. Sed secundum quantitatem ingratitudinis est quantitas reatus consequentis. Ergo tantus reatus surgit ex ingratitudine sequentis peccati quantus fuit reatus omnium praecedentium peccatorum.   Objection 1: It would seem that the debt of punishment arising through ingratitude in respect of a subsequent sin is as great as that of the sins previously pardoned. Because the greatness of the favor of the pardon of sins is according to the greatness of the sin pardoned, and so too, in consequence, is the greatness of the ingratitude whereby this favor is scorned. But the greatness of the consequent debt of punishment is in accord with the greatness of the ingratitude. Therefore the debt of punishment arising through ingratitude in respect of a subsequent sin is as great as the debt of punishment due for all the previous sins.
Praeterea, magis peccat qui offendit Deum quam qui offendit hominem. Sed servus manumissus ab aliquo domino reducitur in eandem servitutem a qua prius fuerat liberatus, vel etiam in graviorem. Ergo multo magis ille qui contra Deum peccat post liberationem a peccato, reducitur in tantum reatum poenae quantum primo habuerat.   Objection 2: Further, it is a greater sin to offend God than to offend man. But a slave who is freed by his master returns to the same state of slavery from which he was freed, or even to a worse state. Much more therefore he that sins against God after being freed from sin, returns to the debt of as great a punishment as he had incurred before.
Praeterea, Matth. XVIII dicitur quod iratus dominus tradidit eum, cui replicantur peccata dimissa propter ingratitudinem, tortoribus, quoadusque redderet universum debitum. Sed hoc non esset nisi consurgeret ex ingratitudine tantus reatus quantus fuit omnium praeteritorum peccatorum. Ergo aequalis reatus per ingratitudinem redit.   Objection 3: Further, it is written (Mt. 18:34) that "his lord being angry, delivered him" (whose sins returned to him on account of his ingratitude) "to the torturers, until he paid all the debt." But this would not be so unless the debt of punishment incurred through ingratitude were as great as that incurred through all previous sins. Therefore an equal debt of punishment returns through ingratitude.
Sed contra est quod dicitur Deuteron. XXV, pro mensura peccati erit et plagarum modus. Ex quo patet quod ex parvo peccato non consurgit magnus reatus. Sed quandoque mortale peccatum sequens est multo minus quolibet peccatorum prius dimissorum. Non ergo ex peccato sequenti redit tantus reatus quantus fuit peccatorum prius dimissorum.   On the contrary, It is written (Dt. 25:2): "According to the measure of the sin shall the measure also of the stripes be," whence it is evident that a great debt of punishment does not arise from a slight sin. But sometimes a subsequent mortal sin is much less grievous than any one of those previously pardoned. Therefore the debt of punishment incurred through subsequent sins is not equal to that of sins previously forgiven.
Respondeo dicendum quod quidam dixerunt quod ex peccato sequenti, propter ingratitudinem, consurgit tantus reatus quantus fuit reatus omnium peccatorum prius dimissorum, supra reatum proprium huius peccati. Sed hoc non est necesse. Quia supra dictum est quod reatus praecedentium peccatorum non redit per peccatum sequens inquantum sequebatur ex actibus praecedentium peccatorum, sed inquantum consequitur actum sequentis peccati. Et ita oportet quod quantitas reatus redeuntis sit secundum gravitatem peccati subsequentis.   I answer that, Some have maintained that the debt of punishment incurred through ingratitude in respect of a subsequent sin is equal to that of the sins previously pardoned, in addition to the debt proper to this subsequent sin. But there is no need for this, because, as stated above (Article [1]), the debt of punishment incurred by previous sins does not return on account of a subsequent sin, as resulting from the acts of the subsequent sin. Wherefore the amount of the debt that returns must be according to the gravity of the subsequent sin.
Potest autem contingere quod gravitas peccati subsequentis adaequat gravitatem omnium praecedentium peccatorum, sed hoc non semper est necesse, sive loquamur de gravitate eius quam habet ex sua specie, cum quandoque peccatum sequens sit simplex fornicatio, peccata vero praeterita fuerunt homicidia vel adulteria seu sacrilegia; sive etiam loquamur de gravitate quam habet ex ingratitudine annexa. Non enim oportet quod quantitas ingratitudinis sit absolute aequalis quantitati beneficii suscepti, cuius quantitas attenditur secundum quantitatem peccatorum prius dimissorum. Contingit enim quod contra idem beneficium unus est multum ingratus, vel secundum intensionem contemptus beneficii, vel secundum gravitatem culpae contra benefactorem commissae; alius autem parum, vel quia minus contemnit, vel quia minus contra benefactorem agit. Sed proportionaliter quantitas ingratitudinis adaequatur quantitati beneficii, supposito enim aequali contemptu beneficii, vel offensa benefactoris, tanto erit gravior ingratitudo quanto beneficium fuit maius.    It is possible, however, for the gravity of the subsequent sin to equal the gravity of all previous sins. But it need not always be so, whether we speak of the gravity which a sin has from its species (since the subsequent sin may be one of simple fornication, while the previous sins were adulteries, murders, or sacrileges); or of the gravity which it incurs through the ingratitude connected with it. For it is not necessary that the measure of ingratitude should be exactly equal to the measure of the favor received, which latter is measured according to the greatness of the sins previously pardoned. Because it may happen that in respect of the same favor, one man is very ungrateful, either on account of the intensity of his scorn for the favor received, or on account of the gravity of the offense committed against the benefactor, while another man is slightly ungrateful, either because his scorn is less intense, or because his offense against the benefactor is less grave. But the measure of ingratitude is proportionately equal to the measure of the favor received: for supposing an equal contempt of the favor, or an equal offense against the benefactor, the ingratitude will be so much the greater, as the favor received is greater.
Unde manifestum est quod non est necesse quod propter ingratitudinem semper per peccatum sequens redeat tantus reatus quantus fuit praecedentium peccatorum, sed necesse est quod proportionaliter, quanto peccata prius dimissa fuerunt plura et maiora, tanto redeat maior reatus per qualecumque sequens peccatum mortale.    Hence it is evident that the debt of punishment incurred by a subsequent sin need not always be equal to that of previous sins; but it must be in proportion thereto, so that the more numerous or the greater the sins previously pardoned, the greater must be the debt of punishment incurred by any subsequent mortal sin whatever.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod beneficium remissionis culpae recipit quantitatem absolutam secundum quantitatem peccatorum dimissorum. Sed peccatum ingratitudinis non recipit quantitatem absolutam secundum quantitatem beneficii, sed secundum quantitatem contemptus vel offensae, ut dictum est. Et ideo ratio non sequitur.   Reply to Objection 1: The favor of the pardon of sins takes its absolute quantity from the quantity of the sins previously pardoned: but the sin of ingratitude does not take its absolute quantity from the measure of the favor bestowed, but from the measure of the contempt or of the offense, as stated above: and so the objection does not prove.
Ad secundum dicendum quod servus manumissus non reducitur in pristinam servitutem pro qualicumque ingratitudine, sed pro aliqua gravi.   Reply to Objection 2: A slave who has been given his freedom is not brought back to his previous state of slavery for any kind of ingratitude, but only when this is grave.
Ad tertium dicendum quod illi cui peccata dimissa replicantur propter subsequentem ingratitudinem, redit universum debitum, inquantum quantitas peccatorum praecedentium proportionaliter invenitur in ingratitudine subsequenti, non autem absolute, ut dictum est.   Reply to Objection 3: He whose forgiven sins return to him on account of subsequent ingratitude, incurs the debt for all, in so far as the measure of his previous sins is contained proportionally in his subsequent ingratitude, but not absolutely, as stated above.


Index  [<< | >>]
Third Part  [<< | >>]
Question: 88  [<< | >>]
Article: 4  [<< | >>]

Whether the ingratitude whereby a subsequent sin causes the return of previous sins, is a special sin?

Ad quartum sic proceditur. Videtur quod ingratitudo ratione cuius sequens peccatum facit redire peccata prius dimissa, sit speciale peccatum. Retributio enim gratiarum pertinet ad contrapassum, quod requiritur in iustitia, ut patet per philosophum, in V Ethic. Sed iustitia est specialis virtus. Ergo ingratitudo est speciale peccatum.   Objection 1: It would seem that the ingratitude, whereby a subsequent sin causes the return of sins previously forgiven, is a special sin. For the giving of thanks belongs to counterpassion which is a necessary condition of justice, as the Philosopher shows (Ethic. v, 5). But justice is a special virtue. Therefore this ingratitude is a special sin.
Praeterea, Tullius, in II Rhetoric., ponit quod gratia est specialis virtus. Sed ingratitudo opponitur gratiae. Ergo ingratitudo est speciale peccatum.   Objection 2: Further, Tully says (De Inv. Rhet. ii) that thanksgiving is a special virtue. But ingratitude is opposed to thanksgiving. Therefore ingratitude is a special sin.
Praeterea, specialis effectus a speciali causa procedit. Sed ingratitudo habet specialem effectum, scilicet quod facit aliqualiter redire peccata prius dimissa. Ergo ingratitudo est speciale peccatum.   Objection 3: Further, a special effect proceeds from a special cause. Now ingratitude has a special effect, viz. the return, after a fashion, of sins already forgiven. Therefore ingratitude is a special sin.
Sed contra est. Id quod sequitur omnia peccata, non est speciale peccatum. Sed per quodcumque peccatum mortale aliquis efficitur Deo ingratus, ut ex praemissis patet. Ergo ingratitudo non est speciale peccatum.   On the contrary, That which is a sequel to every sin is not a special sin. Now by any mortal sin whatever, a man becomes ungrateful to God, as evidenced from what has been said (Article [1]). Therefore ingratitude is not a special sin.
Respondeo dicendum quod ingratitudo peccantis quandoque est speciale peccatum; quandoque non, sed est circumstantia generaliter consequens omne peccatum mortale quod contra Deum committitur. Peccatum enim speciem recipit ex intentione peccantis, unde, ut philosophus dicit, in V Ethic., ille qui moechatur ut furetur, magis est fur quam moechus.   I answer that, The ingratitude of the sinner is sometimes a special sin; and sometimes it is not, but a circumstance arising from all mortal sins in common committed against God. For a sin takes its species according to the sinner's intention, wherefore the Philosopher says (Ethic. v, 2) that "he who commits adultery in order to steal is a thief rather than an adulterer."
Si igitur aliquis peccator in contemptum Dei et suscepti beneficii aliquod peccatum committit, illud peccatum trahitur ad speciem ingratitudinis, et haec ingratitudo peccantis est speciale peccatum. Si vero aliquis intendens aliquod peccatum committere, puta homicidium aut adulterium, non retrahatur ab hoc propter hoc quod pertinet ad Dei contemptum, ingratitudo non erit speciale peccatum, sed traheretur ad speciem alterius peccati sicut circumstantia quaedam. Ut autem Augustinus dicit, in libro de natura et gratia, non omne peccatum est ex contemptu, et tamen in omni peccato Deus contemnitur in suis praeceptis. Unde manifestum est quod ingratitudo peccantis quandoque est speciale peccatum, sed non semper.    If, therefore, a sinner commits a sin in contempt of God and of the favor received from Him, that sin is drawn to the species of ingratitude, and in this way a sinner's ingratitude is a special sin. If, however, a man, while intending to commit a sin, e.g. murder or adultery, is not withheld from it on account of its implying contempt of God, his ingratitude will not be a special sin, but will be drawn to the species of the other sin, as a circumstance thereof. And, as Augustine observes (De Nat. et Grat. xxix), not every sin implies contempt of God in His commandments. Therefore it is evident that the sinner's ingratitude is sometimes a special sin, sometimes not.
Et per hoc patet responsio ad obiecta. Nam primae rationes concludunt quod ingratitudo secundum se sit quaedam species peccati. Ultima autem ratio concludit quod ingratitudo secundum quod invenitur in omni peccato, non sit speciale peccatum.    This suffices for the Replies to the Objections: for the first (three) objections prove that ingratitude is in itself a special sin; while the last objection proves that ingratitude, as included in every sin, is not a special sin.

This document converted to HTML on Fri Jan 02 19:10:46 1998.