St. Thomas Aquinas

The Summa Theologica

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


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Deinde considerandum est de peccatis quae opponuntur paci.
  • Et primo, de discordia, quae est in corde;
  • secundo, de contentione, quae est in ore;
  • tertio, de his quae pertinent ad opus, scilicet, de schismate, rixa et bello.
   We must now consider the sins contrary to peace, and
  • first we shall consider discord which is in the heart,
  • secondly contention, which is on the lips,
  • thirdly, those things which consist in deeds, viz. schism, quarrelling, war, and sedition.
Circa primum quaeruntur duo, Under the first head there are two points of inquiry:
primo, utrum discordia sit peccatum.     (1) Whether discord is a sin?
Secundo, utrum sit filia inanis gloriae.     (2) Whether it is a daughter of vainglory?


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Whether discord is a sin?

Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod discordia non sit peccatum. Discordare enim ab aliquo est recedere ab alterius voluntate. Sed hoc non videtur esse peccatum, quia voluntas proximi non est regula voluntatis nostrae, sed sola voluntas divina. Ergo discordia non est peccatum.   Objection 1: It would seem that discord is not a sin. For to disaccord with man is to sever oneself from another's will. But this does not seem to be a sin, because God's will alone, and not our neighbor's, is the rule of our own will. Therefore discord is not a sin.
Praeterea, quicumque inducit aliquem ad peccandum, et ipse peccat. Sed inducere inter aliquos discordiam non videtur esse peccatum, dicitur enim Act. XXIII, quod sciens Paulus quia una pars esset Sadducaeorum et altera Pharisaeorum, exclamavit in Concilio, viri fratres, ego Pharisaeus sum, filius Pharisaeorum, de spe et resurrectione mortuorum ego iudicor. Et cum haec dixisset, facta est dissensio inter Pharisaeos et Sadducaeos. Ergo discordia non est peccatum.   Objection 2: Further, whoever induces another to sin, sins also himself. But it appears not to be a sin to incite others to discord, for it is written (Acts 23:6) that Paul, knowing that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, cried out in the council: "Men brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of Pharisees, concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question. And when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the Sadducees." Therefore discord is not a sin.
Praeterea, peccatum, praecipue mortale, in sanctis viris non invenitur. Sed in sanctis viris invenitur discordia, dicitur enim Act. XV, facta est dissensio inter Paulum et Barnabam, ita ut discederent ab invicem. Ergo discordia non est peccatum, et maxime mortale.   Objection 3: Further, sin, especially mortal sin, is not to be found in a holy man. But discord is to be found even among holy men, for it is written (Acts 15:39): "There arose a dissension" between Paul and Barnabas, "so that they departed one from another." Therefore discord is not a sin. and least of all a mortal sin.
Sed contra est quod ad Gal. V dissensiones, idest discordiae, ponuntur inter opera carnis, de quibus subditur, qui talia agunt, regnum Dei non consequuntur. Nihil autem excludit a regno Dei nisi peccatum mortale. Ergo discordia est peccatum mortale.   On the contrary, "Dissensions," that is, discords, are reckoned among the works of the flesh (Gal. 5:20), of which it is said afterwards (Gal. 5:21) that "they who do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God." Now nothing, save mortal sin, excludes man from the kingdom of God. Therefore discord is a mortal sin.
Respondeo dicendum quod discordia concordiae opponitur. Concordia autem, ut supra dictum est, ex caritate causatur, inquantum scilicet caritas multorum corda coniungit in aliquid unum, quod est principaliter quidem bonum divinum, secundario autem bonum proximi. Discordia igitur ea ratione est peccatum, inquantum huiusmodi concordiae contrariatur.   I answer that, Discord is opposed to concord. Now, as stated above (Question [29], Articles [1],3) concord results from charity, in as much as charity directs many hearts together to one thing, which is chiefly the Divine good, secondarily, the good of our neighbor. Wherefore discord is a sin, in so far as it is opposed to this concord.
Sed sciendum quod haec concordia per discordiam tollitur dupliciter, uno quidem modo, per se; alio vero modo, per accidens. Per se quidem in humanis actibus et motibus dicitur esse id quod est secundum intentionem. Unde per se discordat aliquis a proximo quando scienter et ex intentione dissentit a bono divino et a proximi bono, in quo debet consentire. Et hoc est peccatum mortale ex suo genere, propter contrarietatem ad caritatem, licet primi motus huius discordiae, propter imperfectionem actus, sint peccata venialia.    But it must be observed that this concord is destroyed by discord in two ways: first, directly; secondly, accidentally. Now, human acts and movements are said to be direct when they are according to one's intention. Wherefore a man directly disaccords with his neighbor, when he knowingly and intentionally dissents from the Divine good and his neighbor's good, to which he ought to consent. This is a mortal sin in respect of its genus, because it is contrary to charity, although the first movements of such discord are venial sins by reason of their being imperfect acts.
Per accidens autem in humanis actibus consideratur ex hoc quod aliquid est praeter intentionem. Unde cum intentio aliquorum est ad aliquod bonum quod pertinet ad honorem Dei vel utilitatem proximi, sed unus aestimat hoc esse bonum, alius autem habet contrariam opinionem, discordia tunc est per accidens contra bonum divinum vel proximi. Et talis discordia non est peccatum, nec repugnat caritati, nisi huiusmodi discordia sit vel cum errore circa ea quae sunt de necessitate salutis, vel pertinacia indebite adhibeatur, cum etiam supra dictum est quod concordia quae est caritatis effectus est unio voluntatum, non unio opinionum. Ex quo patet quod discordia quandoque est ex peccato unius tantum, puta cum unus vult bonum, cui alius scienter resistit, quandoque autem est cum peccato utriusque, puta cum uterque dissentit a bono alterius, et uterque diligit bonum proprium.    The accidental in human acts is that which occurs beside the intention. Hence when several intend a good pertaining to God's honor, or our neighbor's profit, while one deems a certain thing good, and another thinks contrariwise, the discord is in this case accidentally contrary to the Divine good or that of our neighbor. Such like discord is neither sinful nor against charity, unless it be accompanied by an error about things necessary to salvation, or by undue obstinacy, since it has also been stated above (Question [29], Articles [1],3, ad 2) that the concord which is an effect of charity, is union of wills not of opinions. It follows from this that discord is sometimes the sin of one party only, for instance, when one wills a good which the other knowingly resists; while sometimes it implies sin in both parties, as when each dissents from the other's good, and loves his own.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod voluntas unius hominis secundum se considerata non est regula voluntatis alterius. Sed inquantum voluntas proximi inhaeret voluntati Dei, fit per consequens regula regulata secundum primam regulam. Et ideo discordare a tali voluntate est peccatum, quia per hoc discordatur a regula divina.   Reply to Objection 1: One man's will considered in itself is not the rule of another man's will; but in so far as our neighbor's will adheres to God's will, it becomes in consequence, a rule regulated according to its proper measure. Wherefore it is a sin to disaccord with such a will, because by that very fact one disaccords with the Divine rule.
Ad secundum dicendum quod sicut voluntas hominis adhaerens Deo est quaedam regula recta, a qua peccatum est discordare; ita etiam voluntas hominis Deo contraria est quaedam perversa regula, a qua bonum est discordare. Facere ergo discordiam per quam tollitur bona concordia quam caritas facit, est grave peccatum, unde dicitur Prov. VI, sex sunt quae odit dominus, et septimum detestatur anima eius, et hoc septimum ponit eum qui seminat inter fratres discordias. Sed causare discordiam per quam tollitur mala concordia, scilicet in mala voluntate, est laudabile. Et hoc modo laudabile fuit quod Paulus dissensionem posuit inter eos qui erant concordes in malo, nam et dominus de se dicit, Matth. X, non veni pacem mittere, sed gladium..   Reply to Objection 2: Just as a man's will that adheres to God is a right rule, to disaccord with which is a sin, so too a man's will that is opposed to God is a perverse rule, to disaccord with which is good. Hence to cause a discord, whereby a good concord resulting from charity is destroyed, is a grave sin: wherefore it is written (Prov. 6:16): "Six things there are, which the Lord hateth, and the seventh His soul detesteth," which seventh is stated (Prov. 6:19) to be "him that soweth discord among brethren." On the other hand, to arouse a discord whereby an evil concord (i.e. concord in an evil will) is destroyed, is praiseworthy. In this way Paul was to be commended for sowing discord among those who concorded together in evil, because Our Lord also said of Himself (Mt. 10:34): "I came not to send peace, but the sword."
Ad tertium dicendum quod discordia quae fuit inter Paulum et Barnabam fuit per accidens et non per se, uterque enim intendebat bonum, sed uni videbatur hoc esse bonum, alii aliud. Quod ad defectum humanum pertinebat, non enim erat talis controversia in his quae sunt de necessitate salutis. Quamvis hoc ipsum fuerit ex divina providentia ordinatum, propter utilitatem inde consequentem.   Reply to Objection 3: The discord between Paul and Barnabas was accidental and not direct: because each intended some good, yet the one thought one thing good, while the other thought something else, which was owing to human deficiency: for that controversy was not about things necessary to salvation. Moreover all this was ordained by Divine providence, on account of the good which would ensue.


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Whether discord is a daughter of vainglory?

Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod discordia non sit filia inanis gloriae. Ira enim est aliud vitium ab inani gloria. Sed discordia videtur esse filia irae, secundum illud Prov. XV, vir iracundus provocat rixas. Ergo non est filia inanis gloriae..   Objection 1: It would seem that discord is not a daughter of vainglory. For anger is a vice distinct from vainglory. Now discord is apparently the daughter of anger, according to Prov. 15:18: "A passionate man stirreth up strifes." Therefore it is not a daughter of vainglory.
Praeterea, Augustinus dicit, super Ioan., exponens illud quod habetur Ioan. VII, nondum erat spiritus datus, livor separat, caritas iungit. Sed discordia nihil est aliud quam quaedam separatio voluntatum. Ergo discordia procedit ex livore, idest invidia, magis quam ex inani gloria.   Objection 2: Further, Augustine expounding the words of Jn. 7:39, "As yet the Spirit was not given," says (Tract. xxxii) "Malice severs, charity unites." Now discord is merely a separation of wills. Therefore discord arises from malice, i.e. envy, rather than from vainglory.
Praeterea, illud ex quo multa mala oriuntur videtur esse vitium capitale. Sed discordia est huiusmodi, quia super illud Matth. XII, omne regnum contra se divisum desolabitur, dicit Hieronymus, quo modo concordia parvae res crescunt, sic discordia maximae dilabuntur. Ergo ipsa discordia debet poni vitium capitale, magis quam filia inanis gloriae.   Objection 3: Further, whatever gives rise to many evils, would seem to be a capital vice. Now such is discord, because Jerome in commenting on Mt. 12:25, "Every kingdom divided against itself shall be made desolate," says: "Just as concord makes small things thrive, so discord brings the greatest things to ruin." Therefore discord should itself be reckoned a capital vice, rather than a daughter of vainglory.
Sed contra est auctoritas Gregorii, XXXI Moral.    On the contrary stands the authority of Gregory (Moral. xxxi, 45).
Respondeo dicendum quod discordia importat quandam disgregationem voluntatum, inquantum scilicet voluntas unius stat in uno, et voluntas alterius stat in altero. Quod autem voluntas alicuius in proprio sistat, provenit ex hoc quod aliquis ea quae sunt sua praefert his quae sunt aliorum. Quod cum inordinate fit, pertinet ad superbiam et inanem gloriam. Et ideo discordia, per quam unusquisque sequitur quod suum est et recedit ab eo quod est alterius, ponitur filia inanis gloriae.   I answer that, Discord denotes a certain disunion of wills, in so far, to wit, as one man's will holds fast to one thing, while the other man's will holds fast to something else. Now if a man's will holds fast to its own ground, this is due to the act that he prefers what is his own to that which belongs to others, and if he do this inordinately, it is due to pride and vainglory. Therefore discord, whereby a man holds to his own way of thinking, and departs from that of others, is reckoned to be a daughter of vainglory.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod rixa non est idem quod discordia. Nam rixa consistit in exteriori opere, unde convenienter causatur ab ira, quae movet animum ad nocendum proximo. Sed discordia consistit in disiunctione motuum voluntatis, quam facit superbia vel inanis gloria, ratione iam dicta.   Reply to Objection 1: Strife is not the same as discord, for strife consists in external deeds, wherefore it is becoming that it should arise from anger, which incites the mind to hurt one's neighbor; whereas discord consists in a divergence in the movements of wills, which arises from pride or vainglory, for the reason given above.
Ad secundum dicendum quod in discordia consideratur quidem ut terminus a quo recessus a voluntate alterius, et quantum ad hoc causatur ex invidia. Ut terminus autem ad quem, accessus ad id quod est sibi proprium, et quantum ad hoc causatur ex inani gloria. Et quia in quolibet motu terminus ad quem est potior termino a quo (finis enim est potior principio), potius ponitur discordia filia inanis gloriae quam invidiae, licet ex utraque oriri possit secundum diversas rationes, ut dictum est.   Reply to Objection 2: In discord we may consider that which is the term "wherefrom," i.e. another's will from which we recede, and in this respect it arises from envy; and again we may consider that which is the term "whither," i.e. something of our own to which we cling, and in this respect it is caused by vainglory. And since in every moment the term "whither" is more important than the term "wherefrom" (because the end is of more account than the beginning), discord is accounted a daughter of vainglory rather than of envy, though it may arise from both for different reasons, as stated.
Ad tertium dicendum quod ideo concordia magnae res crescunt et per discordiam dilabuntur, quia virtus quanto est magis unita, tanto est fortior, et per separationem diminuitur; ut dicitur in libro de causis. Unde patet quod hoc pertinet ad proprium effectum discordiae, quae est divisio voluntatum, non autem pertinet ad originem diversorum vitiorum a discordia, per quod habeat rationem vitii capitalis.   Reply to Objection 3: The reason why concord makes small things thrive, while discord brings the greatest to ruin, is because "the more united a force is, the stronger it is, while the more disunited it is the weaker it becomes" (De Causis xvii). Hence it is evident that this is part of the proper effect of discord which is a disunion of wills, and in no way indicates that other vices arise from discord, as though it were a capital vice.

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