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436

Part Three

A

rticle

5

THE MORALITY OF THE PASSIONS

762

The human person is ordered to beatitude by his deliberate

acts: the passions or feelings he experiences can dispose him to it

and contribute to it.

I.

P

assions

1763

The term “passions” belongs to the Christian patrimony.

Feelings or passions are emotions or movements of the sensitive

appetite that incline us to act or not to act in regard to something

felt or imagined to be good or evil.

1764

The passions are natural components of the human psy-

che; they form the passageway and ensure the connection between

the life of the senses and the life of the mind. Our Lord called man’s

heart the source from which the passions spring.

40

1765

There are many passions. The most fundamental passion

is love, aroused by the attraction of the good. Love causes a desire

for the absent good and the hope of obtaining it; this movement

finds completion in the pleasure and joy of the good possessed. The

apprehension of evil causes hatred, aversion, and fear of the im-

pending evil; this movement ends in sadness at some present evil,

or in the anger that resists it.

1766

“To love is to will the good of another.”

41

All other affec-

tions have their source in this first movement of the human heart

toward the good. Only the good can be loved.

42

Passions “are evil

if love is evil and good if it is good.”

43

II.

P

assions and

M

oral

L

ife

1767

In themselves passions are neither good nor evil. They are

morally qualified only to the extent that they effectively engage

reason and will. Passions are said to be voluntary, “either because

they are commanded by the will or because the will does not place

40 Cf.

Mk

7:21.

41 St. Thomas Aquinas,

STh

I-II, 26, 4,

corp. art.

42 Cf. St. Augustine,

De Trin.

, 8, 3, 4: PL 42, 949-950.

43 St. Augustine,

De civ. Dei

14, 7, 2: PL 41, 410.

368

1704

1860