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Summa Theologize 


Edited and translated by 
T. F. O'Aleara O.P. and 
Ai. J. Duffy 0,P. 

This volume^, on the perversions of 
religion,, is concerned with acts 
which distort man's drive and duties 
towards God: idolatry ^ superstition., 
fortune-telling^ divination^ and 
astrology. It also considers acts 
which insult God by calling on him 
to witness a lie or by buying and 
selling sacramental helps to salvation. 
The Summa, provides the framework 
for Catholic studies in systematic 
theology and for a classical Christian 
philosophy. Steady endorsement for 
centuries by the Apostolic See has 
given it a position of singular authority 

so much so that it is now the 

standard work of its kind in Catholic 
schools all over the world. For all 
Christians the Summa. is invaluable 
as the witness of a developing tradi- 
tion and the source of living theology. 
The ultimate purpose of this tradi- 
tion is not narrowly ecclesiastical^ but 
to present to Christians every where 
this treasury of wisdom which is part 
of their common heritage. It will 
appeal not only to the scholar and 
professional theologian, but also to 
the general reader with an interest in 
the 'reasons' in Christianity. Though 
timeless in substance and spirit^ the 
Summa,y a masterpiece of the thir- 
teenth century;, provides both scholars 
and translators with special prob- 
lems. A. working X-atin text has been 
prepared for this edition^ which has 
consulted the great Leonine edition 
of all St Thomas's works begun 


189.4 T4S-2 
Thomas Aquina.s 

169.4 T45-2 v.40 
Thomas Aquinas 
Summa theologiae 

v.40 69-44375 







Latin text and English translation, 

Introductions, Notes, Appendices 

and Glossaries 














WAS PLEASED to grant an audience, on 13 December 1963, 
to a group 3 representing the Dominican Editors and the 
combined Publishers of the new translation of the Summa 
Theologies of St Thomas^ led by His Eminence Michael 
Cardinal Browne, of the Order of Preachers, and the Most 
Reverend Father Aniceto Fernandez, Master General of the 
same Order. 



THE HOLY FATHER made a cordial allocution in which he first welcomed 
the representatives of a project in which he found particular interest, He 
went on to laud the perennial value of St Thomas's doctrine as embodying 
universal truths in so cogent a fashion. This doctrine, he said, is a treasure 
belonging not only to the Dominican Order but to the whole Church, and 
indeed to the whole world; it is not merely medieval but valid for all 
times, not least of all for our own. 

His Holiness therefore commended the enterprise of Dominicans from 
English-speaking Provinces of the Order and of their friends; they were 
undertaking a difficult task, less because the thought of St Thomas is 
complicated or his language subtle, than because the clarity of his thought 
and exactness of language is so difficult to translate. Yet the successful 
outcome of their efforts would undoubtedly contribute to the religious 
and cultural well-being of the English-speaking world. 

What gave him great satisfaction was the notable evidence of interest 
in the spread of divine truth on the part of the eminent laymen concerned, 
members of different communions yet united in a common venture. 

For these reasons the Holy Father wished it all success, and warmly 
encouraged and blessed all those engaged. He was happy to receive the 
first volume presented to him as a gesture of homage, and promised that 
he would follow with interest the progress of the work and look forward 
to the regular appearance of all the subsequent volumes. 




1 Christian Theology (xa. i) 

2 Existence and Nature of God (la. 2-11) 

3 Knowing and Naming God (la. 12-13) 

4 Knowledge in God (la. 14-18) 

5 God's Will and Providence (la, 19-26) 

6 The Trinity (la. 27-32) 

7 Father, Son, and Holy Ghost (la. 33-43) 

8 Creation, Variety, and Evil (la. 44-9) 

9 Angels (la. 50-64) 

10 Cosmogony (la. 65-74) 

11 Man (la. 75-83) 

12 Human Intelligence (la. 84-9) 

13 Man Made to God's Image (la. 90-102) 

14 Divine Government (la. 103-9) 

15 The World Order (la. 110-19) 


16 Purpose and Happiness (ia2ae. 1-5) 

17 Human Acts (ia2ae. 6-17) 

18 Principles of Morality (13232. 18-21) 

19 The Emotions (13235. 22-30) 

20 Pleasure (13232. 31-9) 

21 Fear and Anger (mae. 40-8) 

22 Dispositions for Human Acts (ia2ae. 49-54) 

23 Virtue (i32ae. 55-67) 

24 Gifts and Beatitudes (13232. 68-70) 

25 Sin (13235.71-80) 

26 Original Sin (ia2se. 81-5) 

27 Effects of Sin (ia2ae. 86-9) 

28 Law and Political Theory (mae. 90-7) 

29 The Old Law (13232. 98-105) 

30 The Gospel of Grace (ia2ae. 106-14) 


31 Faith (2a2ae. 1-7) 

32 Consequences of Faith (23232. 8-16) 

33 Hope (23285. 17-22) 

34 Charity (2a2se. 23-33) 

35 Consequences of Charity (2a2ae. 34-46) 

36 Prudence (2a2ae. 47-56) 

37 Justice (2a2ae. 57-62) 

38 Injustice (2a2ae. 63-79) 

39 Religion and Worship (232ae. 80-91) 

40 Superstition and Irreverence (232ae. 92-100) 

41 The Social Virtues (2a2ae. 101-22) 

42 Courage (2a2ae, 123-40) 

43 Temperance (2a2ae. 141-54) 

44 Parts of Temperance (232ae. I55"7) 

45 Mysticism and Miracle (2a2ae. 171-8) 

46 Action and Contemplation (232ae. 179-82) 

47 The Pastoral and Religious Lives (23235. 183-9) 


48 The Incarnate Word (33. 1-6) 

49 The Grace of Christ (33. 7-15) 

50 The One Mediator (33. 16-26) 

51 Our Lady (33. 27-30) 

52 The Childhood of Christ (33. 31-7) 

53 The Life of Christ (33. 38-45) 

54 The Passion of Christ (33. 46-52) 

55 The Resurrection of the Lord (33. 53-9) 

56 The Sacraments (33. 60-5) 

57 Baptism and Confirmation (33. 66-72) 

58 The Eucharistic Presence (33. 73-8) 

59 Holy Communion (33. 79-83) 

60 The Sscrament of Penance (33. 84-90) 



for Catholic studies in systematic theology and for a classical Christian 
philosophy. Yet the work, which is more than a text-book for professional 
training, is also the witness of developing tradition and the source of 
living science about divine things. For faith seeks understanding in the 
contemplation of God's Logos, his wisdom and saving providence, run- 
ning through the whole universe. 

The purpose, then, of this edition is not narrowly clerical, but to share 
with all Christians a treasury which is part of their common heritage. 
Moreover, it consults the interests of many who would not claim to be 
believers, and yet appreciate the integrity which takes religion into hard 

Accordingly the editors have kept in mind the needs of the general 
reader who can respond to the reasons in Christianity, as well as of 
technical theologians and philosophers. 

Putting the Latin text alongside the English is part of the purpose. The 
reader with a smattering of Latin can be reassured when the translator, 
in order to be clear and readable, renders the thought of St Thomas into 
the freedom of another idiom without circumlocution or paraphrase. 

There are two more reasons for the inclusion of the Latin text. First, 
to help the editors themselves, for the author's thought is too lissom to be 
uniformly and flatly transliterated; it rings with analogies, and its precision 
cannot be reduced to a table of terms. A rigid consistency has not been 
imposed on the editors of the different volumes among themselves; the 
original is given, and the student can judge for himself. 

Next, to help those whose native tongue is not English or whose duty it 
is to study theology in Latin, of whom many are called to teach and preach 
through the medium of the most widespread language of the world, now 
becoming the second language of the Church. 

The Latin is a sound working text, selected, paragraphed, and punc- 
tuated by the responsible editor. Important variations, in manuscripts 
and such major printed editions as the Piana and Leonine, are indicated. 
The English corresponds paragraph by paragraph and almost always sen- 
tence by sentence. Each of the sixty volumes, so far as is possible, will be 
complete in itself, to serve as a text for a special course or for private study. 







. 92-100) 

Latin text. English translation, Introduction, Notes, 
Appendices & Glossary 



Aquinas Institute, Dubuque, Iowa 





Prior Provindalis S. Alberti Magni 
in Statibus Fcederatis America Septentrional^ 





Archbishop ofDubuque 
die i lulii 1968 





xi General Preface 
xvii Editorial Notes 
xix Introduction 


3 Article i. is superstition a vice contrary to reHgion? 

7 Article 2. are there various kinds or 'species* of superstition? 


II Article i. can there be anything injurious to man's salvation in 

the worship of God? 
15 Article 2. can a man ever worship God too much? 


19 Article i. is idolatry a kind of superstition? 

25 Article 2. is it a sin? 

29 Article 3. and the most serious of sins? 

31 Article 4. were men its cause? 


37 Article i. is foretelling the future a sin? 

41 Article 2. and a kind of superstition? 

43 Article 3. can we distinguish various kinds of foretelling the 

49 Article 4. is that kind of foretelling of the future which depends 

upon the invocation of diabolic powers evil? 
5 1 Article 5. is the forecasting of future events by means of planets 

and stars wrong? 

57 Article 6. is the forecasting of future events by dreams wrong? 
59 Article 7. whether divination by auguries^ omens and similar 

observations of external phenomena is wrong? 
63 Article 8. whether divination by casting lots is wrong? 


71 Article i. are magical practices wrong? 
75 Article 2. is the study of changes in natural things, for the pur- 
pose of acquiring good health and the like, unlawful? 
79 Article 3. is fortune-telling unlawful? 
81 Article 4. is it unlawful to wear amulets? 



87 Article I. in what does the tempting of God consist? 

91 Article 2. is it a sin? 

95 Article 3. and opposed to the virtue of religion? 

97 Article 4. and a more serious sin than superstition? 


ioi Article I. is falsehood required for perjury? 

103 Article 2. and always a sin? 

107 Article 3. and a serious sin? 

109 Article 4. is it a sin to demand an oath of a perjurer? 


115 Article i, what is sacrilege? 

117 Article 2. is it a special sin? 

119 Article 3. are there different kinds of sacrilege? 

123 Article 4. what is the penalty for sacrilege? 


127 Article i. what is simony? 

133 Article 2. is it lawful to offer money for the sacraments? 

137 Article 3. or to give and receive money for religious actions? 

143 Article 4. or to receive money for matters connected with 


147 Article 5. or to receive remuneration in services and favours ? 

151 Article 6. concerning the punishment for simony 


159 i. The Demonic in Contemporary Thought 

162 2. Sins against Religion under the Old and New Covenants 

163 Select Bibliography 

164 Glossary 
167 Index 




OF the many editions of the Summa Theologies extant, the nearest to a 
critical edition is the Leonine, commissioned by Pope Leo XIII in 1882. 
Some of the early volumes are not up to the standard of a truly critical 
text; however, the text for the Secunda Pars is, if not definitive, the best 
available. This has been used. The variant readings for these nine Questions 
were studied, yet, in no instance did they seriously disagree with the text 
offered below. 

Something between a literal and free translation has been attempted. 
Slavish transliteration has been avoided as well as unchanged reproductions 
of dated examples. On the other hand, in an area of human reflection as 
serious as this, a colloquial rendering is not desirable. St Thomas himself 
wrote: A good translator ought, while keeping the true meaning of what 
he is translating, to adapt his style to the genius of the language into which 
he is translating.* 1 


Those signified by a superior number are the references given by St 
Thomas, with the exception of no. i, to each article which refers to parallel 
texts in his writings. Those signified alphabetically are editorial references 
and explanatory remarks. 

In this volume the Notes are fuller than in many of the others, so the 
reader is recommended to make good use of the Index of Matters. 


Biblical references are to the Vulgate; English translations from the Re- 
vised Standard Version. Patristic references are to Migne (PG, Greek 
Fathers; PL, Latin Fathers). Abbreviations to St Thomas's works are 
as follows: 
Summa Theologi&> without title. Part, question, article, reply; e.g. la. 

3, 2 ad 3. ia2ae. 17, 6. 2a2ae. 180, 10. 33, 35, 8. 
Summa Contra Gentiles , CG. Book, chapter; e.g. CG I, 28. 
Scriptum in IV Libros Sententiarum, Sent. Book, distinction, question, 

article, solution or quastiuncula, reply; e.g. in Sent. 25, 2, 3, ii ad 3. 
Compendium Theologi<z.> Compend. Theol. 

"^Contra errores Gracorttm, ProSm. 

Commentaries of Scripture (lectures, expositiones): Job, In Job; Psalms, 
In Psali Isaiah, In Isa.; Jeremiah, In Jeremy Lamentationes, In Thren. ; 
St Matthew, In Matt.; St John, In Joan. ; Epistles of St Paul, e.g. In 
Rom. Chapter, verse, lectio as required. 

Philosophical commentaries : On the Liber de Causis y In De amis. Aristotle : 
Peri Hermeneiasy In Periherm*i Posterior Analytics, In Poster. ; Physics, 
In Physic.] De Ccdo el Mundo, In De Ccel.', De Generatione et Corrup- 
tione, In Degen.; Meteorokgica, In Meteor.; De Anima, In De anima; 
De Sensu et Sensato, In De sensu; De Memoria et Reminiscentia, In De 
memory Metaphysics, In Meta.:, Nicomachean Ethics, In Ethic.] Poli- 
tics, In Pol Book, chapter, lectio as required, also for Expositions on 
Boethius, Liber 'de Hebdomadibus and Liber de Trinitate, In De hebd. and 
In De Trin.> and on Dionysius, De Divinis Nominibus, In De div. nom. 
References to Aristotle give the Bekker annotation. 
Qastiones guodlibetales (de quolibet) 3 QuodL 

Main titles are given in full for other works, including the 10 series of 
Questiones Disputata. 



THE Summa Theologice unfolds from a pattern which lies deep in human 
thought-forms, and which reflects the cyclic nature of things according to 
myth and philosophy: the Platonic emission and return of the Many from 
and to the One. 

It was St Thomas's purpose to give some order to the theological con- 
fusion of his time which had been caused by the rediscovery of Aristotle 
and the maturing of medieval civilization. He developed a static theological 
scheme based on the Ten Commandments into an elliptical discourse 
following the procession of all things from the divine essence, and the 
culmination, of the diversification in man, whose motion back to God 
made possible by the God-man Christ. 

Man is called to the vision of God; man is given a revelation of this 
calling; man is given Christ who leads and motivates him toward his 
special destiny. The Christian life, which is Christocentric and eschato- 
logical, draws its strength from the cross of Christ and judges all things in 
terms of its destiny: it is lived in Vatican II's Church on pilgrimage. 

The second part of the Summa describes how the Christian life develops 
in a human being. Faith, hope, love, virtues, powers, charisms, gifts of 
the Spirit all of these are part of the dynamism. Religion is man's attitude 
as creature toward his Creator. It need not be specifically Christian; it 
forms a background against which the Christian faith, commitment, 
love and service are portrayed. Still, there is a specifically Christian form of 
religion, in cult, liturgy and sacrament. It is wrong for religious man to 
turn away from his conscience and serve what he knows are false gods, 
or creatures passing as deities, or demons. For the people of Israel Jewish 
or Christian it was particularly wicked and ungrateful, for the one true 
God has disclosed himself to his chosen people, and has revealed himself 
in his Son, Jesus Christ. 

This volume is concerned with acts which distort man's religious needs* 
drives, and duties toward God. The context, because some of these acts 
such as idolatry were no more frequent in the thirteenth century than in 
the twentieth, is that of the Old and the New Covenants. St Thomas looks 
at these sins in the light of the Bible and salvation-history. Idolatry, super- 
stition, fortune-telling, divination, astrology are perversions of man's 
natural religious instincts. They are the ways in which man misdirects his 
religious rites to creatures or to powers of darkness rather than light. To 
every light there is a shadow side, and these sinful deformities of worship 
are the shadow side. 


There is a second category of sins against God. Not directly against the 
worship of the one true God, they are the acts which insult God. They 
consist in calling God to witness a lie, or buying and selling what is or- 
dained by the Christian religion to help man toward salvation or to give 
worship to God. This volume, then, falls under two headings, first the 
misdirecting of religious acts to the created or non-divine; second, the 
using of God by tempting him and by perjury and simony. 

Themes in this Section 

In reading through these Questions, several underlying and reappearing 
characteristics of the perversions of man's owed religious attitude toward 
bis Creator and Redeemer will be noted. 

First^ religion is primarily interior, but is perfected and executed in the 
world. Christian faith and life find fulfilment in the visible, tangible liturgy 
of the Christian community. Vices against religion also involve visible, tan- 
gible manifestation. These evil actions insult God by openly swearing 
falsely; they worship what is powerless and ridiculous rather than divine; 
they seek from strange and dark but useless sources knowledge of the future. 

Secondly, it will be noticed that in the first group of sins (superstition, 
idolatry, divination, astrology) the centre of the pseudo-religious action 
is God, ignored or falsified. In the second group (e.g. perjury or simony), 
the actions centre on man's self-gain. Here God is used for man's safety 
(perjury) or enrichment (simony). Both of these directions show the anti- 
thesis between Christian religion, which is God-centred and man-fulfil- 
ling, and the vices which drive towards created objects, whether primitive 
carved figures or quickly fabricated horoscopes. 

Thirdly, the motivation. For the Christian this springs from his own 
openness to the self-communication of God in Christ. His religion, 
worship, liturgy are not duties performed out of fear of the law, but the 
outpouring of Christian existence. For the superstitious and the selfish 
idolater, whether in primitive or contemporary society, self is the beginning 
and end. The god, demon, or planet is only a means to self-gain. 

Contemporary Relevance 

It is perhaps true that as the Church is more firmly emplanted in a 
society, the presence of demonic powers along with idolatry and the infinite 
varieties of superstition tend to disappear. However, the radical sin-forms 
of superstition and simony do not disappear; they simply reappear in 
more sophisticated dress. An increasing number of citizens in the 'secular 
city* consult daily astrological bulletins, mediums, ouija boards, and other 

purveyors of the occult. What appeal could these primitive forms have to 
sophisticated contemporary men? Actually, they prey on two of their 
weaknesses. First, we desire to know, and in this age of anxiety, we have an 
anxious, fearful, urgent desire to overcome the shadowy existential situ- 
ation with some kind of certain transcendent knowledge. Secondly, there 
is a basic hypnotic desire to know what lies outside the barriers of time 
and death, to know the future, to communicate with the dead. These basic 
religious needs, when they find no graceful fulfilment in Christ's resurrec- 
tion, do not die with the entrance of secularism and technology. Our 
particular kind of society allows them only primitive outlets, once they 
leave the Jewish or Christian faith. Our superstitions are different from 
some mentioned in this treatise, but they are all variations on men's basic 
needs. The astrology in the newspaper is basically the same as that Augus- 
tine says he consulted before his intellectual wanderings reached the 
Gospel. Does idolatry seem to be lacking today? It is present only rarely 
in devil-worship, but active in subtler forms. Whenever man devotes his 
entire life, his destiny, and energy to a creature, this is idolatry. There is 
an idolatry of sensuality, of ambition, of greed. Self is chosen consistently 
and ultimately as the idol before which truly human action and life is 

There is a form of idolatry within the Christian churches where the 
stattis quo, outmoded formularies and unsuitable institutions can be wor- 
shipped as being the only channels of divine favour. The present crises 
in Christianity witness to a return to essentials, hence, a destroying of the 
idolatry of arbitrary forms called forth in history to serve religion, but 
which havebecomeidentifiedwithit. Furthermore, in this context of Church 
renewal, simony can be mentioned. It is unlikely that ecclesiastical offices 
are bought and sold for money, but it can be asked whether the price of 
advancement too often is not a will to maintain obsolete privilege. 

These rather marginal questions have, then, significance today. There 
are vast reaches where the Gospel is still unknown, remote areas of emerg- 
ing nations where man's religious drives find fulfilment only before idols 
and the demonic. These articles have not lost their import for the secular 
city with its baffling phenomenon of increased devotion to horoscopes, 
pseudo-oriental religions, nature cults etc., for they offer basic principles 
which encompass all these disorientations of the religious drive. 

Black illustrates white. By seeing the psychological and theological 
background of man's religious aberrations, we can appreciate the social 
and individual dimensions of what we call the 'fallenness* of man; the 
Johannine tension between the cosmos whose ruler is the prince of darkness, 
and the cosmos God loves in Jesus (John 14, 30; 3, 16); also the Pauline 
powers of the upper air (Ephesians 6, 10). Beyond this we see the original 

patterns of religious duty in man, now enlivened by Christian faith and 
love. These varied disfigurements (the species of divination are almost 
without end) are themselves the strongest argument for the inner inclina- 
tions of man, conscious and subconscious, free yet dutiful, toward his 
Maker. This drive is the true origin and, with grace, control of the conse- 
quences of religion. 

Sources of the Treatise 

The Bible is the source of Christian life and of theology. In this section, 
St Thomas is dealing with material which remains close to these biblical 
theological sources. The Old Testament is frequently quoted. It is com- 
plemented by citations from the Fathers commenting on the books of the 
Bible. Augustine's writings offer information for understanding questions 
from comparative religion, while subjects such as perjury and simony 
treat the medieval canonists as their main source. Aristotle, in his empirical 
remarks on religion and in his ethical system, offers the reflective back- 
ground for the Scriptures, the Fathers, and the law of the Church of the 
Middle Ages. 


SUMMA THEOLOGI-ffi, 2Z2X. $2, I 

DEIKDE CONSIDERANDUM EST de vitiis religion! oppositis. a Et primo, de illis 
quas cum religione conveniunt in hoc quod exhibent cultum divinum; 
secundo, de vitiis manifestam contrarietatem ad religionem habentibus 5 
per contemptum eorum quae ad cultum divinum pertinent. 

Primum autem horum pertinet ad super stitionem; 

secundum ad irreligiositatem. Unde primo considerandum est 

de ipsa superstitione, et 

departibus ejus; 

deinde de irreligiositate et partibus eius. 

Quaestio 92. de superstitione 

Circa primum quaeruntur duo: 

1. utrum superstitio sit vitium religioni contrarium; 

2. utrum habeat plures partes seu species. 

articulus I. utrum superstitio sit vitium religioni contrarium 

AD PRIMUM sic proceditur: 1 I. Videtur quod superstitio non sit vitium 
religioni contrarium. Unum enim contrariorum non ponitur in definitione 
alterius. Sed religio ponitur in definitione superstitionis : dicitur enim 
superstitio esse religio supra modum servata? ut patet in glossa b ad Coloss. 
super illudj Qux sunt rationem habentia sapientice in superstitione. 3 Ergo 
superstitio non est vitium religioni oppositum. 

2. Praeterea 3 Isidorus dicit, Superstitiosos ait Cicero appellatos qui totos 
dies precabantur et immolabant ut sui sibi liberi super stites fierent.* Sed hoc 

x cf 2a2ae. 122, 3. m Sent. 9, I, I, i, iii ad 3 

2 Lombard, interlinear gloss. PL 192, 278. The Sentences of Peter Lombard (d. 1160) 
provided the basic theological text, apart from the Bible, for the Middle Ages 
3 Colossians 2 3 23 

^Etymologies x, 244. PL 82, 393. St Isidore of Seville (d. 636); his twenty books of 
etymologies, definitions, and opinions from authorities in all fields were an encyclo- 
pedic compendium of all knowledge 

*The plan for the entire Summa is found at the beginning of the work, and that for 
man's return to his Creator is found at the beginning of the Secunda Pars. Religion 
expresses man's free though strict debt to his Creator and Redeemer, and so it is 
considered under the broad category of justice. At the beginning of Question 81 we 
have the outline of how the virtue of religion will be treated. After the positive 
aspects of religion have been studied, the author turns to some negative consequences 
which are perversions or disorientations of authentic religion. 
b The section frequently quotes the Glosses. There are two of these: the Glossa 


OUR NEXT SECTION will investigate those evil actions and habits which 
stand in opposition to the virtue of religion. 3 First we shall examine the 
vices which., though opposed to religion in some way, have in common with 
it the fact that they are directed towards some form of divine worship. 
A second group is totally opposed to religion, and contemns the basic 
elements of divine worship. 

First, then, we will be concerned with the general category of 

secondly, we will be concerned with the denial of religion, 

namely irreligion (97-100). 
We will examine both the general nature of superstition (92) 

and then the various kinds of superstition (93-96); 
the same method will be followed when we treat irreligion. 

Question 92. superstition 

Under this heading, the general nature of superstition, there are two 
points of inquiry: 

1. is superstition a vice contrary to religion? 

2. are there various kinds or 'species' of superstition? 

article i. is superstition a vice contrary to religion? 

THE FIRST POINT: 1 1. It seems that superstition is not a vice which is dia- 
metrically opposed to religion. A term is not normally defined by stating 
its opposite. Yet the term 'religion' can be found in the definition of 
superstition. There is a gloss b saying that superstition is religion carried to 
excess , 2 on the passage in Colossians : those things which have a show of wisdom 
in superstition* Therefore we can conclude that superstition is not a vice 
diametrically opposed to the virtue of religion. 

2. Moreover, Isidore cites Cicero as saying, Superstitious people were so 
called because they spent the whole day praying and offering sacrifices that 
their children might survive them* But this could be done by people who 

ordinaria, a collection from the Fathers explaining the various texts, phrases and 
even words of the Scriptures ; it was written in the margins of the Bible. The 
Glossa interlinearis is similar but was written between the lines. Both glosses stem 
from the school of Laon. The gloss in PL 114 is attributed to Walafred Strabo 3 
a tenth-century Benedictine 3 but probably it is not the work of one man but of the 
school. The sections on Psalms and St Paul are by Anselm of Laon. 

SUMMA THEOLOGI&, 2a2. 92, I 

etiam fieri potest secundum verae religionis cultum. Ergo superstitio non 
est vitium religioni oppositum, 

3. Prseterea, superstitio quemdam excessum importare videtur. Sed 
religio non potest habere excessum; quia sicut supra dictum est/ secun- 
dum earn non contingit asquale Deo reddere ejus quod debemus. Ergo 
superstitio non est vitium religioni oppositum. 

SED CONTRA est quod Augustinus dicit, Tangisprimam chordam, qua colitur 
unus Deus> et cecidit bestia superstionis* Sed culrus unius Dei pertinet ad 
religionem. Ergo superstitio religioni opponitur. 

RESPONSIO: Dicendum quod, sicut supra dictum est, 7 religio est virtus 
moralis. Omnis autem virtus moralis in medio consistit, ut supra habitum 
est. 8 Et ideo duplex vitium virtuti morali opponitur: unum quidem secun- 
dum excessum; aliud autem secundum defectum. 

Contingit autem excedere medium virtutis non solum secundum cir- 
cumstantiam quae dicitur quantum, sed etiam secundum alias tircum- 
stantias. Unde in aliquibus virtutibus, sicut in magnanimitate et magni- 
ficentia, vitium excedit virtutis medium non quia ad majus aliquid tendat 
quam virtus, sed forte ad minus : transcendit tamen virtutis medium, in- 
quantum facit aliquid cui non debet, vel quando non debet, et similiter 
secundum alia hujusmodi; ut patet per Philosophum in Ethic. 2 

Sic igitur superstitio est vitium religioni oppositum secundum exces- 
sum, non quia plus exhibeat in cultum divinum quam vera religio, sed 
quia exhibet cultum divinum vel cui non debet, vel eo modo quo non 

1. Ad primum ergo dicendum quod sicut bonum metaphorice dicitur 
in malisj prout dicimus bonum latronem, ita etiam nomirxa virtutum 
quandoque transumptive accipiuntur in maHs : sicut prudentia quandoque 
ponitur pro astutia, secundum illud Luc^ Filii hujus steculi prudentiores 
filiis lucis sunt. lQ Et per hunc modum superstitio dicitur esse religio. 

2. Ad secundum dicendum quod aliud est etymologia nominis, et aliud 
est significatio nominis. Etymologia attenditur secundum id a quo im- 
ponirur nomen ad significandum; nominis vero significatio attenditur secun- 
dum id ad quod significandum nomen imponitur. Quse quandoque diversa 
sunt: nomen enim lapidis imponitur a Icesione pedis> non tamen hoc 

5 2a2ae, 8r, 5 ad 3 
*Sermo n, 9. PL 383 85 
7 2a2ae. 8r, 5 ad 3 
*ia23E. 64^ i 
*Eihics rv 3 


followed the dictates of true religious worship, and so superstition does not 
seem to be a vice opposed to the virtue of religion. 

3. Moreover, superstition seems to imply a certain excess. Now there 
cannot be an excess of religion; as we have mentioned above, 5 we can never 
give to God an equal return for all he has given to us. Therefore, super- 
stition is not a vice opposed to religion. 

ON THE OTHER HAND Augustine says in a sermon, Strike the first chord by 
'which the one God is given worship, and the beast of superstition falls* 
Since the worship of God is the goal of religion, superstition is opposed to 

REPLY: We said previously that religion is a moral virtue. 7 We have also 
established 8 that every moral virtue is determined by a mean standing 
between two extreme ways of acting. Consequently, there will be a vice 
at each extreme of the mean in the virtue of religion; one of these is the 
result of an excess, the other is due to a deficiency. 

However, it can happen that the median balance of virtue is upset not 
only through a quantitative excess but in other ways too. This is the case 
in virtues such as magnanimity or magnificence; the mean is overstepped 
not by doing too much, but by doing too little. In addition, the balance of 
virtue is upset by being generous to the wrong person, or at the wrong 
time, or by other circumstances, as Aristotle mentions. 9 

We can conclude that superstition is a vice opposed to the virtue of 
religion by excess, not because it gives too much worship to God, but 
rather because it offers divine worship to something not deserving it. Or, 
it offers worship in some manner which is unfitting. 

Hence: i. Sometimes in referring to evil we use the word e good 5 meta- 
phorically, for instance when we speak of a good extortioner. When we 
are discussing the various virtues we do as Christ does in Luke, transposing 
prudence for cunning, he advises his followers that the children o/ this 
world are more prudent than the children of light In this way superstition 
is said to be a kind of religion. 

2. Etymology and mining are quite different. The etymology of a word 
indicates something of its origin; the meaning, on the other hand, is 
supposed to convey the reality which here and now corresponds to it. 
Etymology and meaning can be far apart. For instance, the Latin word for 
stone, lapis, seems to have had its origin in the Latin phrase lasiopedis, 
a wound in the foot. But this does not convey its meaning, else a piece of 

"Luke 16, 8 

SUMMA THEOLOGIffi, 20232. 92, 2 

significat; alioquin ferrum, cum pedem laedat, lapis esset. Similiter etiam 
nomen superstitionis non oportet quod significet illud a quo nomen est 

3. Ad tertium dicendum quod religio non potest habere excessum secun- 
dum quantitatem absolutam. Potest tamen habere excessum secundum 
quantitatem proportionis: prout scilicet in cultu divino fit aliquid quod 
fieri non debet. 

articidus 2. utrum sint diversce superstitionis species 

AD SECUNDUM sic procedituT : I. Videtur quod non sint diverse superstitionis 
species. Quia secundum Philosophum, si unum oppositorum dicitur multi- 
pliciter> et reliquum. 1 Sed religio, cui superstitio opponitur, non habet 
diversas species, sed omnes ejus actus ad unam speciem referuntur. Ergo 
nee superstitio habet diversas species. 

2. Praeterea, opposita sunt circa idem. Sed religio, cui opponitur super- 
stitio, est circa ea quibus ordinamur in Deum, ut supra habitum est. 2 Non 
ergo species superstitionis, quae opponitur religioni, potest attendi secun- 
dum aliquas divinationes humanorum eventuum, vel secundum aliquas 
observationes humanorum actuum. 

3. Pr&terea, super illud, Qua sunt rationem habentia sapienttce in super- 
stitione? dicit glossa, idest in simulata religionet Ergo etiam simulatio debet 
poni species superstitionis. 

SED CONTRA est quod Augustinus diversas species superstitionis assignat. 6 

RESPONSIO: Dicendum quod, sicut supra dictum est, 6 vitium religionis con- 
sistit in hoc quod transcenditur virtutis medium secundum aliquas cir- 
cumstantias. Ut autem supra dictum est, 7 non quadibet circumstantiaruin 
corruptarum diversitas variat peccati speciem, sed solum quando referun- 
tur ad diversa objecta vel diversos fines : secundum hoc enim morales actus 
speciem sortiuntur, ut supra habitum est. 8 

Diversificatur ergo superstitionis species, primo quidem ex parte objecti. 
Potest enim divinus culrus exhiberi vel cui exhibendus est, scilicet Deo 
vero, modo tamen indebito: et haec est prima superstitionis species. Vel ei 

topics I 3 15. io6b 14-15 

3 Colossians 2, 23 

^Lombard. PL 192^ 279 

*De doctrina Christiana 2> 20. PL 34, 50 

6 In the preceding article 

7 ia2se. 72, 9 



iron (which can wound a foot) would be called a stone. It can be seen then 
that the word superstition has a broader meaning than its original ety- 
mological one. 

3. Religion can never become excessive in the sense of giving to God in 
a quantitative way too much of the worship owed to him. Still, there is an- 
other kind of excess, one which is derived from a lack of correctproportion. 
This is present in superstition, for when we act superstitiously we perform 
actions of divine worship in a way which is improper. 

article 2. are there various sub-divisions of superstition? 

THE SECOND POINT: i. Apparently there are not different kinds of super- 
stition. Aristotle says in his Topics, if one of a pair of opposites has several 
meanings^ then its opposing partner does too* But religion, to which super- 
stition is opposed, does not have different sub-divisions; all its actions are 
referred to one object. Neither, then, does superstition. 

2. Moreover, opposites centre around something in common. Religion, 
to which superstition stands in opposition, is concerned with matters 
leading us to God. 2 And so, superstition, religion's opposite, is not 
diversified by various methods of discerning future events in the world 
or by different types of superstitious practices. 

3. Moreover, a gloss on Colossians, The precepts and doctrines of men 
which, to be sure, have a show of wisdom in superstition* adds the comment, 
that is s in religious worship which is counterfeit. 41 Therefore, deceit ought to 
be numbered among the kinds of superstition. 

ON THE OTHER HAND, Augustine enumerates various distinct kinds of 
superstition. 5 

REPLY: As we have just seen 6 in the matter of religion, vice consists in this, 
that the mean of virtue is not kept by certain circurnstances. We have 
already shown 7 that not every bad circumstance of time, place, or person so 
affects an evil act as to involve a new type of evil. This occurs only when 
the added circumstance gives the act a new moral object or goal of action. 
As we have frequently indicated, 8 the general rule is that morality in human 
actions is bestowed and diversified by the action's goal, and it is from this 
goal that the various species or kinds of sin are designated. 

Therefore, we can say that there are diverse kinds of superstition. First, 
this diversity can come from the object of the action. Worship due to God 
alone may be given him, yet in a manner which is incorrect: this is the 

8 ia2se. i, 3 


cui non, debet exhiberi, scilicet cuicumque creators. Et hoc est aliud 
superstitionis genus, quod in multas species dividitur, secundum diversos 
fines divird coitus. 

Ordinatur enim, primo, divinus cultus ad reverentiam Deo exhibendam. 
Et secundum hoc, prima species hujus generis est idololatria, quae divinam 
reverentiam indebite exhibet creature. Secundo, ordinatur ad hoc quod 
homo instruatur a Deo, quern colit. Et ad hoc pertinet superstitio divinativa, 
quae dsemones consulit per aliqua pacta cum eis inita, tacita vel expressa. 
Tertio, ordinatur divinus cultus ad quamdam directionem humanorum 
actuum secundum instituta Dei, qui colitur. Et ad hoc pertinet superstitio 
quarumdam observationum. 

Et hsec tria tangit Augustinus, dicens superstitiosum esse quidquid in- 
stitutum ab hominibus est adfadenda et colenda idola pertinent: et hocpertinet 
ad primum. Et postea subdit, vel ad consultationes et pacta quadam signi- 
ficationum cum dcemonibus placita atque fcederata: quod pertinet ad secun- 
dum. Et post pauca subdit, Ad hoc genus pertinent omnes ligaturce, etc.: 
quod pertinet ad tertium. 9 

1. Ad primum ergo dicendum quod, sicut Dionysius dicit, bonum contin~ 
git ex una et integra causa> malum autem ex singularibus defectibus. Et ideo 
uni virtoti plura vitia opponuntur, ut supra habitum est. 11 Verbum autem 
Philosophi veritatem habet in oppositis in quibus est eadem ratio multi- 

2. Ad secundum dicendum quod divinationes et observationes aliquse 
pertinent ad superstrtionem inquantum dependent ex aliquibus operation- 
ibus dsemonum. Et sic pertinent ad qusedam pacta cum ipsis inita. 

3. Ad tertium dicendum quod simulata religio ibi dicitur quando 
traditioni humana nomen religionis applicatur^ prout in glossa sequitur. 
Unde ista simulata religio rn'M est aliud quam cultus Deo vero exhibitus 
modo indebito: sicut si aliquis tempore gratiae vellet colere Deum secun- 
dum veteris legis ritum. Et de hoc ad litteram loquitur glossa. 

*De doctrina Christiana 2, 20. PL 34, 50 

l De Divinis Nomnibus 4, 3. PG 3, 729. The Pseudo-Dionysius, thought in the 
early Middle Ages to have been the Areopagite of Acts 17; but probably a fifth- 
century Syrian monk. 


first sub-division of superstition. Next, worship due to God may be given 
to a creature, an object which has no claim to it. This kind of superstition 
is a broad category which is itself divided into sub-divisions, correspond- 
ing to the several aspects of divine worship. 

The first of these is reverence for God; the first sub-division, then, is 
idolatry reverence due to God but given to a creature. Secondly, in 
worshipping God man looks to him for instruction; the opposite of this 
act of religion is foretelling the future a tacit or expressed compact with 
demonic powers in order to gain knowledge. Thirdly, divine worship offers 
us certain rules of action prescribed by the God we worship; opposed to 
this are various superstitious practices. 

Augustine touches on these three groups when he says that whatever 
is done by men for the fashioning and worshipping of idols is superstitious (this 
indicates the first group); later he adds, consultations and contracts made 
with demonic powers for information (the second group); finally he says, 
all superstitious practices belong to this category of superstition* (the third 

Hence: I. Dionysius says that a good thing demands that all elements 
necessary to its being actual contribute their part , whereas evil arises as soon as 
a single defect is present So, as we have shown above, 11 to one virtue many 
vices can correspond. Aristotle's comment is correct when we are discus- 
sing opposites in which the ground of diversity is the same. 

2. Foretelling the future and superstitious practices come into the 
general category of superstition inasmuch as they depend upon auxiliary 
demonic forces, and accordingly require a compact with them. 

3. The term 'counterfeit religion' means, as the gloss in question goes 
on to explain, the name of religion applied to purely human institutions.^ 
Consequently, this counterfeit religion is nothing other than the worship 
of the true God performed in an unbalanced way. An example of this is 
worshipping God according to the Mosaic law now that the new law of 
Christ has come. This, according to the gloss, is the literal meaning of the 
passage from Colossians. 

I:i 2a2ae. 10, 5 
"Lombard, ibid 


DEINDE CONSIDERANDUM EST de speciebus superstitionis. 

Et primo, de superstitione indebiti cultus veri Dei; 
secundo, de superstitione idololatriae; 
tertio, de superstitione divinationum; 
quarto, de superstitione observationum. 

Qusestio 93. de superstitione indebiti cultus veri Dei 

Circa prirmim quseruntur duo: 

1. utrum in cultu Dei veri possit esse aliquid perniciosum; 

2. utrum possit ibi esse aliquid superfluum. 

articulus i. utrum in cultu veri dei possit esse aliquid perniciosum 

AD PRIMUM sic proceditur: 1 1. Videtur quod in cultu veri Dei non possit 
esse aliquid perniciosum. Dicitur enim Joel, Omnis quicumque invocaverit 
nomen Domini, salvus erit* Sed quicumque colit Deum quocumque modo, 
invocat nomen ejus. Ergo omnis cultus Dei confert salutem. Nullus ergo 
est perniciosus. 

2. Prseterea, idem Deus est qui colitur a justis quacumque mundi aetate. 
Sed ante lege datam, justi, absque peccato mortali, colebant Deiitn quali- 
tercumque eis placebat: unde et Jacob proprio voto se obligavitadspecialem 
cultum 3 ut habetur Gen.* Ergo etiam modo nullus Dei cultus est pernicio- 

3, Praetereaj nihil perniciosum in Ecclesia sustinetur. Sustinet autem 
Ecclesia diversos ritus colendi Deum: unde Gregorius scribit Augustino 
Episcopo Anglorum, proponenti quod sunt diversae ecclesiarum consuetu- 
dines in missanun celebratione: Mihi, inquit 3 placet ut, sive in Romanis swe 
in Galliarum sive in qudlibet ecclesia aliquid invenisti quod plus omnipotent 
Deo possit placere, sollicite eligas* Ergo nullus modus colendi Deum est 

SED CONTRA est quod Augustinus dicit, in epistola ad Hieron.> et habetur 
in glossa, Galat. II, quod legalia observata post veritatem Evangelii 

J cf ia2ae. 103, 4 

*Joel 2, 32; cf Romans io 3 13 

^Genesis 28, 20 



WE GO ON TO CONSIDER the various kinds of superstition. 

First, the superstition that worships God but in a manner that 

is undue (93); 
secondly, idolatry (94); 
thirdly, divination of the future (95); 
fourthly, superstitious practices (96). 

Question 93. disproportionate worship of the 
true God 

Here there are two points of inquiry: 

1. can there be anything injurious to man's salvation in the 

worship of God? 

2. can a man ever worship God too much? 

article I. can there be anything injurious to salvation in the worship of God? 

THE FIRST POINT: 1 1. It seems that in worshipping the true God we cannot 
endanger our salvation. It is written in the prophecy of Joel, Everyone shall 
be rescued who calls on the name of the Lord. 2 But whenever we worship God, 
no matter how we do it, we call upon God's name. Consequently every act 
of worship given to God brings salvation, and as such it could not possibly 
be an evil. 

2. Moreover, it is the same God who is worshipped by just men no 
matter what the period in the world's history. But before the Mosaic 
law was given men worshipped God in whatever way they chose. Genesis 
describes Jacob binding himself by a vow to a special form of worship. 3 So 
also today no form of divine worship is wrong. 

3. Moreover, the Church does not encourage evil to flourish, yet has 
allowed different rites for divine worship: Pope Gregory wrote to Augus- 
tine, Bishop of Canterbury, stating that there are different customs in 
individual churches for the celebration of Mass: / am perfectly content for 
you to select carefully from the rites of the Romans or the Gauls or of other 
Churches whatever will further the worship of Almighty God.* Therefore no 
manner of worshipping God is pernicious. 

ON THE OTHER HAND we have Augustine telling us, and he is quoted by a 
*Epistola LXIV. PL 77, 1187 

4 o-c II 


divulgatam, sunt mortifera. 5 Et tamen legalia ad cultum Dei pertinent. 
Ergo in cultu Dei potest esse aliquid mortiferum. 

EESPONSIO: Dicendum quod, sicut Augustinus dicit, mendacium maxime 
pernitiosum est quod fit in his quae ad Christianam reiigionem pertinent. 6 
Est autem mendacium cum aliquis exterius significat contrarium veritati. 
Sicut autem significatur aliquid verbo, ita etiam significatur aliquid facto: 
et in tali significatione facti consistit exterior religionis cultus, ut ex supra- 
dictis patet. 7 Et ideo si per cultum exteriorem aliquid falsum significetur, 
erit cultus perniciosus. 

Hoc autem contingit dupliciter. Uno quidem modo ex parte rei signi- 
ficatse, a qua discordat significatio cultus. Et hoc modo, tempore novae 
legis, peractis jam Christi mysteriis, perniciosum est uti caeremoniis Veteris 
Legis, quibus Christi mysteria significabantur fiitura: sicut etiam perni- 
ciosum esset si quis verbo confiteretur Christum esse passurum. 

Alio modo potest contingere falsitas in exteriori cultu ex parte colentis: 
et hoc praecipue in cultu communi, qui per ministros exhibetur in persona 
totius Ecclesiae. Sicut enim falsarius esset qui aliqua proponeret ex parte 
alicujus quae non essent ei commissa, ita vitium falsitatis incurrit qui ex 
parte Ecclesiae cultum exhibet Deo contra modum divina auctoritate ab 
Ecclesia constitutum et in Ecclesia consuetum. Unde Ambrosius dicit, 
Indignus est qui aliter celebrat mysterium quam Christus tradidit. Et propter 
hoc etiam Glossa dicit, quod superstitio est quando tradhtoni humance 
nomen religionis applicatur. B 

1. Ad primum ergo dicendum quod, cum Deus sit veritas, iUi invocant 
Deum qui in spiritu et veritate eum colunt, ut dicitur Joan? Et ideo cultus 
continens falsitatem non pertinet proprie ad Dei invocationem quae 

2. Ad secundum dicendum quod ante tempus Legis, justi per interiorem 
instinctum instruebantur de modo colendi Deum, quos alii sequebantur. 
Postmodum vero exterioribus praeceptis circa hoc homines sunt instructi, 
quae praeterire pestiferum est. 

3. Ad tertium dicendum quod diverse consuetudines Ecclesiae in 
cultu divino in nullo veritati repugnant. Et ideo sunt servandae, et eas prae- 
terire illicitum est. 

*Epistola ixxxn (to Jerome), II. PL 33, 283 (Jerome's reply can be found in his 

Epistola cxn. PL 22, 924). The reference is to the Gloss on Galatians 2, 14. PL 114, 


*Contra mendacium ad Consentium I, 3. PL 40, 521; cf De mendado 14. PL 40, 505 

7 2a2ae. 8 1, 7 



gloss, after the Gospel truth had been preached the legal observances of 
the Old Law became deadly . 5a Yet they belonged to the worship of God. 
So then a particular practice in the worship of God can be spiritually 

REPLY: Augustine says that the most pernicious lie is one which occurs in 
some matter touching the Christian religion. 6 Now a lie is an external sign 
which a man makes contrary to the truth he knows within himself. Word 
or action suffices for this. Since religious worship is carried out by out- 
ward actions, 7 then if they signify anything false, the service is a lie and 

The falsehood can be presented in two ways. First, on the part of what 
is signified, when the religious service misrepresents a divine reality. 
For instance, now that Christ, the Messiah, has come and redeemed us, it 
would be wrong to use the ceremonies of the Old Law in which the mys- 
teries of Christ were foreshadowed as things to come, just as it would be 
wrong to profess that Christ had still to die on the cross. 

The second way that falsehood can be present in worship involves the 
worshipper, above all in the community's liturgy offered through the 
Church's ministers representing the whole Mystical Body. A man is a liar 
who claims to act in the name of another who in fact has not so com- 
missioned him. This has a bearing on Church matters. A minister is guilty 
of falsehood when he offers worship contrary to the orders of divine 
authority established by and customary in the Church. Ambrose says, A 
minister acts sacrilegiously if he celebrates the mystery contrary to the tradi- 
tion received from Christ. The Gloss on Colossians makes the same point, 
and defines superstition as cloaking human invention under the name of 

Hence: i. Those who worship God in spirit and in truth 9 are truly invok- 
ing him for he is truth. Consequently worship which contains any false- 
hood is inconsistent with crying to him for salvation. 

2. Before the time of the Mosaic law devout men were instructed by 
God through inward inspiration concerning the manner of religious worship, 
and they were followed by others. Since then, outward laws have been 
given to men, and these it is wicked to neglect. 

3. Different liturgical customs in the Church do not imply a disrespect 
for truth. They should be observed, and to disregard them is unlawful. 

^Colossians 2, 23. The Gloss on I Corinthians U 3 27. PL 114, 539. cf Lombard. 

PL 191, 1646. The passage is from Ambrosiaster. PL 17, 243 

'John 4, 23 

*See ia2e. 107 on the relationship between the Old and New Laws. 


articulus 2. utrum in cultu del possit esse aliquid superfluum 

AD SECUNDUM sic proceditur. 1 i. Videtur quod in cultu Dei non possit 
esse aliquid superfluum. Dicitur enim EcclL : Glorificantes Deum quan- 
tumcumque potueritis, supervalebit adhuc.* Sed cultus divinus ordinatur ad 
Deum glorificandum. Ergo nihil superfluum in eo esse potest. 

2. Praeterea, exterior cultus est professio qusedam cultus interioris, 
quo Deus coliturfide, spe et caritate;* ut Augustinus dicit. Sed in fide, spe 
et caritate non potest esse aliquid superfluum. Ergo etiam neque in divino 

3. Prseterea, ad divinum cultum pertinet ut ea Deo exhibeamus quse a 
Deo accepimus. Sed omnia bona nostra a Deo accepimus. Ergo si totum 
quidquid possumus facimus ad Dei reverentiam, nihil erit superfluum in 
divino cultu. 

SED CONTRA est quod Augustinus dicit quod bonus verusque Christianas 
etiam in litteris sacris superstitiosa figmenta repudiate Sed per sacras litteras 
Deus colendus ostenditur. Ergo etiam in cultu divino potest esse superstitio 
ex aliqua superfluitate. 

KESPONSIO: Dicendum quod aliquid dicitur superfluum dupliciter. Uno 
modo, secundum quantitatem absolutam. Et secundum hoc non potest 
esse superfluum in divino cultu; quia nihil potest homo facer e quod non 
sit minus eo quod Deo debet. 

Alio modo potest esse aliquid superfluum secundum quantitatem pro- 
portionis; quia scilicet non est fini proportionatum. Finis autem divini 
cultus est ut homo Deo det gloriam, et ei se subjiciat mente et corpore. 
Et ideo quidquid homo faciat quod pertinet ad Dei gloriam, et ad hoc quod 
mens hominis Deo subjiciatur, et etiam corpus per moderatam refrena- 
tionem concupiscentiarum, secundum Dei et Ecclesiae ordinationem, et 
consuetudinem eomm quibus homo convivit, non est superfluum in divino 

Si autem aliquid sit quod quantum est de se non pertinet ad Dei gloriam, 
neque ad hoc quod mens hominis feratur in Deum, aut quod carnis 
concupiscent^ moderate refrenantur, aut etiam si sit praeter Dei et 
Ecclesise institutionem, vel contra consuetudinem communem (quae 
secundum Augustinum, pro Uge habenda est*) : totum hoc reputandum est 
superfluum et superstitiosum, quia, in exterioribus solum consistens, ad 
interiorem Dei cultum non pertinet. Unde Augustinus inducit quod 

J cf 2a2ae. 81, 5 ad 35 92, i 
*Ecdesiasticus 43, 32 



article 2. can we worship God to excess? 

THE SECOND POINT: 1 1. It seems that in the worship of God we cannot do 
too much. The Book of Ecclesiasticus says, Extol him with renewed strength 
and weary not, though you cannot reach the end. 2 Divine worship is directed 
to God's glory. Therefore there can be no excess in it. 

2. Moreover, outward religious ceremonies express the inner worship 
of mind and heart in which, Augustine says, God is worshipped in faith, hope 
and charity* But we cannot believe in, hope in, and love God too much. 
Neither can we worship him to excess. 

3. Moreover, the duty of religious worship is to offer to God what we 
have received from him. Now all the good things we possess we have 
received from him. So even if we devote our complete resources to divine 
worship, we shall never have worshipped God too much. 

ON THE OTHER HAND Augustine says, The good and true Christian repudiates 
superstitious fancies even in Sacred Scripture. 4 ' Sacred Scripture presents the 
God who is to be worshipped. Therefore superstition can be present in 
his worship from a certain excess. 

REPLY: Something can be excessive in two ways. First of all according to 
absolute amount, and by this standard there can never be an excess of 
divine worship, for no matter what man does it will always be less than 
he owes God. 

Secondly, according to proportional amount, when it does not fit its 
purpose. The purpose of divine worship is for man to give glory to God 
and obey him in mind and body. Therefore, whatever a man does that 
gives glory to God, or that submits his mind to God, and his body, too, 
by tempering and controlling its lusts, is without excess so long as it be 
in harmony with the law of God, the rules of the Church, and the customs 
of those with whom he lives. 

But if anything is done which of itself is not conducive to God's glory, 
or which does not raise man's mind to his Creator, or temper his bodily 
desires, or which goes beyond the institution of God and the Church, or 
against common custom which, Augustine says, is to be held as law 5 all 
this should be reckoned excessive and superstitious, because, made up as 
it is of mere externals, it has no connection with the interior worship of 
God. That is why Augustine quotes Luke, The kingdom of God is within 

^Enchiridion 3. PL 40, 232 

*De doctrina Christiana 2, 18. PL 34, 49 

*Epistola xxxvi i. PL 33, 136 


SUMMA THEOLOGIES,, 23232. 93, 2 

dicitur Luc., Regnum Dei intra vos estf contra super stitiosos, qui scilicet 
exterioribus principalem curam impendunt. 7 

1. Ad primum ergo dicendum quod in ipsa Dei glorificatione implicatur 
quod id quod fit pertineat ad Dei gloriam. Per quod excluditur supersti- 
tionis superfluitas. 

2. Ad secundum dicendum quod per fidem, spem et caritatem anima 
subjicitor Deo. Unde in eis non potest esse aliquid superfluum. Aliud 
autem est de exterioribus actibus, qui quandoque ad haec non pertinent. 

3. Ad tertium dicendum quod ratio ilia procedit de superfluo quantum 
ad quantitatem absolutam. 

*Luke 17, 7 



you? against the superstitious, namely those who are preoccupied with 
externals. 7 

Hence: I. When we speak of giving glory to God we imply that our 
actions really are for that purpose, and so we exclude the excess found in 

2. Man's soul is rightly related to God by faith, hope, and charity., and 
so there can never be too much of them. External actions, however, are 
different, for sometimes they have no connection with these virtues. 

3. This argument is concerned with excess in absolute amount. 

7 De vera religions 3. PL 34, 125 


Qusestio 94. de idolatria 

DEINDE CONSIDERANDUM ESI de idololatria. Et circa hoc quseruntur quatuor : 

1. utrum idololatria sit species superstitionis; 

2. utrum sit peccatum; 

3. utrum sit gravissimum peccatorum; 

4. de causa hujus peccati. 

Utrum autem cum idololatris sit communicandum, dictum est supra/ 
cum de infidelitate ageretur. 

articulus I. utrum idolatria recte ponatur species superstitionis 

AD PRIMUM sic proceditur: 2 Videtur quod idololatria non recte ponatur 
species superstitionis. Sicut enim haeretici sunt infideles ita et idolatriae. 
Sed haeresis est species infidelitatis 3 ut supra habitum est. 3 Ergo et idolo- 
latria: non autem superstitionis. 

2. Prseterea, latria pertinet ad virtutem religionis, cui opponitur super- 
stitio. Sed idok-latria videtur univoce dici latria cum ea quse ad veram 
religionem pertinet: sicut enim appetitus falsse beatitudinis univoce dicitur 
cum appetitu verae beatitudinis, ita cultus falsorum deorum, qui dicitur 
idololatria, univoce videtur dici cum cultu veri Dei, qui est latria verse 
religionis. Ergo idololatria non est species superstitionis. 

3. Prseterea, id quod nihil est non potest esse alicujus generis species. 
Sed idololatria nihil esse videtur. Dicit enim Apostolus, Sdmus quia nihil 
est idolum in mundo^Quid ergo? Dico quod idolis immolatum sit aliquid? out 
quodidolum sit aliquid^ quasi dicat, Non. Immolare autem idolis proprie ad 
idololatriam pertinet. Ergo idololatria, quasi nihil existens, non potest esse 
superstitionis species. 

4. Prssterea, ad superstitionem pertinet exhibere cultum divinum cui 
non debetur. Sed cultus divinus, sicut non debetur idolis, ita nee aUis 
creaturis; unde Rom. quidam vituperantur de hoc quod coluerunt et ser- 
vierunt potius creaturis quam Creatori. 5 Ergo inconvenienter hujusmodi 
superstitionis species idolo-latria nominatur, sed deberet potius nominari 
latria creatura. 

SED CONTRA est quod Act. dicitur quod Paulus cum Athenis expectaret, 

0j 9 

2 cf m Sent, 9> i 3 1, i, iii ad 3. CG m, 120 

*i Corinthians 8 3 4; io 3 19 



Question 94. idolatry 

NEXT IDOLATRY is to be considered, and here there are four points of in- 

1. is idolatry a kind of superstition? 

2. and a sin? 

3. and the gravest of sins? 

4. what is its cause? 

As to whether we should enter into communion with idolaters is a question 
that has already been discussed under the heading of unbelief. 1 

article I. is idolatry a kind of superstition? 

THE FIRST POINT: 2 I. Apparently it is incorrect to categorize idolatry as a 
kind of superstition. Just as heretics are infidels so also are those who wor- 
ship idols. Since heresy is a sin against faith, as we have already pointed 
out/ so also is idolatry, which is not, then, a kind of superstition. 

2. Moreover, the worship of God, latria, is an act of lite virtue of religion 
of which superstition is an opposite. But Zam'a, it seems, is a univocal 
term, that is applied in exactly the same sense, to idolo-latria and to genuine 
religious worship : thus 'happiness' means the same whether we are talking 
about the desire for true happiness or the desire for counterfeit happiness. 
"Worship 5 , likewise, has an identical meaning when we talk of the service 
of false gods and of the true God. And so it seems that idolatry is simply 
the negation of the virtue of religion, and not a species of superstition. 

3. Moreover, what does not exist cannot be a sub-division of something* 
Now idolatry does not seem to exist. The Apostle says, We know that there 
is no such thing as an idol of the world, and goes on, What then do I say? 
That what is sacrificed to idols is anything or that an idol is anything?** 
As if to say, no. To offer sacrifice to idols is part of idolatry. Therefore 
idolatry cannot be a sub-division of superstition because it does not exist* 

4. Moreover, it is characteristic of superstition to give divine honour 
to whom it is not due. It is not due to idols, nor to creatures. Hence the 
reproach to people who worshipped and served the creature rather than the 
Creator.* It is unsuitable, then, to refer to this species of superstition as 
idolo-latria ; a better term would be latria creatures^ the worship of the 

ON THE OTHER HAND it is related, Now while Paul was waiting for them at 

1 'Romans i, 25 



incitabatur spiritus ejus in ipso, videns iddolatria deditam civitatem: et postea 
dixit, ViriAthenienses,per omnia quasi superstitiosos vosjudico. 6 Ergo idolo- 
latria ad superstitionem pertinet. 

RESPONSIO: Dicendum quod, sicut supra dictum est, 7 ad superstitionem 
pertinet excedere debitum modum divini cultus. Quod quidem praecipue 
fit quando divinus cultus exhibetur cui non debet exhiberi. Debet autem 
exhiberi soli summo Deo increato, ut supra habitum est 8 cum de religione 
ageretur. Et ideo, cuicumque creature divinus cultus exhibeatur, super- 
stitiosum est. 

Hujusmodi autem cultus divinus, sicut creaturis sensibilibus exhibe- 
batur per aliqua sensibilia signa, puta sacrificia, ludos et alia huiusmodi, 
ita etiam exhibebatur creature repraesentatae per aliquam sensibilem 
formam seu figuram, quae idolum dicitur. Diversimode tamen cultus divinus 
idolis exhibebatur. Quidam enim per quamdam nefariam artem imagines 
quasdam construebant quae virtute daemonum aliquos certos eflfectus 
riabebant: unde putabant in ipsis imaginibus esse aHquid divinitatis; et 
quod per consequens divinus cultus eis deberetur. Et haec fuit opinio 
Hermetis Trismegisti, 9 ut Augustinus dicit. 10 

Alii vero non exhibebantcultum divinitatis ipsis imaginibus^sed creaturis 
quarum erant imagines. Et utrumque horum tangit Apostolus. Nam quan- 
tum ad primum, dicit, Mutaverunt gloriam inconuptibilis Dei in similitud- 
inem imaginis conuptibilis hominis, et volucrum et quadrupedum et serpentum. 11 
Quantum autem ad secundum, subdit, Coluerunt et servierunt potius 
creatures quam Creatori.' 12 

Horum tamen ruit triplex opinio. Quidam enim sestimabant quosdam 
homines deos fuisse, quos per eorum imagines colebant: sicut Jovem, 
Mercurium., et alios hujusmodi. Quidam vero sestimabant totum mundum 
esse unum Deum: non propter corporalem substantiam, sed propter 
animam, quam Deum esse credebant, dicentes Deum nihil aliud esse 
quam animam motu et ratione mundum gubernantem'^ sicut et homo dicitur 
sapiens propter animam ? non propter corpus. Unde putabant toti mundo, 
et omnibus partibus ejus, esse cultum divinitatis exhibendum, caslo, aeri, 
aquas, et omnibxis hujusmodi. Et ad haec referebant nomina et imagines 
suorum deorum: sicut Varro dicebat, et narrat Augustinus* VII de Civ. 

Alii vero, scilicet Platonici, 15 posuerunt unum esse summum Deum, 

*Acts 17, 16, 22. Vulgate, superstitiosos 

7 2a2ae. 92, i ad 2 8 2 a2e. 81, 1 

'Asclepius* Corpus Hermeticum n. A. J. Festugi^re, Paris, 1945, pp. 325-6, 347-8 

IO De civitate Dei vm, 23, PL 41, 247 



Athens, he was exasperated to see how the city was wholly given to idolatry. 
And further on he says. Men of Athens, I see that in every respect you are 
extremely religious* Therefore idolatry is a part of superstition. 

REPLY: We have already pointed out ? that to exaggerate divine worship 
is part of superstition. This conspicuously occurs when it is given to whom 
it should not be given. When discussing religion we showed that divine 
worship should be offered to God the uncreated and infinitely transcen- 
dent alone. 8 When given to a creature, it is clearly superstitious. 

Now as this was done by means of sensible signs such as sacrifices, 
games, and so forth, so also it was offered to some creature represented by 
some visible form or shape called an idol. Divine worship was given to these 
idols in different ways. By nefarious art men constructed images which 
produced certain strange effects by the power of demons, and for this 
reason it was thought that something of divinity resided in them, and so 
they were worshipped as divine. This was the opinion of Hermes Tris- 
megistus, 9 as Augustine remarks. 10 

Others did not give divine worship to the idols themselves, but to the 
creatures they represented. St Paul mentions both, the former when he 
writes: They have changed the glory of the incorruptible God for an image 
made like to corruptible man and to birds and four-footed beasts and creeping 
things}* And the latter when he writes: They worshipped and served the 
creature rather than the creator^ 

These latter were of three ways of thinking. Some people reckoned 
certain men to have been gods, whom they worshipped under their images ; 
for instance Jove, Mercury and so forth. 

Others reckoned the entire universe to be one god, not by its material 
substance, but by its soul, which they believed to be God. They held that 
God was simply the soul of the world directing it by motion and plan. 13 
Even so is a man said to be wise because of his soul, not because of his 
body. This was why they thought they should give divine worship to the 
entire world and all its components, heaven, water, air and the rest, to 
which they related the names and images of their gods, as Varro asserts 
and Augustine reports. 14 

Finally, others, namely Platonists, 15 held there was one ultimate God, 

^Romans I 3 23 ^Romans I 3 25 

13 De dvitate Dei rv 3 31. PL 41, 138 

14 ibid vn, 5. PL 41, 198 

15 NemesiuSj De natura hominis 44. PG 40, 793. Nemesius, Bishop of Emesa in 

Phoenicia during the middle fifth century. His work, strongly neo-Platonist, on the 

nature of man was influential in the Middle Ages. He is, perhaps, the source for the 

comment on the Platonists; cf De Civitate Dei,, vm, 14. PL 41, 238 



causam omnium^ post quern ponebant esse substantias quasdam spirituales 
a summo Deo creatas, quas deos nominabant, participatione scilicet 
divinitatisj nos autem eos angelos dicimus; post quos ponebant animas 
cadestium corpomm; et sub his dsemones, quos dicebant esse aerea 
quaedam animalia; et sub his ponebant animas hominum, quas per virtutis 
meritum ad deorum vel daemonum societatem assumi credebant. Et 
omnibus his cultum divinitatis exhibebant: ut Augustinus narrat. 16 

Has autem duas ultimas opiniones dicebant pertinere ad physicam theo- 
logian: quam philosophi considerabant in mundo, et docebant in scholis. 
Aliam vero, de cultu hominum, dicebant pertinere ad theologiamfabularem: 
quse secundum figmenta poetarum repraesentabatur in theatris. Aliam vero 
opinionem, de imaginibus, dicebant pertinere ad tivilem theologiam: qua 
per pontifices celebrabatur in templis. 

Omnia autem haec ad superstitionem idololatrise pertinebant. Unde 
Augustinus dicit, Superstitiosum est quidquid institution ab hominibus est ad 
fadenda et colenda idola pertinent, vel ad colendam sicut Deum creaturam 
partemve ullam creatures. 11 

1. Ad primum ergo dicendum quod sicut religio non est fides, sed fidei 
protestatio per aliqua exteriora signa, ita superstitio est quaedam infi delitatis 
protestatio per exteriorem cultum. Quam quidem protestationem nomen 
idololatriae significat: non autem nomen haeresis, sed solum falsam opinio- 
nem. Et ideo haeresis est species infidelitatis : sed idololatria est species 

2. Ad secundum dicendum quod nomen lattice dupliciter accipi potest. 
Uno modo potest significare humanum actum ad cultum Dei pertinentem. 
Et secundum hoc, non variatur significatio hujus nominis latria cuicumque 
exhibeatur; quia illud cui exhibetur non cadet, secundum hoc, in ejus 
definitione. Et secundum hoc latria univoce dicetur secundum quod per- 
tinet ad veram religionem et secundum quod pertinet ad idololatriam: 
sicut solutio tributi univoce dicitur sive exhibeatur vero regi sive falso. 
Alio modo accipitur latria prout est idem religioni. Et sic, cum sit virtus, 
de ratione ejus est quod cultus divinus exhibeatur ei cui debet exhiberi. Et 
secundum hoc latria aequivoce dicetur de latria verae religionis, et de idolo- 
latria: sicut prudentia aequivoce dicitur de prudentia quae est virtus et de 
prudentia quse est carnis. 

3. Ad tertium dicendum quod Apostolus inteUigit nihil esse in mundo, 
quia imagines illse quae idola dicebantur, non erant animatae aut aliquam 
virtutem divinitatis habentes, sicut Hermes ponebat, quasi esset aliquid 
compositum ex spiritu et corpore. 18 Et similiter intelligendum est quod 
idolis imrnoldtum non est aliquid^ quia per hujusmodi immolationem carnes 

u De civitate Dei xvni, 14. PL 41, 572 



the cause of all tilings,, but below him there were spiritual beings, created 
by the highest God, yet so participating in divinity as to be called gods. 
(We refer to them as angels.) Beneath these spirits they placed the animat- 
ing principles of the heavenly bodies, and below these they ranked the 
daimones, which they regarded as ethereal animations. Below these again 
came the souls of men, which they believed would be raised by merit of 
their virtue to the company of the gods and spirits. Now to all of these 
groups they gave divine worship; so Augustine reports. 16 

The last two opinions were said to come under natural theology, which 
philosophers study in the world and teach in the schools. The first 
opinion, relating to the worship of men, was given the title of 'mythical 
theology' and was presented in the theatre by the fancies of poets. The 
other opinion, relating to the worship of images, was said to belong to 
'civic theology', because it was solemnized in the public temples by 

All these are forms of superstitious idolatry, and so Augustine says: 
Anything invented by man for making and worshipping idols or for giving 
worship to a creature or to any part of a creature is superstitious. 

Hence: r. Just as religion is not the same as faith, but a confession of 
faith by outward signs, so superstition is a profession of unbelief by 
outward forms of worship. We call it idolatry, and not heresy, for this 
signifies a false opinion. Heresy is a species of disbelief, but idolatry is a 
species of superstition. 

2. The word latria can be taken in two senses. In one it is the human 
act of worshipping God, and then it applies to any act of worship to whom- 
soever it be paid, for the object is not included in our definition. And thus 
latria has exactly the same meaning with true religion and idolatry, just 
as tax-paying has whether rendered under a legitimateor ausurpinggovern- 
ment. But latria has another sense, in which it is identical with religion. 
And since this is a virtue, an essential element is that it is given to whom it 
ought to be given. And thus the term is applied equivocally to worship in 
true religion and in idolatry, just as 'prudence' is applied to the virtue of 
practical wisdom and to worldly ginning. 

3. The Apostle's saying that there is no such thing as an idol of the world 
means that the images called idols were' neither alive nor divinely em- 
powered, as Hermes maintained, as though they were a composite of body 
and spirit. 18 The same interpretation should be given to the passage what 
is sacrificed to idols, because the sacrificial food through this kind ofimmo- 

17 De doctrina Christiana n, 20. PL 34, 50 
18 cf. body of the article 


immolatitae neque aliquam sanctificationem consequebantur, ut gentiles 
putabant; neque aliquam immunditiam, ut putabant judaei. 

4. Ad quartum dicendum quod ex communi consuetudine qua creaturas 
quascumque colebant gentiles sub quibusdam imaginibus, impositum est 
hoc nomen idololatria ad significandum quemcumque cultum creaturae., et 
etiam si sine imaginibus fieret. 

aniculus 2. utrum idololatria sit peccatum 

AD SECUNDUM sic procedituT. 1 Videtur quod idololatria non sit peccatum. 
Nihil enim est peccatum quod vera fides in cultum Dei assumit. Sed vera 
fides imagines quasdam assumit ad divinum cultum: nam et in tabernaculo 
erant imagines cherubim, ut legitur Exod?; et in ecclesia quaedam ima- 
gines ponuntur quas fideles adorant. Ergo idololatria, secundum quam 
idola adorantur, non est peccatum. 

2. Praeterea, cuilibet superiori est reverentia exhibenda. Sed angeli et 
animae sanctorum sunt nobis superiores. Ergo, si eis exhibeatur reverentia 
per aliquem cultum vel sacrificiorum vel aliquorum hujusmodi, non erit 

3. Praeterea, summus Deus interiori cultu mentis est colendus: secun- 
dum illudjbaw., Deum oportet odor are in spiritu et veritate.* Et Augustinus 
dicit quod Deus colitur fide, spe et caritate* Potest autem contingere quod 
aliquis exterius idola colat^ interius tamen a vera fide non discedat. Ergo 
videtur quod sine praejudicio divini cultus possit aliquis exterius idola 

SED CONTRA est quod Exod. dicitur, Non adorabis ea s scilicet exterius, 
neque coles^ scilicet interius, ut Glossa exponit : 6 et loquitur de sculptilibus 
et imaginibus. Ergo peccatum est idolis exteriorem vel interiorem cultum 

RESPONSIO: Dicendum quod circa hoc aliqui dupliciter erraverunt. 7 
Quidam enim putaverunt quod offerre sacrificium et alia ad latriam pertin- 
entia non solum summo Deo a sed etiam aliis supra dictis 3 8 est debitum et 
per se bonum 3 eo quod superiori cuilibet naturae divinam reverentiam ex- 
hibendam putant 3 quasi Deo propinquiori. Sed hoc irrationabiliter dicitur. 

a cf CG ni 3 120. De Decem Prceceptis* In Rom. I 3 lect. 7 

^Exodus 25, 18 *John 4, 23 

^Enchiridion 3. PL 40^ 232 ^Exodus 20, 5 

6 PL 113, 252. On Exodus 20, 5 

7 The Platonists and Neo-Platonists; cf De Civitate Dei x, I. PL 41^ 277 

2 4 


lation neither acquires a character of sacredness as the pagans thought, nor 
of taint, as the Jews thought. 

4. Owing to the common custom among pagans of worshipping any 
kind of creature under the form of images, the name of idolatry was given 
to any worship of creatures, even without the use of images. 

article 2. is idolatry a sin? 

THE SECOND POINT: 1 It seems that idolatry is not a sin. There is nothing 
sinful in what true faith employs for the worship of God, and it uses images 
for worship : in the Tabernacle there were images of the cherubim, 8 as 
Exodus tells us, 2 and in our churches there are images which the faithful 
venerate. Consequently it seems that idolatry, the adoration of images, is 
not a sin. 

2. Moreover, every superior being has a claim upon our reverence. But 
the angels and the souls in heaven are our superiors. Consequently to pay 
respect to them through religious services, sacrifices, and the like will not 
be a sin. 

3. Moreover, the most high God should be served by an inward worship 
of mind and heart; as we read in John, God is spirit and they who worship him 
must worship in spirit and in truth. 3 And Augustine says that God is wor- 
shipped by faith, hope, and charity* Now it can happen that a man who 
is outwardly worshipping an idol is not inwardly wandering himself from 
true faith. So it seems that without prejudice to divine worship he can 
outwardly worship idols. 

ON THE OTHER HAND there is the command in Exodus, You shall not bow down 
before them nor worship them; 5 the Gloss says e bow down', that is externally, 
and 'worship', that is internally, 6 and the matter concerns idols and images. 
Therefore it is a sin to worship idols, whether internally or externally. 

REPLY: Here there have been two ways of erring. Some 7 have thought that 
to offer sacrifices and other forms oflatria not only to the most high God 
but also to lesser things 8 is right and just in itself, because divine honour 
should be paid to every superior creature as being nearer to God. This is 
unreasonable. For though we ought to revere all above us, our reverence 


^Contemporary biblical scholars tend to agree that the prohibition in the various 
codes in the Pentateuch did not exclude secondary representations of figures from 
the divine realm^ e.g. the cherubim, cf J. L. McKenzie, Dictionary of the Bible. 
Milwaukee, 1965, pp. 128, 384. 


SUMMA THEOLOGI&j 2a232. $4, 2 

Nam etsi omnes superiores revereri debeamus, non tamen eadem reverentia 
omnibus debetur, sed aliquid speciale debetur summo Deo, qui singular! 
ratione omnes excellit : et hie est latriae cultus. Nee potest did, sicut quidam 
putaverunt, hcec visibilia sacrificia diis aliis congruere, illi vero summo Deo, 
tanquam meliori> meliora, scilicet puree mentis official quia, ut Augustinus 
dicitj exteriora sacrificia ita sunt signa interiorum sicut verba sonantia signa 
sunt rerum. Quocirca, sicut orantes atque laudantes ad eum dirigimus signifi- 
cantes voces cui res ipsas in corde quas significamus offerimus> ita> sacrifi- 
cantes, non alteri visibile sacrifidum offer endum esse noverimus quam ei cuius 
in cordibus nostris invisibile sacrificium nos ipsi esse debemus. 10 

Alii vero aestimaverunt latriae cultum exteriorem non esse idolis ex- 
hibendum tanquam per se bonum aut opportunum, sed tanquam vulgari 
consuetudini consonum: ut Augustinus introducit Senecam dicentem, 
Sic, inquit, adorabimus ut meminerimus hujusmodi cultum magis ad morem 
quam ad rem pertinere. 11 Et Augustinus dicit non esse religionem a philo- 
sophis qucerendam, qui eadem sacra recipiebant cum populis, et de suorum 
deorum natura ac summo bono diversas contrariasque sententias in scholis 

Et hunc etiam errorem secuti sunt quidam haeretici asserentes non esse 
perniciosum si quis, persecutionis tempore deprehensus, exterius idola 
colat 3 dum tamen fidem servat in mente. Sed hoc apparet manifeste fal- 
sum. Nam cum exterior cultus sit signum interioris cultusj sicut est 
perniciosum mendacium si quis verbis asserat contrarium ejus quod per 
veram fidem tenet in corde,, ita etiam est perniciosa falsitas si quis exterior- 
em cultum exhibeat alicui contra id quod sentit in mente. Unde Augustinus 
dicit contra Senecam quod eo damnabilius cokbat idola, quo ilia qua 
mendaciter agebat sic ageret ut cum populo 'oeradter agere existimaretur. 1 * 

1. Ad primum ergo dicendum quod neque in veteris legis tabernaculo 
seu templo^ 14 neque etiam mine in ecclesia imagines instituuntur ut eis 
cultus latriae exhibeatur; sed ad quamdam sigruficationem, ut per hujus- 
modi imagines mentibus hominum imprimatur et confirmetur fides de 
excellentia angelorum et sanctorum. - Secus autem est de imagine Christi, 
cui, ratione deitatis 3 latria debetur. 15 

2. & 3. Ad secundum et tertium patet responsio per ea quae dicta sunt. 

9 cf De cwitate Dei X, 19, PL 41, 297 

10 ibid 

ll De dmtate Dei VI, 9. PL 41, 191-2 

12 De vera religions 5. PL 34, 126 

13 De dvitate Dei Vl> 10. PL 41^ 192 



is not the same for each. A special reverence, which we call latrioy is due to 
the supreme God who uniquely transcends all creatures. Nor can it be 
maintained, as some have, that visible sacrifices are suitable offerings to other 
gods.> since to the supreme God alone, as being the better^ is due the better sacri- 
fice^ namely the homage of pure mind? Augustine gives the reason; Exterior 
sacrifices are the signs of interior sacrifices just as the spoken word is the sign of 
real things. Therefore., as by praying and singing we address our meaningful 
words to him, and offer to him in our hearts the things they signify, so too in 
offering our sacrifices we ought to know that the visible sacrifice is due to no 
other than him to whom we owe the invisible sacrifice within our hearts. 

Others have thought the outward worship of idols to be, if not good and 
opportune of its nature, at least tolerable, given popular custom. Augustine 
cites Seneca, We shall continue to give this adoration while yet remembering 
that it belongs more to custom than to the reality.^ Elsewhere Augustine 
writes, There is no point in seeking religion from the philosophers, who adopted 
as sacred the same practices as did the people^ and put forth in the schools 
various opinions about the nature of the gods and the supreme good}-* 

This error was followed also by some heretics who claimed there was no 
harm done if a person, seized in time of persecution, made 9 show of wor- 
shipping idols so long as he kept the faith in his heart. b This is manifestly 
false. Outward worship is the sign of inward worship, and as it is a wicked 
lie to deny by words one's inward commitment, so also it is if one gives 
outward worship to anything counter to his convictions. And so, Augustine 
criticizes Seneca; His worship of idols was so the more to be condemned s for 
he so acted a lie as to make people think he was sincere. 

Hence: i. Neither in the Tabernacle, nor in the Temple of the Old 
Law, 14 nor in our churches have images ever been set up as the objects 
of latria. They are signs, with the purpose of impressing on our minds 
and confirming the belief in the sublimity of angels and saints. It is 
different, however, with an image of Christ, to which latria is due on 
account of his divinity, as we shall explain in the Tertia Pars. 15 

The answers are clear from what has been said above. 

14 m Kings 6, 23 
15 3a. 25, 3 

b Anheretical sect calledthe Elkasaites. They consider ed Christianity to be little more 
than a purified Judaism. Their tenets were similar to those of the Ebionites' and 
influenced various apocryphal and gnostic writings* cf J. Quasten, Patrology> I. 
Westminster, 1950^ p. 60; J. Dani&ou, The Theology of Jewish Christianity. Chicago, 
1964. The opinion is mentioned by Eusebius of Caesarea, who cites Origen on this 
point. Historia Ecclesiastica 6, 38. PG 20, 600. 

40 27 

SUMMA THEOLOGm, 2a2se. 94, 3 

articulus 3. utrum idololatria sit gravissimum peccatorum 

AD TERTIUM sic proceditur. 1 Videtur quod idololatria non sit gravissimum 
peccatorum. Pessimum enim Optimo opponltur, ut dicitur in Ethic. 2 Sed 
cultus interior, qui consistit in fide, spe et caritate, est melior quam cul- 
tus exterior. Ergo infidelitas, desperatio et odium Dei, qua opponuntur 
cultui interior!, sunt graviora peccata quam idololatria, quse opponitur 
cultui exteriori. 

2. Prseterea, tanto aliquod peccatum estgravius quanto magis est contra 
Deum. Sed directius videtur aliquis contra Deum agere blasphemando, vel 
fidem impugnando, quam cultum Dei alii exhibendo, quod pertinet ad 
idololatriam. Ergo blasphemia vel impugnatio fidei est gravius peccatum 
quam idololatria. 

3. Praeterea, minora mala majoribus malis puniri videntur. Sed pecca- 
tum idololatria punitum est peccato contra naturam, ut dicitur Rom. 3 Ergo 
peccatum contra naturam est gravius peccato idololatrise. 

4. Praeterea, Augustinus dicit, Neque vos y scilicet Manichseos, paganos 
didmuS} out schisma paganorum: sed hdbere cum eis quondam similitudinem> 
eo quod multos colatis deos. Verum vos esse eis longe deteriores: quod illi ea 
colunt qua sunt., sed pro diis colenda non sunt; vos autem ea colitis qua omnino 
non Bunt.* Ergo vitium haoreticae pravitatis est gravius quam idololatria. 

5. Prseterea, super illud Ga/., Quomodo convertimini iterum ad infirma et 
egena elemental dicit glossa EQeronymi, Legis observantia, cui dediti tune 
erant) erat peccatum pene par servituti idolorum, cui ante conversionem vaca- 
verant? Non ergo peccatum idololatrise est gravissimum. 

SED CONTRA est quod Levit. super illud quod dicitur de immunditia 
mulieris patientis fluxum sanguinis, dicit Glossa Omne peccatum est 
immunditia anima^ sed idololatria maximeS 

RESPONSIO: Dicendum quod gravitas alicujus peccati potest attend! 
dupliciter. Uno modo, ex parte ipsius peccati. Et sic peccatum idololatriae 
est gravissimum. Sicut enimin terrena republica gravissimum esse videtur 
quod aliquis honorem regium alteri impendat quam vero regi, quia quan- 
tum in se est, totum reipublicae perturbat orcUnem; ita in peccatis quse 
contra Deum committuntur, quae tamen sunt maxima, gravissimum esse 
videtur quod aliquis honorem divinura creaturae impendat: quia quantum 
est in se, facit alium Deum in mundo, minuens principatum divinum. 
Alio modo potest attendi gravitas peccati ex parte peccantis : sicut dicitur 

kf rv Sent. 13, 2, 2. In I Cor. 12, lect. x *Eihics vm, 10. n6ob 

^Romans I, 23 ^Contra Faustam xx, 5. PL 42, 371 



article 3. is idolatry the most serious of sins? 

THE THIRD POINT: 1 i. It seems idolatry is not the most serious of sins. 
For what is worst is opposed to what is best, as Aristotle observes. 2 But 
the interior worship of God by faith, hope, and charity is far more import- 
ant than the services of religion. Denial of the Christian faith, despair, and 
hatred of God, which are opposed to interior worship, are more serious 
sins than idolatry, which is opposed to God's exterior worship. 

2. Moreover, we say a sin is the graver the more it is against God. Now 
the blasphemy which attacks faith is more against God than the sin of 
idolatry which offers divine worship to creatures. There are, then, sins 
graver than idolatry. 

3. Moreover, it seems that lesser evils are punished with greater. In 
Romans* we are told that the sin of idolatry was punished by sexual 
perversion, and this is graver than idolatry. 

4. Moreover, Augustine writes against the Manichseans, We do not call 
you pagans or a pagan sect. But you bear a likeness to them for you worship 
many gods. Yet you are far worse, for they at least honour real beings, although 
not to be worshipped as gods, while you worship things which do not even exist. 4 " 
Therefore the depravity of heresy is worse than idolatry. 

5. A gloss from Jerome on Galatians, How is that you turn again to the 
weak and beggarly elements?* comments, The observance of the law to which 
they were then addicted was a sin almost equal to the worship of idols to which 
they had been given before their conversion* Therefore the ski of idolatry is 
not the most grievous. 

ON THE OTHER HAND the Gloss remarks on the text of Leviticus concerning 
menstruation, Every sin is a defilement of the soul, and idolatry is the greatest? 

REPLY: The gravity of a sin may be considered in two ways. First, on the 
part of the sin itself, and thus idolatry is most grievous. Is it not the worst 
crime in an earthly commonwealth to acknowledge as its head one who does 
not have this position, for this upsets the whole public order? And so, 
among sins committed against God, which are the greater sins, is it not 
the greatest to treat a creature as God, for this sets up another god in 
the universe, and diminishes divine sovereignty. 21 

Secondly, the gravity of a sin may be judged on the part of the sinner. 

*Gdatians 4, 9. Jerome n, 4. PL 26, 401 
'So cited by Peter Lombard. PL 192^ 141 
^Leviticus 15, 19. Glossa, PL 113, 340 
a cf ia2ae. 100, 6. 


SUMMA THEOLOGIZE, 23232. 94, 4 

esse gravius peccatum eius qui peccat scienter quam ejus qui peccat 
ignoranter. Et secundum hoc nihil prohibet gravius peccare haereticos, qui 
scienter corrumpunt fidem quam acceperunt, quam idololatras ignoranter 
peccantes. Et similiter etiam aliqua alia peccata possunt esse majora 
propter majorem contemptum peccantis. 

1. Ad primum ergo dicendum quod idololatria prsesupponit interior em 
infidelitatem, et adjicit exterius indebitum cultum. Si vero sit exterior 
tantum idololatria absque interiori infidelitate, additur culpa falsitatis, 
ut prius dictum est. 8 

2. Ad secundum dicendum quod idololatria includit magnam blas- 
phemiam: inquantum Deo subtrahitur dominii singularitas. Et fidem 
opere impugnat idololatria. 

3. Ad tertium dicendum quod quia de ratione pcenae est quod sit contra 
voluntatem, peccatum per quod aliud punitur oportet esse magis mani- 
festum, ut ex hoc homo sibi ipsi et aliis detestabilis reddatur: non autern 
oportet quod sit gravius. Et secundum hoc, peccatum contra naturam 
minus est quam peccatum idololatriae, sed quia est manifestius, ponitur 
quasi conveniens poena peccati idololatria: ut scilicet, sicut homo per 
idololatriam pervertit ordinem divini honoris, ita per peccatum contra 
naturam propriae naturae confusibilem perversitatem patiatur. 

4. Ad quartum dicendum quod hasresis Manichaeorum, etiam quantum 
ad genus peccati, gravior est quam peccatum aliorum idololatrarum: quia 
magis derogant divino honori, ponentes duos deos contraries, et multa 
vana fabulosa de Deo fingentes. Secus autem est de aliis haereticis^ qui 
\iritim Deum confitentur et eum solurn colunt. 

5. Ad quintum dicendum quod observatio legis tempore gratise non est 
omnino sequalis idololatriae secundum genus peccati, sed pene cequdlis: 
quia utrumque est species pestiferae superstitionis. 

aniculus4. utrttm causa idololatrice fuerit ex pane hominis 

AD QUARTUM sic proceditur: 1 1. Videtur quod causa idololatrise non fiierit 
ex parte hominis. In homine enim nihil est nisi vel natura, vel virtus^ vel 
culpa. Sed causa idololatriae non potuit esse ex parte naturae hominis : quin 
potius naruraJis ratio hominis dictat quod sit unus Deus 3 et quod non sit 
morruis cultus divinus exhibendus, neque rebus inanimatis. Similiter etiam 
nee idoloktria habet causam in homine ex parte virtutis: quia non potest 
arbor bona fructus malos facere? ut dicitur Matt. Neque etiam ex parte 
culpae: quia, ut dicitur Sap. s Infandorum idolorum cultura omnis mali causa 
esty et initum et finis* Ergo idololatria non habet causam ex parte hominis. 

2a2se. 94, 2 *cf CG m s 120. De Decem Praceptis. In I Cor. 12, lect. i.CGm, 120 



as when we consider one who sins knowingly b to be more wicked than one 
who sins out of ignorance. It is thus possible that heretics, who knowingly 
corrupt the faith they once professed, sin more seriously than those who 
through ignorance worship idols. So likewise other sins can be worse 
than idolatry because of the greater contempt shown in committing them. 
Hence: I. True idolatry presupposes interior infidelity and adds public 
worship which is misplaced. If the idolatry is purely exterior without 
an act of interior infidelity, there is, as we have said, 8 the added fault of 

2. Idolatry implies a great blasphemy because it would deprive God 
of the singleness of his dominion, and by its deeds denies faith. 

3. A punishment is essentially something against the will, and so one sin 
which is a punishment for a previous sin needs to be more striking in 
order to make its subject more hateful to himself and to others; it need 
not be a more grievous sin. From this point of view, sexual perversion is 
less than the sin of idolatry, yet because it is perhaps more striking the 
fitting penalty is that a man who abuses the honourable order of God's 
universe should suffer from abusing his own mixed-up nature. 

4. The heresy of the Manichseans, even as a class of sin, is graver than 
the sin of other idolaters, because it derogates more from God's honour, 
for they set up two opposing gods, and imagine many empty and fabulous 
stories about God. Other heretics who acknowledge and honour the one 
God are in a quite different position. 

5. To observe the Mosaic Law in the age of grace does not, as a class of 
sin, amount to idolatry; it is almost equal, because both are forms of the 
plague of superstition. 

article 4. were men the cause of idolatry? 

THE FOURTH POINT: 1 1. The basic cause of idolatry does not seem to have 
been due to mankind itself. In man there is only nature, virtue, or fault. 
Idolatry does not come from man's nature, because his natural reason 
dictates that there is but one God, and that divine worship should not be 
given to the dead or to inanimate things. Likewise, human virtue cannot 
cause idolatry, because as said in Matthew, A good tree cannot bear bad 
fruit. 2 Nor can fault be a cause, for in Wisdom it is written, The worship of 
infamous idols is the reason and source and limit of all evil* Therefore there 
is no cause in man for idolatry. 

^Matthew % 18 a Wisdom 14, 27 

b A sin ex certa malitiai cf ia2se. 78, 1. 



2. Praeterea, ea quae ex parte hominis causantur, omni tempore in 
hominibus inveniuntur. Non autem semper fuit idololatria, sed in secunda 
aetate legitur esse adinventa: vel a Nemrod, qui, ut dicitur, cogebat 
homines ignem adorare; vel a Nino, qui imaginem patris sui Beli adorari 
fecit. Apud Grsecos autem, ut Isidorus refert, Prometheus primus simulacra 
hominum de lutofinxit.Judceivero dicunt quod Ismcel primus simulacra de Into 
fecit.* Cessavit etiam in sexta setate idololatria ex magna parte. Ergo 
idololatria non habuit causam ex parte hominis. 

3. Prseterea, Augustinus dicit, Neque potuit primum, nisi illis, scilicet 
daemonibus, docentibus, disci quid quisque illorum appetat, quid exhorreat, 
quo invitetur nomine, quo cogatur: unde magicce artes, earumque artifices 
extitenmtf Eadem autem ratio videtur esse de idololatria. Ergo idololatriae 
causa non est ex parte hominum. 

SED CONTRA est quod dicitur Sap., Supervacuitas hominum h<zc> scilicet 
idola, adinvenit in orbe terrarum* 

KESPONSIO: Dicendum quod idololatriae est duplex causa. Una quidem 
dispositiva. Et hasc fuit ex parte hominum. Et hoc tripliciter. Primo 
quidem^ ex inordinatione affectus: prout scilicet homines aliquem hom- 
inem vel nimis amantes vel nimis venerantes,, honorem divinum ei 
impenderunt. Et haac causa assignatur Sap., Acerbo luctu dolens pater cito 
sibi rapti filii fedt imaginem; et ilium qui tune, quasi homo, mortuus fuerat, 
tanquam Deum colere coepit. Et ibidem etiam subditur quod homines, out 
affectui aut regibus deservientes, incommunicabile nomen, scilicet divinitatis, 
lignis et lapidibus imposuerunt. 1 

Secundo, propter hoc quod homo naturaliter de repraesentatione delec- 
tatur, ut Philosophus dicit. 8 Et ideo homines rudes a principio videntes 
per diligentiam artificum imagines hominum expressive factas a divinitatis 
cultum eis impenderunt. Unde dicitur Sap., Siquis artifexfaver de silva 
lignum rectum secuerit; et per scientiam su<z artis figuret illud et assimilet 
imagini hominis: de substantia sua, etfiliis etnuptiis, votumfaciens, inquirit? 

Tertio, propter ignorantiam veri Dei: cujus excellentiam homines non 
considerantesj quibusdam creaturis 3 proper pulchritudinem seu virtutem, 
divinitatis cultum exhibuerunt. Unde dicitur Sap., Neque, operibus atten- 
dentes, agnoverunt quis esset artifex. Sed aut ignem, aut spiritum, aut citatum 
aerem, autgyrum stellarum, aut nirmam aquam, aut sokm, aut lunam, rectores 
orbis terrarum, deos putaverunt. 10 

Alia autem causa idololatriae fuit consummativa^ ex parte dsemonum^ 

'Etymologies XX, 8, PL 82 3 315 *De dvitate Dei xxi, 6. PL 41, 717 

Wisdom 14, 14 ''Wisdom 14, 15, 21 



2. Moreover, what have their cause in mankind itself are found among 
men at all times. However, we read that idolatry did not exist until the 
second age; a it came about either through Nimrod, who is recorded to have 
forced men to adore fire, or through Ninus, who for worship made a statue 
of his father, Bel. Isidore tells us about the Greeks; Prometheus was the 
first to make figures of men from clay., although the Jews says that Ishmael was 
the first man to do this* To a great extent idolatry ceased to exist in the 
sixth age. We can conclude then that idolatry has no cause in mankind. 

3. Moreover, Augustine says, It was not possible to learn for the first 
time, except from teaching of demons, what each of them desired or disliked, 
and by what name to invite or to compel him, so as to give birth to the arts and 
practitioners of magic * The same observation seems to be true of idolatry. 
Therefore the cause of idolatry does not spring from men themselves. 

BUT ON THE OTHER HAND, Wisdom says, By the vanity of men idols came into 
the world* 

REPLY: Idolatry has two causes : the first, one which disposes to the practice 
of idolatry, and this has its roots in man himself, in three ways. One is 
from misdirected affection, giving another adoration either by loving or 
venerating beyond reason. In Wisdom it is written that a father., afflicted 
with grief, made an image of the child so quickly taken from him, and honoured 
as a god him who died as a man. 

And this became a snare for mankind that men enslaved to either grief or 
tyranny confessed the incommunicable Name on stocks and stones? 

Two, man's natural delight in representation, mentioned by Aristotle. 8 
Primitive men, seeing images skilfully fashioned by artists gave them divine 
cult. It is written, A carpenter may saw out a suitable tree, and deftly shape 
it to the image of a man; and when he prays about his goods or marriage or 
children, he is not ashamed to address the thing. . . . 9 

Three, ignorance of the true God, and of his splendour, so they offered 
divine cult to creatures of striking beauty or forcefulness. In Wisdom it is 
written, From attending to the works they did not recognize the maker; but 
either fire or wind or the swift air, or the circuit of the stars or the mighty 
waters, or the luminaries of heaven, the governors of the world, they considered 

Besides these three dispositive causes there is a complementary cause of 

*Poetic$ 4. I448b5 'Wisdom 13, 13, 17 

^Wisdom 13, 1-2 

a For the ages of history according to the medievals see Peter Comestor^ Historia 

Scholastic^ PL 198, 1088 et sqq. 


StTMMA THEOLOGIZE, 2a23e. 94, 4 

qui se colendos hominibus errantibus exhibuerunt in idolis a dando respon- 
sa et aliqua quae videbantur hominibus mirabilia faciendo. Unde et in 
Psalm, dicitur, Omnes dii gentium dcemonia. 11 

1. Ad primum ergo dicendum quod causa dispositiva idololatriae fuitj 
ex parte hominis^ naturae defectus vel per ignorantiam intellectus, vel per 
deordinationem afiectus, ut dictum est. 12 Et hoc etiam ad culpam pertinet. 
Dicitur autem idololatria esse causa., initium et finis omnis peccati^ quia non 
est aliquod genus peccati quod interdum idololatria non producat: vel 
expresse inducendo, per modum causae; vel occasionem praebendo, per 
modum initii; vel per modum finis^ inquantum peccata aliqua assume- 
bantur in cultum idolorum, sicut occisiones hominum et mutilationes 
membrorum^ et alia hujusmodi. Et tamen aliqua peccata possunt idolo- 
latriam praecedere^ quae ad ipsam hominem disponunt. 

2. Ad secundum dicendum quod in prima astate non fuit idololatria 
propter recentem memoriam creationis mundi, ex qua adhuc vigebat 
cognitio unius Dei in mente hominum. In sexta autem aetate idololatria 
est exclusa per doctrinam et virrutem Christi^ qui de diabolo triumphavit. 

3, Ad tertium dicendum quod ratio ilia procedit de causa consummativa 

1155 5 



idolatry;, namely, demonic powers, which manifested themselves to con- 
fused mankind as objects of worship by giving answers through the idols 
and accomplishing wonders in the eyes of men. The Psalm says, All the 
gods of the nations are demons.^ 

Hence: i. The dispositive cause of idolatry in man was a failing of human 
nature, either through ignorance in the mind, or disorder in the affections, 
as we have just mentioned. 12 These can imply guilt. Idolatry is called the 
cause, beginning, and goal of every sin because there is no kind of wicked- 
ness which idolatry does not produce at some time, either expressly leading 
to it as its cause, or giving the occasion to it as its opening, or again as 
its motive, as when, for instance, human sacrifice and mutilations were 
offered in the service of idols. Nevertheless certain sins may precede idol- 
atry and dispose to it. 

2. Idolatry was absent from the first age because of recent memory 
of the world's creation, which kept alive in men's minds the idea of one 
God. In the sixth age idolatry was banished by the doctrine and power of 
Christ, who triumphed over the devil. 

3. This objection is concerned with the crowning cause of idolatry. 

12 In the body of the article 



Quaestio 95. de superstitione divinativa 

DEINDE CONSIDERANDUM ESI de superstitione divinativa. Et circa hoc 
quseruntur octo: 

1. utrum divinatio sit peccatum; 

2. utrum sit species superstitionis; 

3. de speciebus divinationis; 

4. de divinatione quae fit per daemones; 

5. de divinatione quae fit per astra; 

6. de divinatione quae fit per somnia; 

7. de divinatione quae fit per auguria et alias hujusmodi 


8. de divinatione quae fit per sortes. 

articultts I. utrum divinatio sit peccatum 

AD PRIMUM sic proceditur: 1 I. Videtur quod divinatio non sit peccatum. 
Divinatio enim ab aliquo dwino nominatur. Sed ea quae sunt divina magis 
ad sanctitatem pertinent quam ad peccatum. Ergo videtur quod divinatio 
non est peccatum. 

2. Prseterea, Augustinus dicit, Quis audeat dicer -e disdplinam esse mdlum? 
Et iterum 5 Nullo modo dixerim aliquant intelligentiam malam esse posse* 
Sed aliquae artes sunt divinativae: ut patet per Philosophum. 3 Videtur 
etiam ipsa divinatio ad aliquam intelligentiam veritatis pertinere. Ergo 
videtur quod divinatio non sit peccatum. 

3. Prseterea, naturalis inclinatio non est ad aliquod malum: quia natura 
non inclinat nisi ad simile sibi, Sed ex naturali inclinatione homines 
sollicitantur praenoscere futuros eventus^ quod pertinet ad divinationem. 
Ergo divinatio non est peccatum. 

SED CONTRA est quod dicitur Deut., Non sit qui pythones consulat, neque 
divines* Et in Decretis dicitur, Qui divinationes expetunt, sub regulis quin- 
quennii jaceant, secundum gradus p&nitentice definitos. 5 

RESPONSIO: Dicendum quod in nomine divinationis intelligitur quaedam 
prsenuntiatio futurorum. Futura autem dupliciter praenosci possunt: uno 
quidem modo, in suis causis ; alio modo, in seipsis. 6 Causae autem futurorum 
tripliciter se habent. Quaedam enim producunt ex necessitate et semper 

m a 154; In Imam 3 *De libero arbitrio> I 3 I. PL 32, 1223 

3 On Memory and Reminiscence 2. 45ia~453a ^Deuteronomy 1 8, II 



Question 95, divination 

NEXT TO CONSIDER is superstitious foretelling of the future, or divination. 
Here there are eight points of inquiry: 

1. whether foretelling the future is a sin; 

2. and a kind of superstition; 

3. the various kinds of foretelling the future; 

4. of divination done through demons; 

5. and through the stars; 

6. and through dreams; 

7. and through auguries and the like; 

8. and by casting lots. 

article I. is foretelling the future a sin? 

THE FIRST POINT: 1 1. It seems that divination, or foretelling the future, is 
not a sin. The word divination comes from 'divine', and this reflects what 
is holy, not what is evil. Therefore it seems that divination is not a sin. 

2. Moreover, Augustine says, Who will dare to say that learning is an 
evil. And again, / could in no wise admit that any understanding can be an 
evil. 2 But some arts are concerned with predicting, as Aristotle observes. 3 
Divination seems to be part of an understanding of the truth, and so, it 
seems, cannot be sinful. 

3. Moreover, there is no natural inclination towards evil, for nature tends 
to its like. Now men seem by natural inclination to seek to foreknow future 
events, which is what divination does. It is not, therefore, a sin. 

ON THE OTHER HAND Deuteronomy says, Let there not be found among you 
anyone who consults ghosts or spirits. 41 And in Gratian we read, Those who 
deal in divination shall be liable to five years' penance according to the fixed 
grades of penance^ 

REPLY: Divination means foretelling the future. Now what will happen 
in the future can be known in two different ways, first in its causes, secondly 
in itself. 6 
The causes are threefold. Some necessarily and always produce their 

*Decretum n, 26, 5, can. 2. Richter-Friedberg r 5 p. 1027. Gratian, a Camaldolese monk 
of the twelfth century, articulated the mass of ecclesiastical legislation that had 
accumulated in the Concordia discordantium canonum (Concordance of uriharmonized 
canon laws), later called the Decretum 
*2a2ae. 171, 6 ad 2; 172, i ad i, 2; 174, 1 



stios effectus. Et hujusmodi effectus futuri per certitudinem prsenosci 
possunt et praenuntiari ex consideratione suarum causarum: sicut astrologi 
praenuntiant eclipses futuras. Quaedam vero causae producunt suos effectus 
non ex necessitate et semper, sed ut in pluribus, raro tamen deficiunt. Et 
per hujusmodi causas possunt praenosci futuri effectus, non quidem per 
certitudinem, sed per quamdam conjecturam: sicut astrologi per con- 
siderationem stellarum quaedam praenoscere et prsenuntiare possunt de 
pluviis et siccitatibus, et medici de sanitate vel morte. 

Quaedam vero causae sunt quae, si secundum se considerentur, se habent 
ad utrumlibet: quod praecipue videtur de potentiis rationalibus, quse se 
habent ad opposita, secundum Philosophum. 7 Et tales effectus, vel etiam si 
qui effectus ut in paucioribus casu accidunt ex naturalibus causis, per 
considerationem causarum prsenosci non possunt: quia eorum causae non 
habent inclinationem determinatam ad hujusmodi effectus. Et ideo effectus 
hujusmodi praenosci non possunt nisi in seipsis considerentur. 

Homines autem in seipsis hujusmodi effectus considerare possunt solum 
dum sunt praesentes, sicut cum homo videt Socratem currere vel ambulare. 
Sed considerare hujusmodi in seipsis antequam fiant est Dei proprium, 
qui solus in sua seternitate videt ea quae futura sunt quasi praesentia, 8 unde 
dicitur Isaiae, Annuntiate qiue futura sunt infuturum, et sciemus quoniam dii 
estis vos? Si quis ergo hujusmodi farura prasnoscere aut praenuntiare 
quocumque modo praesumpserit, nisi Deo revelante, manifeste usurpat 
sibi quod Dei est. Et ex hoc aliqui divini dicuntur: unde dicit Isidorus, 
Divini dicti quasi Deo pleni: dimnitate enim se plenos simulant^ et astutia 
quadam fraudulentia hominibus futura conjectant. 10 

Divinatio ergo non dicitur si quis prsenuntiet ea quse ex necessario 
eveniunt vel ut in pluribus, quae humana ratione praenosci possunt. Neque 
etiam si quis futura alia contingentia, Deo revelante 3 cognoscat: tune enim 
non ipse divinat, idest quod divinum est facit, sed magis quod divinum est 
suscipit. Tune autem solum dicitur divinare quando sibi indebito modo 
usurpat praenuntiationem fururorum eventuum. Hoc autem constat esse 
peccarum. Unde divinatio semper est peccatum. Et propter hoc Hierony- 
mus dicit, super Michaam, quod divinatio semper in malam partem 
accipitur. 11 

i. Ad primum ergo dicendum quod divinatio non dicitur ab ordinata 
participatione alicujus divini, sed ab indebita usurpatione, ut dictum est. 12 

^Metaphysics K^ 5. !O58a5~io 

8 ia. 14, 13 557,3; 86, 4 

9 Isaiah 4I 3 23 

^Etymologies Libri vm, 9. PL 82, 312 

^Commentaria in Michaeam I, 3. PL 25* 1183; the passage is Micah 3, 8. Jerome 



effect. And then future effects can be foreknown and foretold with 
certitude if we know the causes, for instance, as when astronomers 
predict coming eclipses. 

Others, although they do not produce their effects of necessity and 
always, nevertheless do so for the most part, and rarely fail. From such 
causes their future effects can be foretold, if not with certainty at least by 
some probable conjecture, as when, for instance, meteorologists by exam- 
ining the heavenly bodies forecast rains or droughts, or physicians pro- 
nounce on health or death. 

A third class is composed of causes which, looked at in themselves, can 
go either way they please. Above all this is the case with rational powers, 
which are poised before opposites, as Aristotle notes. 7 Their effects, as 
also any chance effects of causes in the second group, cannot be foretold by 
an inspection of the causes themselves, because there is no determinate 
inclination within them to produce such effects. Consequently these effects 
cannot be foretold unless they are seen in themselves. 

Now a man can look at things so only when they are present, for in- 
stance, as when he sees John Doe actually running or walking. God alone 
can see future events as they are in themselves before they exist. In his 
eternity he sees future events as being present to him, as explained in the 
Prima Pars. 8 This is why in Isaiah it is written, Show the things which are 
to come and we will know that you are gods. 9 If then anyone claims to fore- 
know and foretell such things by any means whatsoever, except by God's 
revelation, he is clearly usurping what belongs to God alone. That is why 
he is called a 'diviner'; Isidore observes that men are called diviners as 
though they are full of God; they pretend to be charged with divinity and 
they forecast the future for men by shrewd fraud. 1 ** 

Divination then, does not mean plotting the course of events which 
follows necessity or a statistical majority; these things the mind of man can 
foreknow. Nor does one divine the future if he learns about its contingent 
happenings through God's revelation; for he does not divine in the sense 
that he performs something divine, rather he receives it. Divination 
occurs when a man usurps to himseUf, and wrongly, the foretelling of the 
future. To claim what belongs to God alone is a sin, and in this sense fore- 
telling the future is a sin. Jerome observes that divination has a pejorative 
meaning.' 1 ' 1 

Hence: i. Divination does not mean the balanced participation in some- 
thing divine, but the usurpation of what belongs to God alone. 12 

(347-419) was the great exegete of the Western Fathers. His translation of the 
Vulgate 3 his commentaries on the Bible, his solutions of textual and exegetical 
problems provided the foundation for medieval Scriptural scholarship 
12 In the body of the article 



2. Ad secundum dicendum quod artes quaedam sunt ad praecognoscen- 
dum futures eventus qui ex necessitate vel frequenter proveniunt, quod ad 
divinationem non pertinet. Sed ad alios futures eventus cognoscendos non 
sunt aliquae verse artes seu discipline sed fallaces et vanae, ex deceptione 
daemonum introductae, ut dicit Augustinus. 13 

3. Ad tertium dicendum quod homo habet naturalem inclinationem ad 
cognoscendum futura secundum modum humanum: non autem secun- 
dum indebitum divinationis modum. 

articulus 2. utrum divinatio sit species superstitionis 

AD SECUNDUM sic proceditur. 1 i. Videtur quod divinatio non sit species 
superstitionis. Idem enim non potest esse species diversorum generum. 
Sed divinatio videtur esse species curiositatis; ut Augustinus dicit. 2 Ergo 
videtur quod non sit species superstitionis. 

2. Praeterea, sicut religio est cultus debitus, ita superstitio est cultus 
indebitus. Sed divinatio non videtur ad aliquem cultum indebitum per- 
tinere. Ergo divinatio non pertinet ad superstitionem. 

3. Praeterea, superstitio religioni opponitur. Sed in vera religione non 
invenitur aliquid divinationi per contrarium respondens. Ergo divinatio 
non est species superstitionis. 

SED CONTRA est quod Origenes dicit, Est qucedam operatio dcemonum in 
ministerio prasdentice, qua artibus quibusdam ab his qui se dcemonibus 
mancipaverunt, nunc per sortes, nunc per auguria, nunc ex contemplations 
umbrarum comprehendi videtur. Hcec autem omnia operatione dcemonum fieri 
non dubitQ? Sed sicut Augustinus dicit/ quidquid procedit ex societate 
daemonum et hominum superstitiosum est. Ergo divinatio est species 

RESPONSIO: Dicendum quod, sicut supra dictum est, 5 superstitio importat 
indebitum cultum divinitatis. Ad cultum autem Dei pertinet aliquid 
dupliciter. Uno modo, cum aliquid Deo ofiertur: vel sacrificium, vel 
oblatio, vel aliquid hujusmodi. Alio modo, cum aliquid divinum assumitur : 
sicut dictum est supra de juramento. 6 Et ideo ad superstitionem pertinet 
non solum cum sacrificium daemonibus ofiertur per idololatriam, sed etiam 
cum aliquis assumit auxilium daemonum ad aliqiud faciendum vel cog- 

l *De dvitate Dei XXI 3 8. PL 41, 721 

2 cf 2a2ae. 92, 2 

*De doctrina Christiana n, 23. PL 34, 52. Incorrectly attributed in the Latin text to 



2. Arts which try to forecast the course of future events events which 
will happen necessarily or frequently have nothing in common with 
foretelling the future through divination. These are no genuine disciplines 
for learning other future events; they are counterfeit and useless, brought 
in, as Augustine says, 13 by the deceit of devils. 

3. Man does have a natural desire to know what is going to happen in 
the future, but by human means, not by the undue means of divination. 

article 2. is foretelling the future a kind of superstition? 

THE SECOND POINT: 1 1. It seems that divination is not a kind of superstition. 
The same reality cannot be a sub-division of two different general cate- 
gories. But divination, Augustine says, is a kind of excessive curiosity. 2 
Therefore it cannot also be a kind of superstition. 

2. Moreover, just as religion is the due worship of God, so superstition 
is worship which is undue. But foretelling the future has no relationship 
to undue religious worship. Consequently it is not a kind of superstition. 

3. Moreover, superstition is opposed to the virtue of religion. But there 
is nothing here which is the opposite to divination, which is not, therefore, 
a kind of superstition. 

ON THE OTHER HAND, Origen says, One of the works of demonic powers is 
concerned with trying to foretell the future for men. There are various methods 
by which men ally themselves^ by lots> by omens, by observing shadows. I 
doubt not that all are done by demons? Augustine remarks that whatever 
results from fellowship between demons and men is superstition. 4 There- 
fore, foretelling the future is a kind of superstition. 

REPLY: Wehaveindicated s that superstition is undue divine worship. A thing 
may come into worship in two ways. First, as when something is offered to 
God, thus asacrifice, an oblation, and thelike. Second, as when wetake some- 
thing divine, thus God's name in swearing an oath. 6 Accordingly super- 
stition includes not only sacrifices offered to the demonic powers in idol- 
atry, but also invoking their help in order to know or to do something. 

the De vera religione. On this point see H. F. Dondaine, O.P., "Note sur la documenta- 
tion patristique de saint Thomas a Paris en 1270% Revue de sciences philosphiques et 
theologiques, 47 (1964)3 43-6 

z Homily xvi on the Book of Numbers, 7. PG 12, 697. Attributed in text to the 
Peri Archon. See note 2 above 
*De doctrina Christiana 2. 20, 23. PL 34, 50^ 52 
5 2a2ae. 92, i ad 2 
C 2a2ae. 89, 4 ad 2 


SUMMA THEOLOGI&, 2a20e. 95, 3 

Omnis autem divinatio ex operatione daemonum provenit: vel quia 
expresse dsemones invocantur ad futura manifestanda; vel quia dsemones se 
ingerunt vanis inquisitionibus futurorum, ut mentes hominum implicent 
vanitate; de qua vanitate in Psalm, dicitur, Non respexit in vanitates et 
insanias falsas? Vana autem inquisitio futurorum est quando aliquis 
faturum prsenoscere tentat unde praenosci non potest. Unde manifestum 
est quod divinatio species superstitionis est. 

1. Ad primum ergo dicendum quod divinatio pertinet ad curiositatem 
quantum ad finem intentum, qui est praecognitio futurorum. Sed pertinet 
ad superstitionem quantum ad modum operationis. 

2. Ad secundum dicendum quod hujusmodi divinatio pertinet ad cultum 
daemonum, inquantum aliquis utitur quodam pacto tacito vel expresso 
cum dgemonibus. 

3. Ad tertium dicendum quod in Nova Lege mens hominis arcetur a 
temporalium sollicitudine: et ideo non est in Nova Lege aliquid institutum 
ad prsecognitionem eventuum futurorum de temporalibus rebus. In Veteri 
autem Lege, quse promittebat terrena, erant consultationes de futuris ad 
religionem pertinentes: unde dicitur I$a.> Et cum dixerint ad vos:Quaerite 
a pythonibus et a divinis, qui strident incantationibus suis> subdit quasi 
responsionem, Numquid non populus a Deo suo requiret visionem pro mvis 
et mortuis? 8 Fuerunt tamen in Novo Testamento etiam aliqui prophetic 
spiritum habentes, qui multa de futuris eventibus praedixerunt. 

aniculus 3. utrum sit determinare plures divinationis species 

AD TERTIUM sic proceditur: 1 I. Videtur quod non sit determinare plures 
divinationis species. Ubi enim est una ratio peccandi non videntur esse 
plures peccati species. Sed in omni divinatione est una ratio peccandi: 
quia scilicet utitur aliquis pacto dsemonum ad cognoscendum futura. Ergo 
divinationis non sunt diversae species. 

2. Praeterea, actus humanus speciem sortitur ex fine, ut supra habitum 
est. 2 Sed omnis divinatio ordinatur ad unum finem, scilicet ad praenun- 
tiationem futurorum. Ergo omnis divinatio est unius speciei. 

3. Praeterea, signa non diversificant speciem peccati: sive enim aliquis 
detrahat verbis vel scripto vel nutu est eadem peccati species. Sed divina- 
tiones non videntur differre nisi secundum diversa signa ex quibus accipi- 
tur prascognitio futurorum. Ergo non sunt diversse divinationis species. 

SED CONTRA est quod Isidorus enumerat diversas species divinationis. 3 

1 Psalm 39, 5 
& Isaiah 3 8, 19 



Now all divination involves the activity of demons, either because they 
are expressly invoked to disclose the future or they invade these futile 
searchings into the future in order to entangle men's minds with vain 
conceits. The Psalm speaks of this; Happy the man who turns not to idolatry 
or to those who stray after falsehood. 1 How vain it is to try to foreknow the 
future from a source which does not hold it. Clearly, then, foretelling the 
future by divination is a kind of superstition. 

Hence: I. Divination has in common with the vice of curiosity the end 
intended, namely, knowledge of what is going to happen. But it shares 
with superstition its modus operandi. 

2. This kind of forecasting the future involves the worship of demonic 
forces because of a compact with them, either tacit or expressed. 

3. The New Law of the Gospel frees man's minds from preoccupation 
with temporal matters, and establishes no institution to help us foretell 
future events with respect to them; whereas under the Old Law, which 
contained promises of earthly prosperity, there were consultations about 
the future in connection with religious matters, as we find, for instance, 
in Isaiah^ And when they say to you> Inquire of mediums and fortune-tellers^ 
who chirp andmutter, it is added by way of answer, shouldnot apeopk inquire 
of their godsy apply to the dead on behalf of the living?* The New Testament., 
however, mentions men possessed of the spirit of prophecy, who predicted 
many things about the future. 

article 3. are there various kinds of foretelling the future? 

THE THIRD POINT: 1 i. It seems that we cannot draw distinctions between 
various kinds. For where there is only one reason in sinning there are not 
various kinds of sin. But every divination contains the one reason why it is 
sin, namely some sort of compact with diabolic powers in order to find out 
the future. Therefore it cannot be divided into different sub-species. 

2. Moreover, human activities break down into groups according to 
their aim. 2 But every act of divination is aimed at forecasting the future. 
Every act, therefore, is of the same type. 

3. Moreover, different media of communication do not make for cate- 
gories of sin. For instance, whether you destroy a man's reputation by 
speech, writing, or gesture, the sin is the same. The only difference among 
divinations is that of the media used. Therefore they are not of different 

ON THE OTHER HAND we have Isidore listing several distinct kinds. 3 
*cf De Sortibus, 3 2 ia2ae. r, 3; i8 3 6 "Etymologies XX, 8. PL 82, 310-14 

4*-* 43 

SUMMA THEOLOGIA, 2a23. 95, 3 

RESPONSIO: Dicendum quod, sicut dictum est, 4 omnis divinatio utitur ad 
praecognitionem futuri eventus aliquo daemonum consilio et auxilio. Quod 
quidem vel expresse imploratur., vel prseter petitionem hominis se occulte 
dsemon ingerit ad praenuntiandum quaedam futura quae hominibus sunt 
ignota, eis autem cognita per modos de quibus in Primo dictum est. 5 
Basmones autem expresse invocati solent futura praenuntiare multipliciter. 
Quandoque quidem prsestigiosis quibusdam apparitionibus se aspectui 
et auditui hominum ingerentes ad praenuntiandum futura. Et haec species 
vocatur prastigium, ex eo quod oculi hominum prastringuntur. Quando- 
que autem per somnia. Et haec vocatur divinatio somniorum. Quandoque 
vero per mortuorum aliquomm apparitionem vel locutionem. Et haec 
species vocatur nigromantia: quia, ut Isidorus dicit, 'nigrum* grace mortuus 
'mantia? divinatio nuncupatur: quia quibusdam pr<zcantationibus 3 adhibito 
sanguine, videntur resusdtati mortui divinare et ad interrogata respondere. 6 

Quandoque vero futura praenuntiant per homines vivos : sicut in arrepti- 
tiis patet. Et haec est divinatio perpythones: et ut Isidorus dicit^ pythones 
a Python Apolline sunt dicti, qui dicebatur esse auctor divinandi? 

Quandoque vero ftitura praenuntiant per aliquas figuras vel signa quse in 
rebus inanimatis apparent. Quae quidem si appareant in aliquo corpore 
terrestri, puta in ligno vel ferro aut lapide polito, vocatur geomantia; si 
autem in aqua, hydromantia; si autem in ae're, aeromantia; si autem in igne, 
pyromantia; si autem in visceribus animalium immolatorum in aris dsemo- 
num^ vocatur ancspicium. 

Divinatio autem quae fit absque expressa daemonum invocatione in duo 
genera dividitur. Quorumprimum est cum ad praenoscendum futura aliquid 
consideramus in dispositionibus aliquarum rerum. Et si quidem aliquis 
conetur futura prasnoscere ex consideratione situs et motus siderum 3 hoc 
pertinet ad astrobgos; qui et geneatici dicuntur 3 propter natalium consider- 
ationes dierum. Si vero per motus vel voces avium 3 seu quorujncumque 
animalium, sive per sternutationes hominum, vel membrorum saltus, hoc 
pertinet generaliter ad augurium, quod dicitur a garritu avium, sicut aus- 
picium ab inspectione avium, quorum primum pertinet ad aures 3 secundum 
ad oculos; in avibus enim hujusmodi praecipue considerari solent. 

Si vero hujusmodi consideratio fiat circa verba hominum alia intentione 
dicta 3 quae quis retorquet ad futurum quod vult praenoscere, hoc vocatur 
omen, Et sicut Maximus Valerius dicit 5 ominum observatio aliquo contractu 
religioni innexa est. Quoniam nan fortuito motu, sed divina providentia 
constare creditur qua fecit: ut, Romanis deliberantibus utrumadalium locum 
migrarent, forte eo tempore centurio quidam exclamavit, * Signify statue 

4 In the preceding article 
*ia. 57, 3 



REPLY: Foretelling the future involves an attempt to acquire fore- 
knowledge by means of demonic advice and assistance. 4 This is either 
expressly sought, or it intrudes secretly in order to foretell future occur- 
rences which are unknown to men, but known by demons in a manner 
which has been explained earlier. 5 When their assistance is expressly 
sought they are wont to manifest the future in several ways. They may use 
illusory apparitions to human sight and hearing; this is called 'presti- 
giousness', because man's eyes are blindfolded, pr&striguntur. Or they may 
use dreams, and this is called divination through dreams. Or appearances 
or utterances of the dead, and this is called 'necromancy 5 , for, as Isidore 
observes, in Greek 'nekron' means dead and 'manteia' divination, because 
after certain incantations and the sprinkling of blood, the dead seem to come 
to life, and divine and answer questions* 

And sometimes the future is foretold through living men, as in the case 
of those who are possessed. This is divination by sooth-sayers; Isidore 
remarks that soothsayers are referred to as pythons from Pythius Apolb> 
who was regarded as the author of divination. 1 * 

Sometimes the future is foretold by means of figures or signs which ap- 
pear in inanimate objects; if in some earthly body such as a piece of wood, 
or iron, or polished stone, the divination is called 'geomancy', if in water 
then 'hydromancy', if in the air then 'aeromancy', if in fire, then c pyro- 
mancy*, and if in the entrails of animals sacrificed on the altars of demons, 
then 'aruspicy' or 'hepatoscopy'. 

Foretelling the future which is practised without express invocation 
of demons may be of two types. First, when with the intention of discern- 
ing the future observations are taken of various phenomena. If someone 
does this with the position and movements of the stars, he is called an 
astrologer, also a 'genethliac' because they cast horoscopes from people's 

If with the flights and calls of birds or of any animals, or the sneezing 
or sudden reflexes of men, this pertains in general to c augury 5 , which 
etymologically comes from the Latin for the chattering of birds, garritus 
avium, so also 'auspice' is from bird-watching, inspectio avium. The first 
is by ear, the second by eye, our two main approaches to ornithology. 

When attention is directed to the words a man utters unintentionally, 
which are twisted so as to forecast the future, this is called takingan'omen'. 
Valerius Maximus remarks that the observing of omens is tinctured with 
religion; it is believed to be based, not on a chance occurrence^ but on divine 
providence; as, for example, when the Romans were deliberating whether they 

^Etymologies xx 3 9. PL 82, 312 
7 ibid 9. PL 82, 313 


SUMMA THEOLOGIZE, 23232. 95, 3 

signum: hie of time manebimus'; quam vocem auditam pro omine acceperunt y 
transeundi consilium omittentes. 8 

Si autem considerentur aliquae dispositiones figurarum in aliquibus 
corporibus visui occurrentes 3 erit alia divinationis species. Namexlineamen- 
tis manus consideratis divinatio sumpta chiromantia vocatur, quasi divinatio 
manus: chiros graece dicitur manus. Divinatio veto ex quibusdam figuris in 
spatula alicujus animalis apparentibus, spatulimantia vocatur. 

Ad secundum autem divinationis genus quae est sine expressa daemonum 
invocatione, pertinet divinatio quae fit ex consideratione eorum quae 
eveniunt ex quibusdam quae ab hominibus serio fiunt ad aliquid occultum 
inquirendum: sive per protractionem punctorum (quod pertinet ad artem 
geomantiae); sive per considerationem figurarum quae proveniunt ex 
plumbo liquefacto in aquam projecto; sive ex quibusdam cedulis, scriptis 
vel non scriptis, in occulto repositis, dum consideratur quis quam accipiat; 
vel etiam ex festucis inasqualibus propositis 3 quis majorem vel minorem 
accipiat; vel etiam ex taxillorum projectione, quis plura puncta projiciat 
vel etiam dum consideratur quid aperienti librum occurrat. Quae omnia 
sortium nomen habent. 

Sic igitur patet triplex esse divinationis genus. Quorum primum est 
per manifestam daamonum invocationem; quod pertinet ad nigromanticos. 
Secundum autem est per solam considerationem dispositions vel motus 
alterius rei: quod pertinet ad augur es. Terium est dum facimus aliquid 
ut nobis manifestetur aliquid occultum: quod pertinet ad sortes. Sub 
quolibet autem horum multa continentur, ut patet ex dictis. 

1. Ad primum ergo dicendum quod in omnibus praedictis est eadem 
ratio generalis peccandi, sed non eadem specialis. Multo enim gravius est 
daemones invocare quam aliqua facere quibus dignum sit ut se daemones 

2. Ad secundum dicendum quod cognitio futurorum vel occultorum est 
ultimus finis, ex quo sumitur generalis ratio divinationis. Distinguuntur 
autem diverse species secundum propria objecta sive materias: prout 
scilicet in diversis rebus occultorum cognitio consideratur. 

3. Ad tertium dicendum quod res quas divinantes attendunt consider- 
antur ab eis non sicut signa quibus exprimant quod jam sciunt, sicut accidit 
in detractione, sed sicut principia cognoscendi. Manifestum est autem 
quod diversitas principiorum diversificat speciem, etiam in scientiis 

Valerius Maximus, De Dictis Factisgue Memordbilibus I, 5 



should move their position., a centurion happened to exclaim at the time, 
'standard-bearer, fix the banner, we had best stand here'; and hearing these 
words they took them as an omen and abandoned their intention of pushing on? 

Fortune-telling based on visible configurations in different parts of the 
body will be of another type. Palm-reading is referred to as 'palmistry' 
or 'chiromancy', from cheir, the Greek for hand. Divination from con- 
figurations found in the shoulder-blades of an animal is called 'spatula- 

In the general class of divination carried on without express invocation 
of demons, there is one kind based on the study of actions men seriously 
perform in research of the occult. This may be done by drawing lots, which 
is called 'geomancy', or by observing the shapes when molten lead is 
poured into water, or by noting which of several sheets of paper, whether 
written on or blank, a person happens to select, or by holding out several 
unequal sticks and noticing who takes the longest or the shortest, or by 
throwing dice and watching who scores highest, or by observing what 
catches the eye when one opens a book. All of these can be referred to as 

Accordingly three main types of divination appear. In the first the 
demonic is openly invoked; this comes into the category of 'necromancy'. 
The second is merely observing the position and movement of some other 
being; this comes into the category of 'augury*. The third consists in 
doing something in order to discover the occult; and this comes into the 
category of 'sorcery'. Within each of these categories there are several 
variations, as we have shown. 

Hence: I. There is the same general characteristic of sin in all the 
types of divination mentioned above, but the special characteristic varies. 
It is more serious, for example, to summon demonic powers directly than 
to lay yourself open to them. 

2. The knowledge of the future and the occult is the main aim of divin- 
ation, and from this its general characteristic is determined. However, it 
is of various kinds, differentiated by their immediate objectives or fields 
they work, according as the occult is sought in different things. 

3. The objects taken by those who practise divination are scrutinized 
not as signs of what they already know, as is the case in detraction, but as 
sources of knowledge. Clearly, then, the diversity of these sources will 
diversify the categories, as in the field of the demonstrative sciences. 



aniculus 4. utntm divinatio qua fit per invocationes daemonum sit illicita 

AD QUARTUM sic proceditur. 1 I. Videtur quod divinatio quae fit per invo- 
cationes daemonum non sit illicita. Christus enim nihil illicitum com- 
misit: secundum illud I Pet., Qui peccatum non fecit* Sed Dominus a 
daemone interrogavit, Quod tibi nomen est? qui respondit, Legio, multi 
enim sumus, ut habetur Marc? Ergo videtur quod liceat a daemonibus 
aliquid occultum interrogare. 

2. Praeterea, sanctorum animae non favent illicite interrogantibus. Sed 
Sauli interroganti de eventu futuri belli a muliere habente spiritum pyth- 
onis, apparuit Samuel, et ei futurum eventum praedixit: ut legitur I Reg* 
Ergo divinatio quae fit per interrogationem a daemonibus non est illicita. 

3. Praeterea, licitum esse videtur veritatem ab aliquo sciente inquirere 
quam utile est scire. Sed quandoque utile est scire aliqua occulta quae per 
daemones sciri possunt: sicut apparet in inventione furtorum. Ergo divin- 
atio quae fit per invocationem dsemonum non est illicita. 

SED CONTRA est quod dicitur Deut., Non inveniatur in te qui ariolos scisci- 
tetur, neque pyihones consulate 

KESPONSIO: Dicendum quod omnis divinatio quae fit per invocationes 
daemonum est illicita, dupHci ratione. 

Quarum prima sumitur ex parte principii divinationis, quod scilicet est 
pactum expresse cum daemone initum per ipsam daemonis invocationem. 
Et hoc est omnino illicitum. Unde contra quosdam dicitur Isa. y Dixistis> 
Percussimus fcedus cum morte> et cum inferno fecimus pactum* Et adhuc 
gravius esset si sacrificium vel reverentia daemoni invocato exhiberetur. 

Secunda ratio sumitur ex parte futuri eventus. Daemon enim, quiintendit 
perditionem hominum, ex hujusmodi suis responsis^ etiam si aliquando 
vera dicat, intendit homines assuefacere ad hoc quod ei credatur: et sic 
intendit perducere in aliquid quod sit saluti humanae nocivum. Unde 
Athanasius, exponens id quod habetur Luc., Increpavit ilium, dicens> 
Qbmutesce? dicitiQuamvis verafateretur dtemon, compescebat tamen Christus 
ejus sermonem> ne simul cum veritate etiam suam iniquitatem promulget. Ut 
nos etiam assuefaciet ne cur emus de talibus> etsivera loqui videantur: nefas 
enim est ut, cum adsit nobis Scriptura divina, a diabolo instruamur? 

i. Ad primum ergo dicendum quod, sicut Beda ditit, non velut inscius 
Dominus inquirit, sed wr, confessa peste quam tolerabat, virtus curantis gratior 
emkaret? Aliud autem est quaerere aliquid a daemone sponte occurrente, 

1 cf n Sent. 7, 3, 2; In Isaiam 3 2 i Peter 2, 22 *Mark 5, 9 4 i Kings 28, 8 
^Deuteronomy 18, 10-11 *I$aiah 283 15 ''Luke 4, 35 



article 4. is divination done through the invocation of diabolic powers unlawful? 

THE FOURTH POINT: 1 1. It seems that foretelling the future by invoking the 
assistance of demonic powers is not wrong. Certainly Christ did nothing 
wrong; thus Peter, Who did no sin? And yet, Christ asked a devil. What 
is thy^ name? And he answered. My name is Legion Jor we are many? There- 
fore it seems lawful to seek secret information from demonic powers. 

2. Moreover, the souls of the saints would not encourage what was 
sinful. Yet when King Saul asked a witch about the outcome of a future 
war, Samuel appeared and predicted it. 4 And so to seek to know the future 
through the assistance of diabolic powers is not wrong. 

3. Moreover, it would seem legitimate to try to learn something from 
anyone who knows the answer, if this knowledge is useful. Now it certainly 
would be useful to know certain facts which the demonic powers could 
tell us, for instance, who committed a certain crime. Consequently, fore- 
telling the future through the invocation of diabolic powers is not wicked. 

ON THE OTHER HAND, Deuteronomy says. Let there not be found among you 
anyone who consults spirits or seeks oracles. 5 

REPLY: Every attempt at foretelling the future by calling upon the assist- 
ance of demonic powers is wrong, and for two reasons. 

First, from the origin of divination. This is an express compact with 
diabolic powers entered into by asking their help. It is completely for- 
bidden. Isaiah says, We have made a covenant with death, and with the 
nether world we have made a pact* And still more grievous would it be if 
sacrifice were offered or paid to the demonic powers invoked. 

Secondly, it is wrong by the result. For the demon, who intends a man's 
damnation, tries by his replies, even if they are true, to get a man into trust- 
ing him, and then leads him on toward spiritual loss. Athanasius, comment- 
ing on the passage in Luke, Jesus rebuked him, saying, 'Hold thy peace,* 1 * 
says, Although the demon confessed the truth, Christ put a stop to his speech, 
lest along with the truth he should publish his wickedness, and accustom us to 
care little for that so long as he seems to speak the truth. While we have the 
divine Scriptures it is wicked to learn from the deviL 8 

Hence: I. We agree with the Venerable Bede, Our Lord inquired, not 
out of ignorance, but in order that the sickness which he permitted should 
be made known, and the power of the healer shine out more graciously? It 

*Prima oratio contra Arianos. PG 26, 13. The original wording contains the thought 

but is slightly different 

9 In Evangelium Luca m 3 8. PL 92^ 438. The passage in Luke is 8, 30 



quod quandoque licet propter utilitatem aliorum, maxime quando virtute 
divina potest compelli ad vera dicendum,, et aliud est daemonem invocare ad 
cognitionem occultorum acquirendum ab ipso. 

2. Ad secundum dicendum quod,sicut Augustinusdicit, nonest absurdum 
credere aliqua dispensatione permissum fuisse ut y non dominante arte magica 
vel potentta, sed dispensatione ocadta, qua pythonissam et Saulem latebat, se 
ostenderet spiritus justi aspectibus regis s divina eum sententia percussurus. Vel> 
non vere spiritus Samuelis a requie sua excitatus est, sed aliquod phantasma 
etillusio imaginaria, diabolimachinationibusfacta: quam Scriptura Samuelem 
appellat., sicut solent imagines rerum suarum nominibus appellant 

3. Ad tertium dicendum quod nulla utilitas temporalis potest comparari 
detrimento spiritualis salutis, quod imminet ex inquisitione occultorum 
per dsemonum invocationem. 

articulus 5. utrum divinatio qua fit per astra sit illidta 

AD QUINTUM sic proceditur: 1 I. Videtur quod divinatio quas fit per astra 
non sit illicita. Licitum enim est ex consideration causarum praenuntiare 
effectus, sicut medici ex dispositione segritudinis praenuntiant mortem. 
Sed corpora cselestia sunt causa eorum quse fiunt in hoc mundo : ut etiam 
Dionysius dicit. 2 Ergo divinatio quae fit per astra non est illicita. 

2. Praeterea, scientia humana ex experimentis originem sumit: ut patet 
per Philosophum. 3 Sed per multa experimenta aliqui compererunt ex 
consideratione siderum aliqua futura posse praenosci. Ergo non Videtur esse 
illicitum tali divinatione uti. 

3. Praeterea, divinatio dicitur esse illicita inquantum innititur pacto cum 
daemonibus inito. Sed hoc non fit in divinatione qua* fit per astra, sed 
solum consideratur dispositio creaturarum Dei. Ergo videtur quod hujus- 
modi divinatio non sit illicita. 

SED CONTRA est quod Augustinus dicit, libs planetarios quos mathematicos 
vacant, consulere non desistebam; quod quasi nullum esset eis sacrificium, et 
nulla preces ad aliquem spiritum ob divinationem dirigerentur. Quod tamen 
Christiana et vera pietas expellit et damnat^ 

RESPONSIO: Dicendum quod, sicut dictum est, 5 divinationi quse ex opinione 
falsa vel vana procedit, ingerit se operatio daemonis, ut hominum animos 
implicet vanitati aut faisitati. Vana autem aut falsa opinione utitur si quis 

IQ De divers, qu&st ad Simplidwn n, 3. PL 40, 142 

2 cf ia2ae. 9, 5 ad 3. n Sent. 15, i, 2 ad 4. CG m 5 154. In Gal. 4, Lect. 5. De Sortibus 


*De Divinis Nominibus 4. PG 3 3 697, 700. St Thomas led. 4 



is one thing to question a demonic power which appears of its own accord, 
and it is lawful to do so at times for the good of others, especially when 
the questioner is sure that God's power will compel the demon to speak 
the truth. It is quite another thing to invoke a demon in order to gain from 
him knowledge of things hidden from us. 

2. Augustine says. It is not absurd to believe that the spirit of the just man, 
about to inflict divine sentence on the king, zoos permitted to appear, not by 
the sway of magic an and power, but by some hidden dispensation, unknown 
to both the witch and to Saul Or else that the spirit of Samuel was not aroused 
in reality from its repose, and it was some phantom or mock apparition formed 
by the devil's machinations, and styled by Scripture under the name of Samuel, 
just as the images of things are wont to be called by the names of those things. 10 

3. No temporal utility can be compared with the harm to spiritual health 
that results from research into the occult by summoning demons. 

article 5. is divination by the stars unlawful? 

THE FIFTH POINT: 1 i. It seems that divination by the stars is not wrong. 
To determine future events by an examination of their causes is legitimate, 
for instance, a physician foretells death by his diagnosis of a disease. But the 
heavenly bodies are causes of events in the world, as even Dionysius ad- 
mits. 2 Therefore, foretelling the future through the stars is not wrong. 

2. Moreover, human knowledge begins by experimentation, according 
to Aristotle. 3 But after a great deal of experimentation involving astron- 
omical readings, men have discovered that certain future events can be 
predicted from the stars. Therefore, it seems legitimate. 

3. Moreover, fortune-telling is declared unlawful in that it is based on a 
compact entered into with diabolic powers. But this can be avoided when 
we use the stars, in fact, all that is then considered are patterns in God's 
creation. Consequently it seems that this kind of foretelling of the future 
can be legitimate. 

ON THE OTHER HAND, we have Augustine saying, / never hesitated to consult 
those astrologers who were mathematicians, because they required no sacrifice 
or prayers to spirits, which authentic Christian piety rejects and condemns, 
for their forecasts ^ 

REPLY: As we have already remarked, 5 demonic powers thrust themselves 
into men's useless and futile quest for knowledge of the future so that our 
souls may become mazed in vanity and falsehood. For this is what happens 

^Metaphysics I, I. 98rai-2 ^Confessions m, 4. PL 32, 694 *2a2a. 95, 1 ad 2 



ex consideratione stellarum futura velit prascognoscere quae per ea prae- 
cognosci non possunt. Est igitur considerandum quid per cadestium cor- 
porum inspectionem de futuris possit praenosci. Et de liis quidem quae 
ex necessitate eveniunt, manifestum est quod per considerationem stellarum 
possunt prsenosci: sicut astrologi praenuntiant eclipses futuras. Circa 
prsecognitionem vero futurorum eventuum ex consideratione stellarum, 
diversi diversa dixerunt. 

Fuerunt enim qui dicerent quod stellae significant potius quam faciant 
ea quae ex earum consideratione praenuntiantur. Sed hoc irrationabiliter 
dititur. Omne enim corporalesignumvel est eflfectus'ejus cujus estsignum, 
sicut fumus significat ignem, a quo causatur, vel procedit ab eadem causa, 
et sic, dum significat causam, per consequens significat effectum, sicut 
iris quandoque significat serenitatem, inquantum causa ejus est causa 
serenitatis. Non autem potest dici quod dispositiones cadestium corporum 
et motus sint effectus futurorum eventuum. Nee iterum possunt reduci in 
aliquam superiorem causam communem quse sit corporalis. Possunt autem 
reduci in unam causam communem quae est providentia divina, sed alia 
ratione disponuntur a divina providentia motus et situs cadestium corpor- 
um, et alia ratione eventus contingentium futurorum; quia ilia disponuntur 
secundum rationem necessitatis, ut semper eodem modo proveniant; haec 
autem secundum rationem contingentiae 3 ut variabiliter contingant. 

Unde non potest esse quod ex inspectione siderum accipiatur prae- 
cognitio futurorum nisi sicut ex causis praecognoscuntur efiectus. Duplices 
autem efiectus subtrahuntur causalitati cadestium corporum. Primo quidem a 
omnes efiectus per accidens contingentes^ sive in rebus humanis sive in 
rebus naturalibus. Quia, ut probatur in Meta.f ens per accidens non habet 
causam: et praetipue naturalem, cujusmodi est virtus cadestium corporum. 
Quia quod per accidens fit neque est ens proprie neque unum: sicut quod, 
lapide cadente a fiat terraemotus, vel quod, homine fodiente sepulcrum, in- 
veniatur thesaurus ; haec enim, et hujusmodi, non sunt unum, sed simpliciter 
multa. Operatic autem natura* semper terminatur ad aliquid unum: sicut 
et procedit ab uno principio, quod est forma rei naturalis. 

Secundo autem, subtrahuntur causalitati cadestium corporum actus 
liberi arbitrii, quod estfacultas wluntatis et rationis. Intellectus enim, sive 
ratio, non est corpus nee actus organi corporei; et per consequens nee 
voluntas, quae est in ratione: ut patet per Philosophum. 7 Nullum autem 
corpus potest imprimere in rem incorpoream. Unde impossibile est quod 

^Metaphysics 6 3 3. 102yb34 7 De Anima m 3 4. 

a A middle course is adopted in this article : it allows that cosmic forces can influence 
the earth physically, and hence can influence man physiologically, but emphasizes 
the free future indeterminacy of the human will with regards to choices. To try 



to us if we try to learn from the stars future events which they cannot tell 
us. Consequently, we should consider what information about the future 
can be gained from observing stars and planets. 8 - It is evident that events 
which follow necessary physical laws can be foreknown by their means, 
for example, astronomers predict future eclipses. 

In this matter there have been different opinions. Some have said that 
the stars signify rather than cause what is going to happen in the future. 
But this is not reasonable. Every corporeal sign is either the effect of that 
which it manifests, as smoke of fire, or it comes from a cause with 
another effect in such wise that when one is signified so also is the other; 
for example, a rainbow commonly indicates fair weather in that the cause 
of the rainbow is also the cause of fair weather. We should recognize that 
the stars and their courses cannot possibly be the effects of events which 
will happen in the future. Nor is there some higher cause within the 
material universe which links them to events on earth. The only higher 
cause is divine providence, and this appoints the motions of the heavenly 
bodies and future contingent actions along different lines, since the former 
follow necessary physical laws, whereas the latter are contingent and 
variable. b 

We can safely say that there is no knowledge of the future to be had 
from the heavenly bodies except that in which effects are foreknown from 
causes. Now there are two kinds of effects which are not caused by celestial 
bodies. The first are all those which happen by accident both in the world 
of nature and in human affairs. Aristotle proves in his Metaphysics* that 
a chance event does not have one proper cause (least of all one physical 
or natural cause, such as would be the power of heavenly bodies), because 
what happens accidentally is not strictly speaking a single reality or event, 
for instance, as when a boulder falls and a landslide starts, or as when a 
man digs a grave and finds a cache; these occurrences result from several 
lines of causality, not of one. Whereas the causal operation of natural 
things always finishes at a single effect just as it starts from a single prin- 
ciple, namely the form of a natural thing. 

The second kind of event which escapes the causality of heavenly bodies 
includes acts of man's freedom, his faculty of will and reason. His mind or 
reason is not corporeal, nor is it the act of a bodily organ; consequently 
neither is his will, which is in the reason, as Aristotle shows. 7 Now, no 
corporeal being can make an impression on an incorporeal being, and so 

to discern the outcome of these free choices by physical forces is at odds with the 

analyses of the cosmos and man according to psychology and physics. 

*c la. 22, 2', 47, 2. 

c On chance see la. n6 3 1. 



corpora cadestia directe imprimant in intellectual et voluntatem: hoc enim 
esset ponere intellectum non diflFerre a sensu; quod Artistoteles, 8 imponit 
his qui dicebant quod tails voluntas est in hominibus qualem in die indudt 
Paler virorum deorumque? scilicet sol vel cadum. Unde corpora cadestia non 
possunt esse per se causa operum liberi arbitrii. Possunt tamen ad hoc 
dispositive inclinare, inquantum imprimunt in corpus humanum, et per 
consequens in vires sensitivas, quse sunt actus corporalium organorum, 
quae inclinant ad humanos actus. Quia tamen vires sensitive obediunt 
rationi, ut patet per Philosophum, in III de Anima et in I Ethic., nulla 
necessitas ex hoc libero arbitrio imponitur, sed contra inclinationem cades- 
tium corporum homo potest per rationem operari. 10 

Si quis ergo consideratione astrorum utatur ad prascognoscendos futuros 
casuales vel fortuitos eventus, aut etiam ad cognoscendum per certitudinem 
futura opera hominum, procedet hoc ex falsa et vana opinione. Et sic 
operatio daemonis se immiscet. Unde erit divinatio superstitiosa et illicita. 
Si vero aliquis utatur consideratione astrorum ad praecognoscendum futura 
quae ex cadestibus causantur corporibus, puta siccitates et pluvias et alia 
hujusmodi, non erit illicita divinatio nee superstitiosa. 

1. Et secundum hoc patet responsio ad primum. 

2. Ad secundum dicendum quod hoc quod astrologi ex consideratione 
astrorum frequenter vera praenuntiant, contingit dupliciter. Uno quidem 
modo, quia plures hominum passiones corporales sequuntur, et ideo actus 
eorum disponuntur, ut in pluribus, secundum incHnationem cselestium 
corporum: pauci autem sunt, idest soli sapientes, qui ratione hujusmodi 
incHnationes moderentur. Et ideo astrologi in multis vera prsenuntiant,, et 
praecipue in communibus eventibus, qui dependent ex multitudine. 

Alio modo 5 propter damones se immiscentes. Unde Augustinus dicit, 
Fatendum est, quando a mathematicis vera dicuntur, instinctu quodam occul- 
tissimo did, quern nesdentes humance mentes patiuntur.Quod cum ad dedpien- 
dos homines fit, spirituum immundorum et seductorum operatio est 3 quibus 
qucedam vera de temporalibus rebus nosse permittitur. Unde concludit 3 
Quapropter bono Christiana sive mathematid> sive quilibet impie divinantium^ 
et maxime dicentes vera> cavendi sunt., ne consortio dcemoniorum animam 
deceptam pacto quodam sodetatis irretiant. 11 

3. Et per hoc patet responsio ad tertium. 

quotation is from Homer^ Odyssey y 18. 135-7 
10 De Anima ni 3 II. 434*14- Nicomachean Ethics I, 13. 1102025-28 
Genesi ad litteram> 2> i% 37. PL 34, 278-9 



it is impossible for the heavenly bodies directly to make an impression on 
man's mind or his free will. To allow that they could would be to deny 
the difference between intelligence and sense. Aristotle unfavourably notes 
this opinion, 8 that the will of man is as the day which the Father of men and 
gods (i.e. the sun or the heavens) brings on. 9 

Therefore, the stars and planets and their courses cannot directly cause 
the choices of man's free will. Still, they can dispose and incline a man to 
do this rather than that, inasmuch as they make an impression on the 
human body, and consequently on the sense powers which are acts of 
bodily organs, and which give a bent to human acts. Yet, as Aristotle 
remarks, since man's sense and body obey reason, this imposes no necessity 
on man's free-will, for by his reason he can always act counter to the in- 
fluence of the stars. 10 

To conclude, if anyone attempts from the stars to foretell future con- 
tingent or chance events, or to know with certitude the future activities 
of men, he is acting under a false and groundless presupposition, and 
opening himself to the intrusion of diabolic powers. Consequently, this 
kind of fortune-telUng is superstitious and wrong. But if someone uses 
astronomic observation to forecast future events which are actually deter- 
mined by physical laws, for instance, drought and rainfall, and so forth, 
then this is neither superstitious nor sinful d 

Hence: i. The answer has appeared during the discussion. 

2. The frequent accuracy of astrologers in predicting future contingent 
events has two explanations. First, most men follow their emotions, and so 
the heavenly bodies influence them through their bodies and senses. Few 
are the wise who control themselves by the dictates of reason. This is why 
astrological forecasts often come off, especially with regard to public 
events which depend on the masses. 

Secondly, with regard to the influence of demonic powers, Augustine 
says, When astrologers predict the truth> it must be admitted that this is the 
result of an instinct lying hidden in man's mind and unknown to him. This 
happens as the result of the actions of unclean and deceiving spirits who desire 
to deceive man^for they are permitted to know certain things in temporal affairs. 
And so he concludes, A good Christian should be suspicious of astrologers and 
impious fortune-tellers^ especially those who are accurate^ lest his soul become 
the dupe of demons and by a pact of partnership he becomes enmeshed in their 

3. And through this the reply to the third objection becomes clear. 

d For the action of the heavenly bodies on terrestial things see la. 115, 3. 


SUMMA THEOLOGIZE, 2a23. 95, 6 

articulus 6. utrum divinatio qua fit per somnia sit illicita 

AD SEXTUM sic proccditur. 1 I. Videtur quod divinatio quas fit per somnia 
non sit illicita. Uti enim instructione divina non est illicitum. Sed in 
somniis homines instruuntur a Deo: dicitur enim Job> Per somnium in 
visione noctuma> quando irruit sopor super homines et dormiunt in lectulo, 
tune aperit, scilicet Deus, aures virorum, et erudiens eos instruit disciplina? 
Ergo uti divinatione quge est per somnia non est illicitum. 

2. Praeterea, illi qui interpretantur somnia proprie utuntur divinatione 
somniorum. Sed sancti viri leguntur somnia interpretari: sicut Joseph 
interpretatur somnia pincernae Pharaonis et magistri pistorum, et som- 
nium Pharaonis, 3 et Daniel interpretatus est somnium regis Babylonis. 4 
Ergo divinatio somniorum non est illicita. 

3. Prseterea, illud quod communiter homines experiuntur irrationabile 
est negare. Sed omnes experiuntur somnia habere aliquam significationem 
futurorum. Ergo vanum est negare somnia habere vim divinationis. Ergo 
licitum est eis intendere. 

SED CONTRA est quod dicitur Deut., Non inveniatur in te qui observet 
somnia. 5 

EESPONSIO: Dicendum quod, sicut dictum est, 6 divinatio qua? innititur 
falsae opinioni est superstitiosa et illicita. Ideo considerare oportet quid sit 
verum circa praecognitionem futurorum de somniis. Sunt autem somnia 
futurorum eventuum quandoque quidem causa: puta cum mens alicujus, 
sollicita ex his quae videt in somniis, inducitur ad aliquid faciendum vel 
vitandum. Quandoque vero somnia sunt signa aliquorum futurorum even- 
tuum, inquantum reducuntur in aliquam causam communem somniis et 
fiituris eventibus. Secundum hoc plurimum praecognitiones futurorum ex 
somniis fiunt. Est ergo considerandum quae sit causa somniorum; et an 
possit causa futurorum eventuum; vel ea possit cognoscere. 

Sciendum est ergo quod somniorum causa quandoque quidem est in- 
terius, quandoque autem exterius. Interior autem somniorum causa est 
duplex. Una quidem animalis: inquantum scilicet ea occurrunt hominis 
phantasiae in dormiendo circa quae ejus cogitatio et aflfectio fuit immorata 
in vigilando. Et talis causa somniorum non est causa futurorum eventuum. 
Unde hujusmodi somnia per accidens se habent ad futuros eventus: et si 
quandoque simul concurrant erit casuale. Quandoque vero causa intrinseca 

J cf CG m, 154 *Job 33, 15-16 ^Genesis, 40, 8ff; 41^ isff 

^Darnel 2 a 26ff; 4^ fff ^Deuteronomy i8 3 10 6 2a2ae. 95^ 2 ad 5 

a The article recognizes the interplay between the physical state of the body and 



article 6. is divination by dreams unlawful? 

THE SIXTH POINT: 1 I. It seems that foretelling the future by interpreting 
dreams is not unlawful. To employ knowledge bestowed by God is legit- 
imate. Now he sometimes instructs men in dreams. Thus Job: In a dream 
in a vision of the night (when deep sleep falls upon men) as they slumber in their 
beds, it is then he opens the ears of men and as a warning to them, terrifies them? 
Therefore, to interpret dreams for knowledge of the future is not wrong. 

2. Moreover, those who interpret the meaning of dreams often are 
actually forecasting the future. And we have examples of this by men who 
were pleasing to God. For instance, Joseph interpreted the dreams of 
Pharaoh's butler and of his head baker and of the Pharaoh himself; 3 
Daniel interpreted the dream of the king of Babylon. 4 Therefore, the inter- 
pretation of dreams is not wrong. 

3. Moreover what men commonly experience cannot be ignored. Yet 
all men experience at some time that their dreams have some meaning for 
the future. Therefore, it is useless to deny that dreams have some fbrce 
for discovering the future and that it is lawful to attend to them. 

ON THE OTHER HAND Deuteronomy commands, Neither let there be found 
among you anyone that observeth dreams , 5 

REPLY: As we have shown, 6 divination founded on a false opinion is super- 
stitious and unlawful. The question we have to answer is this, What is 
the truth about knowing the future from dreams ? a 

At times they are causes of future events, for instance, when a man wor- 
ries about what he dreamt, and as a result pursues or avoids this or that 
course of action. At times, too, dreams are the signs of certain future 
events, because both have the same cause. When this is the case, the future 
can often be known from dreams. What we have to investigate is the cause 
of dreams. Is this the cause also of future events, and does it know what 
will happen? 

The cause is sometimes internal and sometimes external. The internal 
cause of dreams is twofold. One is psychic: the things which have occupied 
a man's thoughts and affections while awake recur to the imagination while 
asleep. This cause of dreams is not the cause of future happenings, and so 
the relation of the dream to the happening is purely coincidental: if 
there is a connection, it will be by chance. 

dreams reflecting this state. The deeper levels of physiological influence in the 
nervous system and its relationship to the subconscious were of course then un- 



somniorum est corporalis. Nam ex interiori dispositione corporis formatur 
aliquis motus in phantasia conveniens tali dispositions sicut homini in 
quo abundant frigidi humores, occurrit in somniis quod sit in aqua vel 
nive. Et propter haec medici dicunt esse intendendum somniis ad cog- 
noscendum interiores dispositiones. 

Causa autem somniorum exterior similiter est duplex, scilicet corporalis 
et spiritualis. Corporalis quidem, inquantum imaginatio dormientis im- 
mutatur vel ab aere continenti vel ex impressione cadestis corporis, ut sic 
dormienti aliquse phantasiae appareant conformes cadestium disposition! 
Spiritualis autem causa est quandoque quidem a Deo, qui ministerio 
angelorum aliqua hominibus revelat in somniis; secundum illud Num., Si 
quisfuerit inter vos propheta Domini^ in visione apparebo ei, vel per somnium 
loquar ad ilium.' 1 Qandoque vero operatione daemonum aliquae phantasiae 
dormientibus apparent, ex quibus quandoque aliqua fiitura revelant his 
qui cum eis habent pacta illicita. 

Sic ergo dicendum quod si quis utatur somniis ad prascognoscenda futura 
secundum quod somnia procedunt ex revelatione divina, vel ex causa 
naturali, intrinseca sive extrinseca, quantum se potest virtus talis causae 
extendere, non erit illicita divinatio. Si autem hujusmodi divinatio causetur 
ex revelatione dsemonum cum quibus pacta habentur expressa, quia ad 
hoc invocantur, vel tacita, quia hujusmodi divinatio extenditur ad quod se 
non potest extendere, erit divinatio illicita et superstitiosa. 

Et per hoc patet responsio ad objecta. 

articulus 7. utrum divinatio qua est per auguria et omina et alias hujusmodi 
observations exteriorum rerum, sit illidta 

AD SEPTIMUM sic proceditur. 1 Videtur quod divinatio quae est per auguria 
et omina et alias hujusmodi observations exteriorum rerum, non sit 
illicita. Si enim esset illicita, sancti viri ea non uterentur. Sed de Joseph 
legitur quod auguriis intendebat: legitur enim Gen. quod dispensator 
Joseph dixit, Scyphus quern furati estis, ipse est in quo bibit dominusmeus, et 
in quo augurari solet? ipse postea dixit fratribus suis. An ignoratis quod non 
sit similis md in augurandi sciential Ergo uti tali divinatione non est illici- 

2. Praeterea, aves aliqua circa futures temporum eventus naturaliter 
cognoscunt: secundum illud Jer^ Milvus in ccelo cognovit tempus suum: 
turtur et hirundo et ciconia custodierunt tempus adventus sui.* Sed naturalis 
cognitio est infallibilis, et a Deo. Ergo uti cognitione avium ad praenos- 
cendum futura, quod est augurari, non videtur esse illicitum. 

''Numbers 12, 6 *c CG m, 154. In Isdam, 2. De Sortibus 5 



Sometimes the internal cause of dreams lies in our bodies. A bodily 
stimulus sets off an appropriate reaction in the imagination, for instance, a 
man whose bodily temperature is below normal might dream that he is 
immersed in water or in snow. This is why physicians tell us to take note 
of our dreams in order to know about our state of health. 

The external causes of dreams also fall into two classes, namely bodily 
and spiritual. Bodily, in that the sleeper's imagination is affected by the 
surrounding atmosphere or by impression from the heavenly bodies, with 
the result that matching images appear. 

As for the spiritual cause, dreams are sometimes from God, who reveals 
things to men in dreams through the ministry of angels; thus Numbers: 
Should there be a prophet among you, in visions will I reveal myself to him> 
in dreams will I speak to him? Sometimes the appearance of certain images 
to persons in their sleep is the work of demons, and then some of the 
future may be disclosed to those who have entered into an unlawful compact 
with them. 

To conclude, if anyone uses dreams to foretell the future when he knows 
that they come from a divine revelation, or, observing its limits, from 
some natural cause, internal or external, then this is not unlawful divin- 
ation. But if the foretelling comes from the disclosure by demons with 
whom a pact has been made, whether express, by invoking them, or tacit, 
by seeking knowledge out of human reach, then this is superstitious and 
unlawful divination. 

The three objections have been answered in the discussion. 

article 7. is divination by auguries, omens, and the like unlawful? 

THE SEVENTH POINT: 1 i. Apparently divination by auguries, omens and 
similar observations of external phenomena is not wrong. If it were, then 
holy men would not employ it. But in Genesis we read that Joseph's 
steward was to say, The cup which you have stolen is that in which my lord 
drinketh and in which he is wont to divine* And later Joseph said to his 
brothers, Know you not that there is no one like me in the science of divining?* 
2. Moreover, by instinct birds know the progression of the seasons; 
according IQ Jeremiah, Even the stork in the air knows its seasons; turtledove, 
swallow and thrush observe their time of return* Now instinctive knowledge 
is reliable and from God. Therefore, it does not seem wrong to turn to 
birds in order to discern something about the future; and this is divination 
by augury. 

^Genesis 44, 5 (Vulgate text) ^Genesis 44, 15 (Vulgate text) 

^Jeremiah 8, 7 

4 o-F 59 

SUMMA THEOLOGIZE, 2a23. 95, 7 

3. Praeterea, Gedeon in numero Sanctorum ponitur, ut patet Heb. 5 Sed 
Gedeon usus fiiit omine ex hoc quod audivit recitationem et interpretation- 
em cuiusdam somnii, ut legitur Judic? Et similiter Eliezer, servus Abraham, 
ut legitur Gen.' 1 Ergo videtur quod talis divinatio non sit illicita. 

SED CONTRA est quod dicitur Deut., Non inveniatur in te qui observet 

RESPONSIO: Dicendum quod motus vel garritus avium, vel quaecumque 
dispositiones hujusmodi in rebus considerate, manifestum est quod non 
sunt causa futurorum eventuum: unde ex eis futura cognosci non possunt 
sicut ex causis. Relinquitur ergo quod si ex eis aliqua futura cognoscantur, 
hoc erit inquantum sunt effectus aliquarum causarum quae etiam sunt 
causantes vel praecognoscentes futuros eventus. 

Causa autem operationum brutorum animalium est instinctus quidam 
quo moventur in modum naturae: non enim habent dominium sui actus. 
His autem instinctus ex duplici causa potest procedure. Uno quidem modo, 
ex causa corporali. Cum enim bruta animalia non habeant nisi animam 
sensitivam, cujus omnes potentiae sunt actus corporalium organorum, sub- 
jacet eorum anima dispositioni continentium corporum, et primordialiter 
csdestium. Et ideo nihil prohibet aliquas eorum operationes esse futurorum 
signa, inquantum conformantur dispositionibus corporum cselestium et 
aeris continentis, ex qua proveniunt aliqui futuri eventus. 

In hoc tamen duo considerari oportet. Primum quidem, ut hujusmodi 
operationes non extendantur nisi ad praecognoscenda futura quae causantur 
per motus caelestium corporum, ut supra dictum est. 9 Secundo, ut non 
extendantur nisi ad ea quae aliqualiter possunt ad hujusmodi animalia 
pertinere. Consequuntur enim per caelestia corpora cognitionem quamdam 
naturalem et instinctum ad ea quse eorum vitse sunt necessaria: sicut sunt 
immutationes quae fiunt per pluvias et ventos, et alia hujusmodi. 

Alio modo instinctus hujusmodi causantur ex causa spirituali. Scilicet 
vel ex Deo : ut patet in columba super Christum descendente, 10 et in corvo 
qui pavit Eliam, 11 et in cete qui absorbuit et ejecit Jonam. 12 Vel etiam ex 
daemonibus, qui utuntur hujusmodi operationibus brutorum animalium 
ad implicandas animas vanis opinionibus. 

Et eadem ratio videtur esse de omnibus aliis hujusmodi, praeterquam de 
ominibus. Quk verba humana, quae accipiuntur pro omine, non subduntur 
dispositioni stellarum. Disponuntur tamen secundum divinam providen- 
tiam j et quandoque secundum daemonum operationem. 

^Hebrews II, 32 ^Judges 7, 15 'Genesis 24, 13-14 ^Deuteronomy 18, 10 
9 In the preceding two articles 



3. In addition, Gideon is regarded as a saint. 5 And he made use of an 
omen when he listened to the description and interpretation of a dream.* 
And Eliezer, Abraham's servant, did the same. 7 So it seems that such divin- 
ation is not unlawful. 

ON THE OTHER HAND, in Deuteronomy we read. Let there not be found among 
you anyone who seeks oracles. 8 

REPLY: The flight and calls of birds, or any other phenomena of this sort, 
are manifestly not the causes of future events, and so these cannot be pre- 
dicted from them as from their causes. If they tell us anything about the 
future it will be because the causes from which they come are also the 
causes of the future events or are cognizant of them. 

The cause of the actions of brute fl.nj.mals is a sort of instinct which 
prompts them naturally; they are not masters of their actions. 3 - This 
instinct may proceed from a twofold cause. In the first place, from a bodily 
cause; the instinctual response may be due to bodily sensation. Since brute 
animals have only a sensitive soul, of which all the powers are organic, 
as we have seen, 9 they are subject to bodies in their environment and deeply 
so to the heavenly bodies. So nothing prevents some of their actions 
from being signs of the future when they respond to the dispositions of 
heavenly bodies and of the atmosphere to which some future events are 

Two points are to be kept in mind; first, predictions about future events 
should extend only to occurrences which actually are influenced by the 
heavenly bodies, as we have already mentioned; 9 secondly, predictions 
should extend only to matters which in some way relate to the brute 
animals under consideration. They obtain from the skies a natural and 
instinctual knowledge necessary for their survival, for example about 
changes brought about by rain and wind and so forth. 

Secondly, their instinctual response may have a spiritual cause. It may 
come from God, as in the case of the dove that descended upon Christ, 10 
or the raven that fed Elijah, 11 or the whale that swallowed and vomited 
Jonah. 12 Or it may be produced by demons, who make use of the actions 
of brute animals in order to confuse men with futile conceits. 

The same reason seems to apply to all suchlike things; except omens, 
because human words which are taken for them are not subject to the 
arrangement of the stars. They are ordered according to divine Providence, 
though sometimes according to the influence of the demonic. 

^Matthew 3, 16; Mark I, 10; Luke 3, 22 "m Kings ij> 4 "jbnofc 2, 1 
a cf la. 83 3 I & 2. ia2se. i, 2; 6 3 2 


SUMMA THEOLOGIZE,, 2a23S. 95> 8 

Sic igitur dicendum quod omnis hujusmodi divinatio, si extendatur ultra 
id ad quod potest pertingere secundum ordinem naturse vel divinse pro- 
videntiae, est superstitiosa et illicita. 

1. Ad primum ergo dicendum quod hoc quod Joseph dixit, non esse 
aliquem sibi similem in scientia augurandi, secundum Augustinum joco 
dixit, non serio, referens forte hoc ad id quod vulgus de eo opinabatur. 13 
Et sic etiam dispensator ejus locutus est. 

2. Ad secundum dicendum quod ilia auctoritas loquitur de cognitione 
avium respectu eorum quae ad eas pertinent. Et ad hsec praecognoscenda 
considerare earum voces et motus non est illicitum: puta si quis ex hoc 
quod cornicula frequenter crocitat praedicat pluviam cito esse futuram. 

3. Ad tertium dicendum quod Gedeon observavit recitationem et ex- 
positionem somnii accipiens ea pro online, quasi ordinata ad sui instruc- 
tionem a divina providentia. Et similiter Eliezer attendit verba puellae, 
oratione prsemissa ad Deum. 

aniculus 8. utrum divinatio sortium sit illicita 

AD OCTAVUM sic procedituT. 1 I. Videtur quod divinatio sortium non sit 
illicita. Quia super illud Psalm, In manibus tuts sortes mece? dicit Glossa 
Augustini, Sors non est aliquid mali, sed res, in humana dubitatione, divinam 
indicans voluntatem. z 

2. Prseterea, ea quse a sanctis in Scripturis observatalegunturnonviden- 
tur esse illicita. Sed sancti viri, tarn in veteri quam in novo Testamento, 
inveniuntur sortibus usi esse. Legitur enim, quod Josue, ex prsecepto 
Domini, judicio sortium punivit Achar, qui de anathemate surripuerat. 4 
Saul etiam sorte deprehendit filium suum Jonatham mel comedisse, ut 
habetur I Reg. 5 Jonas etiam, a facie Domini fugiens, sorte deprehensus 3 est 
in mare dejectus, ut legitur Jon&. B Zacharias etiam sorte exiit ut incensum 
poneret, ut legitur Luc? Matthias etiam est sorte ab Apostolis in apostola- 
tum electus, ut legitur Act* Ergo videtur quod divinatio sortium non sit 

3. Praeterea, pugna pugilum quae monomachia dicitur, idest singularis 
concertatio, et judicia ignis et aquae, quae dicuntur vulgaria> videntur ad 
sortes pertinere: cum per hujusmodi aliqua exquirantur occulta. Sed 
hujusmodi non videntur esse illicita: quia et David legitur cum Philis- 
thaeo singulare iniisse certamen, ut legitur I Reg? Ergo videtur quod divin- 
atio sortium non sit illicita. 

15 Questiones in libra Genesis I, 145. PL 34^ 597 
kf CG m> 154. Quo dl. XH, 22, 2. 
*Psalm 30; 16 



So then we should conclude that all such divinations are superstitious 
and unlawful when they go beyond the limits set by the order of nature 
and divine Providence. 

^ i. ^ According to Augustine, when Joseph said that there was no one like 
him in the art of divining, he was speaking in jest, referring perhaps to the 
vulgar opinion of him. And his steward spoke in the same fashion. 13 

2. The authoritative text of Scripture, which is quoted, refers to the 
knowledge that birds have about matters which affect them. To find out 
about them it is not wrong to study the calls and flights of birds; for 
example, the repeated cawings of crows may indicate an impending ram 

3. Gideon listened to the description and interpretation of a dream, 
regarding it as an omen, but as ordered by divine Providence for his 
instruction. In the same way Eleazar paid special attention to the words 
of the young woman after having first prayed to God. 

article 8. is divination by casting lots wrong? 

THE EIGHTH POINT. 1 1. Apparently divination by drawing lots is not wrong. 
The Gloss, from Augustine on the verse in the Psalms, In your hands is 
my destiny^ maintains that, It is not wrong to cast lots, for it is a means of 
ascertaining the divine will in human doubt? 

2. There is apparently nothing unlawful in observances which holy 
men in Scripture are said to have practised. In both the Old and New 
Testaments we find accounts of their casting lots. The story is told of 
Joshua who at the Lord's command pronounced sentence by lot on Achar 
who had stolen what was anathema. 4 Saul, too, by means of a lot detected 
that his son Jonathan had eaten honey. 5 Jonah, fleeing from the face of 
the Lord, was discovered and thrown into the sea. 6 Zachary was chosen 
by lot to offer incense. 7 Matthias was chosen for apostleship by the other 
apostles who cast lots. 8 And so it would seem that divination by casting 
lots is not wrong. 

3. Moreover, single combat and ordeal by fire and water, which are 
methods of trial, apparently come under the casting of lots, because they 
seek to bring something hidden to light. They do not seem to be unlawful; 
David, for instance, engaged in single combat with the Philistine. 9 And 
so divination by casting lots is not wrong. 

*Glossa Ordinaria. PL 113, 885 

^Joshua j> I4ff 5 I Kings 14, 58ff 

tjonah I, yff 7 Luke I, 9 

*Acts i, 26 9 i Kings 17, 32ff 

STJMMA THEOLOGI.&, 23232. 95, 8 

SED CONTRA est quod in Decretis dicitur, Sortes quibus cuncta vos vestris 
discriminatis provinciis, quas Patres damnaverunt, nihil aliud quam divina- 
tiones et malefida decernimus. Qamobrem volumus omnino illas damnari, 
el ultra inter Christianas nolumus nominari: et ne exerceantur, anathematis 
inter dicto prohibemus. 10 

RESPONSIO: Dicendum quod, sicut supra dictum est, 11 sortes proprie 
dicuntur cum aliquid fit ut, ejus eventu considerate, aliquid occultum in- 
notescat. Et si quidem quseratur judicio sortium quid cui sit exhibendum, 
sive illud sit res possessa, sive sit honor seu dignitas, seu poena, aut actio 
aliqua, vocatur sors divisoria. Si autem inquiratur quid agere oporteat, 
vocatur sors consultoria. Si vero quaeratur quid sit futurum, vocatur sors 

Actus autem hominum, qui requiruntur ad sortes, non subduntur dis- 
positioni stellarum, nee etiam eventus ipsorum. Unde si quis ea inten- 
tione sortibus utatur quasi hujusmodi actus humani, qui requiruntur ad 
sortes, secundum dispositionem stellarum sortiantur effectum, vana et 
falsa est opinio, et per consequens non carens daemonum ingestione. Ex 
quo talis divinatio erit superstitiosa et illicita. 

Hac autem causa remota, necesse est quod sortialium actuum expectetur 
eventus vel ex fortuna, vel ex aliqua spirituali causa dirigente. Et si quidem 
ex fortuna, quod locum habere potest solum in divisoria sorte, non videtur 
habere nisi forte vitium vanitatis : sicut si aliqui non valentes aliquid con- 
corditer dividere, velint sortibus ad divisionem uti, quasi fortunaa exponen- 
tes quis quam pattern accipiat. 

Si vero ex spirituali causa expectetur sortium judicium, quandoque 
quidem expectatur ex da^monibus: sicut legitur Ezech.^ quod rex Baby- 
lonis stetit in bivio, in capite duarum viarum, commiscens sagittas: interrogawt 
idola, exta consuluit. Et tales sortes sunt illicitae, et secundum canones 

Quandoque vero expectatur a Deo: secundum illud Pr0z>., 13 Sortes 
mittuntur in sinum, sed a Domino temperantur. Et talis sors secundum se non 
est malum, ut Augustinus dicit. 14 Potest tamen in hoc quadrupliciter 
peccatum incidere. Primo quidem, si absque ulla necessitate ad sortes 
recurratur: hoc enim videtur ad Dei tentationem pertinere. Unde Ambro- 
sius dicit, super Lucam, Qui sorte eligitur, humano judicio non comprehendi- 
tur. 15 

Secundo, si quis, etiam in necessitate, absque reverentia sortibus utatur. 

l Decretum> n, 26 3 5, can. 7, ed cit, I 3 464 

11 2a2ae. 95, 3 ^Ezekiel 20, 21 ^Proverbs 16, 33 



ON THE OTHER HAND the Decretals lay down: the casting of lots in order to 
make up your mind in your undertakings, which the Fathers have condemned., 
is nothing but divination and witchcraft. For which reason we will them to be 
condemned altogether and not even to be mentioned among Christians, and 
we forbid the practice under pain of excommunication. 

REPLY: As we have mentioned/ 1 sorcery, or divination by lots, consists, 
properly speaking, in doing something, that by carefully observing the 
result we can come to know what was hidden. If by casting lots one seeks 
to know what is to be given and to whom, whether this is a possession, 
an honour or title, or a fine or some action or other, it is termed a 'sortilege 
of allotment'. If one seeks to find out what ought to be done, it is termed 
a 'sortilege of consultation'. If one seeks to find out what is going to happen 
in the future, it is termed a 'sortilege of divination 5 . 

Now the actions of men required for this, and their results, are not 
subject to the dispositions of the stars. If one thought they were, his 
opinion would be worthless and false; he would be open to interference by 
the demonic, and his divination would be superstitious and wrong. 

This type apart, the results of casting lots must needs be ascribed either 
to chance or to some directing spiritual influence. If to chance, and this 
takes place only in the 'sortilege of allotment', it does not seem to imply 
any vice other than vanity. This is the case when persons who cannot agree 
on how to divide something amicably cast lots to determine how to divide 
it, and leave to chance what portion each will receive. 

If, however, the results of sorcery are ascribed to a spiritual cause 3 then 
frequently the demonic may be expected. In EzekieP-* we read that . . . at 
the fork where the two roads divide, stands the king of Babylon, divining; he 
has shaken the arrows, inquired of the teraphim, inspected the liver. This 
kind of sorcery is wrong and forbidden by the canons. 

At times, however, this decision is left to God, according to Proverbs,^ 
When the lot is cast into the lap, its decision depends entirely on the Lord. 
Casting of lots of this type is not in itself evil, as Augustine declares. 14 
There are, however, four ways in which someone may fall into sin here. 
The first is when without any necessity recourse is had to the casting of 
lots, for this would seem to be tantamount to tempting God. And so 
Ambrose commenting on Luke says, A person who is chosen by lot is not 
bound by the judgment of men. 16 

Secondly, when granted the necessity, recourse is had to the casting of 

^Enarratio II in Ps. 30, 2 3 13. PL 36, 246 

^Commentarium super Lucam> I, 22. PL 15, 1542. The passage is Luke 1 3 8 



Unde, super Act. Apost.>dicit Beda, Si qui, necessitate aliqua compulsi, Deum 
putant sortibus> exemplo Apostolorum, esse consulendum 3 videant hoc ipsos 
Apostolos non nisi collecto fratrum coetu, etprecibus ad Deumfusis, egisse. 16 

Tertio, si divina oracula ad terrena negotia convertantur. Unde Augus- 
tinus dicit: His qui de paginis evangelicis sortes legunt^ etsi optandum sit ut 
id potius faciant quam ad dcemonia consulenda concurrant^ tamen ista mihi 
displicet consuetudo, ad negotia sceculdria et advitce hufus vanitatem divina 
oracula velle converter e. 17 

Quarto, si in electionibus ecclesiasticis, quse ex Spiritus Sancti inspi- 
ratione fieri debent, aliqui sortibus utantur. Unde, sicut Beda dicit, super 
Act. Apost., Matthias, ante Pentecosten ordinatus, sorte quceritur, quia 
scilicet nondum erat plenitude Spiritus Sancti in Ecclesia effusa, septem 
autem diaconi postea non sorte, sed electione disdpulorum sunt ordinati. 18 
Secus autem est in temporalibus dignitatibus, quse ad terrena dispon- 
enda ordinantur; in quarum electione plerumque homines sortibus utuntur, 
sicut et in temporalium rerum divisione. 

Si vero necessitas immineat, licitum est, cum debita reverentia, sortibus 
divinum judicium implorare. Unde Augustinus dicit: Si inter Dei ministros 
sit disceptatio qui eorum persecutions tempore maneant, nefuga omnium, et 
qui eorum fugiant) ne morte omnium deseratur ecclesia: si h&c disceptatio 
aliter non potuerit terminari, quantum mihi videtur, qui maneant et quifugiant 
sorte legendi sunt. 19 Et dicit, Si tibi abundaret aliquid, quod oporteret dari ei 
qui non haberet, nee duobus dari potuisset; si tibi occurrerent duo., quorum 
neuter alium vel indigentia vel erga te aliqua necessitate superaret; nihil 
justius faceres quam ut sorte legeres cui dandum esset quod dari utrique non 

i. & 2. Et per hoc patet responsio ad primum et secundum. 

3. Ad tertium dicendum quod judicium ferri candentis vel aquae 
ferventis ordinatur quidem ad alicujus peccati occulti inquisitionem per 
aliquid quod ab homine fit, et in hoc convenit cum sortibus : inquantum 
tamen expectatur aliquis miraculosus effectus a Deo, excedit communem 
sortium rationem. Unde hujusmodi judicium illicitum redditur: turn 
quia ordinatur ad judicandum occulta, quae divino judicio reservantur ; turn 
etiam quia hujusmodi judicium non est auctoritate divina sancitum. LFnde 
in decreto Stephani Papae dicitur, Ferri candentis vel aquce ferventis examin- 
atione confessionem extorqueri a quolibet, sacri non censent canones: et quod 

IB Expositio super Actus Apostolonm. PL 92, 945 
^Epistola LV. PL 33, 222 
18 Expositio super Actus Apostolorum, loc cit 
Epistola CCXXVIIL PL 33, 1018 



lots without reverence. In commenting on the Acts, Bede says, If anyone, 
compelled by necessity, thinks that he should follow the example of the Apostles 
and consult God by casting lots, let him take note that they did not do so until 
they had called the community together and off ered prayers to God. 

Thirdly, when the divine oracles are misapplied to earthly business. 
Augustine speaks of those who tell fortunes from the pages of the Gospel, 
though it is preferable for them to do this than to have recourse to the dia- 
bolical, nevertheless, yet this practice displeases me, that anyone should wish 
to apply divine oracles to mundane business or to the vanity of this life 

Fourthly, the resort to casting lots in elections in the Church which 
should be carried out under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Bede, 
commenting on Acts, writes, Before Pentecost the election of Matthias was 
decided by lot, because at that time the fullness of the Holy Spirit had not 
poured into the Church, but later seven deacons were chosen, not by lot, but 
by the election of the assembly}* Temporal dignities, ordained for the 
disposal of earthly matters, are, however, in a different case: it is not 
uncommon for men to have recourse to lots in such appointments, as in 
the division of property. 

In urgent necessity it is lawful, provided due reverence be observed, 
to call upon God for a judgment by casting lots. Augustine says, If during 
a time of persecution the ministers of God are unable to agree as to which of 
them is to stay at his post, lest all should flee, and which of them is to flee, 
lest all die and the Church be left forsaken, then if there is no other way to 
settle the issue, as far as I can determine, those who are to stay behind and 
those who are to flee must be chosen by /or.' 19 Elsewhere he says, If you had 
an abundance of something which you felt obliged to give to someone who 
had it not, and which cannot be given to two, and if two came to you, neither 
of whom held precedence over the other either in need or any claim on you, 
you could do nothing more just than decide by lot to which one you should give 
what you were unable to give to both.* 

i. & 2. The first two objections are answered in the discussion. 

3. Trial by hot iron or boiling water is intended to assist the investi- 
gation of someone's hidden crime, by means of something done by a man, 
and in this it agrees with the casting of lots. But to the extent that a 
miraculous outcome is expected from God, it goes beyond its ordinary 
meaning. So a trial of this sort is rendered unlawful, first, because it 
attempts to pass judgment on secret matters which are reserved to divine 
judgment, and secondly, because trials of this type are not sanctioned by 
divine authority. A decree of Pope Stephen declares, The sacred canons 
do not approve of extorting a confession from someone by means of trial by hot 

2Q De doctrina Christiana I, 28. PL 34, 30 

SUMMA THEOLOGIZE, 2a23. 95, 8 

sanctorum Patrum documento sandtum non est, superstitiosa adinventione 
non est prcesumendum. Spontanea enim confessiow vel testium approbatione 
publicata delicta, habito prce oculis Dei timore y concessa sunt nostro regimini 
judicare. Occulta vero el incognita illi sunt relinquenda qui 'solus novit corda 
filiorum hominurrf^ Et eadem ratio videtur esse de lege duellonim: nisi 
quod plus accedit ad connnunem rationem sortium, inquantum non ex- 
pectatur ibi miraculosus effectus; nisi forte quando pugiles sunt valde 
impares virtute vel arte. 

zl Decretum 3 II, 2, 5^ can. 201; ed cit a I, 463. cf sa. 8o 3 6 ad 3 



iron or boiling water, and no one must presume., in the manner of a superstitious 
invocation., to practise what is not sanctioned by the teaching of the holy 
fathers. It is allowable that public crimes should be judged by our authority, 
but only after the accused has made a voluntary confession or when God-fearing 
witnesses have testified. But secret and unknown crimes should be left to God, 
6 who alone knows the hearts of men** 1 The same would seem to apply to 
duelling^ save that it approaches nearer to the common kind of sorcery., 
since no miraculous result is expected, unless perhaps when one opponent 
outmatches the other in strength or skill. 

SUMMA THEOLOGY, 20232. 96, I 

Quaestio 96. de superstitionibus observantiarum 

DEINDE CONSIDERANDUM EST de superstitionibus observantiarum. Et circa 
hoc qusenmtur quatuor: 

1. de observantiis ad scientiam acquirendam, quse traduntur in 
arte notoria; 

2. de observantiis quse ordinantur ad aliqua corpora im- 

3. de observantiis quas ordinantur ad conjecturas sumendas 
fortuniorum vel infortuniorum; 

4. de suspensionibus sacronim verborum ad collum. 

articulus i. utrum uti observantiis anis notaries sit illicitum 

AD PRIMUM sic proceditor: I. Videtur quod uti observantiis artis notoria 
non sit illicitum. Dupliciter enim est aliquid illicitum : uno modo, secundum 
genus operis, sicut homicidium vel furtum; alio modo, ex eo quod or din- 
atur ad malum finem, sicut cum quis dat eleemosynam propter inanem 
gloriam. Sed ea quae observantur in arte notoria secundum genus operis 
non sunt Mcita: sunt enim qusedam jejunia et orationes ad Deum. Ordin- 
antur etiam ad bonum finem, scilicet ad scientiam acquirendam. Ergo 
uti hujusmodi observationibus non est illicitum. 

2. Prseterea, Dan. legitur quod pueris abstinentibus dedit Deus scientiam 
et disciplinam in omni libra et sapientia. 1 Sed observantiae artis notoriae 
sunt secundum aliqua jejunia et abstinentias quasdam. Ergo videtur quod 
divinitus sortiatur ars ilia eflfectum. Non ergo illicitum est ea uti. 

3. Praeterea, ideo videtur esse inordinatum a daemonibus inquirere de 
ruturis quia ea non cognoscunt^ sed hoc est proprium Dei, ut dictum est. 2 
Sed veritates scientiarum daemones sciunt: quia scientiae sunt de his quae 
sunt ex necessitate et semper, quae subjacent humanae cognitioni, et multo 
magis daemoaum, qui sunt perspicaciores, ut Augustinus dicit. 3 Ergo non 
videtur esse peccatum uti arte notoria, etiam si per daemones sortiatur 

SED CONTRA est quod dicitur Deut., Non inveniatur in te qui qucerat a 
mortuis veritatem: 4 ' quae quidem inquisitio innititur auxilio daemonum. Sed 
per observantias artis notoriaeinquiritur cognitio veutatispex qucedampacta 
significationum cum dcemonibus inita. 5 Ergo uti arte notoria non est licitum. 

*Damel 1, 17 *2a2ae. 95, i 

*De Genesi ad litteram, II, 17. PL 34, 278; cf De divinations damonum, 3. PL 40, 584 

^Deuteronomy i8 3 10-11 



Question 96. superstition in various practices 

NEXT TO BE considered are superstitious observances, and here there are 
four points of inquiry: 

1. concerning practices for acquiring knowledge through the 

art of magic; 

2. and common practices for effecting certain bodily changes; 

3. and fortune-telling; 

4. and the wearing of charms. 

article I. are magical practices unlawful? 

THE FIRST POINT: i. Apparently it is not unlawful to apply the rules of the 
art of magic. An action may be termed wrong for two reasons. First, 
according to its kind, thus, murder or theft; and secondly, through being 
directed to an evil end, thus when a person makes a charitable donation 
for the sake of his own prestige. Observances in the art of magic are not 
wrong kinds of action, for they consist in certain fasts and prayers to 
God. Moreover, they are aimed at a good, namely at conclusive knowledge. 
Magical practices, then, are not wrong. 

2. In addition Daniel says that to the young men who abstained God 
gave knowledge and proficiency in all literature and science.' 1 The rules for 
the art of magic involve various fasts and abstinences. And so apparently 
it gets its results through God, and consequently, it is not wrong to 
practise it. 

3. Moreover, apparently, as has been mentioned, 2 it is wrong to consult 
with demonic powers concerning the future, because they have no knowl- 
edge of it, that being proper to God. Yet they do have knowledge of the 
demonstrable truths of science, which are necessary and invariable. They 
lie within the scope of human knowledge, but much more within that of 
the demonic powers who, as Augustine remarks, 3 have much keener minds. 
And therefore apparently it is no sin to practise the art of magic, even 
though the demonic is involved. 

ON THE OTHER HAND Deuteronomy says, Let there not be found among you 
anyone who seeks oracles from the dead* This quest relies upon assistance 
from the demonic. Now through the common practices of the art of magic, 
knowledge of the truth is sought through certain signs arranged by agreement 
with the demonic powers. 5 And so to practise it is not lawful. 

8 Augustine, De ctoctrina Christiana n, 20. PL 34, 50 



RESPONSIO : Dicendum quod ars notoria et illicita est, et inefficax. Illicita 
quidem est, quia utitur quibusdam ad scientiam acqidrendam quae non 
habent secundum se virtutem causandi scientiam: sicut inspectione quar- 
umdam figurarum, et prolatione quorumdam ignotorum verborum, et 
aliis hujusmodi. Et ideo hujusmodi ars non utitur his ut causis, sed ut 
signis. Non autem ut signis divinitus institutes, sicut sunt sacramentalia 
signa. Unde relinquitur quod sint supervacua signa: et per consequens 
pertinentia ad pacta qucedam significationwn cum dcemonibus pladta atque 
fcederata. 6 Et ideo ars notoria penitus est repudianda etfugienda Christiana, 
sicut et aliae artes nugatorice vel noxia super stitionis, ut Augustinus dicit. 7 

Est etiam hujusmodi ars inefficax ad scientiam acquirendam. Cum enim 
per hujusmodi artem non intendatur acquisitio scientist per modum 
homini connaturalem, scilicet adinveniendo vel addiscendo, consequens 
est quod iste effectus vel expectetur a Deo, vel a daemonibus. Certum est 
autem aliquos a Deo sapientiam et scientiam per infusionem habuisse: 
sicut de Salomone legitur. 8 Dominus etiam discipulis suis dicit, Luc., Ego 
dabo vobis os et sapientiam, cui non poterunt resistere et contradicere omnes 
adversarii vestri? Sed hoc donum non datur quibuscumque, aut cum certa 
observatione, sed secundum arbitrium Spiritus Sancti: secundum illud, 
Alii quidem datur per Spiritum sermo sapientia, alii sermo scientice secundum 
eundem Spiritum; et postea subditur, Hcec omnia operatur unus atque idem 
Spiritus, dividens singulis prout vuh. w 

Ad daemones autem nonpertinet illuminare intellectum : ut habitum est in 
Prima hujus opens Parted Acquisitio autem scientist et sapientiae fit per 
illuminationem intellectus. 12 Etideo nullus unquam per daemones scien- 
tiam acquisivit. Unde Augustinus dicit, Porphyriumfateri quod theurgicis 
teletis, in operationibus dsemonum, intellectuali animce nihil purgationis 
accidit quod eamfacit idoneam ad videndum Deum suum, et perspicienda ea qua 
vera sunt,^ qualia sunt omnia scientiamm theoremata. Possent tamen 
daemones, verbis hominibus colloquentes, exprimere aliqua scientiarum 
documenta: sed hoc non quseritur per artem notoriam. 

1. Ad primum ergo dicendum quod acquirere scientiam bonum est: sed 
acquirere earn modo indebito non est bonum. Et hunc finem intendit ars 

2. Ad secundum dicendum quod pueri illi non abstinebant secundum 
vanam observantiam artis notorise : sed secundum auctoritatem legis divinae, 
nolentes inquinari cibis gentilium. Et ideo merito obedientige consecuti 

6 Augustine 5 De doctrina Christiana n, 20. PL 34^ 50 7 ibid 3 23. PL 34, 53 

8 m Kings 3 3 11-12, n Paralipomenon I 3 11-12 

*Luke 2I 3 15 

10 i Corinthians 12, 8. (Vulgate, per Spiritum datur} 



REPLY: The art of magic is wrong and ineffectual. It is wrong because the 
means it uses are not capable of demonstrating genuine knowledge, for 
example, the close inspection of various configurations and the muttering of 
strange words, and so forth. It does not use these means as causes ..but rather 
as signs: not, however, as signs divinely instituted through divine instru- 
mentality, as are sacramental signs. Consequently they are useless as signs, 
and moreover imply agreements and pacts made with demonic powers for the 
purpose of consultation about portents for the future* And so the art of magic 
is to be completely repudiated and avoided by Christians, as are other arts 
involving useless and misleading practices, as Augustine declares. 7 It 
is also useless for the advance of science. It does not follow the method 
natural to man, that is by research and instruction, but expects information 
to come either from God or from the demonic. 

Now assuredly people have had wisdom and knowledge shed on them 
by God, as is related of Solomon. 8 Moreover our Lord promised his 
disciples. For I myself will give you utterance and wisdom, which all your 
adversaries will not be able to resist or contradict? 

But this gift is not granted to everyone, or as attached to any special 
practice, but according to the will of the Holy Spirit: To one through the 
Spirit is given the utterance of wisdom; and to another the utterance of knowl- 
edge^ according to the same spirit, and later it is said, But all these things 
are the work of one and the same Spirit, who allots to everyone according as 
he will. 

It is not the work of demonic powers to enlighten the intellect, as was 
shown in the Prima Pars. 11 Knowledge and wisdom are achieved by the 
enlightening of the intellect, 12 and never did anyone acquire knowledge by 
means of the demons. And so Augustine remarks, Porphyry maintains 
that the intellectual soul is in no way purified by unnatural intervention, that 
is, by the practices of demons, so as to be enabled to see God and discern 
what is true, such as are the propositions of science. The demonic powers, 
however, in speaking with men, are able to express in words some of the 
teachings of science, but they are not what the art of magic seeks to dis- 

Hence: i. To acquire knowledge is all very well, but not to acquire it 
by improper means. This is the intention of the art of magic. 

2. The self-control exercised by these young men was not from the 
vain observance of the art of magic, but rather a response to the authority 
of the divine law for they refused to be defiled by the meat of the Gentiles. 
And so as a reward for their obedience they received knowledge from God, 

n ia. 109, 3 12 cf ia. 117, 1 

13 D<2 civitate Dei X 3 2. PL 41^ 287 


SUMMA THEOLOGim, 202e. 96, 2 

sunt a Deo scientiam: secundum illud Psalm.) Super senes intellexi, quia 
mandata tua qucesivi. u 

3. Ad tertium dicendum quod exquirere cognitionem futurorum a 
daemonibus non solum est peccatum propter hoc quod ipsi futura non cog- 
noscunt: sed propter societatem cum eis injtam, quae etiam in proposito 
locum habet. 

articulus 2. utrum observations ordinata ad corporum immutationem 3 
puta ad sanitatem vel ad aliquid hujusmodi, sint licitce 

AD SECUNDUM sic proceditur. 1 Videtur quod observations ordinatse ad 
corporum immutationem, puta ad sanitatem vel ad aliquid hujusmodi, 
sint licitae. Licitum enim est uti naturalibus virtutibus corporum ad pro- 
prios effectus inducendos. Res autem naturales habent quasdam virtutes 
occultas, quarum ratio ab homine assignari non potest: sicut quod adamas 
trahit ferrum, et multa alia quae Augustinus enumerat. 2 Ergo videtur quod 
uti hujusmodi rebus ad corpora immutanda non sit illicitum. 

2. Praeterea, sicut corpora naturalia subduntur corporibus cadestibus, ita 
etiam corpora artificialia. Sed corpora naturalia sortiuntur quasdam virtutes 
occultas, speciem consequentes 3 ex impressione cselestium corporum. Ergo 
etiam corpora artificialia, puta imagines^ sortiuntur aliquam virtutem 
occultam a corporibus caelestibus ad aliquos effectus causandos. Ergo uti 
eis, et aliis liujusmodi, non est illicitum. 

3. Prseterea, dsemones etiam multipliciter possunt corpora transmutare, 
ut dicit Augustinus. 3 Sed eorum virtus a Deo est. Ergo licet uti eorum vir- 
tute ad aliquas hujusmodi immutationes faciendas. 

SED CONTRA est quod Augustinus dicit quod ad superstionem pertinent 
molimina magicarum artium> et tigaturce, et remedia qua medicorum quoque 
medidna condemnat, sive in pr<zcantationibus> sive in quibusdam notis, quas 
characteres vacant, sive in quibuscumque rebus suspendendis atque insignandis^ 

RESPONSIO: Dicendum quod in his quae fiunt ad aliquos effectus cor- 
porales inducendos, considerandum est utrum naturaliter videantur posse 
tales eflectus causare. Sic enim non erit illicitum: licet enim causas natur- 
ales adhibere ad proprios effectus. Si autem naturaliter non videantur 
posse tales effectus causare, consequens est quod non adhibeantur ad hos 
effectus causandos tanquam causae, sed solum quasi signa. Et sic pertinent 
ad pacta significationum cum deemonibus inita. Unde Augustinus dicit, 
Illiduntur damones per creaturas, quas non ipsi> sed Deus condidit, 

Ii8 3 100 *CG in, 105. De Potmtia vi 3 10. Quodl. xn 9, 2 



according to the Psalms, I have more discernment than the elders, because 
I observe your precepts. 1 * 

^ 3. To seek information about the future from the demonic powers is a 
sin, not only because they are unaware of the future, but also, and this is 
the point here, because of the fellowship entered into with them. 

article 2. are practices for effecting bodily changes unlawful? 

THE SECOND POINT: 1 i. It would seem that practices for effecting bodily 
changes for the purpose of health or the like are lawful. It is legitimate to 
make use of the natural forces of bodies in order to produce their proper 
effects. Yet these have hidden powers which man is not yet capable of ex- 
plaining, for instance, why a magnet attracts iron: Augustine cites many 
other examples. 2 Therefore, it seems that to employ them for the trans- 
mutation of bodies is not unlawful. 

2. Moreover, as natural bodies are subject to the heavenly bodies, 
so are artificial bodies. Natural bodies are invested with occult powers, 
corresponding to what kind of thing they are, through the influence of 
heavenly bodies. Therefore artificial bodies, images for instance, can also 
be so invested with occult forces for the production of certain effects. 
And therefore to make use of them is not wrong. 

3. Moreover, demons are able to transmute bodies in many ways, as 
Augustine admits. 3 Their power is from God. So then it is lawful to make 
use of their power for this purpose. 

ON THE OTHER HAND Augustine says that to superstition belong the experi- 
ments of magic arts, amulets, and nostrums condemned by the medical faculty; 
they include incantations and cyphers and brooches, or any kind of charm which 
is worn* 

REPLY: When things are used in order to produce an effect, we have to ask 
whether this is produced naturally. If the answer is yes, then to use them so 
will not be unlawful, since we may rightly employ natural causes for then- 
proper effects. But if they seem unable to produce the effects in question 
naturally, it follows that they are being used for the purpose of producing 
them, not as causes but only as signs, so that they come under the head of 
a compact entered into with the demonic. Augustine says, demons are lured 
by means of creatures, which were made, not by them, but by God. They are 
enticed by various objects, differing according to the various things in which they 

*De cwitate Dei m, 5, 7. PL 41, 715, 718 
*De Trinitate m, 8, 9. PL 42, 875, 878 
*De doctrina Christiana n, 20. PL 34, 50 

40 G 75 


delectdbilibus pro sua diversitate diversis, non ut animalia cibis, sed ut spiritus 
signis, qua cujusque delectationi congruunt, per varia genera lapidum, 
herbarum> lignorum, animalium^ carminum> rituum? 

1. Ad primum ergo dicendum quod si simpliciter adhibeantur res 
naturales ad aliquos effectus producendos ad quos putantur naturalem 
habere virtutem, non est superstitiosum neque illicitum. Si vero adjungan- 
tur vel characteres aliqui, vel aliqua nomina, vel alias quaecumque varia* 
observationes, quae manifestum est naturaliter efficaciam non habere, erit 
superstitiosum et illicitum. 

2. Ad secundum dicendum quod virtutes naturales corporum natural- 
ium consequuntur eorum formas substantiates, quas sortiuntur ex im- 
pressione cadestium corporum: et ideo ex eorumdem impressione sortiun- 
tur quasdam virtutes activas. Sed corporum artificialium formae procedunt 
ex conceptione artificis : et cum nihil aliud sint quam compositio, ordo et 
figura, ut dicitur in I Physic.? non possunt habere naturalem virtutem ad 
agendum. Et inde est quod ex impressione caelestium corporum nullam 
virtutem sortiuntur inquantum sunt artificialia, sed solum secundum 
materiam naturalem. Falsum est ergo quod Porphyrio videbatur,, ut 
Augustinus dicit, herbis et lapidibus et animantibus y et sonis certis 
quibusdam ac vocibus y et figurationibus atque figmentis quibusdam etiam 
observatis in cceli confer done motibus siderum,fdbricari in terra ab hominibus 
potestates idoneas siderum variis effectibus exequendis: quasi eflfectus magi- 
carum artium ex virtute caelestium corporum provenirent. Sed sicut Augus- 
tinus ibidem subdit, totum hoc ad d&mones pertinet, ludiftcatores animarum 
sibi sjdbditarum? 

Unde etiam imagines quas astronomicas vocant, ex operatione daemonum 
habent efiectum. Cujus signum est quod necesse est eis inscribi quosdam 
characteres y qui naturaliter ad nihil operantur: non cnim est figura actionis 
naturalis principium. Sed in hoc distant astronomicae imagines a nigro- 
manticis 5 quod in nigromanticis fiunt expressse invocationes et praestigia 
quaedanij unde pertinent ad expressa pacta cum daemonibus inita: sed in 
aiiis imaginibus sunt quaedam tacita pacta per quaedam figurarum seu 
characterum signa. 

3. Ad tertium dicendum quod ad dominium pertinet divinse majestatis, 
cui daemones subsunt, ut eis utatur Deus ad quodcumque voluerit. Sed 
homino non est potestas super dsemones commissa, ut eis licite uti possit 
ad quodcumque voluerit: sed est ei contra daemones bellum indictum. 
Unde nullo mode licet homini daemonum auxilio uti per pacta tacita vel 

*De dvitate Dei xxi, 6. PL 41, 717 *Physics I 3 5. i88bi5-2i 

7 De dvitate Dei X, II, PL 41, 290 


delight. Not as animals by meat., but as spirits by signs, such as are to each one's 
liking, by means of various kinds of stones, herbs, trees, animals, songs, and 
rites. 5 

Hence: i. There is nothing superstitious or wrong in using natural 
tilings for the purpose of causing effects which are thought natural to them. 
But if in addition there be employed certain cyphers, words or other 
vain observances, which clearly have no efficacy by nature, then this is 
superstitious and wrong. 

2. The natural forces of things result from their substantial forms which 
come to them under the action of the heavens, and so through the same 
influence, they have certain active forces. On the other hand, the forms of 
artifacts result from the conception of the artist, and since they are nothing 
else but things of composition, order and shape, as stated in the Physics,* 
theirs is not one single natural active force. a Consequently, because they 
are artificial wholes, they get no power from the heavenly bodies, for that 
is impressed only on their natural matter. And so what Porphyry held is 
false, according to Augustine: by herbs, stones, animals, by certain particular 
sounds, words, shapes, devices, or again, by certainmotions observed in the course 
of the heavens, it ispossibkfor men to fashion on earth forces capable of carrying 
into effect the various dispositions of the planets and stars. This is as though 
the results of magic were to be ascribed to the power of the heavenly 
bodies. In fact, as Augustine adds, all these things are to be ascribed to the 
demons who delude souls swayed by them. 7 

Therefore, those images which are called astrological derive their effi- 
cacy from the actions of the demonic. A sign of this is that it is requisite 
to inscribe certain characters on them, which are not conducive to any 
natural effect, since artificial shape is not a principle of natural action. 
Astrological images differ from necromantic images in that the latter 
include certain explicit invocations and trickeries^ and so are a kind of 
express agreement made with the demonic, yet they do imply a tacit 
agreement through the tokens they use. 

3. It belongs to the domain of the divine majesty, of which the demonic 
powers are subjects, that God should employ them to whatever purpose 
he wills. But man has not been given power over the demonic, to use it 
for his own purposes. On the contrary, he is required to wage war against 
it. And so in no way is it lawful for him to make use of the demonic by 
compacts, either tacit or express. 

*The unity of an artificial thing lies in its shape or in the co-ordination or composi- 
tion of several things; its singleness is of 'accident', e.g. of figure or of relation, not 
of substance. Only a natural whole has a single natural action. 



aniculus 3. utrum observations qu<z ordinantur ad pr&cognoscenda aliqua 
fortunia vel infortunia, sint illicit^ 

AD TERTIUM sic proceditur: i. Videtur quod observations quae ordinantur 
ad prsecognoscenda aliqua fortunia vel infortunia non sunt illicita. Inter 
alia enim infortunia hominum sunt etiam infirmitates. Sed infirmitates in 
hominibus qusedam signa praecedunt, quae etiam a medicis observantur. 
Ergo observare hujusmodi significationes non videtur esse illicitum. 

2. Praeterea 3 irrationabile est negare illud quod quasi communiter omnes 
experiuntur. Sed quasi omnes experiuntur quod aliqua tempora vel loca, 
vel verba audita, vel occursus hominum seu animalium,, aut distort! aut 
inordinati actus, aliquod praesagium habent boni vel mali futuri. Ergo 
observare ista non videtur esse illicitum. 

3. Praeterea, actus hominum et eventus ex divina providentia dispon- 
untur secundum ordinem quemdam, ad quern pertinere videtur quod prae- 
cedentia sint subsequentium signa. Unde ea quae antiquis Patribus con- 
tigerunt signa sunt eorum quae in nobis complentur: ut patet per Aposto- 
lum. 1 Observare autem ordinem ex divina providentia procedentem non 
est illicitum. Ergo observare hujusmodi praesagia non videtur esse illicitum. 

SED CONTRA est quod Augustinus dicit quod ad pacta cum dcemonibus inita 
pertinent millia inanium observationum: puta si membrum aliquod salient; 
sijunctim ambulantibus amicis lapis aut cants aut puer medius intervenerit; 
limen calcare cum ante domum suam aliquis transit; redire ad lectum si quis, 
dum se cakeat, sternutaverit; redire domum siprocedens offenderit; cum vestis 
a soricibus roditur, plus timere superstitionem mali futuri quam prcesens dam- 
num dolere? 

RESPONSIO: Dicendum quod homines omnes hujusmodi observationes 
attendunt nonut quasdam causas^ sed ut quasdam signa futuroriun eventu- 
urn bonorum vel malorum. Non autem observantur sicut signa a Deo 
tradita, cum non sint introducta ex auctoritate divina: sed magis ex vani- 
tate humana, cooperante daemonum malitia, qui nituntur animos hominum 
hujusmodi vanitatibus implicare. Et ideo manrfestum est omnes hujusmodi 
observantias esse superstitiosas et illicitas. Et videntur esse quaedam re- 
liquiae idoloktriae, secundum quam observabantur auguria, et quidam dies 
fausti vel infausti (quod quodammodo pertinet ad divinationem quse fit 
per astra a secundum quse diversificantur dies): nisi quod hujusmodi 
observationes sunt sine ratione et arte; unde sunt magis vanae et super- 

i. Ad primum ergo dicendum quod injfanitatum causae praecedunt in 
nobis, ex quibus aliqua signa procedunt futurorum morborum 5 quaelicite 



article 3. is fortune-telling wrong? 

THE THIRD POINT: I. It seems that the common observations for telling 
whether the future will bring good or bad fortune are not wrong. Sickness 
is one of man's misfortunes. Now sickness is preceded by certain symp- 
toms, which medical men observe. Therefore, it does not seem wrong to 
pay attention to like signs. 

2. Moreover, it is unreasonable to deny what nearly everyone exper- 
iences. Now nearly everyone has experienced that certain times or places, 
the hearing of certain words, chance encounters with men or animals, or 
odd or uncanny actions have presaged good or evil to come. So then, it 
does not seem wrong to take note of these things. 

3. Moreover, human actions and events are disposed by divine Provi- 
dence in a certain order, which seems to require that preceding events be 
signs of subsequent events. And so, the Apostle writes, what happened to 
the fathers of old are signs of things that take place in our time. 1 Now it 
is not unlawful to observe the order proceeding from divine Providence. 
Nor, therefore, does it seem to be wrong to observe the presages it provides. 

ON THE OTHER HAND Augustine says, A thousand vain observances are com- 
prised under the head of compacts entered into with the demons, the twitching 
of a limb, a stone, a dog or a boy coming between friends walking together, 
a passer-by kicking your doorpost, going back to bed if you happened to sneeze 
while putting on your shoes, returning home if you trip when beginning a 
journey, rats gnawing a hole in your clothes superstitiomly fearing a future 
evil rather than regretting the present hurt? 

REPLY: Men pay attention to all these presages, not as causes, but rather 
as signs of future events, whether good or evil. They do not observe them 
as signs given by God, for he does not seem their author; they arise rather 
from human silliness with the co-operation of demonic malice, which 
strives to entangle them in these vanities. And so it should be clear that 
these observances are superstitious and illicit. Apparently they are the 
remains of idolatry, which authorizes the recognition of portents, of lucky 
and unlucky days, which is allied to divination by the stars, which sees one 
day as being more propitious than another. As devoid of reason and art, 
they are the more futile and superstitious. 

Hence : i. The causes of illness are seated in us; and they produce certain 
signs of approaching sickness which doctors rightly observe. It is not 

X I Corinthians 10, 6, n *De doctrina Christiana 2, 20. PL 34, 50-51 


SUMMA THEOLOGIZE, 2a2ae. 96, 4 

a medicis observantur. Unde et se quis prsesagium futurorum eventuum 
consideret ex sua causa, non erit illicitum: sicut si servus timeat flagella 
videns domini iram. Et simile etiam esse posset si quis timeret nocumentum 
alicui puero ex oculo fascinante: de quo dictum est in Primo Libro? Sic 
autem non est in hujusmodi observationibus. 

2. Ad secundum dicendum quod hoc quod a principle in istis obser- 
vationibus aliquid veri homines experti sunt, casu accidit. Sed postmodum, 
cum homines incipiunt hujusmodi observantiis suum animum implicare, 
multa secundum hujusmodi observations eveniunt per deceptionem 
daemonum, ut his observationibus homines implicati curiosiores fiant> et sese 
magis inserant multiplidbus laqueis perniciosi erroris, ut Augustinus dicit. 4 

3. Ad tertium dicendum quod in populo Judasorum, ex quo Christus 
erat nasciturus, non solum dicta, sed etiam facta fuerunt prophetica: ut 
Augustinus dicit. 5 Et ideo licitum est ilia facta assumere ad nostram instruc- 
tionem, sicut signis divinitus datis. Non autem omnia quse aguntur per 
divinam providentiam sic ordinantur utsint futurorum signa. Unde ratio 
non sequitur. 

articulus 4. utrum suspendere divini verba ad collum sit illicitum 

AD QUAJOTJM sic proceditur. 1 Videtur quod suspendere divina verba ad 
collum non sit illicitum. Non enim divina verba minoris sunt efficatiae 
cum scribuntur quam cum profemntur. Sed licet aliqua sacra verba dicere 
ad aliquos efiectus, puta ad sanandum infirmos, sicut. Pater noster> Ave 
Maria> vel qualitercumque nomen Domini invocetur: secundum illud 
Marciy In nomine meo dcemonia ejicient, linguis loquentur novis, serpentes 
tollent* Ergo videtur quod licitum sit aliqua sacra scripta collo suspendere 
in remedium infirmitatis vel cujuscumque nocumenti. 

2. Prseterea, verba sacra non minus operantur in corporibus hominum 
quam in corporibus serpentum et aliorum Animal j\im t Sed incantationes 
quaedam efl&caciam habent ad reprimendum serpentes 3 vel ad sanandum 
qusedam alia animalia: unde dicitur in Psalm.., Sicut aspidis surda et 
obturantis aures suas, qua non exaudiet vocem incantantium> et venefici 
incantantis sapienter? Ergo licet suspendere sacra verba ad remedium 

3. Praeterea, verbum Dei non est minoris sanctitatis quam sanctorum 
reliquiae : unde Augustinus dicit quod non minus est verbum Dei quam corpus 
Christi^ Sed reliquias sanctorum licet homini collo suspendere, vel 

3ia. 117, 3 ad 2 *De doctrina Christiana 2. PL 34, 52 

^Contra Faustum I7 3 2; xxn, 24. PL 42^ 218, 417 



wrong to consider the presage of a future event as proceeding from its 
cause, as when a slave fears punishment when he sees his master's anger. 
Possibly the same might be if one were to fear for a child lest it be harmed 
by the 'evil eye', on which we touched in the Prima Pars? But this does not 
apply to the observances we are discussing here. 

2. That there is some degree of truth in these experiences is due to 
chance. But afterwards, when a man begins to tie himself up with repeated 
observances of this kind, many events do occur by the trickery of the de- 
monic, so that, as Augustine says, men entangled in these observations become 
more and more curious, more and more caught up in the manifold snares of 
a deadly error* 

3. Among the Jewish people from whom Christ was to be born, not 
only words, but also deeds were prophetic, as Augustine notes. 5 Therefore, 
it is lawful to apply these deeds to our instruction, as signs given by God. 
But not all things which occur through divine Providence are ordered so as 
to be signs of the future. The argument, consequently, is not sound. 

article 4. is it wrong to wear amulets? 

THE FOURTH POINT: 1 1. It would seem that it is not wrong to wear inscribed 
amulets about the neck. Sacred words should be no less efficacious when 
written than when spoken, and it is legitimate to utter them for the pur- 
pose of producing certain effects, for instance, to heal the sick, thus to say 
the Our Father or the Hail Mary; it is legitimate to call on the Lord's 
name according to Mark, in thy Name they shall cast out devils, they shall 
speak with new tongues^ they shall take up serpents? Therefore, it seems 
legitimate to wear sacred words on one's person, as a remedy for sickness 
or for any kind of distress. 

2. Moreover, sacred words are no less effective on the human body 
than on snakes and other animals. Now certain incantations are effective 
in controlling snakes, or in healing other animals ; it is written in the Psalms, 
Their madness is according to the likeness of the serpent, like the death asp that 
stops its ears, which will not hear the voice of the charmers nor of the wizard 
that charms wisely* So it is lawful to wear sacred words as a remedy for 
human ills. 

3. Moreover, God's word is no less holy than the relics of the saints. 
Augustine says that God's word is of no less account than the body of Christ. 4 - 

*cf Quodl. m, 9. 2. In Rom. i, Uct. 6; In I Cor. 10, lect. 7 
*Mark 16, 17-18 *PsaJms 57, 5-6 

*Liber quinquaginta homilia 26. PL 39, 2319 



qualitercumque portare, ad suam protectionem. Ergo., pari ratione, licet 
homini verbo vel scripto verba sacrae Scripture ad suam tutelam assumere. 
4. Sed contra est quod Chrysostomus dicit, Quidam aliquam partem 
Evangelii scriptam circa collum portant. Sed nonne quotidie Evangelium in 
ecclesia legitur, et auditur ab omnibus? Cut ergo in auribus posita Evangelia 
nihil prosunt) quomodo eumpossunt circa collum suspensa salvare? Deinde, ubi 
est virtus Evangelii? in figuris litterarum, an in intellectu sensuum? Si in 
figuris, bene circa collum suspendis. Sz in intellectu, ergo melius in cor de posita 
prosunt quam circa collum suspensa* 

RESPONSIO: Dicendum quod in omnibus incantationibus vel scripturis 
suspensis duo cavenda videntur. Primo quidem, quid sit quod profertur 
vel scribitur. Quia si est aliquid ad invocationes daemonum pertinens, 
manifeste est superstitiosum et illicitum. Similiter etiam videtur esse caven- 
dum, si contineat ignota nomina : ne sub illis aliquid illicitum lateat. Unde 
Chrysostomus dicit quod Pharisceorum magnificantium fimbrias suas exem- 
plo y nunc multi aliqua nomina hebraica angelorum confingunt et scribunt et 
alligant) quce non intelligentibus metuenda videntur* Est etiam cavendum ne 
aliquid falsitatis contineat. Quia sic ejus efifectus non posset expectari a 
Deo, qui non est testis falsitatis. 7 

Deinde, secundo, cavendum est ne cum verbis sacris contineantur ibi 
aliqua vana: puta aliqui characteres inscripti, praeter signum Crucis. Aut 
si spes habeatur in modo scribendi aut ligandi, aut in quacumque hujus- 
modi vanitate quae ad divinam reverentiam non pertineat. Quia hoc judi- 
caretur superstitiosum. 

Alias autem est licitum. Unde in Decretis dicitur, Non liceat Christianis 
etc. : Nee in collectionibus nerbarum quce medicinales sunt aliquas observa- 
tiones aut incantationes liceat attendere^ nisi tantum cum symbolo divino aut 
oratione Dominica; ut tantum Creator omnium et Deus honoretur? 

1. Ad primum ergo dicendum quod etiam proferre divina verba, aut 
invocare divinum nomen, si respectus habeatur ad solam Dei reverentiam, 
a qua expectatur erFectus, licitum erit: si vero habeatur respectus ad aliquid 
aliud vane observatum, erit illicitum. 

2. Ad secundum dicendum quod etiam in incantationibus serpentum 
vel quorumcumque am'malnim., si respectus habeatur solum ad verba sacra 
et ad virtutem divinam, non erit illicitum. Sed plerumque tales praecan- 
tationes habent illicitas observantias, et per daemones sortiuntur effectum: 

5 Opus imperfectum in Matth. 43. PG 563 878-9. The passage in Matthew is 23, 5. 

This work is not now ascribed to Chrysostom 

6 ibid 

7 Gratian, Decretum H 3 26, $ 3 can. 3; ed cit, 1, 1028 



To wear the relics of the saints for protection is lawful; equally so, then, 
to have recourse to Holy Writ, whether uttered or written, for one's pro- 

4. On the other hand a Chrysostom writes, Some wear around their necks 
written passages from the Gospel Yet is not the Gospel read in church and heard 
by all every day? How, then., if it does not help a man to have the Gospels 
in his ears, will he find salvation by wearing them around his neck? Besides, 
where is the power of the Gospel? In the shapes of the letters or in the under- 
standing of its sense. If it is in the shapes of the letters., you do well to wear them 
round your neck; but if in the under standing, you would do better to bear the 
words in your hearth 

REPLY: In every incantation or the wearing of written words, two points 
seem to call for caution. The first concerns what is said or written; if it 
implies invocation of the demonic, it is clearly superstitious and unlawful. 
Similarly, we should beware, it seems, of strange words we do not under- 
stand lest they conceal something unlawful. So Chrysostom says, Many., 
after the example of the Pharisees (who lengthened their phylacteries), now 
invent and write Hebrew names of angels, and fasten them to their persons, 
for they stand for powers which seem fearsome to those who do not understand 
them. 6 Again, one should take care lest a supposedly sacred word contain 
error, for then its effect could not be ascribed to God, who bears no witness 
to falsehood. 

A second point for caution: besides the sacred words the inscription 
may contain emblems of vanity, for instance, signs other than that of the 
cross. Or our confidence may be committed to the style of writing or 
fashion in wearing them, or to some such nonsense, which has no connec- 
tion with reverence for God. All this should be judged superstitious. 

Otherwise such tokens are lawful. Hence it is written in the Decretals, 
In blending together medicinal herbs, it is not lawful to make use of observances 
on incantations other than the Creed or the Lord's Prayer, so as to give honour 
to none but God, the Creator of all. 1 

Hence: i. It is lawful to pronounce divine words or to invoke the name 
of God if we do so to honour him alone from whom the benefit is hoped. 
But it is unlawful if done in connection with any vain observance. 

2. Incantations, with snakes or other animals, are not unlawful if we 
attend only to the sacred words and divine power. Incantations, however, 
often imply unlawful observances, and rely on the demonic for their result, 
especially in the case of snakes; the serpent was the first instrument used 

a The sed contra usually anticipates the line that will be taken in the responsio. Here 
it goes to the opposite extreme^ and is answered as a fourth objection. 


SUMMA THEOLOGY, 2a2. 963 4 

et prsecipue in serpentibus., quia serpens fiiit primum daemonis instrumen- 
tum ad hominem decipiendum. Unde dicit glossa^ Notandum quia non 
laudatur a Scriptura undecumque datur in Scriptura similitudo: ut patet de 
iniquajudice qui rogantem viduam mx audivit? 

3. Ad tertium dicendum quod eadem etiam ratio est de portatione 
reliquiarum. Quia si portentur ex fiducia Dei et sanctorum quorum sunt 
reliquiae, non erit illicitum: si autem circa hoc attenderetur aliquid aliud 
vanum, puta quod vas esset triangulare, aut aliquid aliud hujusmodi 
quod non pertineret ad reverentiam Dei et sanctorum, esset superstitio- 
sum et illicitum. 

4. Ad quartum dicendum quod Clirysostomus loquitur quando res- 
pectus habetur magis ad figuras scriptas quam ad intellectum verborum. 

8 Lombard. PL 191^ 5375 Glossa ordinaria. PL 113, 928; cf Augustine, Enarr. in 
Psalm. 57. PL 365 679 


by the devil to deceive man. And so a gloss says. Note that Scripture does 
not commend every thing from which it draws comparisons and literary allusions, 
as in the case of the unjust judge who scarcely heard the widow 9 s request. 8 

3. This same consideration applies in the wearing of relics. If it is out 
of confidence in God and the saints, whose relics they are, this is not wrong. 
But if account were taken of some irrelevance, for instance, that the locket 
is triangular and the like, which has no bearing on the reverence due to 
God and the saints, it would be superstitious and wrong. 

4. Chrysostom is speaking of a case in which more attention is paid to 
the written characters than to the understanding of the words. 


DEINDE CONSIDERANDUM est de vitiis religion! oppositis per religionis defec- 
turn, quse manifestam contrarietatem ad religionem habent: unde sub 
irreligiositate continentur. Hujusmodi autem sunt ea quae pertinent ad 
contemptum sive irreverentiam Dei et remm sacranim. 

Primo ergo considerandum est de vitiis quae pertinent directe ad irrever- 
entiam Dei; 

secundo, de his quse pertinent ad irreverentiam rerum sacranim. 

Circa primum, considerandum occurrit et de tentatione qua Deus 
tentatur; et de perjurio 5 quo nomen Dei irrevereater assumitur. 

Quaestio 97. de tentatione Dei 

Circa primum quaeruntur quatuor: 

1. in quo consistit Dei tentatio; 

2. utrum sit peccatum $ 

3. on virtuti opponatur; 

4. de comparatione ejus ad alia peccata. 

articulus I. utrum tentatio del consistat in aliquibus factis in quibus solius divina 
potestatis expectatur effectus 

AD PRIMUM sic proceditur: 1 1. Videtur quod tentatio Dei non consistat in 
aliquibus factis in quibus solius divinae potestatis expectatur effectus. 
Sicut enim tentatur Deus ab homine, ita etiam homo tentatur et a Deo 3 et 
ab homine, et a dsemone. Sed non quandocumque homo tentatur expec- 
tatur aliquis efiectus potestatis ipsius. Ergo neque etiam per hoc Deus 
tentatur quod expectatur solus effectus potestatis ipsius. 

2. Praeterea, omnes illi qui per invocationem divini nominis miracula 
operantur expectant aliquem effectum solius potestatis divinae. Si igitur in 
factis hujusmodi consisteret divina tentatio 3 quicumque miracula faciunt 
Deum tentarent. 

3. Praeterea, ad perfectionem hominis pertinere videtur ut 5 praetermissis 
humanis subsidiis^ in solo Deo spem ponat Unde Ambrosius 5 super illud 
Luc.) Nihil tuleritis in via etc.'^QuaKs debeat esse qui evangelizat regnum Dei, 
prceceptis evangeKcis designatur: hoc est> ui subsidii scecularis adminicula non 
requirat, fideique totus inhcerens putet, quo minus ista require^ magis posse 
suppetere* Et beata Agatha dixit: Medidnam carnalem corporimeo nunquam 
exhibui: sed habeo Dominum Jesum Christum, qui solo sermone restaurat 



THE NEXT TOPIC to be pursued is another group of vices, opposed to religion 
through lack of religion. They are manifestly contrary to it, and come under 
the heading of irreligion. They comprise vices which show contempt or 
irreverence towards God and holy things. 

We shall begin with those which are directly irreverent about God him- 
self (97-98) 

and go on to irreverence about sacred things (99-100). 

As for the first, we shall consider initially 

the attempt to test God (97); and then, 

perjury, whereby God's name is taken to back a lie (98). 

Question 97. tempting God 

Here there are four points of inquiry: 

1. in what does tempting God consist? 

2. is it a sin? 

3. to which virtue is it opposed? 

4. and how it compares with other vices. 

article I. does tempting God consist in certain deeds wherein the result is expected from 
the power of God alone? 

THE FIRST POINT: 1 I. It seems not. Just as God is tested by man, so also 
is man tested by God, another man, and demons. But whenever man is 
tested the result is not always expected to be from his own powers. Neither 
then when God is tempted is the result expected from his power alone. 

2. Moreover, all who work miracles in the name of God look for some 
type of effect due to his power alone. If this be true, then all who 'work 
miracles would tempt God. 

3. Moreover, it seems to be an admirable trait to put aside human aids 
and put your trust in God alone. Commenting upon the passage in Luke, 
Take nothing for your journey* Ambrose says. The Gospel precept indicates 
what is required of him 'who proclaims the kingdom of God, namely > that he 
should not expect worldly support, and that y assured by hisfaith> he should 
hold himself the more able to provide for himself the less he seeks it? Then 
there are the words of St Agatha, / have never treated my body with bodily 

*cf 2a2ae. 53, 4, ad i. In n Cor. II, lect. 6. In Hebr,, 3, hct. 2 

*Luke 9, 3 

*Expos. in Lucam 6. PL 15, 1685 



universal Sed Dei tentationonconsistitineoquodadperfectionempertinet. 
Ergo tentatio non consistit in hujusmodi factis in quibus expectatur solum 
Dei auxilium. 

SED CONTRA est quod Augustinus dicit quod Christus, qui palam docendo 
el arguendo et tamen inimicorum rdbiem valere in se aliquid non sinendo, Dei 
demonstrabat potestatem; idem tamen^fugiendo et latendo> hominis instruebat 
infirmitatem, ne Deum tentare audeat quando habet quod facial ut quod cavere 
oportet evadat. 5 Ex quo videtur in hoc tentationem Dei consistere, quando 
prseterrnittit homo facere quod potest ad pericula evadenda, respiciens 
solum ad auxilium divinum. 

KESPONSIO: Dicendum quod tentare proprie est experimentum sumere 
de eo qui tentatur. Sumimus autem experimentum de aliquo et verbis, et 
factis. Verbis quidem, ut experiamur an sciat quod quaerimus, vel possit 
aut velit illud implere. Factis autem, cum per ea quae facimus exploramus 
alterius prudentiam, vel voluntatem, vel potestatem. 

Utrumque autem horum contingit dupliciter. Uno quidem modo, 
aperte: sicut cum quis tentatorem se profitetur; sicut Samson, proposuit 
Philisthseis problema ad eos tentandum. 6 Alio vero modo, insidiose et 
occulte: sicut Pharisaei tentaverunt Christum. 7 

Rursus, quandoque quidem expresse: puta cum quis dicto vel facto in- 
tendit experimentum sumere de aliquo. Quandoque vero interpretative: 
quando scilicet, etsi hoc non intendat ut experimentum sumat, id tamen 
agit vel dicit quod ad nihil aliud videtur ordinabile nisi ad experimentum 

Sic igitur homo Deum tentat quandoque verbis, quandoque factis. 
Verbis quidem Deo colloquimur orando. Unde in sua petitione aliquis 
expresse Deum tentat quando ea intentione aliquid a Deo postulat ut 
exploret Dei scientiam, potestatem vel voluntatem. Factis autem expresse 
aliquis Deum tentat quando per ea quae facit intendit experimentum sum- 
ere divinae potestatis, seu pietatis aut sapientiae. Sed quasi interpretative 
Deum tentat qui, etsi non intendat experimentum de Deo sumere, aliquid 
tamen vel petit vel facit ad nihil aliud utile nisi ad probandum Dei potes- 
tatem vel bonitatem, seu cognitionem. Sicut, cum aliquis equum currere 
facit ut evadat hostes, hoc non est experimentum de equo sumere: sed si 
equum currere faciat absque aliqua utilitate, hoc rrihil aliud esse videtur 
quam experimentum sumere de equi velocitate: et idem est in omnibus 
aliis rebus. 

Quando ergo propter aliquam necessitatem seu utilitatem committit se 

^oman Breviary, Feast of St Agatha, Feb. 5, Lauds, second antiphon 



medicine, but I have my Lord Jesus Christ, who restores all things by his 
mere word.* But there is nothing admirable in tempting God, and so it 
cannot consist in deeds wherein the result is expected from God's help 

ON THE OTHER HAND we have Augustine saying, Christ who gave proof of 
divine power by teaching and reproving openly, without allowing the rage 
of his enemies to prevail against him, nevertheless by fleeing and hiding 
instructed human weakness, lest it should dare to tempt God when it has the 
means in its power of escaping from what it needs to avoid. 5 From this it 
seems that tempting God consists in looking for divine help alone while 
neglecting to do what lies in your power, 

REPLY: Properly speaking, to tempt means to test a person. We try an 
experiment, and put him to the test, by words or deeds. In conversation 
we find out whether he knows what we ask, or whether he can or will 
help us. We use actions to probe into his prudence, intentions, or 

Either can come about in two ways. First, openly, as when one declares 
himself to be testing. Thus Samson proposed a riddle to the Philistines 
in order to test them. 6 Secondly, it can be done by guile and stealth. 
In the opposite way they can take place as when the Pharisees tested 
Christ. 7 

Again, it may be expressly designated in word or deed for the purpose 
of putting a person to the test, or it may not be so intended, yet what is 
said or done can be construed to that effect. 

Accordingly, men test God sometimes by words and sometimes by 
deeds. Now we speak with God when we pray. Someone tests God ex- 
plicitly who asks something of him with the intention of discovering his 
knowledge, power and will. Men test God explicitly by deeds when they 
intend by what they do to experiment with divine power, loving-kindness, 
or wisdom. Men can be construed to test God (even though that is not 
directly their intention) when they request or do something which has no 
other usefulness than the proving of his power, goodness, or knowledge. 
For instance a man rides his horse as hard as he can to get away from his 
enemies; he is not giving the horse a trial, but if he pushes his horse 
without any such purpose, he is simply testing how fast it will go. The 
same applies to comparable cases. 

*Contra Faustitm xxn, 36. PL 42, 423 
'Judges 14, 12 
i Matthew 22, 15 

8 9 

SUMMA THEOLOGIZE, 2a23. gj, 2 

aliquis divino auxilio in suis petitionibus vel factis,, hoc non est Deum 
tentare: dicitur enim II Paralip., Cum ignoramus quid agere debeamus,hoc 
solum habemus residui, ut oculos nostros dirigamus ad te? Quando veto hoc 
agitur absque necessitate et militate, hoc est interpretative tentare Deum. 
Unde super illud Deut., Non tentabis Dominum Deum tuum? dicit Glossa, 
Deum tentat qui, habens quid facial, sine ratione se committit periculo, ex- 
periens utrum possit liber ari a Deo. lQ 

1. Ad primum ergo dicendum quod homo etiam quandoque factis 
tentatur, utrum possit vel sciat vel velit hujusmodi factis auxilium vel 
impedimentum prsestare. 

2. Ad secundum dicendum quod sanctisuisprecibusmiraculafacientes 
ex aliqua necessitate vel utilitate moventur ad petendum divine potestatis 

3. Ad tertium dicendum quod praedicatores regni Dei ex magna utilitate 
et necessitate subsidia temporalia praetermittunt, ut verbo Dei expeditius 
vacent. Et ideo si soli Deo innitantur, non ex hoc tentant Deum. Sed si 
absque utilitate vel necessitate humana subsidia desererent, tentarent 
Deum. Unde et Augustinus dicit quod Paulus nonfugit quasi non credendo 
in Deum: sedne Deum tentaret sifugere noluisset, cum sicfugere potuisset. 11 

Beata vero Agatha experta erat erga se divinam benevolentiam, ut vel 
mfirmitates non pateretur, pro quibus corporah* medicina indigeret, vel 
statim sentiret divinae sanationis effectum. 

articulus 2. utrum tentare Deum sit peccatum 

AD SECUNDUM sic proceditur. i. Videtur quod tentare Deum non sit pecca- 
tum. Deus enim non praecipit aliquod peccatum. Praecipit autem ut homines 
eum probent, quod est eum tentare: dicitur enim Malach., Inferte omnem 
decimdm in horreum meum> ut sit cibus in domo mea: et probate me super hoc, 
dicit Dominus, si non aperuero vobis cataractas cceli." 1 Ergo videtur quod 
tentare Deum non sit peccatum. 

2. Praeterea, sicut aliquis tentatur ad hoc quod experientia sumatur de 
scientia vel potentia eius, ita etiam et de bonitare vel voluntate ipsius. Sed 
lidtum est quod aliquis experimentum sumat divinae bonitatis, seu etiam 
voluntatis: dicitur enim in Psalm., Gustate, et videte quoniam suavis est 
Dominus;* et Rom., Ut probetis quce voluntas Dei bona et beneplacens et 
perfecta.* Ergo tentare Deum non est peccatum. 

3. Praeterea, nullus vituperatur in Scriptura ex eo quod a peccato cessat 3 
sed magis si peccatum committat. Vituperatur autem Achaz quia Domino 
dicenti^ Pete tibi signum a Domino Deo tuo, respondit, Non pet am: et non 

8 n Pardlipomenon 20, 12 ^Deuteronomy 6, 16 



And so we can conclude by saying that when a man in his prayers and 
deeds entrusts himself to divine assistance in his needs, this is not to tempt 
God: for, as it is written in Chronicles: As we know not what to do, we can 
only turn our eyes to you? But when this is done without necessity or use- 
fulness, this is construed as tempting God. The Gloss on Deuteronomy, You 
shall not put the Lord, your God, to the tes?? comments, A man tempts God, 
if with safe means at hand, without any reason, he chooses a dangerous course 
of action in an attempt to see if God can rescue him}** 

Hence: i. Sometimes men are tested by deed; we want to find out 
whether a person knows this or wants that, or whether he would respond 
with help or obstinacy. 

2. It is need or usefulness which moves the saints in working miracles 
to pray for that which is an effect of divine power. 

3. The preachers of God's kingdom dispense with temporal support 
for reasons of necessity and usefulness, so as to be freer to give their time 
to the word of God. And if they depend on him alone, it does not follow 
that they are tempting God, for that means neglecting human helps with- 
out urgent or useful motive. On this point Augustine observes, Paul fled, 
not because he had lost faith in God, but lest he should tempt God by not 
escaping when the means was offered him. 11 

St Agatha had experience of God's kindness towards her, so that either 
she had not suffered illness requiring medicine or had felt herself suddenly 

article 2. is it a sin to tempt God? 

THE SECOND POINT: i. It seems not. For God never commands men to sin. 
Yet he has commanded them to try him, that is, put him to the test. Thus 
in Malachy: Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be 
food in my home, and try me in this, says the Lord of hosts: shall I not open 
for you the floodgates of heaven? 1 - It seems, then, that it is not a sin to test 

2. In addition, a man is tested not only as to his knowledge and strength, 
but also as to his moral character and intentions. Now it is right to test the 
divine goodness or love; thus the Psalms, Taste and see how good the Lord 
is. 2 And St Paul says that you may discern what is the good and acceptable 
and perfect will of God. 3 Therefore it is not a sin to test God. 

3. Sacred Scripture does not blame a man when he stops sinning, but 
for sinning. But Achaz is blamed because when the Lord said, Ask for a 
sign from the Lord, your God, he replied, I shall not test the Lord. And then 

Glossa Ordinaria. PL 113, 459 ^Contra Faustum xxn, 36, PL 42, 423 

^Malachi 3, 10 ^Psalms 33, 9 ^Romans 12, 2 

40 H 91 

SUMMA THEOLOGIA, 2a23. 97, 2 

tentabo Dominum: dictum est enim ei, Numquidparum vobis est molestos esse 
hominibus, quia moksti estis et Deo meo? ut dicitur Isa. 4 De Abraham autem 
legitur Gen. quod dixit ad Dominum, Unde scire possum quod possessurus sim 
earn? scilicet terram repromissam a Deo? Similiter etiam Gedeon signum 
a Domino petiit, de victoria repromissa, ut legitur Judic* Qui tamen ex 
hoc non reprehenduntur. Ergo tentare Deum non est peccatum. 

SED CONTRA est quod prohibetur lege Dei. Dicitur enim Deut., Non 
tentdbis Dominum Deum tuum? 

KESPONSIO: Dicendum quod, sicut dictum est/ tentare est experimentum 
sumere. Nullus autem experimentum sumit de eo de quo est certus. 
Et ideo omnis tentatio ex aliqua ignorantia vel dubitatione procedit: vel 
ejus qui tentat, sicut cum quis experimentum de re aliqua sumit ut ejus 
qualitatem cognoscat; sive aliorum, sicut cum quis experimentum de 
aliquo sumit ut aliis ostendat, per quern modum Deus dicitur nos tentare. 
Ignorare autem vel dubitare de his quae pertinent ad Dei perfectionem est 
peccatum. Unde manifestum est quod tentare Deum ad hoc quod ipse 
tentans cognoscat Dei virtutem, est peccatum. 

Si quis autem ad hoc experimentum sumat eorum quse divinam per- 
fectionem pertinent, non ut ipse cognoscat, sed ut aliis demonstret, hoc 
non est tentare Deum, cum subsit justa necessitas seu pia utilitas, et alia 
quse ad hoc concurrere debent. Sic enim Apostoli petiverunt a Domino 
ut in nomine Jesu Christi fierent signa, ut dicitur Act.? ad hoc scilicet 
quod virtus Christi infidelibus manifestaretur. 

1. Ad primum ergo dicendum quod solutio decimarum praecepta erat 
in lege, ut supra habitum est. 10 Unde habebat necessitatem ex obligatione 
praecepti: et utilitatem quse ibi dicitur, ut sit cibus in domo Dei. Unde sol- 
vendo decimas non tentabant Deum. Quod autem ibi subditur, et probate 
me, non est intelligendum causaliter, quasi ad hoc solvere deberent decimas 
ut probarent si Deus non aperiret eis cataractas cceli: sed consecutive, quia 
scilicet, si decimas solverent, experimento probation erant beneficia 
qua eis Deus conferred 

2. Ad secundum dicendum quod duplex est cognitio divinae bonitatis 
vel voluntatis. Una quidem speculativa. Et quantum ad hanc, non licet 
dubitare nee probare utrum Dei voluntas sit bona, vel utrum Deus sit 
suavis. Alia autem est cognitio divinae bonitatis seu voluntatis affectiva seu 
experimentalis, dum quis experitur in seipso gustum divinae dulcedinis et 
complacentiam divinae voluntatis: sicut de Hierotheo dicit Dionysius, 

^Isaiah 7, nff 


the Lord said to him. It is not enough for you to weary men^ must you also 
weary my God? 4 ": Isaiah records the exchange. Likewise Abraham said to 
the Lord, How am I to know that I shall possess it? 5 that is, the land which 
God had promised him. And Gideon asked God for a sign of the promised 
victory. 6 None of them are blamed. Is it a sin, then, to test God ? 

ON THE OTHER HAND the law of God forbids it, according to Deuteronomy, 
You shall not put the Lordly our God^ to the test? 

REPLY: To test, as we mentioned above, 8 is to make an experiment. But 
who tests that of which he is certain? In fact, it is done when there is some 
ignorance or doubt, either in the person who makes the test, as when 
you test a thing's quality, or in others, as when the test is made to prove its 
quality to them: it is in this last way that God is said to test us. 

Now it is clearly wrong to be blind to or to doubt the quality of God's 
perfections, and so also in consequence to test God to discover the quality 
of his power. However, if the experiment is made to prove it, not to one- 
self, but to others, this is not testing God in the bad sense, provided there 
bea just need and respectable usefulness and other requisite conditions. For 
thus did the Apostles ask the Lord that signs might be wrought in the 
name of Jesus Christ, in order that Christ's power might be made manifest 
to unbelievers. 9 

Hence: i. The paying of tithes was prescribed in the Law, as already 
mentioned. 10 There was a motive of urgency, from the obligatory nature 
of law, and also a motive of usefulness, indicated in the text quoted, that 
there may be food in my house. And so paying tithes was not tempting God. 
The phrase and try me is not to be understood causally, as though tithes 
had to be paid in order to try whether God would open the floodgates of 
heaven. It is to be understood in the light of the result that if tithes were 
paid the people would prove by experience the blessings God would bestow 
on them. 

2. There are two kinds of knowledge about God's goodness and will. 
One of these is theoretic, and as to this it is not lawful to doubt or to test 
whether God is good or lovely. The other is affective and experimental 
knowledge of divine goodness and loving-kindness, whereby a person 
experiences within himself the taste of God's sweetness and the delight in 

^Genesis 15, 8 
6 Judges 6, 36 
^Deuteronomy 6 3 16 
8 See the preceding article 
*Acts 4, 29-30 
10 2a2se. 87, I 


SUMMA THEOLOGIZE, 2a2e. 97, 3 

quod didicit divina ex compassione ad ipsa* 11 Et hoc modo monemur ut 
probemus Dei voluntatem et gustemus ejus suavitatem. 

3. Ad tertrum dicendnm quod Deus volebat signum dare regi Achaz 
non pro ipso solum, sed pro totius populi instructione. Et ideo reprehen- 
ditur, quasi impeditor communis salutis, quod signum petere nolebat. 
Nee petendo tentasset Deum. Turn quia ex mandato Dei petiisset. Turn 
quia hoc pertinebat ad utilitatem communem. Abraham vero signum petiit 
ex instinctu divino. Et ideo non peccavit. Gedeon vero signum ex debilitate 
fideipetiisse videtur, et ideo a peccato non excusatur: sicut Glossa ibidem 
dicit. 12 Sicut et Zacharias peccavit dicens ad angelum: Unde hoc sciam? 13 
Unde et propter incredulitatem punitus fiiit. 

Sciendum tamen quod dupliciter aliquis signum petit a Deo. Uno modo, 
ad explorandum divinam potestatem, aut veritatem dicti ejus. Et hoc de se 
pertinet ad Dei tentationem. Alio modo, ad hoc quod instruatur quid sit 
circa aliquod factum placitum Deo. Et hoc nullo modo pertinet ad Dei 

articulus 3. utrum tentatio del opponatur virtuti religionis 

AD TERTTUM sic proceditur. i. Videtur quod tentatio Dei non opponatur 
virtuti religionis. Tentatio enim Dei habet rationem peccati ex hoc quod 
homo de Deo dubitat, sicut dictum est. Sed dubitare de Deo pertinet ad 
peccatum infidelitatis, quod opponitur fidei. Ergo tentatio Dei magis 
opponitur fidei quam religioni. 

2. Praeterea, EccL dicitur. Ante orationem prcepara animam tuam, et noli 
esse quasi homo qui tentat Deum: 1 ubi dicit InterHnearis : Qui> scilicet 
tentans Deum, oral quod docuity sed non facit quod jussit.* Sed hoc pertinet 
ad prassumptionem, quae opponitur spei. Ergo videtur quod tentatio Dei 
sit peccatum oppositum spei. 

3. Prxterea, super illud Psalm.., Et tentaverunt Deum in cordibus suis? 
dicit glossa quod tentare Deum est dolose postulare: ut in verbis sit simplicitas > 
cum sit in corde malitia.* Sed dolus opponitur virtuti veritatis. Ergo ten- 
tatio Dei non opponitur religioni, sed veritati. 

SED CONTRA EST quod, sicut ex prsedicta glossa habetur, tentare Deum 
est inordinate postulare. Sed debito modo postulare est actus religionis, 
ut supra habitum est. 4 Ergo tentare Deum est peccatum religioni opposi- 

ll De Divinis Nominibus 2, 9. PG 3, 648 ^Glossa Ordinaria. PL 113, 526 

13 Luke I, 18 i-Ecclesiasticus l8 3 23 

*cf Vol. I of this series. Appendix 10. The Dialectic of Love in the Summa. 



his loving. Dionysius says that Hierotheus learnt divine things by sympathy ^ 
It is in this way that we are told to prove God's will and taste his sweetness. 3 - 

3. God wished to give a sign to Achaz, not for him alone, but for the 
instruction of the whole people. And so the king was reproved because, 
by refusing to ask for one, he was an obstacle to the common welfare. 
Nor would he have tempted God by asking, both because it would have 
been by divine command, and because it would have been for the common 
benefit. As for Abraham, he asked for a sign by a divine instinct, and so he 
did not sin. Whereas Gideon seems to have asked for a sign because his 
faith in God's promise was weakening. The Gloss indicates he is not 
excused from fault. 12 Nor is Zachary when he says to the angel. How 
shall I know this? 15 And he was punished for his unbelief. 

Take note, however, of the two ways of asking God for a sign. First, 
in, order to test his power or the truth of his word, and this of its nature 
involves tempting God. Secondly, in order to be instructed as to what is 
God's pleasure in a particular matter, and this in no wise comes under 
the sin of tempting God. 

article 3. is tempting God against religion? 

THE THUJD POINT : I. It seems that tempting God is not opposed to the vir- 
tue of religion. What is wrong in it is the doubt it entertains about God. 
But this comes under the head of unbelief, which is a lack of faith. Tempt- 
ing God seems to be opposed to faith rather than to religion. 

2. Moreover, Ecdesiasticus says, Before making a vow have the means to 
fulfil it; be not one who tries the Lord. 1 - The interlinear gloss a comments, 
Such a man prays for what God taught him to pray for> yet does not do what 
God has commanded him to do? But this seems to be a kind of presumption, 
and this we know stands opposed to the virtue of hope, not religion. So 
also, then, is tempting God. 

3. Moreover, commenting on the passage in the Psalms, And they tempted 
Godin their hearts? a gloss says, to test Godistopray to him deceitfully, with 
simplicity in our words and deceit in our hearts.* But deceit is opposed to the 
virtue of truthfulness. And so we could conclude that tempting God is 
opposite to that, not to religion. 

ON THE OTHER HAND according to the gloss quoted above, that to tempt God 
is to ask of him inordinately, seems to be a good definition. Now to petition 

*Psdbns 77, 18 ^Interlinear gloss. Lombard. PL 191, 731 *2a2ae. 3, 15 

^Glossa interlinearui see above 92, i note b. 


SUMMA THEOLOGIZE, 20292. 97, 4 

RESPONSIO : Dicendum quod, sicut ex supra 5 dictis patet, finis religionis est 
Deo reverentiam exhibere. Unde omnia ilia qua? directe pertinent ad 
irreverentiam Dei, religioni opponuntur. Manifestum est autem quod 
tentare aliquem ad irreverentiam ejus pertinet: nullus enim praesumit 
tentare eum de cujus excellentia certus est. Unde manifestum est quod 
tentare Deum est peccatum religioni opposition. 

1. Ad primum ergo dicendum quod, sicut supra dictum est/ ad religion- 
em pertinet protestari fidem per aliqua signa ad divinam reverentiam 
pertinentia. Et ideo ad irreligiositatem pertinet quod ex incertitudine 
fidei homo aliqua faciat quse ad divinam irreverentiam pertinent, cujus- 
modi est tentare Deum. Et ideo est irreligiositatis species. 

2. Ad secundum dicendum quod ille qui ante orationem suam animam 
non praeparat, dimittendo si quid adversum aliquem habet, vel alias se ad 
devotionem non disponendo, non facit quod in se est ut exaudiatur a Deo. 
Et ideo quasi interpretative tentat Deum. Et quamvis hujusmodi inter- 
pretativa tentatio videatur ex prsesumptione seu indiscretione provenire, 
tamen hoc ipsum ad irreverentiam Dei pertinet ut homo praesumptuose et 
sine debita diligentia se habeat in his qua* ad Deum pertinent: dicitur 
enim I Pet., Humiliamini sub potenti manu Dei. 1 et II Tim., Sollicite cura 
teipsum probabilem exhibere Deo? Unde etiam hujusmodi tentatio irreligio- 
sitatis species est. 

3. Ad tertium dicendum quod in comparatione ad Deum, qui novit 
cordis abscondita, non dicitur aliquis dolose postulare: sed per respectum 
ad homines. Unde dolus per accidens se habet ad tentationem Dei. Et 
propter hoc non oportet quod tentatio Dei directe opponatur veritati. 

articulus 4. utrum tentatio dei sit gravius peccatum quam superstitio 

AD QUARTUM sic proceditur: I. Videtur quod tentatio Dei sit gravius pec- 
catum quam superstitio. Major enim. pcena pro majori peccato infertur. 
Sed gravius est punitum in Judaeis peccatum tentationis Dei quam pec- 
catum idololatriae, quod tamen est prascipuum inter superstitiones : quia 
pro peccato idololatrse interfecti sunt ex eis tria millia hominum, ut legitur 
Exod.j' 1 pro peccato autem tentationis universaliter omnes in deserto 
perierunt, terram promissionis non intrantes, secundum illud Psalm., 
Tentaverunt me patres vestri;* etpostea sequitur Quibusjuravi in ira mea 
si introibunt in requiem rneam? Ergo tentare Deum est gravius peccatum 
quam superstitio. 
2. Praeterea, tanto aliquod peccatum videtur esse gravius quanto magis 

r> 5 2a2ae. 81^ 7 

7 I Peter 5, 6 8 n Timothy 2, 15 

9 6 


God devoutly and reasonably is an act of the virtue of religion, as we have 
already shown. 5 So then tempting God is a sinful opposite of religion. 

REPLY: As we have shown, 6 the aim of religion is to pay reverence to God. 
Consequently, whatever directly leads to irreverence for God stands as an 
opposite to religion. Clearly, to test a person is to offer him some irrever- 
ence, for who would presume to test someone of whose excellence he is 
certain? Our conclusion is that tempting God is a sin, an opposite of 

Hence: i. As we pointed out above, 7 the work of religion is to declare 
divine faith through sensible signs which give reverence to God. Therefore, 
when a man, through doubtful faith, does things such as tempting God, 
which are irreverent, this shows a lack of religion. Therefore, tempting God 
is a kind of anti-religion. 

2. A man who does not prepare himself for prayer by forgiving those 
against whom he has anything, 15 or by not otherwise disposing himself, 
does not do what he can for God to listen to him, and he can be construed 
as tempting God. And although this which can be interpreted as a kind of 
tempting seems to arise from presumption, or indiscretion, yet the fact that 
a man behaves so in matters relating to God argues irreverence. Peter 
writes, Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God? and 
St Paul, Use all care to present thyself to God as a man approved* And so 
these kinds of tempting God come back to a lack of religion. 

3. A man is said to petition with guile, not that it actually affects God, 
the knower of what is hidden in men's hearts, but because this deceit 
reflects upon the individual. Consequently, deceit is only incidental to 
tempting God, which, therefore, is not of its nature directly opposed to 

article 4. is tempting God a graver sin than superstition? 

THE FOURTH POINT : I. It seems that it is. The greater an offence the greater 
its penalty. Now among the Jews a tempting was more heavily punished 
than idolatry, which, nevertheless, is the capital form of superstition. 
For idolatry three thousand men were slain, 1 whereas for tempting God, 
all without exception perished in the desert without entering the promised 
land: Your fathers tempted me? and, Therefore, I swore in my anger> They 
shall not enter into my rest? Therefore tempting God is graver than super- 
2. Moreover, the more sin is against virtue, the more serious it would 

*Exodus 32, 28 *Psalm$ 94, 9 *Psalms 94, n 

Warfe ii, 25. 



virtuti opponitur. Sed irreligiositas, cujus species est tentatio Dei, magis 
opponitur virtuti religionis quam superstitio, quae habet aliquam simili- 
tudinem cum ipsa. Ergo tentatio Dei est gravius peccatum quam super- 

3. Prseterea, majus peccatum esse videtur irreverenter se habere ad 
parentes quam reverentiam parentibus debitam aliis exhibere. Sed Deus 
est honorandus a nobis sicut omnium Pater, sicut dicitur Malach.* Ergo 
majus peccatum esse videtur tentatio Dei, per quam irreverenter nos habe- 
mus ad Deum, quam idololatria, per quam reverentia Deo debita exhibetur 

SED CONTRA est quod super illud Deut., Cum reperti fuerint apud te 5 etc., 
dicit Glossa, Lex err or em et idololatriam maxime detestatur: maximum enim 
scelus est honorem Creatoris impendere creaturce* 

RESPONSIO: Dicendum quod in peccatis quae religioni adversantur tanto 
aliquid gravius est quanto magis divinse reverentiae adversatur. Cui quidem 
minus adversatur quod aliquis de divina excellentia dubitet quam quod 
contrarium per certitudinem sentiat. Sicut enim magis est infidelis qui 
in errore confirmatus est quam qui de veritate fidei dubitat, ita etiam magis 
contra Dei reverentiam agit qui suo facto protestatur errorem contra 
divinam excellentiam quam qui protestatur dubitationem. Superstitiosus 
autem protestatur errorem, ut ex dictis patet: 7 ille autem qui tentat Deum 
verbis vel factis, protestatur dubitationem de divina excellentia, ut dictum 
est. Et ideo gravius est peccatum superstitionis quam peccatum tentationis 

i. Ad primum ergo dicendum quod peccatum idoloatria^ non fuit puni- 
tum ilia poena quasi sufficienti, sed in posterum pro illo peccato gravior 
pcena reservabatur : dicitur enim Exo d^ Ego autem in die ultionis visitdbo hoc 
peccatum eorum? 

2* Ad secundum dicendum quod superstitio habet similitudinem cum 
religione quantum ad materialem actum, quern exhibet sicut religio. Sed 
quantum ad finem, plus contrariatur ei quam tentatio Dei: quia plus 
pertinet ad divinam irreverentiam, ut dictum est. 

3. Ad tertium dicendum quod de ratione divinae excellentiae est quod 
sit singularis et incommunicabilis : et ideo idem est contra divinam reve- 
rentiam aliquid agere> et divinam reverentiam alter! communicare. Non 
est autem similis ratio de honore parentum, qui potest sine culpa aliis 

i I 3 6 



seem to be. Now irreligion, of which tempting God is a type, is more against 
religion than superstition is, for this bears some likeness to religion. 
Consequently, tempting God is more serious than superstition. 

3. To behave disrespectfully towards one's parents seems more wrong 
than to pay others the respect we owe our parents. Now God should be 
honoured as the Father of all. 4 Therefore, to tempt God, whereby we 
behave irreverently to God, is worse than idolatry, whereby we offer a 
creature the honour due to God. 

ON THE OTHER HAND the Gloss on the text of Deuteronomy, If there is found 
among you, etc. 5 comments. The Law especially detests error and idolatry, 
for it is the greatest wrong to give to a creature the honour that belongs to 
the Creator* 

REPLY: In sins against religion, the grievousness is proportionate to the 
degree of irreverence shown. A man who doubts God's exceeding goodness 
is less irreverent than a man who flatly denies it. A man is more of an 
unbeliever if he be adamant in his error than if he has doubts about the 
truths of faith, and likewise a man acts more against the reverence due to 
God if his deeds profess an error about God's surpassing goodness than 
if they express a doubt. The superstitious man, as we pointed out, 7 pro- 
fesses an error; the man who tempts God by words or deeds expresses 
a doubt. Therefore the sin of superstition is graver than the sin of temp- 
ting God. 

Hence: i. The sin of idolatry was not visited by that one punishment, 
as though it were sufficient, for another and more severe one was reserved 
for the future. In Exodus we are told, When it is time for me to punish, I 
will punish them for their sin. B 

2. Superstition bears a certain likeness to religion in the material sort 
of activity both perform. Yet as regards their significant aim, superstition 
conflicts with religion more than tempting God does, since, as we observed, 
it implies greater irreverence for God. 

3. God's excellence is essentially unique and incommunicable. Con- 
sequently, to extend divine reverence to a creature is to do something against 
God's excellent majesty. The comparison with honouring our parents is not 
to the point, since that can be shared with others without any fault. 

^Deuteronomy 17^ 2 

*Glossa Ordinaria. PL 113^ 469 

7 2a2ae. 94, i ad I 

*Exodus 32, 34 



Qusestio 98. de perjurio 

DEINDE considerandum est de perjurio. Et circa hoc quaeruntur quatuor: 

1. utrum falsitas requiratur ad perjurium; 

2. utrum perjurium semper sit peccatum; 

3. utrum semper sit peccatum mortale; 

4. utrum peccet ille qui injungit juramentum perjuro. 

aniculus I. utrum falsitas ejus quod juramento confirmatur requiratur ad perjurium 

AD PRIMUM sic proceditur. 1 I. Videtur quod falsitas ejus quod juramento 
confimatur non requiratur ad perjurium. Ut enim supra dictum est., 2 sicut 
veritas debet concomitiar juramentum, ita etiam judicium et justitia. 
Sicut ergo incurrirur perjurium per defectum veritatis, ita etiam per 
defectum judicii, puta cum aliquis indiscrete jurat; et per defectum justi- 
tiae, puta cum aliquis jurat aliquid illicitum. 

2, Prseterea, illud per quod aliquid confirmatur potius esse videtur eo 
quod confirmatur per illud: sicut in syllogismo principia sunt potiora 
conclusione. Sed in juramento confirmatur dictum hominis per assump- 
tionem divini nominis. Ergo magis videtur esse perjurium si aliquis juret 
per falsos deos, quam si verita desit dicto hominis quod juramento con- 

3. Prasterea, Augustinus dicit, Homines falsum jurant vel cum fallunt> 
^el cum falluntur. Et ponit tria exempla. Quorum primum est: Fac ilium 
jurare qui verum putat esse pro quo jurat. Secundum est: Da alium; scit 
falsum esse> et jurat. Tertium est: Fac alium; putat esse falsum^ et jurat 
tanquam sit verum, quod forte verum est: de quo postea subdit quod perjurus 
est? Ergo aliquis veritatem jurans potest esse perjurus. Non ergo falsitas 
ad perjurium requiritur. 

SED CONTRA est quod perjurium definitur esse mendadum juramento 

RESPONSIO: Dicendum quod, sicut supra dictum est, 5 morales actus ex 
fine speciem sortiuntur. Finis autem juramenti est confirmatio dicti 
humani. Cui quidem confirmationi falsitas opponitur: per hoc enim con- 
firmatur aliquod dictum, quod ostenditur firmiter esse verum; quod 
quidem non potest contingere de eo quod est falsum. Unde falsitas directe 

a cf rn Sent. 39 3 4 8 2a2ae. 89, 3 

^Sermon, (de verbis Apostoli Jacoti} CLXXX, 2. PL 38, 973 



Question 98. perjury 

UNDER THIS HEADING we raise four points of inquiry: 

1. whether falsehood is required for perjury; 

2. whether perjury is always a sin; 

3. and always a serious sin; 

4. whether it is a sin to enjoin an oath on a perjurer. 

article I. a false statement under oath, is that the essence of perjury? 

THE FIRST POINT: 1 1. It seems that the falsity of the statement confirmed 
on oath is not essential to perjury. For, as we said above, 2 an oath should 
be accompanied by fair judgment no less than by truth. As therefore 
perjury is incurred by lack of truth so also is it incurred by lack of judg- 
ment, for instance, as when someone swears indiscreetly, or by lack of jus- 
tice, as when one swears to do something unlawful. 

2. Moreover, what confirms a statement is stronger than the statement 
itself. For instance, the premises of a syllogism are stronger than the 
conclusion they bear. Now a statement under oath is confirmed by calling 
on the name of God. It seems, therefore, that perjury consists rather in 
swearing by false gods than in the lack of truth in the human statement 
which is sworn to. 

3. Moreover, Augustine says that men swear to a falsehood both when they 
deceive and when they are deceived. And he offers three examples. The first, 
Suppose the case of a man who swears to what he thinks is true. The second, 
Give another, he knew it to be fake, yet swears it to be true. And the third, 
Take another, he thinks it is false, yet swears it to be true which maybe it is; 
of this Augustine adds later that he is a perjurer* Therefore one can be a 
perjurer while swearing to the truth, and so falsehood is not required for 

ON THE OTHER HAND perjury is defined as a lie confirmed by an oath. 4 " 

REPLY: In discussing right and wrong in human actions we showed 5 that 
their morality depends upon their aim. a Now the purpose of an oath is to 
confirm a human assertion. Falsehood stands opposed to this, since an 
assertion is confirmed by being shown to be firmly true, and this cannot 
happen to what is false. Falsehood directly nullifies the purpose of an oath, 

*Hugh of St Victor, Summ. Sent. 4, 5. PL 176, 123 5 2a2ae. 92, 2 

a cf ia2ae. 18, 4. Vol. 18; Appendices 13 & 14. 



evacuat finem juramenti. Et propter hoc a falsitate praecipue specificatur 
perversitas juramenti,quaeperjuriurn dicitur. Et ideo falsitas est de ratione 

1. Ad primum ergo dicendum quod, sicut Hieronymus dicit Jerem^ 
quodcumque illorum trium defuerit, perjurium est* Non tamen eodem ordine. 
Sed primo quidem et principaliter perjurium est quando deest veritas, 
ratione jam dicta. Secundario autem, quando deest justitia: quicumque 
enim jurat UUtitum, ex hoc ipso falsitatem incurrit, quia obligatus est ad 
hoc quod contrarium faciat. Tertio vero, quando deest judirium; quia 
cum indiscrete jurat, ex hoc ipso periculo se committit falsitatem in- 

2. Ad secundum dicendum quod principia in syllogismis sunt potiora 
tanquam habentia rationem activi principii, ut dicitur in II Physic. 1 Sed in 
moralibus actibus principalior est finis quam principium activum. Et ideo, 
licet sit perversum juramentum quando aliquis verum jurat per falsos deos, 
tamen ab ilia perversitate juramenti perjurium nominatur quae tollit 
juramenti finem, falsum jurando. 

3. Ad tertium dicendum quod actus morales procedunt a voluntate, 
cujus objectum est bonum apprehensum. Et ideo si falsum apprehendatur 
ut verum, erit quidem, relatum ad voluntatem, materialiter falsum, 
formaliter autem verum. Si autem id quod est falsum accipiatur ut falsum, 
erit falsum et materialiter et formaliter. Si autem id quod est verum appre- 
hendatur ut falsum, erit verum materialiter, falsum formaliter. 

Et ideo in quolibet istorum casuum salvatur aliquo modo ratio perjurii, 
propter aliquem falsitatis modum. Sed quia in unoquoque potius est id 
quod est formale quam id quod est materiale, non ita est perjurus ille qui 
falsum jurat quod putat esse verum, sicut ille qui verum jurat quod putat 
esse falsum. Dicit enim ibi Augustinus, 8 Interest quemadmodum verbum 
procedat ex animo: quia ream linguam nonfadt nisi rea mens. 

articulus 2. utrum omne perjurium sit peccatum 

AD SECUNDUM sic procedituT : Videtur quod non omne perjurium sit pecca- 
tum. Quicumque enim non implet quod juramento firrnavit, perjurus esse 
videtur. Sed quandoque aliquis jurat se facturum aliquid illicitum, puta 
adulterium vel homicidium, quod si faciat, peccat. Si ergo etiam non 
faciendo peccaret peccato perjurii, sequeretur quod esset perplexus. 

2. Prseterea, nullus peccat faciendo quod melius est. Sed quandoque 
aliquis perjurando facit quod melius est: sicut cum aliquis juravit se non 

^Comment, injerem. I 3 super 4, 2. PL 24, 706 
^Physics n 3 3. 195318-23 



and for this reason that perversity in swearing which is called perjury gets 
its specific character from being false. Consequently, falsehood is essential 
to perjury. 

Hence: i. We agree with Jerome, that whenever any one of these three is 
lacking^ perjury has been committed* Nevertheless they are not of the same 
rank. First and chiefly it is the lack of truthfulness which constitutes 
perjury., as we have argued. Secondarily, there is perjury when justice is 
lacking, for whoever swears in order to confirm a wrong, is committee} to a 
falsehood, and he under an obligation to do the contrary. Thirdly, when 
judgment is lacking, for he who takes an oath without sufficient reflection 
puts himself in danger of perjury. 

2. The premises in a syllogism are the stronger because they are like 
the active sources of an argument, as noted in the Physics. 1 But in moral 
matters what an act aims at is more capital than where it comes from. 
Though it is a perverse oath when a man swears to the truth by false gods> 
nevertheless perjury means that perversity which, by swearing to what is 
false, destroys the very purpose of an oath. 

3. Moral acts come from the will, whose object is a good which is 
perceived. And so if what is false is apprehended as true it will be, pre- 
cisely as related to the will, formally true hi appearance although materially 
false by its grounds. However if what is false is apprehended as false,, it 
will be false on both counts. If what is true is apprehended as false, it will 
be formally false in appearance, though materially true on its real grounds. 

In any of these cases perjury is possible in some way, according to the 
measure of falsehood. Since, however, the formal element in anything is 
more significant than the material, a man who swears to what is false 
while under the impression that it is true is not so much of a perjurer 
as he that swears to a truth thinking it to be false. For Augustine says, 8 
It depends how the assertion proceeds from the mind, for the tongue is not 
guilty except the mind be guilty. 

article 2. is all perjury sinful? 

THE SECOND POINT: i. It seems not. Whoever does not fulfil what he has 
promised under oath is seemingly a perjurer. But sometimes a man swears 
to do something wrong, for instance adultery or murder. If he does it he 
sins, and if he does it not then he also sins by perjury. So then he sins either 
way. This perplexity arises if it is held that all perjury is sinful. 

2. Moreover, no one sins by doing what is better. Now by committing 
perjury a man sometimes does what is better, for as when he breaks an oath 

8 loccit 


SUMMA THEOLOGIZE, 2a28. 98, 2 

intraturum religionem, vel quaecumque opera virtuosa non facturum. Ergo 
non omne perjurium est peccatum. 

3. Prseterea, ille qui jurat facere alterius voluntatem, nisi earn faciat, 
videtur incurrere perjurium. Sed quandoque potest contingere quod non 
peccat si ejus non impleat voluntatem: puta cum praecipit ei aliquid nimis 
durum et importabile. Ergo videtur quod non omne perjurium sit pecca- 

4. Praeterea, juramentum promissorium se extendit ad futura, sicut 
assertorium ad praeterita et praesentia. Sed potest contingere quod tollatur 
obligatio juramenti per aliquid quod in futurum emergat: sicut cum aliqua 
civitas jurat se aliquid servaturam, et postea superveniunt novi cives qui 
illud non juraverunt; vel cum aliquis canonicus jurat statuta alicujus 
ecclesiae se servaturum, et postmodum aliqua fiunt denovo. Ergo videtur 
quod ille qui transgreditur juramentum non peccet. 

SED CONTRA est quod Augustinus dicit 3 de perjurio loquens, Videtis 
quam ista detestanda sit belua 3 et de rebus humanis exterminanda. 1 

RESPONSIO: Dicendum quod, sicut supra dictum est, 2 jurare est Deum 
testem invocare. Pertinet autem ad Dei irreverentiam quod aliquis eum 
testem invocet falsitatis: quia per hoc dat intelligere vel quod Deus 
veritatem non cognoscat, vel quod falsitatem testificari velit. Et ideo per- 
jurium manifeste est peccatum religioni contrarium, cujus est Deo 
reverentiam exhibere. 

1. Ad primum ergo dicendum quod ille qui jurat se facturum aliquod 
illicitum, jurando incurrit perjurium propter defectum justitiae. Sed si 
non impleat quod juravit, in hoc perjurium non incurrit : quia hoc non erat 
tale quid quod sub juramento cadere posset. 

2. Ad secundum dicendum quod ille qui jurat se non intraturum re- 
ligionem, vel non daturum eleemosynam, vel aliquid hujusmodi> jurando 
perjurium incurrit propter defectum judicii. Et ideo quando facit id quod 
melius est 3 non est per jurium, sed perjurio contrarium: contrarium enim 
ejus quod facit sub juramento cadere non poterat. 

3. Ad tertium dicendum quod cum aliquis jurat vel promittit se fact- 
urum voluntatem alterius^ intelligenda est debita conditio 3 si scilicet id 
quod ei mandatur sit licitum et honestum, et portabile sive moderatum. 

4. Ad quartum dicendum quod quia juramentum est actio personalis 3 
ille qui de novo fit civis alicujus tivitatis, non obligatur quasi juramento ad 
servanda ilia quse civitas se servaturam juravit. Tenetur tamen ex quadam 
fidelitate, ex qua obligatur ut sicut fit socius bonorum civitatis, ita etiam 
fiat particeps onerum. Canonicus vero qui jurat se servaturum statuta 
edita in aliquo collegio, non tenetur ex juramento ad servandum futura, 



not to enter religious life, or not to do some act of virtue. Therefore not 
every act of perjury is a sin. 

3. Again, he who swears to do another's will would seem to be guilty of 
perjury unless he do it. But it may happen that he does not sin when he 
does not obey, for instance, if the command be too hard or unbearable. In 
consequence it would seem that not every act of perjury is a sin. 

4, Moreover, a promissory oath concerns the future, just as a declaratory 
oath concerns the present and past. But it can happen that the obligation 
of fulfilling an oath can cease to bind because of something that crops up 
in the future. For instance, a state may swear to fulfil some obligation,, but 
a later generation of citizens comes who have had no part in it: or a mem- 
ber of a chapter may take an. oath to preserve its rights, and afterwards 
new statutes are made. It would seem then that one who breaks an oath 
does not necessarily sin. 

ON THE OTHER HAND speaking of perjury Augustine says, See now you 
should detest this beast and exterminate it from human affairs* 

REPLY: To swear an oath is to call upon God as witness. 2 Now it is irrever- 
ence towards God to call him to witness a falsehood, because that implies 
either that he does not know what is true or that he is willing to testify 
to what is untrue. Clearly, then, perjury is a sin against the virtue of 
religion, to which it belongs to show reverence to God. 

Hence: I. He who takes an oath to do what is wrong commits perjury 
through lack of justice, but not if he fails to keep his oath, since what he 
swore to do is not fit matter for an oath. 

2. A man who swears not to enter religious life or not to give alms or the 
like is guilty of perjury through lack of judgment. And so when he does 
what is better, he does not commit perjury, but rather the contrary, for 
the contrary of what he does could not fall under oath. 

3. When a person swears or promises that he will do another's will, this 
due condition should be understood, namely that a command will be 
lawful and virtuous, bearable and within reason. 

4. An oath is a personal act, and so, in becoming a citizen, a man is not 
bound as by oath to engagements entered into earlier by the State. All the 
same, he is bound by a certain fidelity to his country, so that by his partner- 
ship in its benefits he shares also in its burdens. An ecclesiastic who swears 
to maintain the statutes of a collegiate body is not bound to those which 

1 Sermon. CLXXX 3 2. PL 38, 973 
2 2a2ae. 89, i 



nisi intenderit se obligare ad omnia statuta prseterita et futura. Tenetur 
tamen ea servare ex ipsa vi statutorum, quse habent coactivam virtutem, 
ut ex supradictis patet. 3 

articulus 3. utrum omne perjurium sit peccatum mortale 

AD TERTTUM sic proceditur. 1 1. Videtur quod non omne perjurium sit pecca- 
tum mortale. Dicitur enim Extra., de Jureiurando: In ea qu&stione quce 
ponitur, An a sacramenti vinculo dbsolvantur quiillud invitipro vita et rebus 
servandis fecerunt: nihil aliud arbitramur quam quod antecessores nostri 
Roman Pontifices arbitrati fuisse noscuntur, qui tales a juramenti nexibus 
absolverunt, Ceterum ut agatur consultius> et auferatur materia dejerandi^ 
non eis ita expresse dicatur utjuramenta non servent: sed si non ea attenderint, 
non ob hoc sunt tanquam pro mortali crimine puniendi* Non ergo omne 
perjurium est peccatum mortale. 

2. Prseterea 3 sicut Chrysostomus dicit, majus est jurare per Deum quam 
per Evangelium. 3 Sed non semper mortaliter peccat ille qui per Deum jurat 
aliquod falsum: puta si ex joco, vel ex lapsu linguae, aliquis tali jura- 
mento in communi sermone utatur. Ergo nee etiam si aliquis frangat 
juramentum quod solemniter per EvangeHum jurat^ semper erit peccatum 

3. Praeterea, secundum jura propter perjurium aliquis incurrit infam- 
iam: 4 Non autem videtur quod propter quodlibet perjurium aliquis in- 
famiam incurrat: sicut dicitur de assertorio juramento violate per perjur- 
ium. 5 Ergo videtur quod non omne perjurium sit peccatum mortale. 

SED CONTRA., omne peccatum quod contrariatur praecepto divino est 
peccatum mortale. Sed perjurium contrariatur praecepto divino: dicitur 
enim Levit., Non perjurabis in nomine meo* Ergo est peccatum mortale. 

RESPONSIO: Dicendum quod, secundum doctrinam Philosophi, propter 
quod unumquodque., illud magis. 1 Videmus autem quod ea quae, si de se sint 

8 ia2ae. 96^ 4 

2 Pope Gregory IX, Decretals II 3 24, 15 Richter-Friedberg n, 364 

*Opus imperfectum in Matthaeum 44, 23, 16. PG 56, 883 (falsely ascribed to St John 


'Decretum n, 6, 1, can. 17 5 cf Decretal. Greg. n 3 10, 2, ed cit n, 274 

*Leviticu$ 19^ 12 ^Posterior Analytics I 9 2 

a St Raymond of Pennafort added to earlier laws more recent developments in 

canon law. The entire collection was approved and promulgated by Pope Gregory 



may be made in the future unless he intends to bind himself to keep all, 
past and future. Note, however, that he is bound to keep those that are 
compulsory by their statutory power. 3 

article 3. is every act of perjury a grave sin? 

THE THIRD POINT: 1 i. It seems that every act of perjury is not a mortal 
sin. The Decretals lay down, a With regard to the question whether an oath 
is binding on those who have taken one when they are threatened by loss of life 
or possessions, our judgment is no different from that which our predecessors, 
the pontiffs, are known to have made, for they absolved them from the ties of 
the oath. For the rest, that it might be done advisedly, and to avoid the 
occasion for committing perjury, let them not be told expressly not to keep their 
oath, but that if they should not keep it they are not on this account to be 
punished as for a mortal crime? Therefore, not every perjury is a serious sin. 

2. Moreover, as Chrysostom says, it is a greater thing to swear by God than 
by the Gospel* Now a person who swears by God to a falsehood does not 
always commit a serious sin, for instance, if he does this as a joke or by a 
slip of the tongue. So then neither is it always a serious sin to break a Bible 

3. Moreover, according to the laws which govern perjury, a man incurs 
infamy b when convicted of perjury. 4 However it seems that infamy is not 
incurred through any kind of perjury, but only through the violation of 
a declaratory oath. 5 Therefore it does not seem that every act of perjury 
is a serious sin. 

ON THE OTHER HAND every sin which is contrary to a divine precept is a 
serious sin, and there is one against perjury; Leviticus, Thou shall not swear 
falsely by my name? 

REPLY: One of Aristotle's aphorisms is. If this is true in the lesser and 
derivative, it is even truer in the normative? Now we recognize that actions 

IX (1234)3 and called the Decretals. The Swnma refers to this work by its medieval 
nickname. Liber Extra the outside book, supplementary to Gratian's Decree. 
b lofamy, infamia, a technical term in canon law, means the loss of a person's good 
name or good reputation among prudent and upright men. As an ecclesiastical 
penalty infamy arises from the commission of a crime (crime is to be interpreted 
here strictly, one that is serious and certain) or for general corrupt morals. The 
vindicative penalty of infamy may also arise from the commission of certain crimes 
specified in law (infamy of law). This penalty bars a person from the reception 
and exercise of certain ecclesiastical offices, orders, and rights. 

40-1 107 

SUMMA THEOLOGIZE, 2a28. 983 4 

peccata venialia vel etiam bona ex genere, si in contemptum Dei fiant, sunt 
peccata mortalia. Unde multo magis quidquid est quod de sui ratione 
pertinet ad contemptum Dei, est peccatum mortale. Perjurium autem de 
sui ratione importat contemptum Dei: ex hoc enim habet rationem culpse, 
ut dictum est, 8 quia ad irreverentiam Dei pertinet. Unde manifestum est 
quod perjurium ex suo genere est peccatum mortale. 

1. Ad primum ergo dicendum quod, sicut supra dictum est, 9 coactio 
non aufert juramento promissorio vim obligandi respectu ejus quod licite 
fieri potest. Et ideo si aliquis non impleat quod coactus juravit, nihilominus 
perjurium incurrit et mortaliter peccat. Potest tamen per auctoritatem 
Summi Pontificis ab obligatione juramenti absolvi; praesertim si coactus 
fuerit tali metu qui cadere posset in constantem virum. Quod autem dicitur 
quod non sunt tales puniendi tanquam pro mortali crimine, non hoc ideo 
dicitur quia non peccent mortaliter: sed quia poena eis minor infligitur. 

2. Ad secundum dicendum quod ille qui jocose perjurat non evitat 
divinam irreverentiam, sed quantum ad aliquid magis auget. Et ideo non 
excusatur a peccato mortali. Ille autem qui ex lapsu linguae falsum jurat, 
si quidem advertat se jurare et falsum esse quod jurat, non excusatur a 
peccato mortali, sicut nee a Dei contemptu. Si autem hoc non advertat, 
non videtur habere intentionem jurandi: et ideo a crimine perjurii ex- 

Est autem gravius peccatum si quis solemniter juret per Evangelium 
quam si per Deum in communi sermone juret; turn propter scandalum 
turn propter majorem deliberationem. Quibus aequaliter hinc inde positis, 
gravius est si quis per Deum jurans perjuret quam si perjuret jurans per 

3. Ad tertium dicendum quod non propter quodlibet peccatum mortale 
aliquis infamis efficitur ipso jure. Unde non sequitur, si ille qui jurat 
falsum juramento assertorio non est infamis ipso jure, sed solum per 
sententiam definitivam latam contra eum in causa accusationis quod 
propter hoc non peccet mortaliter. Ideo autem magis reputatur infamis 
ipso jure qui frangit juramentum promissorium solemniter factum, quia 
in ejus potestate remanet, postquam juravit, ut det suo juramento verita- 
tem: quod non contingit in juramento assertorio. 

articulus 4. utrum peccet ille qui injungit juramentum ei qui perjurat 

AD QUARTUM sic proceditur: 1 i. Videtur quod peccet ille qui injungit 
juramentum ei qui perjurat. Aut enim scit eum verum jurare aut falsum. 
Si scit eum verum jurare, pro nihilo ei juramentum injungit. Si autem 
credit eum falsum jurare, quantum est de se, inducit eum ad peccandum. 
Ergo videtur quod nullo modo debeat aliquis alicui injungere juramentum. 



which are only minor faults, or even good in the abstract, can become 
serious sins when done out of contempt for God. Consequently any action 
that of its character implies this is certainly a serious sin. Now perjury of 
its nature does this; the reason why it is sinful is as we have stated/ this 
irreverence. Consequently perjury considered as a kind of sin is mortal. 
Hence: I. We have already pointed out 9 that coercion does not deprive 
a promissory oath of its binding force with respect to what is legitimate. 
Therefore he who fails to fulfil an oath he took under coercion is guilty 
of perjury and sins seriously. Nevertheless the Sovereign Pontiff can by his 
authority absolve a man from the obligation, especially if he were forced 
into the oath by intimidation enough to bring down the steadiest. That 
such cases are not to be punished as for grave crime does not mean that 
there is no mortal sin, but that a lighter penalty is imposed. 

2. He that swears falsely in jest does not avoid irreverence to God, 
but in one way he increases it, and consequently is not excused from 
serious sin. Likewise a man who swears falsely by a slip of the tongue, if 
he adverts to it and does not correct himself. Otherwise it does not seem 
that he had the intention of swearing, and he may be excused from the 
crime of perjury. 

It is, however, more serious to swear solemnly by the Gospel than to 
swear by God in ordinary conversation, both on account of the scandal and 
greater deliberation. Yet on balance between the two as they stand, perjury 
is worse by swearing to God than by taking your Gospel oath. 

3. Not every serious sin makes a man infamous in the eyes of the law. 
It does not follow that when he falsely takes a declaratory oath he does 
not sin mortally, though he is not infamous ipso jure., but only when he 
has been convicted and sentenced in court. The law attaches infamy to 
someone who breaks a solemn promissory oath because the person is still 
able to substantiate it 5 whereas this is not possible in the case of a 
declaratory oath. 

article 4. is it a sin to demand an oath from a perjurer? 

THE FOURTH POINT: 1 1. It seems that to demand an oath of a perjurer is a 
sin. For you know that the man is swearing either to the truth or to a lie. 
If the truth, the oath is needless. If you believe that he is perjuring himself, 
you are leading him into sin, so then it seems that in no way should anyone 
ever demand an oath of another. 

8 2a2ae. 983 2 

*2a2ae. 89^ 7 ad 3 

*cf III Sent. 39, 5, I, 2. In Rom. r, lect. 5 


SUMMA THEOLOGIZE, 2a23. 985 4 

2. Prseterea, juramentum minus est accipere ab aliquo quam juramen- 
tum injungere alicui. Sed recipere juramentum ab aliquo non videtur esse 
licitum, et pracipue si perjuret: quia in hoc videtur consentire peccato. 
Ergo videtur quod multo minus liceat exigere juramentum ab eo qui 

3. Prseterea, dicitur Levit., Sipeccaverit anima, et audierit vocemjurantis 
falsum, testisque fuerit quod out ipse vidit out consdus est, nisi indicaverit, 
portabit iniquitatem suam? ex quo videtur quod aliquis sciens aliquem 
jurare falsum, teneatur eum accusare. Non igitur licet ab eo exigere 

4. Sed contra, sicut peccat ille qui falsum jurat, ita ille qui per falsos 
deos jurat. Sed licet uti juramento ejus qui per falsos deos jurat: ut 
Augustinus dicit. 3 Ergo licet juramentum exigere ab eo qui falsum jurat. 

KESPONSIO : Dicendum quod circa eum qui exigit ab alio juramentum dis- 
tinguendum videtur. Aut enim exigit juramentum pro seipso propria 
sponte, aut exigit juramentum pro alio ex necessitate officii sibi commissi. 
Et si quidem aliquis pro seipso exigit juramentum tanquam persona privata, 
distinguendum videtur, ut Augustinus dicit. Si enim nescit eum juraturum 
falsum, et idea dicit, 'jura mihi y , ut fides ei sit, non est peccatum: tamen est 
humana tentatio, quia scilicet procedit ex quadam irrfirmitate, quo homo 
dubitat alium esse verum dicturum. Et hoc est illud malum de quo Dominus 
dicit Matt., 'Quod amplius est, a malo est\* Si autem scit eum fedsse, 
scilicet contrarium ejus quod jurat, et cogit eum jurare, homidda est. Ille 
enim de suo perjurio se interimit: sed iste manum interfidentis impressit. 5 

Si autem aliquis exigat juramentum tanquam persona publica, secundum 
quod exigit ordo juris, ad petitionem alterius, non videtur esse in culpa 
si ipse juramentum exigat, sive sciat eum falsum jurare sive verum: quia 
non videtur ille exigere, sed ille ad cujus instantiam exigit. 

1. Ad primum ergo dicendum quod objectio ilia procedit quando pro 
se aliquis exigit juramentum. Et tamen non semper scit eum jurare verum, 
vel falsum: sed quandoque dubitat de facto, et credit eum verum jura- 
turum, et tune ad majorem certitudinem exigit juramentum. 

2. Ad secundum dicendum quod, sicut Augustinus dicit, quamvis dictum 
sit nejuremus, nunquam me in Scripturis sanctis legisse memini ne ab aliquo 
jurationem acdpiamus* Unde ille qui jurationem recipit non peccat: nisi 
forte quando propria sponte ad jurandum cogit eum quern scit falsum 

^Leviticus $> i 3 EpistoIa XLvn, 154. PL 33, 184 

^Matthew 5, 37 5 Sermo CLXXX, 28. PL 38, 977-8 

*Epistola XLVII 3 154. PL 33, 185 
*The sed contra here is a fourth objection, cf above 96, 4 note. 



2. Moreover, receiving an oath is less than demanding one. But to 
receive an oath does not seem lawful, especially if it is perjurious, because 
it seems a consent to sin. Even more co-operative in sin would it be to 
demand such an oath. 

3. Moreover, in Leviticus it is written. If any person refuses to give the 
information which, as a witness of something he has seen or learned, he has 
been adjured to give, he thus commits a sin and has guilt to bear? From this 
passage it seems that one who knows that another man is swearing to 
something false is bound to accuse him. Certainly it is not lawful to demand 
an oath of such a man. 

4. On the contrary 3 - just as it is a sin to swear falsely so also is it to swear 
by false gods. But it is lawful to take advantage, so Augustine thinks, 3 of 
one who has sworn by his gods. Therefore to demand an oath from a man 
who swears falsely is legitimate. 

REPLY: The question calls for a distinction. A mart may demand an oath 
either on his own account and of his own accord, or on account of some 
public office committed to him. As for the first, his demand as a private 
individual, Augustine draws a further distinction, If he does not know that 
the man will swear falsely, and says to him accordingly, 'swear to me', so that 
he may have some assurance about the matter, this is not a sin, but is, never- 
theless, tempting a man, because it proceeds from his weakness in doubting 
whether the other is telling the truth. This is the evil of which our Lord 
speaks, Whatever is beyond these comes from the evil one. 4 " But if he knows 
that a man has done so, that is the opposite of what he is swearing to, and 
yet forces him to take an oath, he is a murderer. The other ruins himself by 
his perjury, but his hand was forced by the slayer* 

If, on the other hand, a man demands an oath acting as a public official 
in accordance with the juridical order, for instance, in a court of law on 
behalf of the State or a plaintiff, this does not seem to be a sin, whether 
or not he knows that the man is swearing truthfully or perjuring himself. 
For then, it seems, he is not really demanding the oath as an individual 
but rather as a public person at the instance of the court. 

Hence : I. This objection is valid in the case when someone demands an 
oath on personal grounds. Yet even then it is not always known whether 
perjury will be Committed or not, for sometimes it may be believed that 
the truth will be told under oath though the facts are doubtful. An oath 
is then imposed to help clear up the matter. 

2. Augustine says, Although we are forbidden to swear, I never remember 
having read in Holy Scripture that we should not accept an oath from another. 6 
And so he who accepts one does not sin, unless of his own accord he forces 
another to take an oath knowing that it will be false. 


SUMMA THEOLOGIZE, 2a282. 98, 4 

3. Ad tertium dicendum quod, sicut Augustinus dicit, Moyses non 
expressit in praedicta auctoritate cui sit indicandum perjurium alterius. Et 
ideo intelligitur quod debeat indicari tdlibus qui magis possunt prodesse 
quam obesse perjuro^ Similiter etiam non expressit quo ordine debeat 
manifestare. Et ideo videtur servandus ordo evangelicus si sit peccatum 
perjurii occultum et praecipue quando non vergit in detrimentum alterius, 
quia in tali casu non haberet locum ordo evangelicus, ut supra dictum 
est. 8 

4. Ad quartum dicendum quod licet uti malo propter bonum, sicut et 
Deus utitur: non tamen licet aliquem ad malum inducere. Unde licet ejus 
qui paratus est per falsos deos jurare, juramentum recipere : non tamen licet 
eum inducere ad hoc quod per falsos deos juret Alia tamen ratio esse 
videtur in eo qui per verum Deum falsum jurat. Quia in tali juramento 
deest bonum fidei, qua utitur aliquis in juramento illius qui verum per 
falsos deos jurat, ut Augustinus dicit. 9 Unde in juramento ejus qui falsum 
per verum Deum jurat, non videtur esse aliquod bonum quo uti liceat. 

7 Qucestiones in Libro Levitici, I. PL 34, 673 



3. Augustine says that Moses, in the passage quoted, did not state to 
whom another's perjury had to be denounced. 7 We are given to understand 
that it is those who would do the perjurer good rather than harm. Nor did 
he state in what order the denunciation should be made. It seems then,, 
that the Gospel order should be followed if it is a hidden sin of perjury; 
and especially when it is not to another's harm, for, as we have mentioned 
above, 8 the Gospel order would not apply. 

4. It is permissible to use evil for good as God often does, but never 
to lead another to do evil. Consequently, it is legitimate to accept the 
oath of one who is ready to swear by false gods, but not to induce him 
to swear by them. The case seems different with him who swears by the 
true God to a falsehood. For good faith is lacking, the good faith which, 
as Augustine admits, 9 is present when a man swears to the truth by false 
gods. But swearing a falsehood by the true God seems to lack any good 
at all that can lawfully be used. 

> 7 
*Epistola XLVH, 154. PL 33, 184 



DEINDE CONSIDERANDUM EST de vitiis ad irreligiositatem pertinentibus 
quibus rebus sacris irreverentia exhibetur. Et primo a de sacrilegio; 
secundo, de simonia. 

Quaestio 99. de sacrilegio 

Circa primum quasruntur quatuor: 

1. quid sit sacrilegium; 

2. utrum sit speciale peccatum; 

3. de speciebus sacrilegii; 

4. de poena sacrilegii. 

articulus I. utrum sacrilegium sit sacra rei violatio 

AD PRIMUM sic proceditur: I. Videtur quod sacrilegium non sit sacrce rei 
violatio. Dicitur enim; Committunt sacrilegium qui de prindpis judicio dispu- 
tant, dubitantes an is dignus sit konore quern princeps elegerit. 1 Sed hoc ad 
nullam rem sacram pertinere videtur. Ergo sacrilegium non importat 
sacrae rei violationem. 

2. Praeterea, ibidem subditur quod si quis permiserit Judaeous officia 
publica exercere, velut in sacrilegum excommunicatio proferatur* Sed 
officia publica non videntur ad aliquod sacrum pertinere. Ergo videtur 
quod sacrilegium non importet violationem alicujus sacri. 

3. Prseterea, major est virtus Dei quam virtus hominis. Sed res sacrse 
a Deo sanctitatem obtinent. Non ergo possunt per hominem violari. Et ita 
sacrilegium non videtur esse sacrse rei violatio. 

SED CONTRA est quod Isidorus dicit 5 quod sacrilegus dicitur ab eo quod sacra 
legit, idest furatur? 

RESPONSIO: Dicendum quod, sicut ex praedictis patet 3 4 sacrum dicitur 
aliquid ex eo quod ad divinum cultum ordinatur. Sicut autem ex eo quod 
aliquid ordinatur in finem bonunij sortitur rationem boni; ita etiam ex hoc 
quod aliquid deputatur ad cultum Dei, efficitur quoddam divinum 3 et sic 
ei quaedam reverentia debetur quae refertur in Deum. Et ideo omne illud 
quod ad irreverentiam rerum sacrarum pertinet, ad injuriam Dei pertinet, 
et habet sacrilegii rationem. 

l Decretwn n } ij, 4. ad can. 29. ed cit i> 822 2 ibidj can. 31, 823 



WE GO ON TO VICES against true religion which treat sacred things with 
irreverence. There are two, namely sacrilege and simony (100). 

Question 99. sacrilege 

Here there are four points of inquiry: 

1. what sacrilege is; 

2. whether it is a special sin; 

3. on the different kinds of sacrilege; 

4. and its penalty. 

article I. is sacrilege the profanation of a sacred object? 

THE FIRST POINT: i. It seems that sacrilege is not the profanation of a 
sacred thing. Gratian states. They commit sacrikge who dispute the sovereign's 
decision and doubt whether the person he has chosen be worthy of honour}- 
But this seems to have no connection with anything sacred. And so 
sacrilege does not mean profanation of something sacred. 

2. He states later that if anyone allows Jews to hold government posi- 
tions he is then liable to excommunication just as for sacrilege.' 2 ' But positions 
in the government are not sacred. Therefore sacrilege is not the profan- 
ation of something sacred. 

3. Moreover, God's power is greater than man's. But sacred objects 
and persons get their sacredness from God. How can they then be vio- 
lated by man? In consequence sacrilege is not the profanation of a sacred 

ON THE OTHER HAND we have Isidore explaining that a man is said to be 
sacrilegious because he 'sacra legit\ that is selects, or steals, the sacred. a 

REPLY: Elsewhere we showed 4 that something is called sacred because it is 
appointed for divine worship. Just as a thing takes on a quality of good 
from being ordered to a good end, so is it invested with a quality of 
divinity from being appointed for the service of God, and thus a certain 
reverence is due to it, which reverence is referred to God. Therefore 
every deed of irreverence towards a sacred thing is an offence to God, and 
as such has the nature of sacrilege. 

^Etymologies X 3 5, 252. PL 82, 394 
4 ia2se. 101, 4 


1. Ad primum ergo dicendum quod, secundum Philosophum, in 
I Ethic., 5 bonum commune gentis est quoddam divinum. Et ideo anti- 
quitus rectores reipublicse divini vocabantur, quasi divinae providentise 
ministri; secundum illud Sap., Cum essetis ministri regni illius, non recte 
judicastis. 6 Et sic, per quamdam nominis extensionem, illud quod pertinet 
ad reverentiam principis, scilicet disputare de ejus judicio, an oporteat 
ipsum sequi, secundum quamdam similitudinem sacrilegium dicitur. 

2. Ad secundum dicendum quod populus Christianus per fidem et 
sacramenta Cliristi sanctificatus est: secundum illud I Cor., Sed abluti 
estis, sed sanctificati estis. 7 Et ideo I Pet. dicitur, Vos estis genus electum, 
regale sacerdotium, gens sancta, populus acquisition^? Et ita id quod fit in 
injuriam populi Christiani, scilicet quod infideles ei praeficiantur, pertinet 
ad irreverentiam sacraa rei. Unde rationabiliter sacrilegium dicitur. 

3. Ad tertium dicendum quod violatio hie large dicitur qusecumque 
i rreverentia vel exhonoratio. Sicut autem honor est in honor ante, non autem 
in eo qui honoratur, ut dicitur in I Ethic., 9 ita etiam irreverentia est in eo 
qui irreverenter se habet, quamvis etiam nihil noceat ei cui irreverentiam 
exhibit. Quantum ergo est in ipso rem sacram violat, licet ilia non violetur. 

articulus 2. utrum sacrilegium sit speciale peccatum 

AD SECUNDUM sic proceditur: i. Videtur quod sacrilegium non sit speciale 
peccatum. Dicitur enim, Committunt sacrilegium qui in divince legis sancti- 
tatem aut nesciendo committunt, aut negligendo violant et offendunt. 1 Sed hoc 
fit per omne peccatum: nam peccatum est dictum velfactum vel concupitum 
contra legem Dei, ut Augustinus dicit. 2 Ergo sacrilegium est generale 

2. Praeterea, nullum speciale peccatum continetur sub diversis generibus 
peccatomm. Sed sacrilegium sub diversis generibus peccatorum conti- 
netur: puta sub homicidio, si quis sacerdotem occidat; sub luxuria, si quis 
virginem sacratam violet, vel quamcumque mulierem in loco sacro; sub 
furto, si quis rem sacram furatus fuerit. Ergo sacrilegium non est speciale 

3. Praeterea, omne speciale peccatum invenitur distinctum ab aliis 
peccatis: ut de injustitia speciali Philosophus dicit, in V Ethic* Sed sacri- 
legium non videtur inveniri absque aliis peccatis, sed quandoque con- 
jungitur furto, quandoque homicidio, ut dictum est. 4 Non ergo est speciale 

*Ethics 3 1, i. I094bio~n 

Wisdom 6 5 5 

7 I Corinthians 6> II 



Hence: I. According to Aristotle there is something divine about the 
common good of the people. 5 This is why in times of old the rulers of the 
commonwealth were called 'divines', as being the ministers of divine 
Providence, thus Wisdom remarks. Though you were ministers of his 
kingdom, you judged not rightly. 6 By an extension of the term, whatever 
smacks of irreverence for the sovereign, such as disputing his judgment, 
questioning whether one ought to follow it, is called sacrilege by analogy. 

2. Christians are sanctified by faith and by the sacraments of Christ; 
But you have been washed, you have been sanctified? So also, You are a chosen 
race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people? It would be an 
injury to Christian people to put them under infidels, an irreverence to 
something sacred, which with some justification is termed a sacrilege. 

3. Violation here means any kind of irreverence or dishonour. As re- 
marked in the Ethics, Honour is in the one who gives it, not in the one who 
receives it,* and correspondingly, irreverence is in the person who behaves 
irreverently even though he do no harm to the object of his irreverence. 
As far as is in him he violates the sacred object, which in itself remains 

article 2. is sacrilege a special sin? 

THE SECOND POINT : I . It seems that sacrilege is not a special sin. For Gratian 
says, They commit sacrilege who through ignorance sin against the sanctity of 
the law or violate it and offend by their negligence}- But every sin does this, 
for, as Augustine says, sin is a word or deed or desire against the law of God,? 1 
Therefore, sacrilege is a sort of general sinfulness. 

2. Moreover, no one kind of sin can be found under diverse classi- 
fications of sins. But sacrilege can be placed, for example, under murder 
if one killed a priest; under lust if one violated a consecrated virgin, or any 
woman in a church; under theft if one stole a sacred vessel. Consequently, 
sacrilege cannot be a particular kind of sin. 

3. Moreover, every kind of sin is distinct from other sins, as Aristotle 
observes when he speaks of sin against particular justice. 3 Now sacrilege 
seems never to be found apart from another sin, homicide, theft, as the case 
may be: we have referred to this already. 4 So it is not itself a special sin. 

8 I Peter 2, 9 

^Ethics I, 3. io95b24-6. cf lazse. 2 3 2 

T-Decretum II 3 17, 4, app. ad can. 29. ed cit I, 822 

^Contra Faustum xxn, 27. PL 42, 418. cf ia2ae. 71, 6 

*Ethic$ 5, 4. U3oai9-24 

4 In the preceding objection 


STJMMA THEOLOGIZE, 2a22e. 99, 3 

SED CONTRA est quod opponitur special! virtuti, scilicet religioni, ad quam 
pertinet revereri Deum et divina. Ergo sacrilegium est speciale peccatum. 

RESPONSIO: Dicendum quod ubicumque invenitur specialis ratio deformi- 
tatis, ibi necesse est quod sit speciale peccatum; 5 quia species cujuslibet 
rei praecipue attenditur secundum formalem rationem ipsius, non autem 
secundum materiam vel subjectum. In sacrilegio autem invenitur specialis 
ratio deformitatis : quia scilicet violatur res sacra per aliquam irreverentiam. 
Et ideo est speciale peccatum. 

Et opponitur religion! Sicut enim Damascenus dicit, purpura, regale 
indumentum facta, honoratur et glorificatur: et si quis hanc perforaverit, 
morte damnaturf quasi contra regem agens. Ita etiam si quis rem sacram 
violat, ex hoc ipso contra Dei reverentiam agit, et sic per irreligiositatem 

1. Ad primum ergo dicendum quod illi dicuntur in divinse legis sancti- 
tatem committere qui legem Dei impugnant: sicut hseretici et blasphemi. 
Qui ex hoc quod Deo non credunt, incurrunt infidelitatis peccatum: ex 
hoc vero quod divinse legis verba pervertunt, sacrilegium incurrunt. 

2. Ad secundum dicendum quod nihil prohibet unam specialem 
rationem peccati in pluribus peccatorum generibus inveniri, secundum 
quod diversa peccata ad finem unius peccati ordinantur: prout etiam in 
virtutibus apparet quibus imperatur ab una virtute. Et hoc rnodo, quo- 
cumque genere peccati aliquis faciat contra reverentiam debitam sacris 
rebus, sacrilegium formaliter committit, licet materialiter sint ibi diversa 
genera peccatorum. 

3. Ad tertium dicendum quod sacrilegium interdum invenitur separatum 
ab aHis peccatis, eo quod actus non habet aliam deformitatem nisi quia res 
sacra violating puta si aliquis judex rapiat aliquem de loco sacro, quern in 
aliis locis Hcite capere posset. 

articulus 3. utrum species sacrilegii distinguantur secundum res sacras 

AD TERTIUM sic proceditur: I. Videtur quod species sacrilegii non dis- 
tinguantur secundum res sacras. Materialis enim diversitas non diversificat 
speciero, si sit eadem ratio formalis. Sed in violatione quarumcumque 
rerum sacrarum videtur esse eadem ratio formalis peccati, et quod non 
sit diversitas nisi materialis. Ergo per hoc non diversificantur sacrilegii 

2. Prseterea, non videtur esse possibile quod aliqua suit ejusdem speciei, 
et tamen specie differant. Sed homicidium et furtum et illicitus concubitus 

B 2a2se. J2 3 I 



ON THE OTHER HAND whatever is opposed to a special virtue is a special 
sin. Sacrilege is opposed to a special virtue, namely religion, which gives 
reverence to God and divine things. In consequence it is a special sin. a 

REPLY: Wherever a special type of moral deformity is found there must 
needs be a special kind of sin, 5 because a thing's specific nature is chiefly 
from what shapes its meaning, not from its material or subject. Now in 
sacrilege we find a special type of deformity, which consists in the irrever- 
ence of violating sacred things. In consequence it is a special kind of sin. 

And it is opposed to the virtue of religion. Damascene says, When the 
purple has been made into the royal robe we give it honour and glory , and 
if anyone tears at it he is condemned to death. 6 So also if a man violates a 
sacred object or person, his behaviour is against the reverence due to God, 
and he sins by irreligion. 

Hence: i. People sin against the sanctity of divine law when they assail 
it, as heretics and blasphemers do. By disbelieving God they commit the 
sin of denying faith; by twisting the words of his law they commit the sin 
of sacrilege. 

2. There is no reason why one kind of sin cannot be placed in various 
categories of sins, since diverse sins can be subordinate to the aim of one 
sin; this is the case with the virtues, where several may be motivated by 
one. In this way, by whatever kind of sin a man does against the reverence 
due to sacred things, the point here is that he commits sacrilege, though 
his act includes other kinds of sin as well. 

3. Sacrilege is sometimes found apart from other sins, when the act 
has no other deformity than that of violating the sacred; for example, 
when an officer of the law seizes in church a man who could have been 
apprehended elsewhere. 

article 3. are the varieties of sacrilege classified according to the things profaned? 

THE THIRD POINT 1 1. It seems that sacrilege is not broken down into various 
kinds according to the objects which are profaned. Material diversity does 
not make a change of species if the significant form remains the same. This 
is the case in every profanation of sacred things., for there is one significant 
form of the sin throughout, and the differences are only material, and 
therefore not such as to make for different kinds of sacrilege. 

2. Moreover, it does not seem possible that things which belong to the 
same specific class can at the same time belong to a different specific class. 

*Defide orthodoxa iv, 3. PG 94, 1105 

*For sacrilege as a type of lust, see 2a2ae. 154, 10. Vol. 43. 


SUMMA THEOLOGIZE, 2a2ae. 99, 3 

sunt diversae species peccatorum. Ergo non possunt convenire in una specie 
sacrilegii. Et ita videtur quod sacrilegii species distinguantur secundum 
diversas species alionun peccatorum, et non secundum diversitatem rerum 

3. Prseterea, inter res sacras connumerantur etiam personae sacrae. Si 
ergo una species sacrilegii esset qua violatur persona sacra, sequeretur quod 
omne peccatum quod persona sacra committit esset sacrilegium: quia per 
quodlibet peccatum violatur persona peccantis. Non ergo species sacrilegii 
accipiuntur secundum res sacras. 

SED CONTRA est quod actus et habitus distinguuntur secundum objecta. 
Sed res sacra est objectum sacrilegii, ut dictum est. 1 Ergo species sacrilegii 
distinguuntur secundum diflferentiam rerum sacrarum. 

RESPONSIO: Dicendum quod, sicut dictum est, peccatum sacrilegii in hoc 
consistit quod aliquis irreverenter se habet ad rem sacram. Debetur autem 
reverentia rei sacrse ratione sanctitatis. Et ideo secundum diversam ratio- 
nem sanctitatis rerum sacrarum quibus irreverentia exhibetur, necesse est 
quod sacrilegii species distinguantur: et tanto sacrilegium est gravius 
quanto res sacra in quam peccatur majorem obtinet sanctitatem. 

Attribuitur autem sanctitas et personis sacris, idest divino cultui 
dedicatis, et locis sacris, et rebus quibusdam aliis sacris. Sanctitas autem 
loci ordinatur ad sanctitatem hominis, qui in loco sacro cultum exhibet 
Deo: dicitur enim II Machab., Non pro-pier locum gentem> sed propter gentem 
Dondnus locum elegit? Et ideo gravius peccatum est sacrilegium quo pecca- 
tur contra personam sacram quam quo peccatur contra locum sacrum. 
Sunt tamen in utraque sacrilegii specie diversi gradus, secundum differ- 
entiam personarum et locorum sacrorum. 

Similiter etiam et tertia species sacrilegii., quse circa alias res sacras 
committitur, diversos habet gradus, secundum differentiam sacrarum 
rerum. Inter quas summum locum obtinent ipsa sacramenta, quibus homo 
sanctificatur: quorum praecipuum est Eucharistise sacramentum, quod 
continet ipsum Christum. Et ideo sacrilegium quod contra hoc sacramen- 
tum committitur gravissimum est inter omnia. 

Post sacramenta autem, secundum locum tenent vasa consecrata ad 
sacramentorum susceptionem; et ipsae imagines sacrae, et sanctorum 
reliquiae, in quibus quodammodo ipsae personae sanctorum venerantur vel 
dehonorantur. Deinde ea quae pertinent ad ornatum ecclesiae et minist- 
rorum. Deinde ea quae sunt deputata ad sustentationem ministrorum, 

X 2a2se. 99, i 



Now murder, theft, and rape are in different specific classifications of sin, 
and cannot all be under the one specific class of sacrilege. Therefore it 
seems that the various kinds of sacrilege are distinguished according to the 
specific classification of other sins, not according to the distinction between 
objects profaned. 

3. Moreover, under the term c sacred things' persons dedicated to the 
service of God are included. If, then, one type of sacrilege arises from the 
quality of the person, it would follow that every sin a sacred person com- 
mitted would be a sacrilege, since every sin violates the person of the 
sinner. Therefore the types of sacrilege are not reckoned according to the 
things profaned. 

ON THE OTHER HAND acts and habits get their specific distinction from their 
objects. But the object of sacrilege is a sacred object. 1 Therefore the speci- 
fic kinds of sacrilege are diversified according to the difference of the 
sacred objects profaned. 

REPLY: We noted that the sin of sacrilege consists in the irreverent treat- 
ment of a sacred thing. Reverence is due to a thing because of its sanctity, 
and accordingly, the kinds of sacrilege will be distinguished according to 
the different notes of sanctity in the objects profaned. Consequently, the 
greater the sanctity ascribed to an object the greater the sacrilege when it 
is profaned. 

Now sanctity is variously ascribed to persons dedicated to God's worship, 
to consecrated places, and to other sacred things. The sanctity of a place 
is directed to the sanctity of men who worship him there. It is written in 
Maccabees. But God did not choose the people for the place's sake, but the place 
for the people's sake? Therefore sacrilege against a person is worse than 
sacrilege against a place. In both kinds there are different degrees according 
to differences among sacred persons and places. 

Likewise the third kind of sacrilege, which is committed against other 
sacred things, has various degrees corresponding to the differences among 
them. The highest place is held by the sacraments whereby men are made 
holy, chief of which is the sacrament of the Eucharist, which contains Christ 
himself. A sacrilege committed against this is the most serious of all. 

Then come the consecrated vessels which are used in sacramental rites, 
especially those which hold the Eucharist. Next are sacred images and the 
relics of the saints, for in them, so to speak, their persons are honoured. 
Next come the church furniture and the vestments. Finally, the things, 

*Maccabees 5, 19 


SUMMA THEOLOGIZE, 2a23. 99, 4 

sive sint mobilia sive immobilia. Quicumque autem contra quodcumque 
praedictorum peccat, crimen sacrilegii incurrit. 

1. Ad primum ergo dicendum quod non est in omnibus prsedictis 3 
eadem ratio sanctitatis. Et ideo differentia sacrarum rerum non solum est 
differentia materialis, sed formalis. 

2. Ad secundum dicendum quod nihil prohibet aliqua duo secundum 
aliquid esse unius speciei, et secundum aliud diversarum: sicut Socrates 
et Plato conveniunt in specie animates, diflferunt autem in specie colorati, 
si unus sit albus et alius niger. Et similiter etiam possibile est aliqua duo 
peccata differre specie secundum materiales actus, convenire autem in 
specie secundum unam rationem formalem sacrilegii: puta si quis sancti- 
monialem violaverit verberando, vel concumbendo. 

3. Ad tertium dicendum quod omne peccatum quod sacra persona 
committit, materialiter quidem et quasi per accidens est sacrilegium: unde 
Hieronymus dicit quod nugce in ore sacerdotis sacrilegium sunt vel bias- 
phemia^ Formaliter autem et proprie illud solum peccatum sacrae personae 
sacrilegium est quod agitur directe contra ejus sanctitatem: puta si virgo 
Deo dicata fornicetur; et eadem ratio est in aliis. 

articulus 4. utrum pcena sacrilegii debeat esse pecuniaria 

AD QUARTUM sic proceditur: I. Videtur quod poena sacrilegii non debeat 
esse pecuniaria. Poena enim pecuniaria non solet imponi pro culpa crim- 
inali. Sed sacrilegium est culpa criminalis: unde capitali sententia punitur 
secundum leges civiles. Ergo sacrilegium non debet puniri poena pecuni- 

2. Praeterea, idem peccatum non debet duplici poena puniri: secundum 
illud Nahum, Non consurget duplex tribulatio. 1 Sed poena sacrilegii est 
excommunicatio: major quidem si violentia inferatur in personam sacram, 
vel si aliquis incendat vel frangat ecclesiam; minor autem in aliis sacrilegiis. 
Ergo non debet sacrilegium puniri poena pecuniaria. 

3. Praeterea, Apostolus dicit: Nonfuimus aliquando in occasione avari- 
tice. 2 Sed hoc videtur ad occasionem avaritiae pertinere quod poena pecuni- 
aria exigatur pro violatione rei sacrae. Ergo non videtur talis poena esse 
conveniens sacrilegii. 

SED CONTRA est quod dicitur, Si quis contumax vel superbus fugitivum servum 
de atrio ecclesice per vim abstraxerit, nongentos solidos componat. Et ibidem 

3 In the body of the article 

4 The reference should be not to St Jerome but to St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090- 

1152), De considerations 2 3 13. PL 182^ 756 



movable and immovable, appointed for the upkeep of the ministers. Who- 
ever sins against any one of these incurs the crime of sacrilege. 

Hence: i. The same sort of holiness is not found in all of these, 3 and 
the difference between one sacred object and another is not only material, 
but also formal. 

2. There is nothing to prevent two from belonging to one species under 
one respect and yet to different species under another, for instance when 
two men belong equally to the species of 'anima?, although they differ 
in the species 'coloured thing' if one belongs to a white race and the other 
to a black. In like manner it is possible for two sins to differ specifically as 
to their material acts and yet agree in the formal significance of sacrilege, 
for instance, by striking a nun or having sexual relations with her. 

3. Every sin committed by a person dedicated to God is materially and 
indirectly a sacrilege. Jerome says, An idle remark on a priest's lips is a 
sacrilege or blasphemy.* Formally and strictly speaking, a sin committed 
by a person dedicated to God is a sacrilege only when it is a direct vio- 
lation of the sacred state, for instance if a dedicated virgin be guilty of 
fornication; the same applies to other cases. 

article 4. should the penalty for sacrilege le a monetary fine? 

THE FOURTH POINT: I. It seems that the penalty for sacrilege should not 
be a fine. Monetary fines are not usually imposed for criminal offences, 
and sacrilege is a criminal offence, which is why civil law punishes it by 
sentence of death. Therefore it should not be awarded a monetary fine. 

2. Moreover, one crime should not be visited with a double penalty, 
according to Nahum> There shall not rise a double affliction. 1 The penalty for 
sacrilege is excommunication, major excommunication for violating a 
person dedicated to God, or burning or wrecking a church; minor ex- 
communication for other sacrilegious acts. Therefore, sacrilege should not 
bring with it the added punishment of a monetary fine. 

3. Again, the Apostle says, At no time have we used any pretext for 
avarice* The exaction of a pecuniary fine for the profanation of a sacred 
thing seems to provide an occasion for avarice, and consequently seems to be 
an unfitting penalty for sacrilege. 

ON THE OTHER HAND Gratian writes. If anyone contumaciously or arrogantly 
takes by force a fugitive servant from the confines of the church^ he shall 

2 1 Thessalomans 2, 5. Vulgate^ nique enim aliquando fuimus . . . in occasione avaritia. 

SXJMMA THEOLOGIZE, 23232. 99, 4 

postea dicitur, Quisquis inventus fuerit reus sacrilegii> triginta libras argenti 
examinati purissimi componat? 

RESPONSIO: Dicendum quod in poenis infligendis duo sunt consideranda. 
Primo quidem, aequalitas, ad hoc quod poena sit justa: ut scilicet in quo 
quis peccat, per hoc torqueatur, ut dicitur Sap. 41 Et hoc modo conveniens 
poena sacrilegi, qui sacris injuriam infert, est excommunicatio, per quam 
a sacris arcetur. 

Secundo autem consideratur utilitas: nam poenae quasi medicinae 
quasdam infliguntur, ut his territi homines a peccando desistant. Sacrilegus 
autem, qui sacra non reveretur, non sufficienter videtur a peccando arceri 
per hoc quod ei sacra interdicuntur, de quibus non curat. Et ideo secundum 
leges humanas adhibetur capitis poena; secundum vero Ecclesiae senten- 
tiam, quae mortem corporalem non infligit 5 adhibetur pecuniaria poena: ut 
saltern poenis temporalibus homines a sacrilegiis revocentur. 

1. Ad primum ergo dicendum quod Ecclesia corporalem mortem non 
infligit: sed loco ejus infligit excommunicationem. 

2. Ad secundum dicendum quod necesse est duas poenas adhiberi 
quando per unam non suJB&cienter revocarur aliquis a peccando. Et ideo 
oportuitj supra poenam excommunicationis, adhibere aliquam temporalem 
poenam, ad coercendum homines qui spiritualia contemnunt. 

3. Ad tertium dicendum quod si pecunia exigeretur sine rationabili 
causa, hoc videretur ad occasionem avaritiae pertinere. Sed quando exigitur 
ad hominum correctionem, habet manifestam utilitatem. Et ideo non per- 
tinet ad occasionem avaritiae. 

*Decretum n 3 17, 4^ can. 20. ed cit I 3 819 



pay nine hundred solidi. Then later, If anyone is found guilty of sacrilege., 
he shall pay thirty pounds of sterling silver* 

REPLY: Two points should be borne in mind in the award of punishment. 
First, a balanced correspondence so that the penalty fits the crime, accord- 
ing to Wisdom, A man is punished by the very things through which he sins* 
In this respect the fitting punishment for sacrilege, which profanes the 
sacred, is excommunication, which cuts a person off from the sacred. 

Second, usefulness, for penalties are inflicted like medicines so that 
men deterred thereby will desist from crime. A sacrilegious man, however, 
who has no reverence for sacred things, indeed who has no care for them, 
is not sufficiently deterred by being deprived of them by the penalty of 
excommunication. Therefore, the penalty provided by civil law is death. 
The Church, however, which does not inflict death for the body, levels a 
fine, so that men will be restrained from sacrilege, at least by temporal 

Hence: i. The Church does not inflict the death penalty, but excom- 
munication in its stead. 

2. Two penalties have to be inflicted when one is not enough to keep men 
from a crime. And so over and above excommunication a temporal penalty 
is inflicted in order to coerce those who scorn the spiritual. 

3. If money were exacted without a reasonable cause, this would seem 
to be an occasion for avarice. But not when it is for men's correction, and 
bears a manifest usefulness. 

^Wisdom II, 17 


SUMMA THEOLOGIZE, 23232. 100, I 

Qusestio 100. de simonia 

DEINDE considerandum est de simonia. Et circa hoc quseruntur sex: 

1. quid sit simonia; 

2. utrum liceat pro sacramentis pecuniam accipere; 

3. utrum liceat accipere pecuniam pro spiritualibus actibus; 

4. utrum liceat vendere ea quae sunt spiritualibus annexa; 

5. utrum solum munus a manu faciat simoniacum, an etiam 

munus a lingua et ab obsequio; 

6. de poena simoniaci. 

articulus I. utrum simonia sit studiosa voluntas emendi et vendendi aliquid spirituah vel 

spirituali annexum 

AD PRIMUM sic proceditur: 1 I. Videtur quod simonia non sit studiosa 
voluntas emendi et vendendi aliquid spirituale vel spirituali annexum. 
Simonia enim est hgeresis quaedam: dicitur enim: Tolerdbilior est 
Macedonia et eorum qui circa ipsum sunt Sancti Spiritus impugnatorum> impia 
hceresis quam simoniacorum. Itti enim creaturam, et servum Dei Patris et 
Filiiy Spiritum Sanctum delirando fatentur: isti vero eundem Spiritum 
Sanctum effidunt servum mum. Omnis enim dominus quod habet, si vult, 
vendit: sive servum., sive quid aliud eorum quce possidet* Sed infidelitas non 
consistit in voluntate, sed magis in intellect^ sicut et fides, ut ex supra 
dictis patet. 3 Ergo simonia non debet per voluntatem definiri. 

2. Prseterea, studiose peccare est ex malitia peccare, quod est peccare 
in Spiritum Sanctum. Si ergo simonia est studiosa voluntas peccandi, 
sequitur quod semper sit peccatum in Spiritum Sanctum. 

3. Praeterea, nihil magis est spirituale quam regnum cadorum. Sed licet 
emere regnum caelorum: dicit enim Gregorius, in quadam homilia, 
Regnum ctelorum tantum valet quantum habes* Ergo non est simonia velle 
emere aliquid spirituale. 

4. Praeterea, nomen simonia a Simone Mago acceptum est a de quo 
legitur Act., quod obtulit Apostolis pecuniam ad spiritualem potestatem 
emendam, ut s scilicet, quibuscumque mantis imponeret, redperent Spiritum 
Sanctum* Non autem legitur quod aliquid voluit vendere. Ergo simonia 
non est voluntas vendendi aliquid spirituale. 

*cf iv Sent. 25> 3, i,, i *Decretum n, I 5 i, can. 21. ed cit, i, 365 

s cf 2a2s. 10, 4 *Homilia 5 in Evang., PL 76, 1094 

*Acts 8 3 18-19 (Vulgate differs in person and number from text as quoted) 
*To sin ^om malice', a technical term meaning to sin from a wicked will, con- 
trasted with sinning from ignorance or from weakness, cf ia2ae. 76* Introduction. 



Question 100. simony 

HERE THERE are six points of inquiry: 

1. what simony is; 

2. whether it is lawful to take money for the sacraments; 

3. or for religious actions; 

4. or for things connected with spirituals; 

5. whether real remuneration alone makes a man guilty of 

simony, or also oral remuneration or remuneration by 

6. concerning the punishment for simony. 

article I. is simony the buying or setting of things spiritual? 

THE FIRST POINT: 1 1. Apparently simony is not what it is commonly defined 
as, namely, an express will to buy or sell something spiritual or connected 
with a spiritual thing. It is a sort of heresy, Gratian writes. The profane 
heresy of Macedonius and of those who with him called into question the 
Holy Spirit can be better tolerated than that of those who are guilty of simony; 
since the former in their ravings maintained that the Holy Spirit is a creature 
and the servant of the Father and the Son, whereas the latter make the Holy 
Spirit to be their own servant. For every master sells what he has just as he 
wills, whether it be his slave or any other of his possessions* But unbelief, 
like faith, is an act not of the will but of the intellect, as we have shown. 3 
So simony should not be defined in terms of the will. 

2. Moreover, to sin intentionally is to sin through malice, 81 and this is a 
sin against the Holy Spirit. So if simony is an intentional will to sin, it 
would seem that it is always a sin against the Holy Spirit. 

3. Moreover, nothing is more spiritual than the kingdom of heaven. 
But it is lawful to buy the kingdom of heaven; Gregory remarks, The 
kingdom of heaven is worth as much as you possess* And so simony does not 
consist in the will to buy something spiritual. 

4. Moreover, simony takes its name from Simon Magus, about whom 
we read that he offered the Apostles money that he might buy spiritual 
power so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit* 
But we do not read that Simon wished to sell anything, consequently 
simony is not the determination to sell something spiritual. 15 

^'Spiritual* here means religious, directly or indirectly, not immaterial or bodiless. 
And so 3 in this context, the 'spiritual life* is not reserved to the activities of a spirit, 
but covers the physical actions and things man does for and applies to God's 



5. Praeterea, multae aliae sunt voluntaries commutationes prseter emp- 
tionem et venditionem: sicut permutatio, transactio. Ergo videtur quod 
insufficienter definiatur simonia. 

6. Prseterea, omne quod est spiritual! annexum est spirituale. Superflue 
igitur additur, vel spiritudi annexum. 

7. Prseterea, Papa, secundum quosdam, non potest committere simon- 
iam. Potest autem emere vel vendere aliquid spirituale. Ergo simonia non 
est voluntas emendi vel vendendi aliquid spirituale vel spiritual! annexum. 

SED CONTRA est quod Gregorius dicit, Altare et decimas et Spiritum Sanctum 
emere vel vendere simoniacam h&resim esse nullus fidelium ignorat* 

RESPONSIO: Dicendum quod, sicut supra 7 dictum est, actus aliquis est 
malus ex genere ex eo quod cadit super materiam indebitam. Emptionis 
autem et venditionis est materia indebita res spiritualis, triplici ratione. 
Primo quidem, quia res spiritualis non potest aliquo terreno pretio com- 
pensari: sicut de sapientia dicitur Prov. s Pretiosior est cunctis opibus: et 
omnia quce desiderantur huic non valent comparand Et ideo Petrus, in ipsa 
sui radice Simonis pravitatem condemnans, dixit, Pecunia tua tecum sit in 
perditionem: quoniam donum Dei existimasti pecunia possidere? 

Secundo, quia illud potest esse debita venditionis materia cujus venditor 
est domimis : ut patet in auctoritate supra inducta. 10 Prsdatus autem Eccle- 
siae non est dominus spiritualium rerum 5 sed dispensator: secundum illud 
I ad Cor.., Sic nos existimet homo ut ministros Christi, et dispensatores ministeri- 
orum Dei.* 1 

Tertio, quia venditio repugnat spiritualium origin!, quse ex gratuita Dei 
voluntate proveniunt, Unde et Dominus dicit, Matt., Gratis accepistis: 
gratis date. 12 

Et ideo aliquis, vendendo vel emendo rem spiritualem, irreverentiam 
exhibet Deo et rebus divinis. Propter quod, peccat peccato irreligiositatis. 

i. Ad primum ergo dicendum quod sicut religio consistit in quadam 
fidei protestatione, quam tamen interdum aliquis non habet in corde; ita 
etiam vitia opposita religion! habent quamdam protestationem infidelitatis, 
licet quandoque non sit infidelitas in mente. Secundum hoc ergo, simonia 
hasresis dicitur secundum exteriorem protestationem: quia in hoc quod 
aliquis vendit^ donum Spiritus Sancti, quodammodo se protestatur esse 
dominum spiritualis doni; quod est haereticum. 

Scienduna tamen quod Simon Magus, prater hoc quod ab Apostolis 

*Decretwt n, i, i can. 3; 3, 14. ed cit I, 358, 418 

M? 2 ^ 1 ^ 2 t.- 8 Pr^r^3,i 5 'Acts*, 20 

10 In the first objection i Corinthians 4, I ^Matthew 10, 8 



5. Moreover, there are many other voluntary methods of exchange 
besides buying and selling, for example, bartering and striking a legal 
compromise. And so it seems that simony is not adequately defined. 

6. Moreover, anything connected with spiritual matters is itself spiritual, 
and so it is superfluous to add connected with spiritual things. 

7. Moreover, it is the opinion of some that the Pope cannot commit 
simony, yet he can buy or sell something spiritual. So the accepted defin- 
ition is false. 

ON THE OTHER HAND Gregory VII writes, None of the faithful is ignorant 
that buying or selling altars., tithes , or the Holy Spirit is the heresy of simony . 6d 

REPLY: An act is bad of its kind when it is engaged with a wrongful matter, 
as we have already shown. 7 Now a spiritual thing is not the matter for 
buying and selling, and for three reasons. First, because a spiritual thing 
cannot be appraised at any earthly price, as is written concerning wisdom, 
She is more precious than corals, and none of your choice possessions can com- 
pare with her. 3 Peter went to the root of Simon's wickedness, Thy money 
go to destruction with thee> because thou hast thought that the gift of God 
could be purchased with money? 

Secondly, a thing is not for sale if the seller is not the owner, as is clear 
from the authority cited. 10 Ecclesiastical superiors are not owners, but the 
guardians of spiritual matters, according to St Paul, Let a man so account 
us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God* 1 

Thirdly, sale strikes at the source of spiritual matters, since they flow 
from the freely-giving will of God. Our Lord tells us, Freely you have 
received^ freely give. 1 * 

And so, by buying or selling a spiritual thing a man treats God and divine 
matters with irreverence, and consequently commits a sin of irreligion. 

Hence: i. Religion consists in a kind of protestation of faith, without 
at times faith really being in one's heart. So, too, the vices opposed to 
religion include a certain protestation of unbelief without at times unbelief 
actually being in the mind. Accordingly, simony is said to be a heresy as 
regards the outward protestation, since by selling a gift of the Holy Spirit 
a man declares, in a way, that he is the owner of this spiritual gift; this is 

Simon Magus, besides wishing the Apostles to sell him the grace of the 

c See St Albert the Great, iv Sent. 25, 4. 

d For the history of simony in the Christian church, and for the theological and 
legal steps taken to combat it, see R. Ryder, Simony: An Historical Synopsis. 
Washington, 1931. 



Spiritus Sancti gratiam pecunia emere voluit, dixit quod mundus non erat 
a Deo creatus, sed a quadam superna virtute: ut dicit Isidorus. 13 Et secun- 
dum hoc, inter alios haereticos Simoniaci computantur: ut patet in libro 
Augustini De Hceresibus. 1 * 

2. Ad secundum dicendum quod, sicut supra dictum est, 15 justitia et 
omnes partes ejus, et per consequens omnia vitia opposita, sunt in volun- 
tate sicut in subjecto. Et ideo convenienter simonia per voluntatem defini- 
tur. Additur autem studiosa, ad designandum electionem, quae principaliter 
pertinet ad virtutem et vitium. Non autem omnis qui peccat electione 
peccat peccato in Spiritum Sanctum: sed solum qui peccatum eligit per 
contemptum eorum quae homines solent retrahere a peccando, ut supra 
dictum est. 16 

3. Ad tertium dicendum quod regnum cadorum dicitur emi, dum quis 
dat quod habet propter Deum, large sumpto nomine emptionis, secundum 
quod accipitur pro merito. Quod tamen non pertingit ad perfectam 
rationem emptionis. Turn quia non sunt condignce passiones hujus temporis, 
nee aliqua nostra dona vel opera, ad futuram gloriam qua revelabitur in 
nobis, ut dicitur Rom. 17 Turn quia meritum non consistit principaliter in 
exteriori dono vel actu vel passione, sed in interior! affectu. 

4. Ad quartum dicendum quod Simon Magus ad hoc emere voluit 
spiritualem potestatem ut earn postea venderet: dicitur enim quod Simon 
Magus donum Spiritus Sancti emere voluit ut ex venditione signorum qu<z per 
eum fierent, muhiplicatam pecuniam lucratetur. 18 Et sic illi qui spiritualia 
vendunt, conformantur Simoni Mago in intentione: in actu vero, illi qui 
emere volunt. Illi autem qui vendunt, in actu imitantur Giezi, discipulum 
Elisaei, de quo legitur IV Reg.> 19 quod accepit pecuniam a leproso mun- 
dato. Unde venditores spiritualium possunt dici non solum Simoniaci, sed 
etiam Giezitce. 

5. Ad quintum dicendum quod nomine emptionis et venditionis 
intelligitur omnis contractus non gratuitus. Unde nee permutatio prebend- 
arum vel ecclesiasticorum beneficiorum fieri potest, auctoritate partium, 
absque periculo simonias, sicut nee transactio, ut iura determinant. Potest 
tamen pradatus, ex officio suo, permutationes hujusmodi facere pro causa 
utili vel necessaria. 

6. Ad sextum dicendum quod sicut anima vivit secundum seipsam, 
corpus vero vivit ex unione animae, ita etiam qusedam sunt spirituaUa 
secundum seipsa, sicut sacramenta et alia hujusmodi; quaedam autem 
dicuntur spiritualia ex hoc quod talibus adhaerent. Unde dicitur, Si quis 

^Etymologies vin, 2. PL 82, 298 
14 te H&resibus. PL 42, 25 



Holy Spirit for money, said that the world was not created by God but by 
some heavenly power, so Isidore states. 13 For this reason simoniacs are 
commonly regarded as heretics, as appears in Augustine. 14 

2. As we have seen, 15 justice with all its parts and consequently all the 
opposite vices, is rooted in the will. Simony is fittingly defined in terms of 
the will. This act is furthermore described as express, in order to signify 
that it proceeds from choice, which plays the leading part in every virtue 
and vice. Nor does everyone sin against the Holy Spirit who sins from 
choice, but, as we have said, only he who chooses sin through studied 
contempt of the things which normally keep us from it, as said above. 16 

3. The kingdom of heaven is said to be bought when a man gives what 
he has for God's sake. But this is to employ the term 'buying' in a wide 
sense, as synonymous with merit; it does not touch its exact meaning, 
because the sufferings of the present time are not worthy nor any gift or 
action of ours to be compared with the glory to come that will be revealed 
in #s, 17 and because merit does not chiefly consist in a public bequest, or 
outward action or passion, but rather in an inward feeling. 

4. Simon Magus wished to buy a spiritual power in order to sell it 
afterwards. Gratian writes, Simon the magician wished to buy the gift of the 
Holy Spirit in order that he might make money by selling the signs that were 
to be wrought through him. 18 So those who sell spiritual things are like 
him in intention, while those who buy them are like him in deed. Those 
who sell are in deed also like Giezi the disciple of Eliseus, of whom we 
read, 19 that he received money from the leper who was made clean. And 
so the sellers of spiritual things may be called not only simoniacs but also 

5. The term 'buying and selling' covers all kinds of contracts that are not 
gifts. And so ecclesiastical offices or benefices cannot be exchanged on the 
authority of the parties concerned without danger of committing simony; 
transactions of this sort are governed by law. Nevertheless, a superior, 
in virtue of his office, can cause the exchanges to be made for useful or 
necessary reasons. 

6. The soul lives by itself, while the body lives through being united 
to the soul. So, too, certain things are spiritual by themselves, such as the 
sacraments and similar matters, while others are called spiritual as invest- 
ing religious actions. Accordingly Gratian writes, Spiritual things do not 

15 2a2e. 58, 4 

16 2a2ae. 14, i 

^Romans 8, 18 

16 Decretwn n, 2, I, can. 10. ed cit I, 443 

lfl rv Kings 5, 2off 


SUMMA THEOLOGIZE, 23232. 100, 2 

objecerit) quod spiritualia sine corporalibus rebus non profidunt: sicut nee 
anima sine corpore corporaliter vivit. 20 

7. Ad septimum dicendum quod Papa potest incurrere vitlum simoniae, 
sicut et quilibet alius homo : peccatum enim tanto in aliqua persona est 
gravius quanto majorem obtinet locum. Quamvis enim res Ecclesise sint 
eius ut principalis dispensatoris, non tamen sunt ejus ut domini et posses- 
soris. Et ideo si reciperet pro aliqua re spiritual! pecunia*n de redditibus 
alicujus ecclesiae^ non careret vitio simonise. Et similiter etiam posset 
simoniam committere recipiendo pecuniam ab aliquo laico non de bonis 

articulus 2. utrum semper sit illidtum pro sacramentis pectuni&m dare 

AD SECUNDUM sic proceditur i 1 1. Videtur quod non semper sit illicitum pro 
sacramentis pecuniam dare. Baptismus enim est janua scicramentorum^ 
ut in Tertia Pane 2 dicetur a Sed licet, ut viderur, in aliquo casu dare 
pecuniam pro baptismo: puta quando sacerdos puerum morientem sine 
pretio baptizare non vellet. Ergo non semper est illicitum emere vel 
vendere sacramenta. 

2. Prseterea, maximum sacramentorum est Eucharistia 3 quae in Missa 
consecratur. Sed pro missis cantandis aliqui sacerdotes praebendam vel 
pecuniam accipiunt. Ergo licet multo magis alia sacramenta emere vel 

3. Prasterea, sacramentum poenitentise est sacramentura necessitatis, 
quod praecipue in absolutione consistit. Sed quidam absolventes ab ex- 
communicatione pecuniam exigunt. Ergo non semper est illicitum sacra- 
menta emere vel vendere. 

4. Praeterea, consuetude facit ut non sit peccatum illud quod alias pecca- 
tum esset: sicut Augustinus dicit quod habere plures uxores, quando mos 
erat s crimen non erat? Sed apud quosdam est consuetudo quod in con- 
secrationibus episcoporum, benedictionibus abbatuin* et ordinibus 
clericorum^ pro chrismate vel oleo sancto et aliis hujusmodi aliquid detur. 
Ergo videtur quod hoc non sit illicitum. 

5. Prseterea 3 contingit quandoque quod aliquis nxalitiose impedit 
aliquem vel ab episcopatu obtinendo, vel ab aliqua alia dignitate. Sed licet 
unicuique redimere suam vexationem. Ergo licitum videtur in tali casu 
pecuniam dare pro episcopatu, vel aliqua alia ecclesiastica dignitate. 

6. Praeterea, matrimonium est quoddam sacramentum.* Sed quandoque 
datur pecunia pro matrimonio. Ergo licitum est sacramenta pecunia 

*Decretum n a I 3 3^ can. 7 ed cit I 3 413 



progress without corporeal things, even as the soul has no bodily life without 
the body. 

7. The Pope can be guilty of the vice of simony, like any other man; 
indeed the higher a man's position the more grievous is his sin. For 
although the possessions of the Church belong to him as chief dispenser, 
they are not his as master and owner. Were he to accept money from the 
income of any church in exchange for a spiritual thing, he would not 
escape being guilty of simony. In like manner he could commit simony 
by accepting from a layman funds not belonging to the Church. 

article 2. is it lawful to pay money for the sacraments? 

THE SECOND POINT: 1 1. It would seem that it is not always unlawful to pay 
money for the sacraments. Baptism is the door of the sacraments, as we 
shall show in the Tertia Pars* But is it lawful sometimes to give money 
for Baptism, for instance, if a priest were unwilling to baptize a dying 
child without being paid. Therefore, it is not always unlawful to buy or 
sell the sacraments. 

2. Moreover, the greatest of the sacraments is the Eucharist, which is 
consecrated in the Mass. Some priests receive a stipend for singing masses. 
To buy or sell the other sacraments is even more permissible. 

3. Moreover, the sacrament of Penance is a necessary sacrament, and its 
chief part is the absolution. But some persons demand money when ab- 
solving from excommunication. Consequently it is not always wrong to 
buy or sell a sacrament. 

4. Again, custom makes a matter not sinful which otherwise would be 
sinful; Augustine admits that it was no crime to have several wives, as long 
as it was the custom? Now it is customary in some places to make a donation 
at the consecration of bishops, the blessings of abbots, ordinations of the 
clergy, and for chrism and holy oil and so forth. And so it would seem that 
this is not wrong. 

5. In addition, it can happen sometimes that someone from spite blocks 
a person from obtaining a bishopric or some other dignity. But this 
vexation may well be smoothed out. And so it would seem permissible in 
such a case to give money for a church office. 

6. Furthermore, matrimony is a sacrament. Sometimes money is given 
for it. And so to sell a sacrament is lawful. 

*cf rv Sent. 25, 3,2,1 
2 3a. 63, 6; 68, 6; 73, 3 
^Contra Faustum xxn 3 47. PL 42^ 428 



SED CONTRA est quod dicitUT, Qui per pecuniam quemquam consecraverit, 
alienus sit a sacerdotio.^ 

RESPONSIO: Dicendum quod sacramenta Novas Legi sunt maxime spiritu- 
alia, inquantum sunt spiritual's gratise causa, quse pretio sestimari non 
potest, et ejus rationi repugnat quod non gratuito detur. 

Dispensantur autem sacramenta per Ecclesiae ministros, quos oportet 
a populo sustentari: secundum illud Apostoli, I ad Cor. y Nescitis quoniam 
qui in sacrario operantur, qua de sacrario suntedunt: et qui altari deserviunt^ 
cum altario participants? 5 

Sic igitur dicendum est quod accipere pecuniam pro spirituali sacra- 
mentorum gratia est crimen simonias, quod nulla consuetudine potest 
excusari: qui consuetudo non prajudicat juri naturali vel divino* Per pecun- 
iam autem intelligitur omne illud cuius pretium potest pecunia cestimari? 

Accipere autem aliqua ad sustentationem eorum qui sacramenta rnini- 
strant, secundum ordinationem Ecclesiae et consuetudines approbatas, 
non est simonia, neque peccatum: non enim accipitur tanquam pretium 
mercedis, sed tanquam stipendium necessitatis. Unde super illud I ad Tim., 
Qui bene prcesunt presbyteri etc., 8 dicit Glossa Augustini, Accipiant sustenta- 
tionem necessitatis a populo., mercedem dispensationis a Domino? 

1. Ad primum ergo dicendum quod in casu necessitatis potest quilibet 
baptizare. Et quia nullo modo est peccandum 3 pro eodem est habendum si 
sacerdos absque pretio baptizare non velit, ac si non esset qui baptizaret. 
Unde ille qui gerit curam pueri in tali casu licite posset eum baptizare, vel 
a quocumque alio facere baptizari. Posset tamen licite aquam a sacerdote 
emere, qua est pure elementum corporate. Si autem esset adultus qui 
baptismum desideratet, et immineret mortis periculum, nee sacerdos eum 
vellet sine pretio baptizare: deberet, si posset, per alium baptizari. Quod 
si non posset ad alium liabere recursum, nullo modo deberet pretium pro 
baptismo dare, sed potius absque baptismo decedere: suppletur enim ei 
ex baptismo flammis quod ex sacramento deest. 

2. Ad secundum dicendum quod sacerdos non accipit pecuniam quasi 
pretium consecrationis Eucharistiae aut missse cantandae, hoc enim esset 
simoniacum: sed quasi stipendium suse sustentationis, ut dictum est. 

3. Ad tertium dicendum quod pecunia non exigitur ab eo qui absolvitur 
quasi pretium absolutionis, hoc enim esset simoniacum: sed quasi poena 
culpae praecedentis, pro qua fuit excommunicatus. 

*Decretum U 3 i, I 3 can. 9. ed cit I, 360 

5 I Corinthians 9, 13 

^Decretal. Greg. IX, I, 4, n. ed. Richter-Friedberg n, 41 

' 'Ethics, J7 3 1. ni9b26-7 



ON THE OTHER HAND Gratian lays down that anyone who consecrates 
someone for money, should be cut off from the priesthood. 4 

REPLY: The sacraments of the New Law are of all things the most spiritual, 
inasmuch as they are the cause of a spiritual grace, on which no price can 
be set, for essentially it is a free gift. 

Now the sacraments are dispensed through the ministers of the Church, 
whom the people are bound to support, according to St Paul, Do you not 
know that they who minister in the temple eat what comes from the temple, 
and that they who serve the altar, have their share with the altar? 5 

We must insist that to receive money for the spiritual grace of the 
sacraments is the sin of simony, which cannot be excused by any custom 
whatever, because custom does not prevail over natural or divine law? 

Now by the term 'money' we are to understand here anything that has 
a monetary value? 

All the same, to receive anything for the support of those who administer 
the sacraments, in accordance with Church statutes and approved customs, 
is neither simony nor is it a sin. The money is not taken as a payment for 
goods, but as a stipend to support the needs of the ministers. On the verse, 
Let the presbyters who rule well? the Gloss comments from Augustine, 
They should look to the people to supply their needs, but to the Lord to reward 
their ministry? 

1. In case of necessity anyone may baptize. No one ought to sin, accord- 
ingly if the priest is unwilling to baptize without being paid, one must 
act as though there were no priest available. The person in charge of the 
child can in such a case lawfully baptize, or cause it to be baptized by 
someone else. He could, however, lawfully buy the water from the priest, 
because it is merely a material element. If an adult in danger of death 
wished to be baptized, and the priest was unwilling to baptize him without 
being paid, he should, if possible, be baptized by someone else. And if he is 
unable to have recourse to someone else, he should under no circumstances 
pay a price for baptism, and rather should die without being baptized. For 
him the baptism of desire would supply the lack of the sacrament. 

2. The priest receives money, not as the price for consecrating the 
Eucharist, or for singing the Mass, for this would constitute simony, but 
as a payment towards his livelihood. 

3. The money charged the person, absolved is not the price of his 
absolution, for this would constitute simony, but the punishment of a 
past crime for which he was excommunicated. 

8 I Timothy 5, 17 

9 Glossa Ordinaria. PL 114, 630; cf Augustine Serm. ad pop. XLVI, 2. PL 38, 273 


SUMMA THEOLOGIZE, 2a232. 100, 3 

4. Ad quartum dicendum quod, sicut dictum est, 10 consuetudo non 
pr&judicat juri naturali vel dwino^ quo simonia prohibetur. Et ideo si 
aliqua ex consuetudine exigantur quasi pretium rei spiritualis, cum in- 
tentione emendi vel vendendi, est manifeste simonia: et praecipue si ab 
invito exigantur. Si vero accipiantur quasi quaedam stipendia per consue- 
tudinem approbatam, non est simonia: si tamen desit intentio emendi vel 
vendendi, sed intentio referatur ad solam consuetudinis observantiam; et 
praecipue quando aliquis voluntarie solvit. In his tamen omnibus sollicite 
cavendum est quod habet speciem simoniae vel cupiditatis : secundum illud 
Apostoli, Ab omni specie mala abstinete vos. 11 

5. Ad quintum dicendum quod antequam alicui acquiratur jus in 
episcopatu, vel quacumque dignitate seu praebenda, per electionem vel 
provisionem seu collationem, simoniacum esset adversantium obstacula 
pecunia redimere : sic enim per pecuniam pararet sibi viam ad rem spiritua- 
lem obtinendam. Sed postquam jam jus alicui acquisition est, licet per 
pecuniam injusta impedimenta removere. 

6. Ad sextum dicendum quod quidam dicunt quod pro matrimonio 
licet pecuniam dare, quia in eo non confertur gratia. Sed hoc non est 
usquequaque verum: ut in Tertia Pane hujus operis dicetur. 12 Et ideo 
aliter dicendum est, quod matrimonium non solum est Ecclesiae sacra- 
mentum, sed etiam naturae officium. Et ideo dare pecuniam pro matri- 
monio inquantum est naturae officium, licitum est: inquantum vero est 
Ecclesiae sacramentum, est illicitum. Et ideo secundum jura prohibetur ne 
pro benedictione nuptiarum aliquid exigatur. 13 

articulus 3. utrum licitum sit dare et accipere pecuniam pro spiritualibus actibus 

AD TERTIUM sic proceditur: 1 i. Videtur quod licitum sit dare et accipere 
pecuniam pro spiritualibus actibus. Usus enim prophetiae est spiritualis 
actus. Sed pro usu prophetiae olim aliquid dabatur: ut patet I Reg. et 
III Reg? Ergo videtur quod liceat dare et accipere pecuniam pro actu 

2. Praeterea, oratio, praedicatio, laus divina sunt actus maxime spiritu- 
ales. Sed ad impetrandum orationum suflfragia pecunia datur sanctis 
viris : secundum illud Luc. y Facite vobis arnicas de mammona iniquitatis* 
Praedicatoribus etiam spiritualia seminantibus temporalia debentur, 
secundum Apostolum, I ad Cor. 4 ' Celebrantibus etiam divinas laudes in 
ecclesiastico officio, et processiones facientibus, aliquid datur: et quando- 
que annui redditus ad hoc assignantur. Ergo licitum est pro spkitualibus 
actibus accipere aliquid. 

10 cf body of article 

I 3 6 


4. As stated above, 10 custom does not prevail over natural or divine law 
whereby simony is forbidden. The custom, if it exists, of demanding any- 
thing as the price of a spiritual thing with the intention of buying or selling 
it is quite clearly simony, particularly when the demand is made of a 
person unwilling to pay. But if the demand is made in payment of a stipend 
recognized by custom it is not simony, provided there be no intention of 
buying or selling, but only of doing what is customary, and particularly if 
the demand be agreed to voluntarily. In all these cases, however, one must 
guard against anything giving the appearance of simony or avarice, accord- 
ing to St Paul, Keep yourselves from every kind of evil.' 1 ' 1 

5. It would constitute simony to bribe one's rivals before acquiring the 
right to a bishopric or like dignity through election, appointment or 
presentation, since this would be using money as a means of obtaining a 
spiritual thing. But it is lawful to use money as a means of removing 
unjust opposition, after one has already acquired that right. 

6. Some say that it is lawful to give money for matrimony because no 
grace is conferred by it. But this is not altogether true, as we shall discuss 
later. 12 We must reply that matrimony is not only a Sacrament of the 
church, but also an office of nature. Consequently, it is lawful to give 
money for matrimony considered as the second, but not the first. And so 
the Decretals forbid demanding anything for the nuptial blessing. 13 

article 3. is it lawful to give and receive money for religious actions? 

THE FIRST POINT: 1 i. Apparently it is. Prophecy is a religious action, and 
of old something used to be given for its practice, as appears in the books 
of Kings. 2 And so it would seem that it is lawful to give and to receive 
money for a religious action. 

2. Prayer, preaching, and the Divine Office are highly religious actions. 
Now money is given to holy persons in order to obtain the assurance of 
their prayers, according to Luke> Make friends for yourselves with the mam- 
mon of wickedness. 3 Preachers, who sow spiritual things, have temporal 
dues, according to the Apostle. 4 Also something is given to those who cele- 
brate the Divine Office and carry out church ceremonies; sometimes an 
{Hitvpal income is assigned to them. And so it is lawful to receive something 
for religious actions. 

xl r Thessalomans 5, 22 lz Suppl 42, 3 

^Decretal Greg. IX, V, 3, u. ed cit, H 3 751 

x cf rv Sent. 25, 3, 2. Quodl vrn, 6> i 

2 I Kings 9 3 7-8; m Kings 14, 3 

*Luke 16, 9 

4 I Corinthians 9, it 


SUMMA THEOLOGIZE, 2a28e. 100, 3 

3. Praeterea, scientia non est minus spiritualis quam potestas. Sed pro 
usu sciential licet pecuniam accipere: sicut advocato licet vendere justum 
patrocmium, et medico consilium sanitatis, et magistro officium doctrinse. 
Ergo, pari ratione, videtur quod liceat praelato accipere aliquid pro usu 
spiritualis suse potestatis: puta pro correctione, vel dispensation, vel 
aliquo hujusmodi. 

4. Prasterea, religio est status spiritualis perfectionis. Sed in aliquibus 
monasteriis aliquid ab his qui recipiuntur exigitur. Ergo licet pro spirituali- 
bus aliquid exigere. 

SED CONTRA est quod dicitur, Quidquid invisibilis gratia consolatione trib- 
uitur, nunquam qu&stibus> vel quibuslibet prcemiis, venundari penitus debet* 
Sed crania hujusmodi spiritualia per invisibilem gratiam tribuuntur. Ergo 
non licet ea qusestibus vel praemiis venundari. 

RESPONSIO: Dicendum quod sicut sacramenta dicuntur spiritualia quia 
spiritualem conferunt gratiam, ita etiam quaedam alia dicuntur spiritualia 
quia ex spirituali procedunt gratia et ad earn disponunt. Quae tamen per 
hominum rninisterium exhibentur 3 quos oportet a populo sustentari, cui 
spiritualia administrant: secundum illud I ad Cor.^Quis militat suis stip- 
endiis unquam?Quis pasdt gregem, et de lacte gregis non manducat? 6 

Et ideo vendere quod spirituale est in hujusmodi actibus, aut emere, 
simoniacum est: sed accipere aut dare aliquid pro sustentatione minis- 
trantium spiritualia, secundum ordinationem Ecclesiae et consuerudinem 
approbatam, licitum est; ita tamen quod desit intentio emptionis et 
venditionis; et quod ab invitis non exigatur per subtractionem spiritualium 
quae sunt exhibenda, haec enim haberent quamdam venditionis speciem. 
Gratis tamen spiritualibus prius exhibitis, licite possunt statute et con- 
suetse oblationesa et quicumque aHi provenrus, exigi a nolentibus et valenti- 
bus solvere, auctoritate superioris interveniente. 

1. Ad primum ergo dicendum quod, sicut Hieronymus dicit, munera 
quaedam sponte exhibebantur bonis prophetis ad sustentationem ipsorum, 
non quasi ad emendum prophetic usum: quern tamen pseudoprophetae 
retorquebant ad quaestum. 7 

2. Ad secundum dicendum quod illi qui dant eleemosynas pauperibus 
ut orationum ab ipsis suflragia impetrent, non eo tenore dant quasi in- 
tendentes orationes emere: sed per gratuitam beneficentiam pauperum 
animas provocant ad hoc quod pro eis gratis et ex caritate orent. 

*Decretum n, I 3 1 can. 101. ed cit I a 398 
6 I Corinthians 9, 7 



3. Moreover, science is no less spiritual than power, and it is legitimate to 
receive money for its practice. A lawyer may sell his services as counsel, 
a doctor charge for medical advice, and a professor demand payment for 
his lectures. Similarly it would seem legitimate for a Church official to 
receive something for the use of his spiritual power, for example, for 
advice, dispensation, or something of the sort. 

4. Moreover, religion is the state of spiritual perfection. In some 
monasteries something is requested from those who are accepted there. 
And so it seems lawful to require something for religious actions. 

ON THE OTHER HAND canon law says, It is absolutely forbidden to charge 
for what is acquired by the consolation of 'invisible grace, whether by demanding 
a fee or by seeking any return . 5 All the spiritual things mentioned are 
acquired through invisible grace. And so it is not lawful to demand fees 
or rewards for them. 

REPLY: Just as the sacraments are termed spiritual because they confer a 
spiritual grace, so too other things are referred to as spiritual because they 
are derived from or dispose us to spiritual grace. And yet these are obtained 
through the ministry of men, according to St Paul, What soldier ever serves 
at his own expense? Who feeds the flock, and does not eat of the mlk of the 

Accordinglyitis simoniacalto sell or buy whatis spiritual. Butitislawfulto 
receive or to give something for the support of those who minister to spiritual 
needs, in accordance with the laws of the Church and existing customs. 
But there should be no intention of buying or selling, and no pressure 
should be brought to bear on those who are unwilling to contribute, with- 
holding spiritual matters that ought to be provided; this would be a kind 
of simony. All the same, after spiritual blessings have been freely bestowed, 
the prescribed and customary offerings may be legitimately required, with 
the intervention of higher authority, from those who are unwilling but 
able to pay. 

1. Jerome says that certain gifts were freely offered for the livelihood 
of prophets in good standing, but not as a payment for the exercise of their 
gift of prophecy; false prophets, however, abused the practice by charging 
for it. 7 

2. People who give alms to the poor in order to obtain from them the 
help of their prayers do not give with the intention of buying their prayers; 
by their free generosity they inspire the poor to pray for them out of grati- 
tude and friendship. 

** Super Micfaeam I, 3> 9. PL 25, 1183 

40-L 139 

SUMMA THEOLOGIZE, 2a28. 100, 3 

Prsedicantibus etiam temporalia debentur ad sustentationem prasdic- 
antium, non autem ad emendum prsedicationis verbum. Unde super illud 
I ad Tim.) Qui bene prasunt presbyteri* etc., dicit, Glossa, Necessitate est 
accipere unde vivitur> caritatis est prabere: non tamen venale est Evan- 
gelium> ut pro his pradicetur. Si enim sic vendunt> magnam rem vili vendunt 

Similiter etiam aliqua temporalia dantur Deum laudantibus in cele- 
bratione ecclesiastic! officii, sive pro vivis sive pro mortuis, non quasi 
pretium, sed quasi sustentationis stipendium. Et eo etiam tenore pro 
processionibus faciendis in aliquo funere aliquse eleemosynse recipiuntur. 

Si autem hujusmodi pacto interveniente fiant, aut etiam cum intentione 
emptionis vel venditionis, simoniacum esset. Unde illicita esset ordinatio 
si in aliqua ecclesia statueretur quod non fieret processio in funere alicujus 
nisi solveret certain pecuniar quantitatem : quia per tale statutum preclude- 
retur via gratis officium pietatis aliquibus impendendi. Magis autem licita 
esset ordinatio si statueretur quod omnibus certam eleemosynam dantibus 
talis honor exhiberetur : quia per hoc non praecluderetur via aliis exhibendi. 
Et praeterea prima ordinatio habet speciem exactionis: secunda vero habet 
speciem gratuitae recompensationis. 

3. Ad tertium dicendum quod ille cui committitur spiritualis potestas 
ex oflGicio obligatur ad usum potestatis sibi commissae in spiritualium dis- 
pensatione: et etiam pro sua sustentatione statuta stipendia habet ex 
redditibus ecclesiasticis. Et ideo si aliquid acciperet pro usu spiritualis 
potestatis, non intelligeretur locare operas suas, quas ex debito suscepti 
officii debet impendere, sed intelligeretur vendere ipsum spiritualis gratiae 
usum. Et propter hoc, non licet pro quacumque dispensation aliquid 
accipere; neque etiam pro hoc quod suas vices committant; neque etiam 
pro hoc quod suos subditos corrigant, vel a corrigendo desistant. Licet 
tamen eis accipere procurationes quando subditos visitant, non quasi 
pretium correctionis, sed quasi debitum stipendium. 

Ille autem qui habet scientiam, non suscipit tamen hoc officium ex quo 
obligetur aliis usum scientific impendere. Et ideo licite potest pretium 
sua* doctrinse vel consilii accipere, non quasi veritatem aut scientiam 
vendens, sed quasi operas suas locans. Si autem ex officio ad hoc teneretur, 
intelligeretur ipsam veritatem vendere: unde graviter peccaret. Sicut patet 
in illis qui instituuntur in aliquibus ecclesiis ad docendum clericos ecclesiae 
et alios pauperes, pro quo ab ecclesia beneficium recipiunt: a quibus non 
licet eis aliquid recipere, nee ad hoc quod doceant, nee ad hoc quod aliqua 
festa faciant vel praetermittant. 

8 I Timothy $ a 17 

*Glossa Ordinaria. PL 114, 630 



The temporal needs of preachers ought to be taken care of, not with the 
intention of buying their words, but in order to support their preaching. 
On the text, Let the presbyters who rule well* the Gloss comments, Their 
need permits them to receive the wherewithal to live, and charity demands 
that this be given to them; but the Gospel is not for sale, nor is a livelihood the 
object of preaching; if it is sold for this purpose, they sell a great thing for a 
contemptible price? 

The temporal needs of those who praise God by celebrating the Divine 
Office, both for the living and for the dead, are provided, not in terms 
of payment, but for their livelihood. The same purpose is involved 
when donations are received for liturgical functions, for example, for 

It constitutes simony if matters of this sort are arranged by contract or 
with the intention of buying or selling. So it would be an abuse for a church 
to have the rule that no procession could be held at a funeral unless a 
fixed sum were paid. Such an ordinance would rule out the free granting 
of devotional blessings. It would be more in keeping with the law if it 
were decided that the favour were accorded all who gave a certain alms^ 
because this would not preclude its being granted to others. The former 
ordinance has the appearance of a compulsory charge, but the latter is 
like a freewill offering. 

3. A person to whom a spiritual power is entrusted is bound by reason 
of his office to exercise that power in dispensing spiritual blessings. He 
receives a statutory payment from ecclesiastical funds as a means of sup- 
port. So if he were to accept anything for the exercise of his spiritual 
power, this would imply, not the hiring of his services, which he is bound 
to give as a duty arising from the office he has accepted, but the sale of the 
use itself of spiritual grace. For this reason it is unlawful for him to receive 
anything for ministering in any way, or for allowing someone else to take 
his duty, or for correcting those who are under him, or for omitting to 
correct them. Nevertheless, it is legitimate for this person to receive don- 
ations when he visits his people, not as a charge for correcting them, but as 
a necessary means of support. 

A man of science, however, not having taken upon himself an office 
which obliges him to serve the benefit of others, can lawfully charge for his 
teaching or advice. This is not the sale of truth or knowledge, but the hiring 
of labour. If, however, he is committed by his office to instruct others, then 
it would be a selling of truth, and a serious sin. Those, for instance, who are 
appointed in certain churches to instruct the clerics and other poor stud- 
ents, and are supported by a benefice for so doing, are not allowed to 
receive anything from those they instruct, either for teaching them or for 
celebrating certain feasts or for omitting services on those days. 


SUMMA THEOLOGIZE, 28226. 100, 4 

4. Ad quartum dicendum quod pro ingressu monasterii non licet 
aliquid exigere vel accipere quasi pretium. Licet tamen, si monasterium 
sit tenue, quod non sufficiat ad tot personas nutriendas, gratis quidem 
ingressum monasterii exhibere, sed accipere aliquid pro victu persons 
quae in monasterio fuerit recipienda, si ad hoc monasterii non sufficiant 

Similiter etiam licitum est si propter devotionem quam aliquis ad mona- 
sterium ostendit largas eleemosynas faciendo, facilius in monasterio 
recipiatur; sicut etiam licitum est e converse aliquem provocare ad de- 
votionem monasterii per temporalia beneficia, ut ex hoc inclinetur ad 
monasterii ingressum; licet non sit licitum ex pacto aliquid dare vel reci- 
pere pro ingressu monasterii, ut habetur. 10 

articulus 4. utrum licitum sit pecumam accipere pro his qua sunt spiritualibus annexa 

AD QUARTUM sic proceditur r 1 1. Videtur quod licitum sit pecuniam accipere 
pro his quae sunt spiritualibus annexa. Omnia enim temporalia videntur 
esse spiritualibus annexa: quia temporalia sunt propter spiritualia quser- 
enda. Si ergo non licet vendere ea quae sunt spiritualibus annexa, nihil 
temporale vendere licebit. Quod patet esse falsum. 

2. Prseterea, rnbil videtur magis spiritualibus annexum quam vasa con- 
secrata. Sed ea licet vendere pro redemptione captivorum, ut Ambrosius 
dicit. 2 Ergo licitum est vendere ea quae sunt spiritualibus annexa. 

3. Prarterea, spiritualibus annexa videntur jus sepulturae, jus patronatus, 
et jus primogeniture secundum antiquos (quia primogeniti, ante legem, 
sacerdotis officio fungebantur), et etiam jus accipiendi decimas. Sed 
Abraham emit ab Ephron speluncam duplicem in sepulturam. 3 Jacob 
autem emit ab Esau jus primogeniture. 4 Jus etiam patronatus cum re 
vendita transit in feudum conceditur. Decimae etiam concesss sunt quibus- 
dam militibus, et redimi possunt. Praelati interdum retinent sibi ad 
tempus fructus prsebendarum quas conferunt: cum tamen praebendae sint 
spiritualibus annexae. Ergo licet emere et vendere ea quse sunt spiritualibus 

SED CONTRA est quod dicit Paschalis Papa, Si quis objecerit:Quisquis eorum 

*Decretum U 3 1 3 2 S can. 2. ed tit, i, 408 

x cf IV Sent. 25^ 3, 2, iii 

*De offic. ministr. H 3 283 PL 16, 140 



4. It is not lawful to charge or to accept anything as a payment for 
entrance into a monastic community. In the case of small monasteries, 
which are unable to support so many people, it is lawful, while not charg- 
ing for admittance to the community, to accept something for the support 
of those who are about to be received into the monastery, if its funds are 

Likewise it is lawful to be more accommodating in admitting into the 
monastic community someone who has proved his regard for the com- 
munity by making large donations, just as, conversely, it is lawful to en- 
courage regard for a monastery by holding out the advantages it enjoys, 
so that as a result a person might be more inclined to join it. But it is not 
lawful to come to an agreement to buy or sell the admission into the com- 
munity. This is laid down by canon law. 10 

article 4. is it lawful to receive money for matters connected with religion? 

THE FOURTH POINT: 1 i. It seems that it is. All temporal things seem to 
be connected with spiritual things, for they should be sought for their 
sake. If it is unlawful to sell what is connected with spiritual things it 
will be unlawful to sell anything temporal at all, and this is quite clearly 

2. Nothing is apparently more spiritually related than consecrated 
vessels. But it is lawful to sell a chalice for the ransom of prisoners, accord- 
ing to Ambrose, 2 It is lawful, then, to sell those things which are related 
to religion. 

3. Right of burial, right of patronage and, according to accepted authors, 
the right of primogeniture (because, before the time of the Old Law, the 
first-born exercised the priestly office), and also the right to receive tithes, 
all seem to be connected with spiritual things. Also Abraham purchased 
from Ephron a double cave to be used for a burying-place, s and Jacob pur- 
chased the right of primogeniture from Esau.* Also the right of patronage 
is transferred with the sale of the property and is incorporated into the 
obligation of service. Tithes are granted in fee to certain soldiers, and can 
be redeemed. Prelates also at times retain for themselves the revenues of 
benefices to which they have the presentation, although these are related 
to spiritual matters. And so it is lawful to buy and sell things connected 
with religion. 

ON THE OTHER HAND Pope Paschal said, Whoever sells one of two things, 
^Genesis 23, 8ff 'Genesis 25, 3iff 



vendidit alterum sine quo nee alterum provenit, neutrum invenditum dere- 
linquit. Nullus ergo emat ecclesiam vel pr&bendam, vel aliquid ecdesiasticum. 5 

RESPONSIO: Dicendum quod aliquid potest esse spiritualibus annexum 
dupliciter. Uno modo, sicut ex spiritualibus dependens: sicut habere 
beneficia ecclesiastica dicitur spiritualibus annexum quia non competit 
nisi habenti officium clericale. Unde hujusmodi nullo modo possunt esse 
sine spiritualibus. Et propter hoc, ea nullo modo vendere licet: quia, eis 
venditis, intelliguntur etiam spiritualia venditioni subiici. 

Quaedam autem sunt annexa spiritualibus inquantum ad spiritualia 
ordinantur: sicut jus patronatus, quod ordinatur ad praesentandum clericos 
ad ecclesiastica beneficia; et vasa sacra, quae ordinantur ad sacramentorum 
usum. Unde hujusmodi non praesupponunt spiritualia, sed magis ea ordine 
temporis prsecedunt. Et ideo aliquo modo vendi possunt, non autem in- 
quantum sunt spiritualibus annexa. 

1. Ad primum ergo dicendum quod omnia temporalia annectuntur 
spiritualibus sicut fini. Et ideo ipsa quidem temporalia vendere licet: sed 
ordo eorum ad spiritualia sub venditione cadere non debet. 

2. Ad secundum dicendum quod etiam vasa sacra sunt spiritualibus 
annexa sicut fini. Et ideo eorum consecratio vendi non potest: tamen, pro 
necessitate Ecclesiae et pauperum, materia eorum vendi potest; dummodo, 
praemissa oratione, prius confringantur; quia post confractionem non in- 
telliguntur esse vasa sacra, sed purum metallum. Unde si ex eadem 
materia similia vasa iterum reintegrarentur indigerent iterum consecrari. 

3. Ad tertium dicendum quod spelunca duplex quam Abraham emit in 
sepulturam, non habetur quod erat terra consecrata ad sepeliendum. Et 
ideo licebat Abraham terram illam emere ad usum sepulturae, ut ibi insti- 
tueret sepulcrum: sicut etiam nunc liceret emere aliquem agrum com- 
munem ad instituendum ibi coemeterium, vel etiam ecclesiam. Quia 
tamen etiam apud gentiles loca sepulturae deputata religiosa reputabantur, 
si Ephron pro jure sepulturae pretium intendit accipere, peccavit vendens : 
licet Abraham non peccaverit emens, quia non intendebat emere nisi 
terram communem. Licet etiam nunc terram ubi quondam fuit ecclesia, 
vendere aut emere in casu necessitatis: sicut et de materia vasorum sac- 
rorum dictum est. 6 Vel excusatur Abraham quia in hoc redemit suam 
vexationem. Quamvis enim Ephron gratis ei sepulturam offerret, perpendit 
tamen Abraham quod gratis recipere sine eius offensa non posset 

*Decretum n, i, 3, 7. ed cit 1, 413 



which is unable to function without the other., haves unsold neither the one 
nor the other. And so let no one sell a Church or the right to money from the 
Church, or anything of an ecclesiastical nature. 5 

REPLY: A thing may be related to spiritual matters in two ways. First, 
as being dependent on them, for example, ecclesiastical appointments 
which cannot be held except by those who have the priestly office. Hence 
such things cannot exist at all apart from spiritual things. Consequently 
it is altogether unlawful to sell them, because that would imply the sale 
of the spiritual. 

Secondly, a thing can be connected with spiritual things as being 
ordained to them. For example, the right of patronage, which is directed 
to the presentation of clerics to ecclesiastical appointments; or sacred 
vessels, which are directed to sacramental use. These things in themselves 
do not presuppose spiritual values, but rather they precede them in the 
order of time. And so considered in this way they may be sold, but not in- 
asmuch as they are related to spiritual matters. 

1. All temporal matters are connected with the spiritual as to their 
end. It is lawful to sell temporal things, but their relationship to the spiri- 
tual should not be the basis for what is sold. 

2. Sacred vessels are related to the spiritual as to their end^ and con- 
sequently their consecration cannot be sold. However, their material can 
be sold for the needs of the Church and the poor, so long as they are melted 
down after a prayer has been said over them. They are then no longer 
regarded as sacred vessels, but as mere metal. If new sacred vessels were to 
be made out of the same material they would have to be consecrated again. 

3. We have no authority for supposing that the cave which Abraham 
bought for a burial-place was consecrated ground, and so he could buy the 
site, in order to turn it into a cemetery, just as now it would be lawfiil to 
buy an ordinary field as a site for a cemetery or even a church. Neverthe- 
less, since even among the pagans burial-grounds were looked on as relig- 
ious, Ephron sinned in selling if he intended to accept the money as pay- 
ment for a burial-place. However Abraham did not sin in buying, because 
he merely intended to purchase an ordinary plot of ground. Even now it is 
legimate in the case of necessity to sell or buy land on which a church has 
stood 5 as we have also said with regard to what has been mentioned about 
the material of sacred vessels. 6 Or perhaps Abraham is to be excused 
because he freed himself from an embarrassment. For although Ephron 
offered Him the burial-place for nothing, Abraham felt that he could not 
accept it without charge without prejudice to himself. 

6 cf preceding reply 


SUMMA THEOLOGIZE, 2a28. 100, 5 

Jus autem primogeniture debebatur Jacob ex divina electione: secun- 
dum illud Malach.^ Jacob dilexi, Esau odio habuL 1 Et ideo Esau peccavit 
primogenita vendens: Jacob autem non peccavit emendo, quia intelligitur 
suam vexationem redemisse. 

Jus autem patronatus per se vendi non potest, nee in feudum dari: sed 
transit cum villa quae venditur vel conceditur. Jus autem spirituale 
accipiendi decimas non conceditur laicis, sed tantummodo res temporales 
quae nomine decimse dantur^ ut supra dictum est. 8 

Circa collationem vero beneficiorum, sciendum est quod si episcopus, 
antequam alicui beneficium offerat, ob aliquam causam ordinaverit aliquid 
subtrahendum de fructibus beneficii conferendi et in pios usus expenden- 
dum 3 non est illicitum. Si vero ab eo cui beneficium offert requirat aliquid 
sibi exhiberi de fructibus illius beneficii, idem est ac si aliud munus ab eo 
exigeret, et non caret vitio simonise. 

articulus 5. utrum liceat spiritualia dare pro munere quod est ab obsequio vel a lingua 

AD QUINTUM sic proceditur: 1 I. Videtur quod liceat spiritualia dare pro 
munere quod est ab obsequio vel a lingua. Dicit enim Gregorius, Ecdesi- 
asticis utilitatibus deservientes ecclesiastica dignum est remuneratione gander e? 
Sed deservire ecclesiasticis utilitatibus pertinet ad munus ab obsequio. 
Ergo videtur quod licitum sit pro obsequio accepto ecclesiastica beneficia 

2. Praeterea, sicut carnalis videtur esse intentio si quis alicui det bene- 
ficium ecclesiasticum pro suscepto servitio, ita etiam si quis det intuitu 
consanguinitatis. Sed hoc non videtur esse simoniacum: quia non est ibi 
emptio et venditio. Ergo nee primum. 

3. Praeterea, illud quod solum ad preces alicujus fit, gratis fieri videtur: 
et ita non videtur habere locum simonia, quae in emptione et venditione 
consistit. Sed munus a lingua intelligitur si quis ad preces alicujus ecclesi- 
asticum beneficium conferat. Ergo hoc non est simoniacum. 

4. Praeterea, hypocritae spiritualia opera faciunt ut laudem humanam 
consequantur, quae videtur ad munus linguae pertinere. Nee tamen hypo- 
critae dicuntur simoniaci. Non ergo per munus a lingua simonia contra- 

SED CONTRA est quod Urbanus Papa ditit, Quisquis res ecclesiasticas 9 non ad 
quod institute sunt> sed ad propria lucra, munere linguce vel obsequii vel 
pecunice largitur vel adipiscitur y simoniacus est.* 

'Malachi I 3 2-3 8 cf 2a2ae. 87^ 3 

x cf iv Sent. 25, 3, 3 *Regist. 3. Ep. xvm 3 18. PL 77, 618 



The right of primogeniture was due to Jacob by reason of God's choice, 
according to Malachy, / loved Jacob, but hated Esau. 1 And so Esau sinned 
by selling his birthright; Jacob, however, did not sin in buying it, because 
he is understood to have freed himself from a legitimate grievance. 

The right of patronage cannot be sold directly, nor can it be granted in 
fee, but it is transferred with the property sold or granted. The spiritual 
right of receiving tithes is not given to the laity, but merely the temporal 
commodities which are granted hi the name of a tithe, as stated above. 8 

With regard to the granting of benefices, however, it must be observed 
that it is not unlawful for a bishop, before presenting a person to a benefice, 
to decide to retain part of its revenues, and to spend it on some good cause. 
But on the other hand, if the bishop were to require it to be given to him 
by the beneficiary, it would be the same as though he demanded payment 
from him, and he would then not escape the guilt of simony. 

article 5. is it lawful to grant spiritual benefits in return for services rendered or 
favours granted? 

THE FIFTH POINT: 1 i. It seems to be. Gregory writes, It is right that those 
who serve the interests of the Church, should be rewarded* And to be devoted 
to the interests of the Church implies willingness to serve. Therefore, it 
seems legitimate to confer ecclesiastical appointments in return for services 

2. Moreover, to confer an ecclesiastical appointment for a service 
rendered seems to be rather worldly, like doing so on account of family 
kinship. Yet the latter would not seem to be simoniacal, because no buying 
or selling is involved. Nor, therefore, the former. 

3. Moreover, whatever is done merely at another's request would seem 
to be done gratis, and not to involve simony, which requires buying or 
selling. But yielding to flattery in this case implies that an ecclesiastical 
appointment is granted in a way that is not simoniacal. 

4. Moreover, hypocrites perform spiritual deeds in order that they may 
enjoy human praise, which would seem to involve flattery. Nevertheless 
they are labelled as simoniacs. And so a response to flattery does not entail 

ON THE OTHER HAND Pope Urban says, Whoever grants or acquires ecclesi- 
astical things not for the purpose for which they were instituted but for his own 
profit, in consideration of praise received or of a service rendered or money 
received, is guilty of simony? 

8 Urban II, Epistola 17 ad Ludum Pr Deposition (ed. Mansi, 20, p. 66); cf. Decretmt 
n, i, 3, 8. ed cit I, 414 



RESPONSIO: Dicendum quod, sicut supra dictum est, 4 nomine pecuniae 
intelligitur cujuscumque pretium pecunia mensurari potest. Manifestum 
est autem quod obsequium horoinis ad aliquam utilitatem ordinatur quas 
potest pretio pecunise aestimari: unde et pecuniaria mercede ministri con- 
ducuntur. Et ideo idem est quod aliquis det rem spiritualem pro aliquo 
obsequio temporali exhibito vel exhibendo, ac si daret pro pecunia, data 
vel promissa, qua illud obsequium aestimari posset. Similiter etiam quod 
aiiquis satisfaciat precibus alicujus ad temporalem gratiam quaerendam 
ordinatur ad aliquam utilitatem quse potest pecuniae pretio asstimari. Et 
ideo sicut contrahitur simonia accipiendo pecuniam vel quamlibet rem 
exteriorem, quod pertinet ad munus a manu, ita etiam contrahitur per 
munus a lingua^ vel db obsequio. 

1. Ad primum ergo dicendum quod si aliquis clericus alicui prselato 
impendat obsequium honestum et ad spiritualia ordinatum, puta ad 
eclesiae utilitatem vel ministrorum eius auxilium, ex ipsa devotione 
obsequii redditur dignus ecclesiastico beneficio, sicut et propter alia bona 
opera. Unde non intelligitur esse munus ab obsequio. Et in hoc casu 
loquitur Gregorius. Si vero sit inhonestum obsequium, vel ad carnalia 
ordinatum, puta quia servivit pradato ad utilitatem consanguineorum 
suorum vel patrimonii sui, vel ad aliquid hujusmodi, esset munus ab 
obsequio, et simoniacum. 

2. Ad secundum dicendum quod si aliquis aliquid spirituale alicui 
conferat gratis propter consanguinitatem, vel quamcumque carnalem 
affectionem, est quidem illicita et carnalis collatio, non tamen simoniaca: 
quia nihil ibi accipitur, unde hoc non pertinet ad contractum emptionis 
et venditionis, in quo fundatur simonia. 5 Si tamen aliquis det beneficium 
ecclesiasticum alicui hoc pacto, vel intentione, ut exinde suis consanguineis 
provideat, est manifesta simonia. 

3. Ad tertium dicendum quod munus a lingua dicitur vel ipsa laus 
pertinens ad favorem humanum, qui sub pretio cadit: vel etiam preces 
ex quibus acquiritur favor humanus, vel contrarium evitatur. Et ideo si 
aliquis principaliter ad hoc intendat, simoniam committit. 

Videtur autem ad hoc principaliter intendere qui preces pro indigno 
porrectas exaudit, Unde ipsum factum est simoniacum. Si autem preces 
pro digno pomgantur, ipsum factum non est simoniacum: quia subest 
debita causa ex qua illi pro quo preces porriguntur, spirituale aliquid con- 
feratur. Potest tamen esse simonia in intentione, si non attendatur ad 
dignitatem personae, sed ad favorem humanum. Si vero aliquis pro se 
rogat ut obtineat curam animamm, ex ipsa praesumptione redditur 
indignus: et sic preces sunt pro indigno. Licite tamen potest ali- 
quis 5 si sit indigens, pro se beneficium ecclesiasticum petere sine cura 



REPLY: As mentioned before/ the term 'money* here denotes anything that 
can have a monetary value. It is evident that a man's service is directed to 
a kind of usefulness which has a monetary value. Servants are hired for 
cash wages. And so to grant a spiritual value in exchange for a service to 
be rendered now or in the future is equivalent to granting it for money 
either received or promised, at which that service could be valued. Just 
as a man contracts simony by accepting money or something external which 
comes tinder the head of real remuneration, so also he does by accepting 
oral remuneration or services rendered. 

I . If a cleric renders a prelate a lawful service, directed to spiritual things, 
for instance, to the benefit of the Church or to help for her ministers, he 
becomes worthy of an ecclesiastical appointment by reason of the devotion 
that prompted him to render the service, just as he would by reason of 
any other good deed. This is not a case of remuneration for a service ren- 
dered, such as Gregory has in mind. But if the service be unlawful or 
directed to worldly concerns, for example, for the profit of a prelate's 
kindred, or the increase of his patrimony, or the like, it will be a remuner- 
ation involving simony. 

2. The bestowal gratis of a spiritual value because of family ties or 
carnal affection is unlawful and worldly, but it is not simony. Nothing 
is received in this instance, and it does not entail an agreement 
for buying and selling, on which simony is based. 5 However to present a 
person to an ecclesiastical benefice on the understanding or with the 
intention that he provides for your family from the revenues is clearly 

3. Moreover, remuneration for flattery involves either praise to attract 
human favour, which has its price, or requests to obtain favour or avoid 
disfavour. If all revolves on this, then simony is committed. To grant a 
request made for an unworthy person implies that this is the decisive point 3 
and accordingly it would constitute simony. But not, however, if the re- 
quest be made for a worthy person, for then it is based on a due cause for 
granting a spiritual value to him for whom it is requested. Nevertheless, 
there may be simony in the intention, if one looks, not to the worthiness 
of the person, but to human favour. If someone asks for himself, that he 
may obtain a cure of souls, his presumption renders him unworthy, and so 
the request is for an unworthy person. But if one be in need, he may law- 
fully seek for himself an ecclesiastical appointment not involving the cure of 

4 cf 2a2se. icOj 2 
6 cf 2a2ae. 63, 2 ad i 


SUMMA THEOLOGIZE,., 2a2. 100,6 

4. Ad quartum dicendum quod hypocrita non dat aliquid spirituale 
propter Iaudem 3 sed solum demonstrat: et simulando magis furtive 
surripit laudem humanam quam emat. Unde non videtur pertinere ad 
vitium simoniae. 

aniculus 6. utrum sit conveniens simoniad pcena ut privetur eo quod per simoniam 


AD SEXTUM sic proceditur: 1 i. Videtur quod non sit conveniens simoniaci 
poena ut privetur eo quod per simoniam acquisivit. Simonia enim com- 
mittitur ex eo quod alicujus muneris inter ventu spiritualia acquiruntur. 
Sed quaedam sunt spiritualia quae, semel adepta, non possunt amitti: sicut 
omnes characteres qui per aliquam consecrationem imprimuntur. Ergo 
non est conveniens poena ut quis privetur eo quod simoniace acquisivit. 

2. Prafterea, contingit quandoque quod ille qui est episcopatum per 
simoniam adeptus, praecipiat subdito ut ab eo recipiat ordines: et videtur 
quod debeat ei obedire quamdiu ab Ecclesia toleratur. Sed nullus debet 
aliquid recipere ab eo qui non habet potestatem conferendi. Ergo episcopus 
non amittit episcopalem potestatem si earn simoniace acquisivit. 

3. Praeterea, nullus debet puniri pro eo quod non est facrum eo sciente 
et volente: quia poena debetur peccato, quod est voluntarium, ut ex supra 
dictis patet. Contingit autem quandoque quod aliquis simoniace con- 
sequitur aliquid spirituale procurantibus aliis, eo nesciente etnolente. Ergo 
non debet puniri per privationem eius quod ei collatum est. 

4. Praeterea, nullus debet portare commodum de suo peccato. Sed si ille 
qui consecurus est beneficium ecclesiasticum per simoniam, restitueret 
quod percepit, quandoque hoc redundaret in utilitatem eorum qui fuerunt 
simoniae participes: puta quando pradatus et totum collegium in simon- 
iam consensit. Ergo non semper est restituendum quod per simoniam 

5. Praeterea, quandoque aliquis per simoniam in aliquo monasterio 
recipiturj et votum solemne ibi facit profitendo. Sed nullus debet absolvi 
ab obligatione voti propter culpam commissam. Ergo non debet monacha- 
turn amittere quern simoniace acquisivit. 

6. Prseterea, exterior poena in hoc mundo non infligitur pro interiori 
motu cordis, de quo solius Dei est judicare. Sed simonia committitur ex 

*cf ia2ae. 74, i ad 2; 87, 7 



4. A hypocrite does not give a spiritual thing in exchange for praise: 
he only makes a show of it., and under false pretences stealthily purloins 
rather than purchases human praise. And this, it seems, is not part of the 
vice of simony. 

article 6. are those who are guilty of simony properly punished by being deprived 
of what they have acquired through simony? 

THE SIXTH POINT: 1 Apparently not. Simony is committed by acquiring 
spiritual things in return for remuneration. Now certain spiritual things 
rgntiot be lost when once acquired, such as a sacramental character 
imprinted by consecration. Therefore, it is not a fitting punishment to 
deprive a person of what he has acquired through simony. 

2. It sometimes happens that a person who has obtained the episcopate 
through simony commands a subject of his to receive sacred orders from 
him; and apparently the subject should obey, as long as the Church 
tolerates him. Yet no one ought to receive from bim who has not the 
power to give. Therefore, a bishop does not lose his episcopal power, if he 
has acquired it through simony. 

3. Moreover, no one should be punished for what was done without 
his knowledge and consent, since punishment is due because of fault, 
which is voluntary. It happens sometimes that a person acquires some- 
thing spiritual which others have procured for him without his knowledge 
and consent. In this instance he should not be punished by being deprived 
of what has been given him. 

4. Moreover, no one should profit by his own sin. Yet, if a person who 
has acquired an ecclesiastical appointment through simony were to restore 
what he has received, this could possibly lead to the profit of those who had 
a share in his simony; for instance, when a prelate and his entire chapter 
have consented to it. Therefore what has been acquired by simony should 
not always be restored. 

5. Moreover, sometimes a person obtains admission to a monastery by 
simony, and then takes the solemn vow of profession. But no one should 
be freed from the obligation of a vow on account of a fault he has com- 
mitted. Therefore, he should not lose the monastic state which he gained 
by simony. 

6. Moreover, in this world external punishment is not inflicted for 
internal thoughts and desires, of which God alone is the judge. Simony 


sola intentione vel voluntate: unde et per voluntatem defining ut supra 
dictum est. 2 Ergo non semper debet aliquis privari eo quod simoniace 

7. Praeterea 5 multo majus est promoveri ad majora quam in susceptis 
permanere. Sed quandoque simoniaci, ex dispensation, promoventur ad 
majora. Ergo non semper debent susceptis privari. 

SED CONTRA est quod dicitur. Si quis episcopus : Qui ordinatus est., nihil ex 
ordinatione vel promotione qua est per negotiationem facta profidat: sed sit 
alienus a dignitate vel sollicitudine quam pecuniis acquisivit . z 

RESPONSIO: Dicendum quod nullus potest licite retinere illud quod contra 
voluntatem domini acquisivit: puta si aliquis dispensator de rebus domini 
sui daret alicui contra voluntatem et ordinationem domini sui, ille qui 
acciperet licite retinere non posset. Dominus autem, cujus ecclesiarum 
prselati sunt dispensatores et ministri, ordinavit ut spiritualia gratis daren- 
tur: secundum illud Matt., Gratis accepistis, gratis date* Et ideo qui 
muneris interventu spiritualia quaecumque assequuntur, ea licite retinere 
non possunt. Insuper autem simoniaci, tarn vendentes quam ementes 
spiritualia, aut etiam mediatores, aliis poenis puniuntur: scilicet infamia 
et depositione, si sint clerici; et excommunicatione, si sint laid; ut 
habetur. 5 

1. Ad primum ergo dicendum quod ille qui simoniace accipit sacrum 
ordinem, recipit quidem characterem ordinis, propter efficaciam sacra- 
menti: non tamen recipit gratiam, neque ordinis executionem, eo quod 
quasi furtive suscepit characterem, contra principalis Domini voluntatem. 
Et ideo est ipso jure suspensus, et quoad se, ut scilicet de executione sui 
ordinis se non intromittat, et quoad alios, ut scilicet nullus ei communicet 
in ordinis executione; sive sit peccatum eius publicum, sive occultum. 
Nee potest repetere pecuniam quam turpiter dedit: licet alius inju^te 

Si vero sit simoniacus quia contulit ordinem simoniace, vel quia dedit 
vel recepit beneficium simoniace, vel fuit mediator simoniae: si est 
publicum, est ipso jure suspensus et quoad se et quoad alios; si autem 
est occultum, est suspensus ipso jure quoad se tantum, no autem quoad 

2. Ad secundum dicendum quod nee propter praeceptum ejus, nee 
etiam propter excoinmunicationem, debet aliquis recipere ordinem ab 

2 2azae. ioo a i ad 2 s Decretum U 3 I, I ad 9. ed cit l> 359 

^Matthew io a 8 
*Decretum y loc cit 



is committed in the intention or will; we have defined it in reference to the 
will. 2 Therefore a person should not always be deprived of what he has 
acquired through simony. 

7. Moreover, to be promoted to greater dignity is considerably more than 
to retain what one has already received. Sometimes those who are guilty 
of simony are, by dispensation, promoted to greater dignity. And so they 
should not always be deprived of what they have received. 

ON THE OTHER HAND Gratian states, A person who has been ordained shall 
profit nothing by the ordination or promotion he has acquired by the bargain, 
but he shall forfeit the dignity or responsibility he has acquired with his money? 

REPLY : No one can lawfully retain what he has acquired against the owner's 
will. For instance, if an employee were to give some of his employer's 
property to a person against his employer's will and orders, the recipient 
could not lawfully retain what he had received. Our Lord, whose stewards 
and ministers are the prelates of churches, ordered spiritual things to be 
given freely, according to Matthew, Freely you have received, freely give.* So 
whoever acquires spiritual things in return for a remuneration cannot 
lawfully retain them. Moreover, those who are guilty of simony, by either 
selling or buying spiritual things, as well as those who act as go- 
betweens, are sentenced to other punishments, namely dishonour and 
deposition from office if they be clerics, and excommunication if they be 
laymen. 5 

Hence: I. Anyone who has received a sacred Order through simony 
receives the character of the Order from the efficacy of the sacrament; 
but he does not receive the grace or the power of the order, because he has 
received the character dishonestly and against the will of the Lord. And 
so he is suspended, by virtue of law, both as regards himself, namely he 
may not apply himself to the functions of his Order, and as regards others, 
namely no one may communicate with him in such functions, whether 
his sin be public or private. Nor may he reclaim the money he dishonour- 
ably gave, even though the other party unjustly retains it. 

But if a man is guilty of simony through having conferred Orders, or 
through having granted or received an appointment, or through acting 
as a go-between if he has done so publicly, he is suspended from his 
functions, as regards both himself and others by virtue of the law; if he 
has done so secretly, then, only as regards himself. 

2. A person should not receive Orders from a bishop known to have been 
promoted as the result of simony, either because he commands or threatens 
excommunication. Those who receive Orders from him do not receive the 
power to exercise their Orders even though they are ignorant that he is 


SUMMA THEOLOGIZE, 2a2#. 100, 6 

episcopo quern scit simoniace promotum. Et si ordinetur, non recipit 
ordinis executionem, etiam si ignoret eum esse simoniacum: sed indiget 
dispensatione. Quamvis quidam dicunt quod/ si non potest probate eum 
esse simoniacum, debet obedire recipiendo ordinem, sed non debet exequi 
sine dispensatione. Sed hoc absque ratione dicitur. Quia nullus debet 
obedire alicui ad communicandum sibi in facto illicito. 

Ille autem qui est ipso jure suspensus et quoad se et quoad alios, illicite 
confert ordinem. Unde nullus debet sibi communicate recipiendo ab eo, 
quacumque ex causa. Si autem ei non constat, non debet credere peccatum 
alterius: et ita cum bona conscientia debet ab eo ordinem recipere. 

Si autem episcopus sit simoniacus aliquo alio modo quam per 
promotionem suam simoniace factam, potest recipere ab eo ordinem, si 
sit occultum: quia non est suspensus quoad alios, sed solum quoad 
seipsum. 7 

3. Ad tertium dicendum quod hoc quod aliquis privetur eo quod 
accepit^ non solum est poena peccati, sed etiam quandoque est effectus 
acquisitionis injustx: puta cum aliquis emit rem aliquam ab eo qui vendere 
non potest. Et ideo si aliquis scienter et propria sponte simoniace accipiat 
ordinem vel ecclesiasticum beneficium, non solum privatur eo quod accepit, 
ut scilicet careat executione ordinis et beneficium resignet cum fructibus 
inde perceptis; sed etiam ulterius punitur, quia notatur infamia; et tenetur 
ad restituendos fructus non solum perceptos, sed etiam eos qui percipi 
potuerunt a possessore diligenti (quod tamen intelligendum est de fructi- 
bus qui supersunt deductis expensis factis causa fructuum, exceptis 
fructibus illis qui alias expensi sunt in utilitatem ecclesiae). Si vero, eo nee 
volente nee sciente, per alios alicujus promotio simoniace procuratur, caret 
quidem ordinis executione, et tenetur resignare beneficium quod est con- 
secutus, cum fructibus extantibus (non autem tenetur restituere fructus 
consumptos, quia bona fide possedit): nisi forte inimicus ejus fraudulenter 
pecuniam daret pro alicujus promotione, vel nisi ipse expresse contra- 
dixerit. Tune enim non tenetur ad abrenuntiandum: nisi forte postmodum 
pacto consenserit, solvendo quod fuit promissum. 

4. Ad quartum dicendum quod pecunia, vel possessio, vel fructus 
simoniace accepti, debent restitui ecclesiae in cujus injuriam data sunt, non 
obstante quod prselatus, vel aliquis de collegio illius ecclesiae, fuit in culpa: 
quia eorurn peccatum non debet aliis nocere. Ita tamen quod, quantum fieri 
potest, ipsi qui peccaverunt inde commodum non consequantur. Si vero 
praelatus et totum collegium sunt in culpa, debet, cum auctoritate superi- 
oris, vel pauperibus vel alter! ecclesiae erogari. 

6 For example^ Joannes Teutonicus, Glossa ordinaria in Decretum n, can. 108. 
7 cf the first objection 



guilty of simony. This situation requires a dispensation. Some, 6 however, 
maintain that one should receive Orders in obedience to his precept 
unless one can prove him to be guilty of simony, but not exercise the 
sacred functions without a dispensation. But this is not a reasonable 
statement, for no one should obey a man to the extent of communicating 
with him in an unlawful action. 

He who is by virtue of the law suspended as regards both himself and 
others confers orders illegally. No one should communicate with Mrn by 
receiving orders from him for any cause whatever. If one cannot be certain 
on the point, he should not give credence to another's sin, and so ought in 
good conscience to receive Orders from him. 

If, however, the bishop has been guilty of simony otherwise than by a 
simoniacal promotion, and the fact be a secret, one may receive Orders 
from him, because, as we have said, he is not suspended in regard to 
others, but only in regard to himself. 7 

3. To be deprived of what has been received is not only the penalty for 
sin, but sometimes is also the result of unjust acquisition, for example, 
where a person buys something from one who cannot sell it If a person 
knowingly and voluntarily receives Orders or an ecclesiastical appointment 
through simony, he is deprived of what he has received by forfeiting the 
exercise of his Order and by being made to resign from the appointment 
and its benefits. In addition he is punished by being legally branded with 
infamous conduct. Also he is required to restore not only what was actu- 
ally acquired, but also as much as might have been accumulated by a 
careful administrator. This is to be understood as having reference to the 
net profits, the expenses having been deducted, and allowance made for 
what has been spent for the church benefit. 

If, however, promotion be procured through simony by others, without 
a man's knowledge and consent, he forfeits the exercise of his Order, and 
is bound to resign the appointment obtained along with fruits still extant, 
but he is not bound to restore the fruits consumed, since he possessed them 
in good faith. Exception should be made in a case where the promotion 
has been deceitfully procured by an enemy; or when a man expressly 
opposes the transaction, for then he is not bound to resign, unless later 
he agrees to it by paying what was promised. 

4. Money, property, or benefits received through simony must be 
restored to the church that has incurred loss by their transfer, in spite of 
the fact that a prelate or member of the chapter was at fault. Their sin 
should not hurt others. The matter should be so arranged that as far as 
possible the guilty parties should not be the gainers. But if the prelate 
and the entire chapter be at fault, restitution must be made, with the con- 
sent of superior authority, either to the poor, or to some other church. 

40-M 155 

SUMMA THEOLOGI/E, 2a23e. 100, 6 

5. Ad quintum dicendum quod si aliqui sunt in monasterio simoniace 
recepti, debent abrenuntiare. Et si eis scientibus commissa est simonia post 
Concilium Generate, 8 sine spe restitutionis de suo monasterio repelluntur, 
et ad agendam perpetuam poenitentiam sunt in arctiori regula ponendi, vel 
in aliquo loco ejusdem ordinis, si arctior ordo non inveniretur. Si vero hoc 
fuit ante Concilium, debent in aliis locis ejusdem ordinis collocari. Et si 
hoc fieri non potest, dispensative debent in eisdem monasteriis recipi, ne 
in saeculo evagentur : mutatis tamen prioribus locis et inferioribus assignatis. 
Si vero ipsis ignorantibus, sive ante Concilium sive post, sint simoniace 
recepti, postquam renuntiaverint, possunt de novo recipi, locis mutatis, ut 
dictum est. 

6. Ad sextum dicendum quod quoad Deum sola voluntas facit simonia- 
cum : sed quoad poenam ecclesiasticam exteriorem, non punitur ut simonia- 
cus, ut abrenuntiare teneatur, sed debet de mala intentione poenitere. 

7. Ad septimum dicendum quod dispensare cum eo qui est scienter 
beneficiatus, solus Papa potest. In aliis autem casibus potest etiam episco- 
pus dispensare: ita tamen quod prius abrenuntiet quod simoniace acqui- 
sivit. Et tune dispensationem consequatur vel parvam, ut habeat laicam 
communionem; vel magnam, ut, post poenitentiam, in alia ecclesia in suo 
or dine remaneat; vel majorem, ut remaneat in eadem, sed in minoribus 
ordinibus; vel maximam, ut in eadem ecclesia etiam majores ordines ex- 
equatur, non tamen pradationem accipiat. 

8 Canon 64 of Lateran IV, found in Decretals v, 40 



5. Persons who are admitted through simony into a monastic community 
must leave if the simony was committed with their knowledge. And, since 
the ruling of the General Council, 8 they must be expelled from then- 
monastery without hope of return, and do perpetual penance under a 
stricter rule, or in some house of the same order, if a stricter one is not 
found. Before the Council they had to be sent to other houses of the same 
order, and if this could not be done, then they had to be received into 
monasteries of the same order by way of dispensation, in order to avoid 
their wandering about the world. They were not to be admitted to their 
former position, but to be assigned a lower place. Yet if they were received 
through simony without their knowledge, whether before or after the 
Council, then after quitting they may be received again, yet with their 
position altered, as just mentioned. 

6. In God's sight mere intention makes a man guilty of simony. But in 
regard to the external ecclesiastical punishment he is not punished as 
guilty of simony by being obliged to resign; but he is bound to repent 
of his evil intention. 

7. The Pope alone can grant a dispensation to someone who has know- 
ingly received an appointment through simony. In other cases the bishop 
can dispense, provided the beneficiary first renounces what he has received 
through simony. He will receive either a minor dispensation, allowing 
him lay communion, or a major dispensation, allowing him after doing 
penance to exercise his Orders in some other church; or a major dispen- 
sation allowing him to remain in the same church, but in minor Orders; 
or a full dispensation allowing him to exercise even the major Orders in 
the same church, but not to accept a prelacy. 


Appendix I 


THIS TREATISE of Swnma considers how man may misdirect his deep drive 
to express himself in religion, how he can pervert an authentic relationship 
with God born of his own creatureliness. In general there are two ways of 
doing this. Man either directs his activities to what is false, or he dishonours 
God by dishonouring sacred things. Here the first is treated under the 
broad title of idolatry and superstitition, by which we direct our religious 
commitment to something which is false or demonic; the second under that 
of irreligion, by which we show disrespect to God by using him. 

Theology is concerned with God and his self-revelation to men in Jesus 
Christ. Yet in the treatise an intermediate level of being appears, and the 
demonic is named as the source of idolatry and as an agency of superstition. 
Theology considers not only man and God but all things inasmuch as they 
have reference to their dialogue. Since the reverence due to God can be 
given to other creatures, and since what is uniquely God's can be sought 
from the non-divine, we can have a 'theology* of the demonic. 

The translation has often preferred to speak of the 'demonic* than of 
'devils', in order to avoid excessive anthropomorphism while yet implying 
a distinct level of existence. A sort of 'demonic' certainly exists in the 
personal and social evils men inhale and propagate, but the existence of 
angels and devils is an open question to many recent theological writers; 
they are influenced by non-scriptural factors, the ambiguous attitude of the 
Pentateuch 1 and by new interpretations of original sin, which look more at 
the existential (in Heidegger's and Rahner's terminology) situation of each 
man vis-a-vis his call in Christ. On the other hand, recent developments 
have made us open to extra-terrestrial dimensions, e.g. ESP and space 
probes. St Thomas bases his acceptance of a demonic order of persons on 
its being contained in revelation, supported by his pluralist metaphysic of 
a scale of beings. 2 Although familiar with Jewish and Islamic speculation, 
he avoids any detailed elaboration of the mythological. He is interested in 
the ontological structure of purely spiritual being, and elsewhere analyses 
their powers and activities as persons, and their parts in the drama of 
salvation and damnation. Yet here he pares his considerations of the personal 
demonic to a rnim'miimj and sees some very human causes for idolatry. 3 

Contemporary thinkers in the fields of theology and psychology have 

*cf T. McDermott, "The Devil and his Angels*, JBIackfriars (1966). XLvm, pp. 
16-26. Also C. Davidson, The Dictionary of the Angels. New York, 1967 
a cf Vols. 8 & 9 of this series 
3 cf above 2a2ae. 94, 4 



opened perspectives which are valuable as showing the place of the demonic 
in the perversion of religion. 

Paul Tillich writes of the protest, which is part of the Protestant Principle, 
against absolutizing any creature, or objectifying God or faith in a rite or 
office by what he calls 'heteronomy'. It 'asserts that man, being unable to act 
according to universal reasons, must be subjected to a law strange and superior 
to him'. 4 A heteronomist culture 'subjects the forms and laws of thinking and 
acting to authoritative criteria of an ecclesiastical religion or a political quasi- 
religion even at the price of destroying the structures of rationality';, 5 and in 
the name of an institution claims 'to speak in the name of the ground of being 
and therefore in an unconditional and ultimate way*. 6 

And so we are led to the dimension of the demonic. For St Thomas it is 
to the creature, human or demonic, that man turns when he turns away from 
true religion. Tillich's study of the demonic is a counterpart to his study of 
the holy, where he is influenced by Martin Heidegger and Rudolf Otto; he 
sees that the existential analysis of man reaches not only to ontological 
categories but also beyond to the realm of the holy. The demonic is discussed 
as early as 1926 in his essay, Das Daemonische. 1 His point of departure is 
primitive art and religion; statues of God are objects for man's idolatry. 
These forms, mainly of animals and plants, shock us by the manner in 
which they shatter form: hands, teeth, sex organs, feet, are distorted. This, 
however, is not just the contradiction of form; he calls it the demonic, 'the 
actuality of that which is positively contrary to form'. 8 This demonry, a 
destroying eruption of the basis of things, may seem at first to be far away 
from the demons of the Summa, yet their effect is the same. Both Tillich's 
demonic and St Thomas's idols and demons disrupt our world, destroying 
right order and form, and bring our lives into a dimension opposed to the 
holy. There life, faith and religion are distorted, and man tends to be 
dominated through a heteronomous law by which he must obey creatures 
instead of giving his free and open service to the ground of being. 

Karl Jaspers also has considered the theme of the demonic and the 
heteronomous. From the beginning God has been conceived in forms of 
analogies, but they are all veils. He is not whatever we picture before our 
eyes. Jaspers sees our true relationship to God as having its deepest expression 
in the Bible's command not to make images and idols. 'All images, without 
exception, are myths . . . and as such they are superstitions if they are taken 
for the reality of God himself.' 9 When we see God portrayed according to 
our images, captured in our representations, we are in the presence of the 
demonic, the superstitious. The mystery of God himself, and the deepest 
openness of our reason have both been lost. 

4 Paul Tillich, The Protestant Era. Chicago, 1957= P- 5$ 5ibid > P- 57 

Paul Tillich, Systematic Theology. Chicago, London, 1951, 1, p. 84 
'Translated into English in The Interpretation of History. New York, 19363 PP- 
8 ibid, p. 79 [77-122 

*K. Jaspers, Einffthrung in die Philosophic. Munich, 1953. pp. 44^ 



C. G. Jung also considers the demonic. 10 For him, evil is basically a 
psychological evil. His careful study of the process of psychic integration 
indicates some extremely powerful activity threatening the unification of the 
psyche. He sees an archetypal prominence of the number three in the deep 
psychic patterns, yet the development tends toward four. Ternary symbolism, 
of which the Trinity is the prime analogate, generally shows that personality 
integration is not complete. What completes the quaternary? Impressed 
by the part played in the process of individuation by evil, and astonished that 
there was no evil within God, Jung decided that it was possible to see a 
fourth person, Satan, the spirit of evil and rebellion, who once had been a son 
or servant of Jahweh. 'In Jung's view, the emphasis on the sovereign good- 
ness of God whose fatherhood was revealed by the Son, inevitably led a 
Christian theology to remove the power of the prince of darkness out of 
range of God's immediate control. . . . Jung is afraid that by thus dis- 
sociating good and evil they created an irresolvable dualism, all the more 
dangerous from the fact that it remained unconscious. . . . The repression 
of the "shadow" which includes evil, explains, as Jung sees it, the two 
opposite attitudes that modern men take towards evil: either a guilty, 
couldn't-care-less attitude, or a frenzied revolt against it.' 11 

10 cf H. L. Philips, Jung and the Problem of Evil New York, 1959. V. White, God 
and the Unconscious. London, New York, 1957. Soul and Psyche. London, New 
York, 1959 
1X R. Hostie, Religion and the Psychology of Jung. New York, 1957, p. 205 


Appendix 2 


TO a great extent St Thomas sees the sins of superstition, idolatry, divina- 
tion, perjury, and so forth against an Old Testament background. Simony is 
the exception, for it is more concerned with problems in the Middle Ages in 
the buying and selling of Church things. In Old Testament times man's 
religious aberrations were to false gods or to any god who might help him for 
a price. In the New Testament Jesus has come as the definitive Saviour, and 
the problem now is not to centre true religion on things which can objectify 
Jesus Christ or which can be bought or sold. 

There are three characteristics which indicate that idolatry, superstition, 
divination and similar forms were not in the religious life of the Old Testa- 
ment in exactly the same way as they were in the pagan religions. First of all, 
Israel believed that God had dealt with man at a particular point in time, and 
therefore, knowing that God has entered into history, could look only with 
non-understanding eyes at idols which remained the same, idols both 
sub-historical and trans-historical. Israel knew that religion was a 
constantly perennial worship of the Lord who had dealt with man in great 
events such as Exodus recalls, and promised to send his Messiah. Secondly, 
prayer in the Old Testament did not mean only prayer within the Temple 
or prayer within the cultic acts of the people. Rather, man was encouraged 
to speak to God himself, to call to him, and pray to him personally, as 
a living spirit to his Creator: it was part of his being a man. Thirdly, the 
people of God saw themselves as chosen out from other peoples. They had 
a revelation, a confession of one God. Monotheism and salvation-history 
both ruled out intercourse with false gods, with many gods, with idols, with 

Idolatry, in the Old Testament, was forbidden by the second command- 
ment of the Decalogue (Exodus 20, 4-6; Deuteronomy 5, 8-10; cf Leviticus 
26, i ; Deuteronomy 4, 15-23), which prohibits the manufacture of any images, 
the idolatry of anything which can be seen in heaven or on earth. The 
enumeration is comprehensive. However, it is unlikely that total prohibition 
of representational art was meant, as was later understood by strict Rabbinic 
interpreters. There is nothing in the civilizations of Israel's neighbour or 
cultural origins from which this prohibition can be derived. This precept 
expressed an article of faith, the faith of Israel in the cult of Jahweh. Jahweh 
was not to be represented by an image because no image could represent 
him. He was totally different from any object of nature, and to make him 
like one of them would be to reduce him to the level of a man or of a creature. 
Then he would be just one of the gods of the surrounding peoples, useless 



and powerless. Through this precept, then, Israel was taught that Jahweh 
was entirely outside and transcendent of creation. 

In the New Testament, idolatry means the worship of gods other than the 
one God of Israel, the Father of Jesus Christ. The difficulties of the early 
Christian communities in the pagan world seem to have centred on the 
problem of eating meat of an animal sacrificed to a heathen god, or flesh laid 
before an idol in a temple (i Corinthians 8, 10, 14; Revelations 2, 14, 20). No 
doubt, for many religious pagans, this expressed a cultic attitude, without im- 
plying that the idols as gods had no real existence, St Paul recognizes that the 
meat had not been 'contaminated'; the problem concerns the public relation 
of Christianity with paganism. 'Idolatry 3 is often used figuratively in the New 
Testament, especially in the Pauline letters; it signifies an objectification of 
the religious and the divine in a created thing, a forgetfulness of the Creator 
(cf Ephesians 5, 5; Philippians 3, 19). 

Divination, predicting events by cult or created means, was widely prac- 
tised among Israel's neighbours. Divination was strictly prohibited in Hebrew 
law under the penalty of death (Leviticus 19, 31; 20, 6; Deuteronomy 18, 
10-11). It is a sin as great as that of idolatry (i Kings 15, 23). Saul tried to 
elirninate divination from the land, though he himself talked with witches 
(i Kings 28). At the time of Isaiah, there were many diviners (Isaiah 2, 6; 
8, 19). Divination is enumerated among the reasons why Jahweh destroyed 
the kingdom of Israel; it is among the practices which were rooted out by 
the reform of Josiah (in Kings 17, 17; 23, 24). 

The Israelite was to swear by Jahweh alone (Deuteronomy 6, 13; 10, 20; 
Isaiah 19, 18; 45, 23; 48, i). The oath was a profession of faith in the god in 
whose name it was taken; to swear by other gods was a denial that Jahwehalone 
was God (Jeremiah 5, 7; 12, 16). To swear falsely against Jahweh was a great 
sin, for perjury is prohibited by the decalogue (Exodus 20, 7; Deuteronomy 5, 
n) and by the Holiness Code (Leviticus 19, 12). The Old Testament and 
Jesus in the New Testament (Matthew 23, 16-22) warn against frequent oaths. 
Jesus rejects any evasion of an oath, or any casuistic distinction between 
different kinds of oaths. However, Jesus preaches that among Christians there 
is no need for oaths to prove that men are not lying, for Christans should not 
ever lie (Matthew 5, 33~37; 23, 16-22). 

Select bibliography 

John L. Mckenzie, S.J. 'Image', 'Oath', 'Divination', Dictionary of the Bible 

(Milwaukee, 1965). 

J. Gray. 'Idolatry 3 , Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible (New York, 1962). 
R. de Vaux. Ancient Israel (New York, 1961). 
C. R. North. 'The Essence of Idolatry 5 , Von Ugarit nach Qumran (Berlin, 

W. Zimmerli. 'Das zweite Gebot', Festschrift Bertholet (Tubingen, 1950)- 



accident: i. as a way of being real; what can exist only in a subject or not as 
part of a substance, one of the nine categories or prcedicamenta of such a 
mode of being enumerated by Aristotle, and accordingly called a predica- 
mental accident. 2. as a way of being predicated of a subject, what is not 
attributed to it necessarily, per se, but contingently or incidentally, per 
accidens, and accordingly called a predicable accident. 

accidental: in moral matters refers to a result of activity which is incidental, 
or unintentional, or not usual to such a type of activity. 

act: moral or human act, the act of the will or under the will following a 
deliberate decision of reason. An act is said to be elicited (actus elicitus) 
with respect to its immediate source of operation, and to be commanded 
(actus imperatus) by a higher power or habit. 

cause: a real principle on which the being of something depends. This 'some- 
thing' is 'another' in the case of two of the four main types of cause 
enumerated by Aristotle, namely, i. the final cause or end, that on account 
of which something is and acts; and 2. the efficient cause or agens> the pro- 
ducer of the effect. The term is also applied 3. to that out of and in which 
something is made, the material cause 3 and 4. to its inner shaping principle, 
the formal cause. 

circumstances: the moral surroundings of a human act as distinct from its 
specific objective and intention. 

cleric: a man in holy orders, but not as such in religious vows. 

dispositive cause: a cause which prepares the setting for an effect produced by 
another, usually higher cause. Prayer is said to be a dispositive cause of the 
events it petitions. 

distinction: any type of non-identity, usually within one single thing. Real 
distinction between real elements and their principles; virtual distinction 
or conceptual distinction between the concepts or meanings that may be 
expressed about it; nominal or merely logical distinction within such 

divination: unlawful inquiry into the future with the aid of the demonic. 

form: i. the idea or meaning of a thing, forma intettigibilis. 2. its inner shaping 
principle. Substantial form determining the matter makes a bodily thing 
to be the specific kind of thing itis. Accidental forms addmodesof existence. 

genus: a universal idea or logical category containing several species; a 
relatively indeterminate conception of what a thing is in terms of the 
larger mental groupings to which it belongs. 

good: that which suits and attracts; that which, because it is actual and 
perfect, is to be aimed at; the general character of ends. Human acts are 
morally good when consciously directed to the measured values of their 
objectives; morally bad when their objectives are sought without their 
measured value. 

grace: God's freely given favour, given over and above any positive capacity 
of human nature; eternal life possessed not manifestly (glory) but in a 



hidden manner; called grace because it can only be ours by God's favour, 
not by our natural powers. This grace may be a lasting quality or a transient 

habit, acquired: a dynamic disposition inculcated by repeated acts under per- 
sistent or similar conditions. Habits interact and more or less profoundly 
affect an individual's customary response pattern. 

idolatry: the worshipping of images as if they were God. 

image: a representation or portraiture of something in kind, or at least by 
its most characteristic features, usually its shape. Sacred images are such 
representations of sacred subjects. 

indifferent: in moral matters, an action not having of its kind any determinate 
reference to right or wrong. 

inordinate: the characteristic of an action or habit directed towards an undue 
objective without attendance to its measured value. 

justice: is not used here in the common concrete English sense, in which we 
talk of courts of justice, or dispensing or doing justice, for which the most 
exact Latin equivalent is jus,, but here translates justitia, the virtue of being 
just. The theological or Biblical sense of 'being right with God', being 
acceptable to him by living according to his will and law, is not used in this 
section of the Summa. 

law: when not otherwise qualified, e.g. natural law, positive law, divine law, 
the term refers to the Law, i.e. the Mosaic law and the other precepts of 
the Old Testament. 

lawful: often here used simply to mean morally right; opposite, illicit. 

mean of virtue: the measured value of a virtue's object. Called 'mean* either 
because it stands between extremes of defect and excess, or because it 
lies in a proper balance of circumstances. 

mm d: translates mens and means more than just the intellect; it includes will, 
and stands for the higher part of the soul. 

natural: what is in accord with nature or lies within the powers of nature. See 

nature: r. the specific principles or essence of a thing. 2. the intrinsic inborn 
principle of activity towards an end. 

necessary: what cannot be otherwise. Absolute, in itself; hypothetical for an 
end; this last divided into the strictly necessary, sine qua non, and the 
expedient in varying degrees, ad bene esse. Hypothetical necessity arises 
either from the nature of the case, or by particular determination through 
precept, necessity of precept. 

object: here chiefly of virtue or of an act; not simply the person, situation or 
thing in which an activity terminates or towards which a virtue is bent, but 
these as exhibiting a value or reference which prompts such activity or fixes 
such a bent. Formalis ratio objecti, the object taken as manifesting a specific 
interest, or calling for a specific human response. 

order, sacred: holy orders. 

perjury: taking an oath to confirm a falsehood. 

precepts of the law: precepts of the Old Testament, moral, judicial, ceremonial. 



prelate: here refers simply to an ecclesiastical or religious superior with the 
power to command obedience. 

profession: religious profession, the pronouncement and acceptance of the 
vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in a religious order. 

reason : I . translates ratio as meaning the power of thinking through principles 
to a conclusion. 2. ratio as meaning the objective meaning in a thing, its 
nature or essence. 3. occasionally, aspect, as iaformalis ratio objecti. 

religion: the virtue of rendering the worship to God that is due him. 

religious: a person by profession belonging to a religious order. 

sacrilege: the crime of stealing, misusing, violating, or desecrating that which 
is sacred, or holy, or dedicated to sacred uses; also, the sin of violating 
the conditions for the worthy reception of a sacrament. 

simony : the express will of buying or selling that which is spiritual or related 
to something spiritual. 

supernatural: surpassing the active capacities of created and especially 
human nature. 

substance: that which has its own proper 'is' and does not exist in another as 
in a subject. The primary category of being, contrasted with 'accident*. 

vice: a morally bad habit. Contrast virtue. 

virtue: a good operative habit. Acquired virtues are those developed through 
repeated good human acts in regard to natural human objectives. The 
intellectual virtues understanding and the sciences are habits of mind. 
The moral virtues are habits of moral agency. Chief among them, and thus 
called cardinal or principal virtues, are prudence, justice, courage and 
temperance. Their principality consists in their perfecting man in regard 
to the more immediate and frequently occurring areas of moral response, 
Infused virtues are supernatural endowments concomitant on grace in 
order that man's actions be in accord with the life given by grace. They are 
either theological, faith, hope and charity, whose object is God himself, or 
moral, whose objects are the various forms of right conduct for man living 
in grace. 



Act (good or evil) 7, 71 

Albert the Great 129 

Ambrose 13, 87 

Ambrosiaster 13 

Amulets 81 ff 

Anselm of Laon 3, 23, 25 

Apostles (the Twelve) 63, 93 

Aristotle xix, 5, 33, 37, 39, 53, 55, 77 

Astrology xxi, xxii, 453 51, 77 

Athanasius 49, 51 

Augury 59 ff. 

Augustine of Canterbury n 

Augustine of Hippo 5, 7, 9, n, 13, 
I5> 21, 27, 29, 37, 41, 55, 63, 67, 71, 
75, 78, 81, 895 101, 103, in, 113, 117, 
I3i> I33 3 135 

Bede, Venerable 49, 67 
Bernard of Clairvaux 122 


Bible (see Old Testament or New 

Blasphemy 29 fL 3 123 

Cause and effect 39, 53, 75 
Chance 63 

Chrysostom, John 82-85, 106, 107 
Cicero 3 

Comestor, Peter 33 
Creatures 23 ff. 
Custom 15 

Damascene 119 
Decretals 65, 106, 107, 137 
Demons 21, 41-493 51-67* 7*> 87 ff. 


Dionysius (Pseudo) 8, 9 
Divination 36-69, 75, 79 S. 3 87, 163 
dreams 45, 56 fL 

Ebionites 27 
effect (see Cause) 
Elkasites 27 
etymology 5 
Eucharist 121, 123 

Eusebius of Caesarea 27 
evil 7 

excess (in virtue) 7, 15 
externals 17 

faith 23, 29 
freedom 53 

future (see Divination) 75 



Giezites 127 Gratian 37, 115, 117, 123, 127, 131, 

God 5, 7. 9, 15* 17* 2I > 37> 7*> 85 I35> 153 

God (tempting of) 87-99 Gregory, Pope 106, 127, 129, 137, 1473 

gods 21, 29 149 


heavenly bodies 23, 49 ff., 77 heteronomy 160 

heretics 19, 23 Homer 54 

Hermes 21 Hugh of St Victor 101 


Idolatry 18-35, 162 f. inward religious action 17, 25, 27, 29, 

Incantations 83 3 1 

instinct 59 ff. irreverence 87, 109 

Isidore of Seville 2, 45, 115, 131 

Jaspers, Karl 160 Jesus Christ 3, 9, 27, 49, 93, 117, 159, 

Jerome 12, 29, 39, 103, 122, 139 162 f. 

Jung, C. G* 161 


Kingdom of God 91 knowledge of God 37 ff, 93 ff. 

Laon, school of 3 Law, Old (see Moses) 

Law (of Church) 15 liturgy 13 

Law (of God) 15 Lombard, Peter 2, 9, 13, 29, 95 

Law, New 43 lots 63 ff. 


Mass ii Moses (Mosaic Law, Old Law) 9, n, 

Maximus, Valerius 45 13, 25, 27, 31, 93, 113 

miracles 87 mystical body 13 


nature 37, 77 New Testament xk, 63, 163 

Nemesius 21 




Old Testament xix, 633 81, 162 
omens 59 ff. 

Origen 27, 41 

Paschal, Pope 143 
pantheism 21 
Pentateuch 25, 159 
perjury 101 ff. 

Platonists xix, 21, 24 
Porphyry 77 
Protestant principle 160 
providence 633 79 

Raymond of Pennafort 106 

relics 81 

religion (see throughout) 


reverence 9 
rites n 

sacrifice 235 41 
sacrilege H4ff. 
Samson 89 
Samuel 49 ff. 

simony 126-57, 162 

sin ii, 25, 29, 39, 71, 91 ff., 117 ff. 

sorcery 65 ff. 

Stephen, Pope 67 

scripture 15, 23, 91 (see also Old and superstition 2-9, 17, I9ff. 3 31* 41, 

New Testament) 
Simon Magus 127, 129, 131 

70-85, 97 ff. 

Thomas Aquinas xix ff 159 ff 

Tillich, Paul 160 

Urban, Pope 147 


Vatican II xix 

virtue 5, 119 

Walafred Strabo 3 

worship 7, 9, II ff. 5 19* 25, 27, 31, 41 


in 1 8 82. The editors^ many atter 
long experience in teaching the 
textj have determined to put the 
thought of St Thomas into contem- 
porary English,, so far as the tech- 
nicalities allow. They have recognized 
the fact that the style and many 
details of the Summons original pre- 
occupations are no longer ours, and 
do not lend themselves to rendering 
just as they stand. However., the 
difficulties facing the modern reader 
are here firmly grasped, rather than 
avoided by circumlocution. Hence a 
freer translation than its predecessor 
in English is offered., but held closely 
parallel to the Latin text. The result 
is a superb edition, for the twentieth- 
century scholar^ of one of the greatest 
documents of the Christian Church. 

The introduction to each volume 
places the treatise at hand in its 
general setting and relates it to the 
total structure of the Summa. Each 
volume contains its own notes and 
glossary of technical terms^ so that it 
is complete within itself. 

The form of the title., Summa 
Theologize y follows that of the earliest 
manuscripts, and is hence used again 
in this twentieth-century edition. 

Thomas Franklin O'Aieara O.P. 
Assistant Professor of Systematic 
Theology^ Iowa Association of 
Theological Faculties. Author of 
Afary in Protestant and Catholic 
Thought y co-editor of Paul TilHch in 
Catholic Thought. Michael J. Dufiy 3 
Aquinas Institute,, Dubuque., Iowa. 

In December 196 3 S His Holiness Pope 
Paul VI granted an audience at which 
he warmly commended this new 
edition of St Thomas Aquinas.