A description of the soul's journey to full union with God

The Purification of the Soul in Beginners (cont)


Ch 21: Sins to be Avoided Their Roots and Their Consequences

We have treated in general of the necessity of mortification and abnegation because of the consequences both of original sin and of our personal sins, and also because of the infinite elevation of our supernatural end and the necessity of imitating Jesus crucified. We shall consider somewhat in detail the principal sins to be avoided, their roots, and their consequences. St. Thomas does so in treating of the seven capital sins.(1) With the aid of his work, we can make a serious and profound examination of conscience, especially if we ask for the light of the Holy Spirit, in order to see from above the stains on our souls, a little as the Lord Himself sees them. The gifts of knowledge and counsel can here greatly fill out what Chris­tian prudence tells us; with it an increasingly enlightened, upright, and certain conscience will be developed in us.

We shall consider, first of all, the roots of the capital sins; then we will speak of their consequences.


As shown by St. Gregory the Great (2) and, following him in a more profound manner, also by St. Thomas,(3) the capital sins of pride(4), sloth,(5) envy, anger, avarice, gluttony, and luxury are not the gravest sins of all; they are less grave than heresy, apostasy, despair, and hatred of God. But the capital sins are those toward which we are first of all inclined, and which lead to a separation from God and to still graver sins. Man does not reach complete perversity all of a sudden; he is led to it progressively, by a gradual descent to evil.

In the first place we must examine the root of the seven capital sins. As St. Thomas says, they all spring from inordinate self-love or egoism, which hinders us from loving God above all else and inclines us to turn away from Him. St. Augustine says: "Two loves built two cities: the love of self even to contempt of God built the city of Babylon, that is, that of the world and of immorality; the love of God even to contempt of self built the city of God." (6)

Evidently we sin, that is, we turn away from God or become estranged from Him, only because we desire and will to have a created good in a manner not conformable to the divine law.(7) This comes about only by reason of an inordinate love of ourselves, which is thus the source of every sin. This inordinate self-love or egoism must not only be moderated, but mortified so that an ordered love of self may prevail in us. This love is the secondary act of charity, by which the just man loves himself for God in order to glorify God in time and eternity. Whereas the sinner in the state of mortal sin loves himself above all else and in practice prefers himself to God, the just man loves God more than himself and must, in addition, love himself in God and for God. He must love his body that it may serve the soul instead of being an obstacle to its higher life; he must love his soul that it may live eternally with divine life. He must love his intellect and will that they may live increasingly by the light and love of God. Such is manifestly the broad meaning of the mortification of self-love, of self-will, which is opposed to that of God. Life must be prevented from descending, so that it may rise toward Him who is the source of every good and of all beatitude. Nothing is clearer.

Inordinate self-love leads us to death, according to the Savior's words: "He that loveth his life (in an egotistical manner) shall lose it; and he that hateth (or sacrifices) his life in this world, keepeth it unto life eternal" (8) In the saints this love of God reaches even to contempt of self, that is, even to real and effective contempt of all that is inordinate in us.

From inordinate self-love, the root of every sin, spring the three concupiscences which St. John speaks of, when he says: "For all that is in the world is the concupiscence of the flesh and the concupiscence of the eyes and the pride of life, which is not of the Father, but is of the world." (9) These are, in fact, the three great manifestations of the spirit of the world in regard to the goods of the body, to exterior goods, and to the goods of the spirit. One is thus led to confound apparent good and real good in these three orders.(10)

St. Thomas observes that the sins of the flesh are more shameful than those of the spirit, for they lower man to the level of the brute; but those of the spirit, such as pride, the only ones that exist in the devil, are more grave for they are more directly opposed to God and turn us more away from Him.(11)

The concupiscence of the flesh is the inordinate desire of what is, or seems to be, useful to the preservation of the individual and of the species; from this inordinate or sensual love arise gluttony and lust. Voluptuousness can thus become an idol and blind us more and more.

The concupiscence of the eyes is the inordinate desire of all that can please the sight: of luxury, wealth, money which makes it possible for us to procure worldly goods. From it is born avarice. The avaricious man ends by making his hidden treasure his god, adoring it, and sacrificing everything to it: his time, his strength, his family, and sometimes his eternity.

The pride of life is the inordinate love of our own excellence, of all that can emphasize it, no matter how hard or difficult that may be. He who yields more and more to pride ends by becoming his own god, as Lucifer did. From this vice all sin and perdition may spring; whence the importance of humility, a fundamental virtue, just as pride is the source of every sin.

According to St. Gregory and St. Thomas,(12) pride or arrogance is more than a capital sin; it is the root from which proceed especially four capital sins: vanity or vainglory, spiritual sloth or wicked sadness which embitters, envy, and anger. Vanity is the inordinate love of praise and honors. Spiritual sloth saddens the soul at the thought of the labor involved in sanctification, and at the thought of the spiritual good of good works because of the effort and abnegation they require. Envy inclines us to grow sad over another's good, in so far as it appears to oppose our own excellence. Anger, when it is not just indignation but a sin, is an inordinate movement of the soul which inclines us to repulse violently what displeases us; from it arise quarrels, insults, and abusive words. These capital vices, especially spiritual sloth, envy, and anger, engender a wicked sadness that weighs down the soul; they are quite the opposite of spiritual peace and joy, which are the fruits of charity.

All these seeds of death must not only be moderated, but mortified. The original seed is self-love, from which proceed the three concupiscences; and from them, the seven capital sins. This is what made St. Paul say: "If you live according to the flesh, you shall die: but if by the Spirit you mortify the deeds of the flesh, you shall live." (13)

We see this mortification in the lives of the saints, where grace finally dominates all the inclinations of fallen nature in order to restore our nature, to heal it, and to communicate a higher life to it. This is clear for the Christian mind, and the generous practice of such mortification prepares the soul for the more profound purifications that God Himself sends in order to destroy completely the seeds of death that still subsist in our sensible appetites and higher faculties.
It is not enough, however, to consider the roots of the seven capital sins; we must examine their consequences.


By the consequences of sin are generally understood the remnants of sin (reliquiae peccati), the evil inclinations left, so to speak, in our temperament even after sin has been forgiven, as concupiscence, which is a remnant of original sin, remains after baptism, like a wound in the course of healing. The consequences of the capital sins may also mean the other sins that spring from them. The capital sins are so called because they are like the head or the principle of many others. We are, first of all, inclined toward them, and by them in turn toward sins that are often more serious.

Thus vainglory or vanity engenders disobedience, boasting, hypocrisy, contention through rivalry, discord, love of novelties, and stubbornness. It is a vice that may lead to most lamentable falls and apostasy.

Spiritual sloth, disgust for spiritual things and for the work of sanctification, because of the effort it demands, is a vice directly opposed to the love of God and to the holy joy that results from it. Sloth engenders malice, rancor or bitterness toward our neighbor, pusillanimity in the face of duty to be accomplished, discouragement, spiritual torpor, forgetfulness of the precepts, seeking after forbidden things. Slipping downward on the slope of pride, vain­glory, and spiritual sloth, many have lost their vocation.

In the same way, envy or willful displeasure at the sight of another's good, as if it were an evil for us, engenders hatred, slander, calumny, joy at he misfortune of another, and sadness at his success.

Gluttony and sensuality also produce other vices and may lead to blindness of spirit, to hardness of heart, to attachment to the present life even to the loss of hope of eternal life, and to love of self even to hatred of God, and to final impenitence.

The capital sins are often mortal; they are venial only when the matter is light or the consent not complete. They may exist under a very gross form, as happens in many souls in the state of mortal sin; but they may also exist, as St. John of the Cross points out,(14) in souls in the state of grace, as so many departures from the course of the spiritual life. It is thus that spiritual pride, spiritual gluttony, spiritual sensuality, and spiritual sloth are spoken of. Spiritual pride induces us, for example, to flee from those who reproach us, even when they have the authority to do so and are acting justly; it may even induce us to hold a certain rancor against them. As for spiritual gluttony, it may make us desire sensible consolations in piety, to the point of seeking ourselves in it more than we seek God. With spiritual pride, it is the origin of false mysticism.

Happily, contrary to what is true of the virtues, these vices or defects are not connected. One may have some without the others; several indeed are contradictory: for example, one cannot be avaricious and prodigal at one and the same time.

But we have to practice numerous virtues, forty or more, if we count all the virtues annexed to the principal ones. With the exception of justice, each stands like a summit between two contrary vices: the one by excess, such as temerity; the other by defect, such as cowardice.

Moreover, certain defects resemble certain virtues: for instance, pride is in some ways similar to magnanimity. It is important to have discretion or Christian prudence to discern clearly the virtue from the defect which in certain respects resembles it. Otherwise, false notes may be struck on the keyboard of the virtues: for example, pusillanimity may be confounded with humility, severity with justice, weakness with mercy.


The enumeration of all these ignoble fruits of inordinate self­love should induce us to make a serious examination of conscience. Moreover, their number shows us that the field of mortification is very wide if we wish to live the true life in a thoroughgoing way. The quietists declared the examination of conscience useless, because, they said, the human heart is inscrutable. They even asserted that such examination was harmful, as all reflection on self would hinder us from thinking of God in naked faith. (15)

Such statements are aberrations easily refuted. Precisely because it is difficult to know the true nature of our interior feelings, we must examine them closely. And this examination, far from turning us away from the thought of God, should keep bringing us back to it. Moreover, we must ask for divine light to see our soul a little as God Himself sees it, to see our day or the week that has just ended
somewhat as it is written in the book of life, somewhat as we shall see it at the last judgment. Thus to see ourselves, we ought every evening to search out with humility and contrition the faults that we have committed in thought, word, deed, and omission.

On the other hand, in this examination we should avoid the excess opposed to that of the quietists, that is to say, the minute search for the slightest faults under their purely material aspect, a search which sometimes leads to scruples or to forgetfulness of important things. The examination of conscience aims less at a complete enumeration of venial faults than at seeing and sincerely acknowledging the principle which in our case is generally at their root. To cure a skin eruption, an effort is made to purify the blood rather than to treat each blemish separately. In short, in the examination of conscience the soul ought not to spend too much time in consideration of self and cease to turn its gaze toward God. On the contrary, looking fixedly at God, it should ask itself how the Lord Himself will judge its day, or the week just spent. In what has it been entirely His? In what entirely its own? In what has it sought God sincerely? In what has it sought itself? Then, calmly the soul judges itself as it were from on high, in the light of God, somewhat as it will be judged on the last day. From this consideration we can understand the nobility of the Christian conscience and the holy demands it makes; it is far superior to the conscience of a simple philosopher.

But, as St. Catherine of Siena says in speaking of these holy exactions of conscience, we should not separate the consideration of our faults from that of God's infinite mercy. We should see, on the contrary, our frailty and wretchedness under the radiation of the helpful, infinite Goodness. The examination made in this way, instead of discouraging us, will increase our confidence in God.

The sight of our faults shows us also by contrast the value of virtue. It has been said with great truth that the value of justice is brought home to us especially by the grief which injustice causes us. The sight of the injustice we have committed and our regret for having committed it, should make us "hunger and thirst after justice." The ugliness of sensuality should reveal to us by contrast all the value of purity; the disorder of anger and envy should make us feel the great value of true meekness and true charity; the sight of the disastrous effects of spiritual sloth should reanimate in us the desire for generosity and spiritual joy. The aberration of pride should make us experience to some extent all the wisdom and grandeur of true humility.

For all these reasons, one of the best ways to make an examination of conscience is to do so in the light of the Savior's words: "Learn of Me, for I am meek and humble of heart."

Let us ask the Lord to inspire us with the holy hatred of sin, which separates us from the infinite goodness of God, from whom we have received the greatest benefits and who promises us still more precious gifts if we are faithful. In some respects, the holy hatred of sin is nothing more than the reverse of the love of God. To love truth strongly without detesting error, is impossible; it is likewise impossible to have a strong love for the good and the sovereign Good, which is God, without hating what turns us away from God. In the hearts of the humblest and meekest saints, there is a holy hatred of evil, a hatred that is as strong as their love of God. In the immaculate heart of Mary there is, by reason of her ardent charity, a burning hatred of evil, and this hatred renders her terrible to the devil. According to Blessed Grignion de Montfort, the devil suffers more from being conquered by the humility and love of Mary than from being directly crushed by the divine Omnipotence. We should ask the immaculate heart of Mary and the sacred heart of our Savior, burning furnace of charity, for this holy hatred of evil, this holy hatred of pride, spiritual sloth, envy, unjust anger, malevolence, and sensuality, in order that true charity, the love of God and of souls in God, may truly grow ever stronger in us.

The means of avoiding pride is to think often of the humiliations of the Savior and to ask God for the virtue of humility. To repress envy, we should pray for our neighbor and wish him the same good as we desire for ourselves.

This type of mortification is absolutely indispensable. To advance seriously toward perfection and sanctity, we should think of the mortifications of the saints, or, even without going as far as the examples of the saints, think of those given us by servants of God such as Father Lacordaire who, fearing that he might fall into pride by reason of his successes, had recourse to great mortifications. On certain days while preaching at Notre Dame (Paris), he used to feel that a strong current of grace was passing through his soul to convert his hearers, and that, if he yielded to the sin of pride, this current of grace might be completely stopped and his preaching become absolutely fruitless. We should meditate on the fact that we also have our souls to save, that we must do good to those around us, good which will endure eternally. Let us also remember that we must work as much as possible for the salvation of other souls, and that for this purpose we ought to employ the means that Christ has pointed out to us: progressive death to sin through progress in the virtues and especially in the love of God.


We have been told that people in certain milieux are inclined to think that only the sin of malice is mortal, and that so-called sins of ignorance and frailty are never mortal. On this point we should recall the teaching of theology, such as it is profoundly formulated by St. Thomas Aquinas in the Summa.(16)

The sin of ignorance is that which springs from voluntary and culpable ignorance, called vincible ignorance. The sin of frailty is that which arises from a strong passion which diminishes liberty and impels the will to give its consent. As for the sin of malice, it is committed with full liberty, quasi de industria, intentionally and often with premeditation, even without passion or ignorance. We shall recall what St. Thomas teaches about each of them.


In relation to the will, ignorance may be either antecedent or consequent or concomitant. Antecedent ignorance is that which is in no way voluntary; it is said to be morally invincible. For example, thinking that he is firing at an animal in the forest, a hunter may kill a man who had given no sign of his presence and whom the hunter would never suspect of being there. In this case there is no voluntary fault, but only a material sin.

Consequent ignorance is that which is voluntary, at least indirectly so, because of negligence in learning what one can and ought to know. It is called vincible ignorance because one could free oneself from it with morally possible application. It is the cause of a formal sin, at least indirectly willed. For example, a medical student yields gravely to sloth; nevertheless, as it were by chance, he receives his medical degree. But he is ignorant of many elementary facts of his profession which he ought to know, and it happens that he hastens the death of some of his patients instead of curing them. In this case there is no directly voluntary sin, but there is certainly an indirectly voluntary fault, which may be grave and which may even go as far as homicide through imprudence or grave negligence.

Concomitant ignorance is that which is not voluntary, but which accompanies sin in such a way that, even if it did not exist, one would still sin. This is the case of a very vindictive man who, wishing to kill his enemy, one day, as a matter of fact, unwittingly does kill him, thinking that he is killing an animal in a thicket. This case is manifestly different from the two preceding cases.

We may conclude, consequently, that involuntary or invincible ignorance is not a sin, but that voluntary or vincible ignorance of what we could and should know is a more or less serious sin according to the gravity of the obligations in which we fail. Voluntary or vincible ignorance cannot completely excuse sin, for there was negligence; it only diminishes culpability. Absolutely involuntary or invincible ignorance completely exculpates from sin; it does away with culpability. As for concomitant ignorance, it does not excuse from sin, for, even if it did not exist, one would still sin.

Invincible ignorance is called "good faith." That ignorance be truly invincible or involuntary, it is necessary that the person cannot morally free himself from it by a serious effort to know his duties. It is impossible to be invincibly ignorant of the first precepts of the natural law: Do good and avoid evil; do not do to others what you would not wish them to do to you; you shall not kill; you shall not steal; one God alone you shall adore. At least by the order of the world, the starry sky, and the whole creation, man can easily obtain a knowledge of the probability of the existence of God, supreme Ordainer and Legislator. When he has this probability, he must seek to become more enlightened and must ask for light; otherwise he is not in genuine good faith or in absolutely involuntary and invincible ignorance. As much must be said of a Protestant for whom it becomes seriously probable that Catholicism is the true religion. He must clarify his idea by study and ask God for light. Unless he does this, as St. Alphonsus says, he already sins against faith by not wishing to take the means necessary to obtain it.

Pious people are often not sufficiently attentive to sins of ignorance, which they sometimes commit without considering, as they can and ought, their religious duties or the duties of their state, or again the rights and qualities of persons, superiors, equals, or inferiors with whom they are in relation. We are responsible not only for the inordinate acts that we place, but also for the omission of all the good that we ought to do, and that we would accomplish in fact if we had true zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. One of the causes of the present evils of society is found in the forgetfulness of these words of the Gospel: "The poor have the gospel preached to them," in the indifference of those who possess a superabundance toward those who lack even the necessaries of life.


A sin of frailty is one which springs from a strong passion, which impels the will to give its consent. With this meaning, the Psalmist says: "Have mercy on me, a Lord, for I am weak." (17) The spiritual soul is weak when its will yields to the violence of the movements of the sensible appetites. It thus loses rectitude of practical judgment and of voluntary election or choice, by reason of fear, anger, or concupiscence. Thus, during the Passion, Peter yielded through fear and denied our Lord three times. When, by reason of a lively emotion or of a passion, we are inclined toward an object, the intellect is induced to judge that it is suitable for us, and the will to give its consent contrary to the divine law.(18)

But we must distinguish here the so-called antecedent passion, which precedes the consent of the will, and that called consequent, which follows it. Antecedent passion diminishes culpability, for it diminishes the liberty of judgment and of voluntary choice; it is particularly apparent in very impressionable people. On the contrary, consequent or voluntary passion does not lessen the gravity of sin, but augments it; or rather it is a sign that the sin is more voluntary, since the will itself arouses this inordinate movement of passion, as happens in a man who wishes to become angry the better to manifest his ill will.(19) Just as a good consequent passion, such as Christ's holy anger when He was driving the merchants from the Temple, increases the merit, so an evil consequent passion augments the demerit.

The sin of frailty, of which we are speaking here, is that in which the will yields to the impulse of an antecedent passion; and thereby the gravity of the sin is lessened. This does not mean, however, that it is never a mortal sin. It is truly mortal when the matter is grievous, and the sinner yields to passion with advertence and full consent. This is the case of homicide committed under the impulse of anger.(20)

A person can resist, especially at the beginning, the inordinate movement of passion. If he does not resist it at the beginning as he ought, if he does not pray as he ought to obtain the help of God, passion is no longer simply antecedent, it becomes voluntary.

The sin of frailty, even when serious and mortal, is more pardonable than another, but here "pardonable" is by no means a synonym for "venial" in the current meaning of this word.(21)

Even pious people ought to be attentive to this point for they may have unrepressed movements of jealousy which may lead them to grave faults: for example, to serious rash judgments and to words and exterior acts which are the cause of profound breaches, contrary both to justice and to charity.

It would be a gross error to think that only the sin of malice can be mortal because it alone implies the sufficient advertence, the full consent, together with the serious matter, necessary for the sin which gives death to the soul and renders it worthy of eternal death. Such an error would result from a badly formed conscience, and would contribute to increase this deformity. Let us remember that we can easily resist the beginning of the inordinate movement of passion, and that it is a duty for us to do so and also to pray for help, according to the words of St. Augustine, quoted by the Council of Trent: "God never commands the impossible, but, in commanding, He warns us to do what we are able and to ask Him for help to do that which we cannot." (22)


In contradistinction to the sin of ignorance and that of frailty, the sin of malice is that by which one chooses evil knowingly. In Latin it is called a sin de industria, that is, a sin committed with deliberate calculation, design, and express intention, free from ignorance and even from antecedent passion. The sin of malice is often premeditated. This is not equivalent to saying that evil is willed for the sake of evil; since the adequate object of the will is the good, it can will evil only under the aspect of an apparent good.

Now he who sins through malice, acting with full knowledge of the case and through evil will, knowingly wills a spiritual evil (for example, the loss of charity or divine friendship) in order to possess a temporal good. It is clear that this sin thus defined differs in the degree of gravity from the sin of ignorance and that of frailty. But we must not conclude from this that every sin of malice is a sin against the Holy Ghost. This last sin is one of the gravest of the sins of malice. It is produced when a man rejects through contempt the very thing that would save him or deliver him from evil: for example, when he combats recognized religious truth, or when by reason of jealousy, he deliberately grows sad over the graces and spiritual progress of his neighbor.

The sin of malice often proceeds from a vice engendered by multiple faults; but it can exist even in the absence of this vice. It is thus that the first sin of the devil was a sin of malice, not of habitual malice but of actual malice, of evil will, of an intoxication of pride.

It is clear that the sin of malice is graver than the sins of ignorance and frailty, although these last are sometimes mortal. This explains why human laws inflict greater punishment for premeditated murder than for that committed through passion.

The greatest gravity of the sins of malice comes from the fact that they are more voluntary than the others, from the fact that they generally proceed from a vice engendered by repeated sins, and from the fact that by them man knowingly prefers a temporal good to the divine friendship, without the partial excuse of a certain ignorance or of a strong passion.

In these questions one may err in two ways that are contradictory to each other. Some lean to the opinion that only the sin of malice can be mortal; they do not see with sufficient clearness the gravity of certain sins of voluntary ignorance and of certain sins of frailty, in which, nevertheless, there is serious matter, sufficient advertence, and full consent.

Others, on the contrary, do not see clearly enough the gravity of certain sins of malice committed in cold blood, with an affected moderation and a pretense of good will or of tolerance. Those who thus combat the true religion and take away from children the bread of divine truth may be sinning more gravely than he who blasphemes and kills someone under the impulse of anger.

Sin is so much the more grave as it is more voluntary, as it is committed with greater light and proceeds from a more inordinate love of self, which sometimes even goes so far as contempt of God. On the other hand, a virtuous act is more or less meritorious according as it is more voluntary, more free, and as it is inspired by a greater love of God and neighbor, a love that may even reach holy contempt of self, as St. Augustine says.

Thus he who prays with too great attachment to sensible consolation merits less than he who perseveres in prayer in a continual and profound aridity without any consolation. But on emerging from this trial, his merit does not grow less if his prayer proceeds from an equal degree of charity which now has a happy reaction on his sensibility. It is still true that one interior act of pure love is of greater value in the eyes of God than many exterior works inspired by a lesser charity.

In all these questions, whether good or evil is involved, particular attention must be paid to what proceeds from our higher faculties, the intellect and will: that is, to the act of the will following full knowledge of the case. And, from this point of view, if an evil act committed with full deliberation and consent, like a formal pact with the devil, has formidable consequences, a good act, such as the oblation of self to God, made with full deliberation and consent and frequently renewed, can have even greater consequences in the order of good; for the Holy Ghost is of a certainty infinitely more powerful than the spirit of evil, and He can do more for our sanctification than the latter can for our ruin. It is well to think of this in the face of the gravity of certain present-day events. The love of Christ, dying on the cross for us, pleased God more than all sins taken together displeased Him; so the Savior is more powerful to save us than the enemy of good is to destroy us. With this meaning, Christ said: "Fear ye not them that kill the body and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell." (28) Unless we open the door of our hearts to him, the enemy of good cannot penetrate into the sanctuary of our will, whereas God is closer to us than we are to ourselves and can lead us strongly and sweetly to the most profound and elevated meritorious free acts, to acts that are the prelude of eternal life.



1. Cf. Ia IIae, q.77, a.4 f.; q.84, a.4.

2. Moral., Bk. XXXI, chap. 17.

3. See Ia IIae, q.77, a.4 f.; q.84, a.4.

4. For St. Gregory and St. Thomas, vainglory is the first of the capital sins.

5. St. Gregory and St. Thomas use the term, acedia, that is, evil sadness which embitters.

6. The City of God, Bk. XIV, chap. 28.

7. Cf. St. Thomas, loco cit.

8. John 12:25.

9. Cf. I John 2:16.

10. See Ia IIae, q.77, a.5.

11. Ibid., q. 73, a. 5: "Spiritual sins are of greater guilt than carnal sins. . . .Spiritual sin denotes more a turning from something. . . . Sins of intemperance are most worthy of reproach. . . because by these sins man is, so to speak, brutalized."

12. Cf. Ibid., q.84, a.4.

13. Rom. 8: 13. Cf. Col. 3:5.

14. The Dark Night of the Soul, Bk. I, chaps. 2-8.

15. Cf. Denzinger, nos. 1230 f.

16. See Ia IIae, q.76-78.

17. Ps. 6: 3.

18. St. Thomas (Ia IIae, q.58, a.5; q.57, a.5 ad 3um; q.77, a.2) recalls on this subject the Aristotelian principle: "Such as a man is, such does the end seem to him. . . for the virtuous man judges aright of the end of virtue."
Whence the adage: "I see the better and approve it, I follow the worse."

19. Cf. ibid., q.77, a.6.

20. Ibid., a.8.

21. Ibid., ad Ium.

22. Council of Trent, Sess. VI, chap. 11(Denzinger, no. 804), from St. Augustine, De natura et gratia, chap. 41, no. 50.

23. Matt. 10: 28.