St. Alphonsus on Scandal & Modesty

A mortal sin of scandal committed by women that go with them shamelessly exposed breast, or that expose their members incorrectly.  Also by the actors in lewd comedies , and more par people who make up these comedies ; also by painters who paint obscene images or like, and by the heads of families who keep these photos in their homes . The father who speaks obscene or blasphemous saints in the presence of her children, and the mother who brings in her home to live among his girls young men who are in love with them Or fiancées or other suspects, are guilty of a more serious sin of scandal. Some mothers say, “I do not think any harm.” I reply that it is their duty to suspect; otherwise they shall give account to God for all the sins that can follow. 

Full ascetical works of St. Alphonsus  , vol 15, p. 399-400)

Summa Theologiae – The precepts of temperance

source: New Advent

cover photo: Allegory of Justice and Temperance Attributed to Benedetto Luti

Article 1. Whether the precepts of temperance are suitably given in the Divine law?

Objection 1. It would seem that the precepts of temperance are unsuitably given in the Divine law. Because fortitude is a greater virtue than temperance, as stated above (123, 12; II-II:141:8; I-II:66:4). Now there is no precept of fortitude among the precepts of the decalogue, which are the most important among the precepts of the Law. Therefore it was unfitting to include among the precepts of the decalogue the prohibition of adultery, which is contrary to temperance, as stated above (II-II:154:8).

Objection 2. Further, temperance is not only about venereal matters, but also about pleasures of meat and drink. Now the precepts of the decalogue include no prohibition of a vice pertaining to pleasures of meat and drink, or to any other species of lust. Neither, therefore, should they include a precept prohibiting adultery, which pertains to venereal pleasure.

Objection 3. Further, in the lawgiver’s intention inducement to virtue precedes the prohibition of vice, since vices are forbidden in order that obstacles to virtue may be removed. Now the precepts of the decalogue are the most important in the Divine law. Therefore the precepts of the decalogue should have included an affirmative precept directly prescribing the virtue of temperance, rather than a negative precept forbidding adultery which is directly opposed thereto.

On the contrary, stands the authority of Scripture in the decalogue (Exodus 20:14-17).

I answer that, As the Apostle says (1 Timothy 1:5), “the end of the commandment is charity,” which is enjoined upon us in the two precepts concerning the love of God and of our neighbor. Wherefore the decalogue contains those precepts which tend more directly to the love of God and of our neighbor. Now among the vices opposed to temperance, adultery would seem most of all opposed to the love of our neighbor, since thereby a man lays hold of another’s property for his own use, by abusing his neighbor’s wife. Wherefore the precepts of the decalogue include a special prohibition of adultery, not only as committed in deed, but also as desired in thought.

Reply to Objection 1. Among the species of vices opposed to fortitude there is not one that is so directly opposed to the love of our neighbor as adultery, which is a species of lust that is opposed to temperance. And yet the vice of daring, which is opposed to fortitude, is wont to be sometimes the cause of murder, which is forbidden by one of the precepts of the decalogue: for it is written (Sirach 8:18): “Go not on the way with a bold man lest he burden thee with his evils.”

Reply to Objection 2. Gluttony is not directly opposed to the love of our neighbor, as adultery is. Nor indeed is any other speciesof lust, for a father is not so wronged by the seduction of the virgin over whom he has no connubial right, as is the husband by the adultery of his wife, for he, not the wife herself, has power over her body [1 Corinthians 7:4.

Reply to Objection 3. As stated above (II-II:122:4) the precepts of the decalogue are universal principles of the Divine law; hence they need to be common precepts. Now it was not possible to give any common affirmative precepts of temperance, because the practice of temperance varies according to different times, as Augustine remarks (De Bono Conjug. xv, 7), and according to different human laws and customs.

Article 2. Whether the precepts of the virtues annexed to temperance are suitably given in the Divine law?

Objection 1. It would seem that the precepts of the virtues annexed to temperance are unsuitably given in the Divine law. For the precepts of the Decalogue, as stated above (Article 1, Reply to Objection 3), are certain universal principles of the whole Divine law. Now “pride is the beginning of all sin,” according to Sirach 10:15. Therefore among the precepts of the Decalogue there should have been one forbidding pride.

Objection 2. Further, a place before all should have been given in the decalogue to those precepts by which men are especially induced to fulfil the Law, because these would seem to be the most important. Now since humility subjects man to God, it would seem most of all to dispose man to the fulfilment of the Divine law; wherefore obedience is accounted one of the degrees of humility, as stated above (II-II:161:6); and the same apparently applies to meekness, the effect of which is that a man does not contradict the Divine Scriptures, as Augustine observes (De Doctr. Christ. ii, 7). Therefore it seems that the Decalogue should have contained precepts of humility and meekness.

Objection 3. Further, it was stated in the foregoing Article that adultery is forbidden in the decalogue, because it is contrary to the love of our neighbor. But inordinateness of outward movements, which is contrary to modesty, is opposed to neighborly love: wherefore Augustine says in his Rule (Ep. ccxii): “In all your movements let nothing be done to offend the eye of any personwhatever.” Therefore it seems that this kind of inordinateness should also have been forbidden by a precept of the Decalogue.

On the contrary, suffices the authority of Scripture.

I answer that, The virtues annexed to temperance may be considered in two ways: first, in themselves; secondly, in their effects. Considered in themselves they have no direct connection with the love of God or of our neighbor; rather do they regard a certain moderation of things pertaining to man himself. But considered in their effects, they may regard the love of God or of our neighbor: and in this respect the decalogue contains precepts that relate to the prohibition of the effects of the vices opposed to the parts of temperance. Thus the effect of anger, which is opposed to meekness, is sometimes that a man goes on to commit murder (and this is forbidden in the Decalogue), and sometimes that he refuses due honor to his parents, which may also be the result of pride, which leads many to transgress the precepts of the first table.

Reply to Objection 1. Pride is the beginning of sin, but it lies hidden in the heart; and its inordinateness is not perceived by all in common. Hence there was no place for its prohibition among the precepts of the Decalogue, which are like first self-evident principles.

Reply to Objection 2. Those precepts which are essentially an inducement to the observance of the Law presuppose the Law to be already given, wherefore they cannot be first precepts of the Law so as to have a place in the Decalogue.

Reply to Objection 3. Inordinate outward movement is not injurious to one’s neighbor, if we consider the species of the act, as are murder, adultery, and theft, which are forbidden in the decalogue; but only as being signs of an inward inordinateness, as stated above (168, 1, ad 1,3).

The Summa Theologiæ of St. Thomas Aquinas
Second and Revised Edition, 1920
Literally translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province
Online Edition Copyright © 2017 by Kevin Knight
Nihil Obstat. F. Innocentius Apap, O.P., S.T.M., Censor. Theol.
Imprimatur. Edus. Canonicus Surmont, Vicarius Generalis. Westmonasterii.
Nihil Obstat. F. Raphael Moss, O.P., S.T.L. and F. Leo Moore, O.P., S.T.L.
Imprimatur. F. Beda Jarrett, O.P., S.T.L., A.M., Prior Provincialis Angliæ


Copyright © 2017 by Kevin Knight. Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Modesty, Merit & Eternity.

Featured Photo: Ernst Hildebrand (1833–1924) Verzweiflung 1885

Being modest in every deportment can be such a great act of penance, for mortification, salvation of souls, fasting and earning merit.

Merit can be earned for our own salvation and penance for our sins/purgatory time, for others who are in most need (family, the church, Clergy, great sinners), and also for the souls in purgatory!

Read these beautiful quotations from great saints about the fantastic greatness of Merit – how blessed are we to have such a merciful God to have given us the opportunity to earn merit!

‘In the eyes of the sovereign Judge the merit of our actions depends on the motives which prompted them.’

Pope St. Gregory the Great

‘Our works are of no value if they be not united to the merits of Jesus Christ.’

St. Teresa of Jesus

‘My children, how sad it is! when a soul is in a state of sin, it may die in that state; and even now, whatever it can do is without merit before God.’

St. Jean Marie Baptiste Vianney, the Cure of Ars

‘The majority of souls appear before the Judgment empty-handed. They did nothing good for eternity.’

Ven. Mary of Agreda

‘Unite all your works to the merits of Jesus Christ, and then offer them up to the eternal Father if you desire to make them pleasing to Him.’

St. Teresa of Jesus

‘No prayers are so acceptable to God as those which we offer Him after Communion.’

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

‘Each time that a creature offers to my Father the Blood by which she has been redeemed, she offers Him a gift of infinite value.”

The Lord, to St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi

‘They who wish to do great things in the service of their Lord and King, will not rest with mere deeds; but will also wage war against their sensuality, their carnal and worldly love, and will thus make offerings to Him of the highest value.’

St. Ignatius of Loyola

‘This is a good rule of conduct, to do nothing but what we can offer to the good God. Now, we cannot offer to Him slanders, calumnies, injustice, anger, blasphemy, impurity, night clubs, dancing; yet that is all that people do in the world. ‘

St. Jean Marie Baptiste Vianney, the Cure of Ars

‘It is possible to offer fervent prayer even while walking in public or strolling alone, or seated in your shop, . . . while buying or selling, . . . or even while cooking.’

St. John Chrysostom

‘We can obtain no reward without merit, and no merit without patience.’

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

‘A man’s merit will be greater depending on the greater the pleasure he abstains from, the greater the repugnance he has to overcome, the greater the intensity and length of the pain he has to bear, the greater the human respect he has to set aside, and the greater the sacrifices he has to make — provided he does all and bears all for the love of virtue and the greater glory of God.’

St. Anthony Mary Claret

‘Remember that sacrifice exists in the will; and although force of habit may dull the sting of sacrifice, still the will remains steadfast and strengthens itself by habit. The agony, the death to self comes at the beginning, with the first act; then, peace returns to the soul; but the merit lasts and increases with the repetition and continuation of the sacrifice. Out of filial love we sustain heroic sacrifices with simplicity, without feeling the cost of them.’

St. Peter Julian Eymard

‘The most perfect and meritorious intention is that by which, in all our actions, we have in view only the good pleasure of God and the accomplishment of His holy will.’

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

‘Without a doubt, obedience is more meritorious than any other penance. And what greater penance can there be than keeping one’s will continually submissive and obedient?’

St. Catherine of Bologna

‘From this it follows that those who obey with violence to their own opinion and who are vexed in their own will and their own breast and discernment will not lose the merit of true obedience, but will mostly without doubt acquire a greater share of heavenly glory by doing continual violence to themselves and subjecting their own will not only to their mother and superiors, but also to their equals and those under them. The way of such virtue is manifest in the infinite goodness of the Son of God when he was obedient not only to his eternal Father, but also to his mother and to Joseph as the gospel makes clear when it says: “And he was subject to them” (Lk 2.51).’

St. Catherine of Bologna

‘I would not wish to see one meritorious act attributed to myself, even if it were the means of insuring my salvation; for I should be worse than a demon, to wish to rob God of his own. Yet it is needful that we ourselves act, for the divine grace neither vivifies nor aids that which does not work itself, and grace will not save us without our cooperation. I repeat it; all works, without the help of grace are dead, being produced by the creature only; but grace aids all works performed by those who are not in mortal sin, and makes them worthy of heaven; not those which are ours solely, but those in which grace cooperates.’

St. Catherine of Genoa

‘I understand that, each time we contemplate with desire and devotion the Host in which is hidden Christ’s Eucharistic Body, we increase our merits in heaven and secure special joys to be ours later in the beatific vision of God.’

St. Gertrude the Great

‘In the servants of God it is not the numbers I seek but the merit; I like better to see them distinguish themselves by their deeds than by their name or habit.’

St. Ignatius of Loyola

‘Do not let any occasion of gaining merit pass without taking care to draw some spiritual profit from it; as, for example, from a sharp word which someone may say to you; from an act of obedience imposed against your will; from an opportunity which may occur to humble yourself, or to practice charity, sweetness, and patience. All of these occasions are gain for you, and you should seek to procure them; and at the close of that day, when the greatest number of them have come to you, you should go to rest most cheerful and pleased, as the merchant does on the day when he had had most chance for making money; for on that day business has prospered with him.’

St. Ignatius of Loyola

‘St. Denis the Areopagite says, “Divine love consists in the affections of the heart more than in the knowledge of the understanding.” In human sciences, knowledge excites love; but in the science of the saints, love produces knowledge. He that loves God most, knows him best. Besides, it is not lofty and fruitless conceptions, but works, that unite the soul to God, and make it rich in merits before the Lord.’

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

‘If God causes you to suffer much, it is a sign that He has great designs for you, and that He certainly intends to make you a saint. And if you wish to become a great saint, entreat Him yourself to give you much opportunity for suffering; for there is no wood better to kindle the fire of holy love than the wood of the cross, which Christ used for His own great sacrifice of boundless charity.’

St. Ignatius of Loyola

‘Thou wast created for the glory of thy Creator, that, making His praises thy employment, thou mightest ever advance towards Him by the merit of justice in this life, and mightest live happily in the world to come.’

St. Anselm of Canterbury

‘Man by prayer merits to receive that which God had from all eternity determined to give him.’

St. Gregory

Be the Best Dressed: Fashion Advice from a Doctor of the Church

From one of the best Catholic websites, The Catholic Gentleman.

If you’re a member of a religious order, getting dressed in the morning is fairly simple: You have the choice of one outfit—your habit. For the rest of us, choosing our clothing can be a bit more complicated.

While many men are not fashion inclined, like it or not, what we wear communicates something about us. We all know that. That’s why we wear shirts with our favorite brands on them or clothes that communicate our own personal sense of style, whatever that happens to be.

But as Catholic men, should we even care about our clothes? Does it really matter what we wear? Today, I’d like to share some fashion advice from a rather surprising source—the great saint and Doctor of the Church, St. Francis de Sales.

St. Francis de Sales was a gifted man. He not only boldly preached the Catholic faith during the difficult time of the Reformation, converting tens of thousands back to orthodoxy, but he was also a spiritual director to countless souls, many of them laymen living in the world. Can you imagine having a Doctor of the Church giving you guidance?

Fortunately for us, much of this saint’s wisdom was recorded in letters and summarized in his classic spiritual work, Introduction to the Devout Life. It is in the Introduction, Chapter 25 of Part III, that we find this saint’s advice on dressing well. Here it is, slightly edited to remove some of his advice for women:

St. Paul expresses his desire that all Christian women should wear “modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety;”—and for that matter he certainly meant that men should do so likewise.
Now, modesty in dress and its appearances depends upon the quality, the fashion and the cleanliness thereof. As to cleanliness, that should be uniform, and we should never, if possible, let any part of our dress be soiled or stained. External seemliness is a sort of indication of inward good order, and God requires those who minister at His Altar, or minister in holy things, to be attentive in respect of personal cleanliness.
As to the quality and fashion of clothes, modesty in these points must depend upon various circumstances, age, season, condition, the society we move in, and the special occasion. Most people dress better on a high festival than at other times; in Lent, or other penitential seasons, they lay aside all gay apparel; at a wedding they wear wedding garments, at a funeral, mourning garb; and at a king’s court the dress which would be unsuitable at home is suitable.
Always be neat, do not ever permit any disorder or untidiness about you. There is a certain disrespect to those with whom you mix in slovenly dress; but at the same time avoid all vanity, peculiarity, and fancifulness. As far as may be, keep to what is simple and unpretending–such dress is the best adornment of beauty and the best excuse for ugliness.
St. Peter bids women not to be over particular in dressing their hair. Every one despises a man as effeminate who lowers himself by such things, and we count a vain woman as wanting in modesty, or at all events what she has becomes smothered among her trinkets and furbelows. They say that they mean no harm, but I should reply that the devil will contrive to get some harm out of it all.
For my own part I should like my devout man or woman to be the best dressed person in the company, but the least fine or splendid, and adorned, as St. Peter says, with “the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit.” St. Louis said that the right thing is for every one to dress according to his position, so that good and sensible people should not be able to say they are over-dressed, or younger gayer ones that they are under-dressed. But if these last are not satisfied with what is modest and seemly, they must be content with the approbation of the elders.

Is there one right way to dress? Not really, according to St. Francis de Sales. A lot of it depends on the context in which we find ourselves. But the aim should always be a sort of elegant simplicity that is neither overly flashy nor careless and sloppy.

In summary: Be the best dressed. Don’t be a careless slob, but don’t be an effeminate fop, either. Dress simply and appropriately to the context and you can’t go wrong.

by Sam Guzman

St. Thomas Aquinas & The Prostitute

“His brothers tried to break his resistance by introducing into his room a woman of loose character. Thomas seized a burning brand from the hearth and drove her out, then knelt and implored God to grant him the gift of perpetual chastity. His early biographers write that he at once fell into a deep sleep, during which he was visited by two angels, who girded him around the waist with a cord so tight that it waked him. Thomas himself did not reveal this vision, until, on his deathbed, he described it to his old friend and confessor, Brother Reginald, adding that from this time on he was never again troubled by temptations of the flesh.”

 Imagine the fuss “Catholic’s” today would make over his “resistance to dialogue” with the woman, or whatever load of horse dung they come up with concerning temptation, the flesh, and sexual sin!