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Summa Theologica by Aquinas

Whether these vices arise from covetousness?

Objection 1: It would seem that these vices do not arise from covetousness. As stated above (Q, A) lust is the chief cause of lack of rectitude in the reason. Now these vices are opposed to right reason, i.e. to prudence. Therefore they arise chiefly from lust; especially since the Philosopher says (Ethic. vii, 6) that |Venus is full of guile and her girdle is many colored| and that |he who is incontinent in desire acts with cunning.|

Objection 2: Further, these vices bear a certain resemblance to prudence, as stated above (Q, A). Now, since prudence is in the reason, the more spiritual vices seem to be more akin thereto, such as pride and vainglory. Therefore the aforesaid vices seem to arise from pride rather than from covetousness.

Objection 3: Further, men make use of stratagems not only in laying hold of other people's goods, but also in plotting murders, the former of which pertains to covetousness, and the latter to anger. Now the use of stratagems pertains to craftiness, guile, and fraud. Therefore the aforesaid vices arise not only from covetousness, but also from anger.

On the contrary, Gregory (Moral. xxxi, 45) states that fraud is a daughter of covetousness.

I answer that, As stated above (A; Q, A), carnal prudence and craftiness, as well as guile and fraud, bear a certain resemblance to prudence in some kind of use of the reason. Now among all the moral virtues it is justice wherein the use of right reason appears chiefly, for justice is in the rational appetite. Hence the undue use of reason appears chiefly in the vices opposed to justice, the chief of which is covetousness. Therefore the aforesaid vices arise chiefly from covetousness.

Reply to Objection 1: On account of the vehemence of pleasure and of concupiscence, lust entirely suppresses the reason from exercising its act: whereas in the aforesaid vices there is some use of reason, albeit inordinate. Hence these vices do not arise directly from lust. When the Philosopher says that |Venus is full of guile,| he is referring to a certain resemblance, in so far as she carries man away suddenly, just as he is moved in deceitful actions, yet not by means of craftiness but rather by the vehemence of concupiscence and pleasure; wherefore he adds that |Venus doth cozen the wits of the wisest man| [*Cf. Iliad xiv, 214-217].

Reply to Objection 2: To do anything by stratagem seems to be due to pusillanimity: because a magnanimous man wishes to act openly, as the Philosopher says (Ethic. iv, 3). Wherefore, as pride resembles or apes magnanimity, it follows that the aforesaid vices which make use of fraud and guile, do not arise directly from pride, but rather from covetousness, which seeks its own profit and sets little by excellence.

Reply to Objection 3: Anger's movement is sudden, hence it acts with precipitation, and without counsel, contrary to the use of the aforesaid vices, though these use counsel inordinately. That men use stratagems in plotting murders, arises not from anger but rather from hatred, because the angry man desires to harm manifestly, as the Philosopher states (Rhet. ii, 2,3) [*Cf. Ethic. vii, 6].

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