Wednesday, December 9, 2020 –
You read that title right, dear readers! It is time for another Super Basic Primer, this time on the Four Moral / Cardinal Virtues!
Usually, we start these out with our handy list and a brief rundown from Bishop Morrow and a Baltimore Catechism. I will still do the list, but in pulling out my beloved copy of My Catholic Faith and my St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism #2, I realized that they say the exact same thing. No, really! Literally the exact same thing.
Anyhoo, I will use Bishop Morrow for this round because he goes into a tad more detail than the St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism. Also, I realize that I probably should have covered the Three Theological Virtues before now, but what are you gonna do? We’ll cover them later…promise! Besides, the Catechism of the Catholic Church takes the Moral Virtues before the Theological Virtues.
Back to Bishop Morrow:
43. Moral Virtues
Are there any other virtues besides the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity? –Besides the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity, there are other virtues, called moral virtues.
1. These virtues are called moral virtues because they dispose us to lead moral, or good lives, by aiding us to treat persons and things in the right way, that is, according to the will of God. Moral virtues are opposed to the capital sins…
2. Moral virtues are an outgrowth and completion of the theological virtues. The theological virtues perfect our interior being; the moral virtues perfect our exterior. If we sincerely strive after these virtues, we are on the road to perfection.
The theological virtues affect our relations with God; the moral virtues affect our relations with our neighbor and our own selves. For example, faith makes us believe in the existence of God. Temperance makes us regulate our appetites.
Which are the chief moral virtues? –The chief moral virtues are prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance; these are called cardinal virtues.
All other moral virtues spring from the cardinal virtues. These are called cardinal from cardo, the Latin word for hinge, because all our moral actions turn on them as a door turns upon its hinges. All other moral virtues depend on them.
So that is our list of the Four Moral / Cardinal Virtues:
And for those who like a picture representation, here you go:
And for those of you who like straight up CCC, this next part is for you:
I. THE HUMAN VIRTUES
1804 Human virtues are firm attitudes, stable dispositions, habitual perfections of intellect and will that govern our actions, order our passions, and guide our conduct according to reason and faith. They make possible ease, self-mastery, and joy in leading a morally good life. The virtuous man is he who freely practices the good.
The moral virtues are acquired by human effort. They are the fruit and seed of morally good acts; they dispose all the powers of the human being for communion with divine love.
The cardinal virtues
1805 Four virtues play a pivotal role and accordingly are called “cardinal”; all the others are grouped around them. They are: prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. “If anyone loves righteousness, [Wisdom’s] labors are virtues; for she teaches temperance and prudence, justice, and courage.”These virtues are praised under other names in many passages of Scripture.
1833 Virtue is a habitual and firm disposition to do good.
1834 The human virtues are stable dispositions of the intellect and the will that govern our acts, order our passions, and guide our conduct in accordance with reason and faith. They can be grouped around the four cardinal virtues: prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. Sancte Polycarpe, ora pro nobis!