Acquired Virtues

Is there a complete list of Catholic **acquired **virtues approved by the Magisterium? If so, does the list associate each acquired virtue with either one of the theological or cardinal virtues?

Hum…by the Magisterium? No not per se that I know of -though since St. Thomas is the Common Doctor --one can look to him. :slight_smile:

Already well versed on Summa Theologicae secunde secunde. Aquinas will opine on whether an act is considered a virtue, for example, kindness. However, in doing my research, I am seeing lists that vary greatly across different websites. You can definitely tell when you are looking at a non-Catholic virtues list, when several of the theological and/or cardinal virtues are not even mentioned.

Here of course is the short list of the main ones:

Some other sources: The Virtues by Pope Benedict XVI (Oct 18, 2010) OSV

And this Encylicals on Love and Hope and the one on Faith issued by Pope Francis this last year (Pope Benedict and he both worked on it).

The Four Cardinal Virtues by Josef Pieper (includes various related ones)


Various works by Romanus Cessario OP such as “The Moral Virtues and Theological Ethics”

And by Pinckaers OP

and Garrigou-Lagrange and John of St. Thomas.

List repeated in the Compendium issued by Pope Benedict XVI (along with other lists):

The three theological virtues:

  1. Faith
  2. Hope
  3. Charity

The four cardinal virtues:

  1. Prudence
  2. Justice
  3. Fortitude
  4. Temperance

Add - Von Hildebrand - Transformation in Christ.

On the virtue of art – (and he mentions others at time) Jacques Maritain (such as Art and scholasticism).

You are confirming my point - the lists vary across Catholic sources. However, I appreciate your efforts greatly. I have the encyclicals, and many of the books that you mention in your posts.

The reason that I am asking the question is because I need to prepare such information for public speaking engagements. I would like to see a definitive list of acquired virtues and the specific associated theological virtue or cardinal virtue for which each acquired virtue is aligned. I am more concerned with properly aligning the acquired virtues with the appropriate theological/cardinal virtue. For example, I wouldn’t want to align patience with Love, if it more aptly falls under Fortitude.

Another example, from a different vein, some consider honesty an acquired virtue. Others consider truthfulness an acquired virtue. To me, they are the same virtue, with the same definition, and if noted on the same list, would be duplicative.


I understand - I am not aware of an “official list” of the virtues related to those 7. One might be able to glen some from various magisterial works over the centuries but such would involve great deal more research.

Basically it comes down to more of “Theological” discussion rather than a repeated teaching of the Magisterium. I think one must look to the various “theological schools” and writers on the subject and make a theological judgment for your list.

Regarding truthfullness/honesty -do those who mention honesty - distinguish such from truthfulness? or perhaps it is simply a term choice for the same matter. My thought.

As to “patience” with love and with fortitude - yes such would say it would fall under both (as St. Paul puts it in inspired Scripture --love is patient…love is kind…etc).

(the three theological virtues are of a different order than the 4 acquired cardinal virtues…they can be involved in the others…does Faith involve fortitude? Yes - even to martyrdom -though one can then get into infused virtue of fortitude…anyhow things can be I think more “interrelated”…treatise after treatise have been written on the virtues.)

Which ultimately makes me think that I am about to create what will look like a “spaghetti chart.” :slight_smile:

Perhaps keep it more simple. (do not have to say everything possible…)

Unless your doing some doctoral work!

I would do the three theological (which are* infused* --but are important to go into)

The do the 4 cardinal and list what is related to the those 4.

(and then again there can be the other infused virtues …:)…but your focusing on acquired)

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