Calling on experts on the virtues

I have two fundamental questions on virtues; I hope someone can clarify…

  1. We often hear that patience, loyalty, honesty, etc are virtues, and yet the CCC only seems to list the cardinal virtues. If the more “conventionally known” virtues are indeed legit, why aren’t they listed too? And if they in fact do “hinge” on the cardinal virtues, how do they subdivide? Under which cardinal virtue does patience fall? What about honesty? etc?

  2. Aquinas calls virtues “good habits.” But isn’t he using the word habit in a different sense than we do today? How are we to understand his usage of the word “habit”? And how is it different that its conventional usage today?

If you haven’t yet, please read the relevant catechism section: vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s1c1a7.htm

I’m not sure what you mean by different use of the word habit.

This is what the catechism says with regard to growing in vitue:

1839 The moral virtues grow through education, deliberate acts, and perseverance in struggle. Divine grace purifies and elevates them.

That sounds very much to me like how one would go about forming any habit.

Thank you for your response. But what about the other virtues? For instance, chastity? It is not even listed in the section of virtues. It says that “all the others are grouped around” the cardinal virtues, but it does not list any of the “subsidiary” virtues. What about patience? Honesty? etc?

There are three theological virtues, for cardinal virtues (that make up the seven cardinal virtues), and also the twelve gifts of the Spirit.

Patience and chastity are both mentioned specifically in that section I posted, under fruits of the spirit.

And all three you mention can be derived from the ones outlined - that’s why they are considered cardinal virtues.

eg Honesty is a matter of justice. We see elsewhere in the catechism this reference:

In justice, “as a matter of honor, one man owes it to another to manifest the truth.”

For more about truth, see here: vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a8.htm

It is true that the CCC connects some of the virtues to the cardinal ones, such as honesty to justice, and chastity to temperance. But it’s scattered all over the place. Is there a unified, comprehensive list somewhere?

No, there is no unified list.

The cardinal virtues are included as they form the basis for all virtue, as explained. So this list is the foundation.

The theological virtues are also included and explained. These differ from the cardinal vitues in that they are gifts from God, rather than virtues that we attain ourselves.

The only other list I can think of to offer is the list of capital virtues, which are the virtues that are considered to oppose the capital sins.

Here is that list: catholicculture.org/culture/library/dictionary/index.cfm?id=32322

I can recommend the teaching materials put together by the catechesis office of the Diocese of Lacrosse. Their virtues program is very comprehensive and reading through the materials may answer your questions.

dioceseoflacrosse.com/ministry_resources/catechesis/

Thanks to both of you very much for your help! I’ll check it out.:slight_smile:

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