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58. Moral Virtues and Intellectual Virtues

1. A moral virtue is a will-virtue. It does not belong tothe order of speculative or practical intellect, but to the will,the appetitive part of reason. Moral virtue has to do, not withknowing, but with acting or choosing in the lightof knowledge.

2. An intellectual virtue belongs to the order ofknowing. Even the virtues of the practical intellect,which regard action, are truly intellectual virtues; they are notappetites or tendencies to action; they merely show the way toaction. And when, through prudence, they recommend or commandaction, they cannot enforce the command. They give knowledge ofwhat ought to be done. But the tendency, desire, and decision inthe matter belong to the will.

3. The distinction of virtues as intellectual virtues andmoral virtues is complete. This classification covers the wholefield. In last analysis every virtue is either an intellectualvirtue or a moral virtue.

4. The intellectual virtues of understanding and prudenceare required for every moral virtue.

5. And, on the other hand, the intellectual virtue ofprudence cannot exist unless moral virtue accompany it. Henceprudence is often listed as a moral virtue.

"Try to turn your heart from the love of things visible and bring yourself to things invisible. For they who follow their own evil passions stain their consciences and lose the grace of God. "
Thomas á Kempis

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"To do God's will -- this was the goal upon which the saints constantly fixed their gaze. They were fully persuaded that in this consists the entire perfection of the soul. "
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"The Lord has always revealed to mortals the treasures of his wisdom and his spirit, but now that the face of evil bares itself more and more, so does the Lord bare his treasures more."
St John of the Cross, OCD - Doctor of the Church

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