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Today we discuss the virtue of studiousness and the vice of curiosity.
Aquinas discusses in this in the Secunda secundae of the Summa (see below).
Here are some articles discussing the sin of curiosity:
Here's what Aquinas wrote:
The knowledge of truth, strictly speaking, is good, but it may be evil accidentally, by reason of some result, either because one takes pride in knowing the truth, according to 1 Corinthians 8:1, "Knowledge puffeth up," or because one uses the knowledge of truth in order to sin.
On the other hand, the desire or study in pursuing the knowledge of truth may be right or wrong.
First, when one tends by his study to the knowledge of truth as having evil accidentally annexed to it, for instance those who study to know the truth that they may take pride in their knowledge. Hence Augustine says (De Morib. Eccl. 21): "Some there are who forsaking virtue, and ignorant of what God is, and of the majesty of that nature which ever remains the same, imagine they are doing something great, if with surpassing curiosity and keenness they explore the whole mass of this body which we call the world. So great a pride is thus begotten, that one would think they dwelt in the very heavens about which they argue." On like manner, those who study to learn something in order to sin are engaged in a sinful study, according to the saying of Jeremiah 9:5, "They have taught their tongue to speak lies, they have labored to commit iniquity."
Secondly, there may be sin by reason of the appetite or study directed to the learning of truth being itself inordinate; and this in four ways. First, when a man is withdrawn by a less profitable study from a study that is an obligation incumbent on him; hence Jerome says [Epist. xxi ad Damas]: "We see priests forsaking the gospels and the prophets, reading stage-plays, and singing the love songs of pastoral idylls." Secondly, when a man studies to learn of one, by whom it is unlawful to be taught, as in the case of those who seek to know the future through the demons. This is superstitious curiosity, of which Augustine says (De Vera Relig. 4): "Maybe, the philosophers were debarred from the faith by their sinful curiosity in seeking knowledge from the demons."
Thirdly, when a man desires to know the truth about creatures, without referring his knowledge to its due end, namely, the knowledge of God. Hence Augustine says (De Vera Relig. 29) that "in studying creatures, we must not be moved by empty and perishable curiosity; but we should ever mount towards immortal and abiding things."
Fourthly, when a man studies to know the truth above the capacity of his own intelligence, since by so doing men easily fall into error: wherefore it is written (Sirach 3:22): "Seek not the things that are too high for thee, and search not into things above thy ability . . . and in many of His works be not curious," and further on (Sirach 3:26), "For . . . the suspicion of them hath deceived many, and hath detained their minds in vanity." - ST II-II Q. 167, A. 1.
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Today I interview Fr. Chris Pietraszko about what Aquinas had to say about anger (or wrath).
Fr. Christopher is a priest in the diocese of London, Ontario, Canada. He devotes himself to on-going studies and an apologetic ministry.
Check out Fr. Pietraszko's podcast, Fides et Ratio, here.
Here is the very first episode of The Matt Fradd Show (you should watch it here) in which I interview (for nearly 3 hours!) Dan Mattson, author of the book, Why I Don't Call Myself Gay.
In it we discuss The Catholic Church's teachings on homosexuality, why "gay" is an unhelpful thing to call people and how to respond to transgenderism. ... oh, and we also discuss Fr. James Martin and his approach to this whole issue.
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Today on Pints With Aquinas I interview Fr. Gregory Pine about papal infallibility!
Fr. Gregory Pine, O.P. serves as the Assistant Director for Campus Outreach for the Thomistic Institute. Born and raised near Philadelphia, PA, he later attended the Franciscan University of Steubenville, studying mathematics and humanities. Upon graduating, he entered the Dominican Province of St. Joseph in 2010 and was ordained in 2016. “It was St. Thomas Aquinas who first introduced me to the Order, and by his prayers that I grew in knowledge and love of its saving mission and ultimately came to find my happiness in Order of Friars Preachers.”
Learn more on Papal Infallibility here.
Here's the section we read from the ST:
I answer that, Wherever there are several authorities directed to one purpose, there must needs be one universal authority over the particular authorities, because in all virtues and acts the order is according to the order of their ends (Ethic. i, 1,2). Now the common good is more Godlike than the particular good. Wherefore above the governing power which aims at a particular good there must be a universal governing power in respect of the common good, otherwise there would be no cohesion towards the one object. Hence since the whole Church is one body, it behooves, if this oneness is to be preserved, that there be a governing power in respect of the whole Church, above the episcopal power whereby each particular Church is governed, and this is the power of the Pope. Consequently those who deny this power are called schismatics as causing a division in the unity of the Church. Again, between a simple bishop and the Pope there are other degrees of rank corresponding to the degrees of union, in respect of which one congregation or community includes another; thus the community of a province includes the community of a city, and the community of a kingdom includes the community of one province, and the community of the whole world includes the community of one kingdom.
ST Supp. Q. 40, A. 6.
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