29 July 2020

The Douai Catechism, 1649 - CHAPTER XII. The Cardinal Virtues Expounded.

The Cardinal Virtues Expounded

Q. HOW many cardinal virtues are there?
    A.  There are four: prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance.
Q. Why are they called cardinal virtues?
    A. Because they are the fountains and as it were the hinges of all good works, from the word Cardo, which signifies a hinge.
Q. What is prudence?
    A. It is a virtue which makes us wary in all our actions, that we may neither deceive others, nor be deceived ourselves; or which (according to the rule of honesty) prescribes us what to be desired, and what to be avoided.
Q. How prove you that?
    A. Out of Eccles.  iii. 32. "A wise heart that hath understanding, will keep itself from all sin, and in the works of justice shall have success."
Q. What is justice?
    A. It is a virtue which gives every man this own according to that, "Render to all men their due, to whom tribute, tribute; to whom custom, custom; to whom fear, fear; to whom honour, honour." Rom. xiii. 7.
Q. What is temperance?
    A. It is a virtue which moderates our appetites and desires, that they be according to reason, and not inordinate: "He that is abstinate, (saith the wise man) shall increase in life." Eccl. xxxvii.
Q. What is fortitude?
    A. It is a virtue, by which the labours and dangers even of death itself, that are opposite unto virtue, are courageously undertaken and patiently sustained, "The wicked fleeth (saith Soloman) when no man pursueth; but the just man, as a confident lion, shall be without fear." Prov. xxvii. 1. And in 1 Pet. iii. 14, we read, "The fear of them fear ye not, and be not troubled, but sanctify our Lord Christ in your hearts."
Q. Is it necessary for a Christian to be exercised in these virtues?
    A. It is; for "we must not only decline from evil, but do good," Psalm xxxvi. 27.

Next - The Douai Catechism, 1649 - CHAPTER XIII. The Gifts of the Holy Ghost Expounded.

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