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Summa Theologica by Aquinas

Whether the four species of pride are fittingly assigned by Gregory?

Objection 1: It seems that the four species of pride are unfittingly assigned by Gregory, who says (Moral. xxiii, 6): |There are four marks by which every kind of pride of the arrogant betrays itself; either when they think that their good is from themselves, or if they believe it to be from above, yet they think that it is due to their own merits; or when they boast of having what they have not, or despise others and wish to appear the exclusive possessors of what they have.| For pride is a vice distinct from unbelief, just as humility is a distinct virtue from faith. Now it pertains to unbelief, if a man deem that he has not received his good from God, or that he has the good of grace through his own merits. Therefore this should not be reckoned a species of pride.

Objection 2: Further, the same thing should not be reckoned a species of different genera. Now boasting is reckoned a species of lying, as stated above (Q, A; Q). Therefore it should not be accounted a species of pride.

Objection 3: Further, some other things apparently pertain to pride, which are not mentioned here. For Jerome [*Reference unknown] says that |nothing is so indicative of pride as to show oneself ungrateful|: and Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xiv, 14) that |it belongs to pride to excuse oneself of a sin one has committed.| Again, presumption whereby one aims at having what is above one, would seem to have much to do with pride. Therefore the aforesaid division does not sufficiently account for the different species of pride.

Objection 4: Further, we find other divisions of pride. For Anselm [*Eadmer, De Similit. xxii, seqq.] divides the uplifting of pride, saying that there is |pride of will, pride of speech, end pride of deed.| Bernard [*De Grad. Humil. et Superb. x, seqq.] also reckons twelve degrees of pride, namely |curiosity, frivolity of mind, senseless mirth, boasting, singularity, arrogance, presumption, defense of one's sins, deceitful confession, rebelliousness, license, sinful habit.| Now these apparently are not comprised under the species mentioned by Gregory. Therefore the latter would seem to be assigned unfittingly.

On the contrary, The authority of Gregory suffices.

I answer that, As stated above (AA,2,3), pride denotes immoderate desire of one's own excellence, a desire, to wit, that is not in accord with right reason. Now it must be observed that all excellence results from a good possessed. Such a good may be considered in three ways. First, in itself. For it is evident that the greater the good that one has, the greater the excellence that one derives from it. Hence when a man ascribes to himself a good greater than what he has, it follows that his appetite tends to his own excellence in a measure exceeding his competency: and thus we have the third species of pride, namely |boasting of having what one has not.|

Secondly, it may be considered with regard to its cause, in so far as to have a thing of oneself is more excellent than to have it of another. Hence when a man esteems the good he has received of another as though he had it of himself, the result is that his appetite is borne towards his own excellence immoderately. Now one is cause of one's own good in two ways, efficiently and meritoriously: and thus we have the first two species of pride, namely |when a man thinks he has from himself that which he has from God,| or |when he believes that which he has received from above to be due to his own merits.|

Thirdly, it may be considered with regard to the manner of having it, in so far as a man obtains greater excellence through possessing some good more excellently than other men; the result again being that his appetite is borne inordinately towards his own excellence: and thus we have the fourth species of pride, which is |when a man despises others and wishes to be singularly conspicuous.|

Reply to Objection 1: A true judgment may be destroyed in two ways. First, universally: and thus in matters of faith, a true judgment is destroyed by unbelief. Secondly, in some particular matter of choice, and unbelief does not do this. Thus a man who commits fornication, judges that for the time being it is good for him to commit fornication; yet he is not an unbeliever, as he would be, were he to say that universally fornication is good. It is thus in the question in point: for it pertains to unbelief to assert universally that there is a good which is not from God, or that grace is given to men for their merits, whereas, properly speaking, it belongs to pride and not to unbelief, through inordinate desire of one's own excellence, to boast of one's goods as though one had them of oneself, or of one's own merits.

Reply to Objection 2: Boasting is reckoned a species of lying, as regards the outward act whereby a man falsely ascribes to himself what he has not: but as regards the inward arrogance of the heart it is reckoned by Gregory to be a species of pride.

Reply to Objection 3: The ungrateful man ascribes to himself what he has from another: wherefore the first two species of pride pertain to ingratitude. To excuse oneself of a sin one has committed, belongs to the third species, since by so doing a man ascribes to himself the good of innocence which he has not. To aim presumptuously at what is above one, would seem to belong chiefly to the fourth species, which consists in wishing to be preferred to others.

Reply to Objection 4: The three mentioned by Anselm correspond to the progress of any particular sin: for it begins by being conceived in thought, then is uttered in word, and thirdly is accomplished in deed.

The twelve degrees mentioned by Bernard are reckoned by way of opposition to the twelve degrees of humility, of which we have spoken above (Q, A). For the first degree of humility is to |be humble in heart, and to show it in one's very person, one's eyes fixed on the ground|: and to this is opposed |curiosity,| which consists in looking around in all directions curiously and inordinately. The second degree of humility is |to speak few and sensible words, and not to be loud of voice|: to this is opposed |frivolity of mind,| by which a man is proud of speech. The third degree of humility is |not to be easily moved and disposed to laughter,| to which is opposed |senseless mirth.| The fourth degree of humility is |to maintain silence until one is asked,| to which is opposed |boasting|. The fifth degree of humility is |to do nothing but to what one is exhorted by the common rule of the monastery,| to which is opposed |singularity,| whereby a man wishes to seem more holy than others. The sixth degree of humility is |to believe and acknowledge oneself viler than all,| to which is opposed |arrogance,| whereby a man sets himself above others. The seventh degree of humility is |to think oneself worthless and unprofitable for all purposes,| to which is opposed |presumption,| whereby a man thinks himself capable of things that are above him. The eighth degree of humility is |to confess one's sins,| to which is opposed |defense of one's sins.| The ninth degree is |to embrace patience by obeying under difficult and contrary circumstances,| to which is opposed |deceitful confession,| whereby a man being unwilling to be punished for his sins confesses them deceitfully. The tenth degree of humility is |obedience,| to which is opposed |rebelliousness.| The eleventh degree of humility is |not to delight in fulfilling one's own desires|; to this is opposed |license,| whereby a man delights in doing freely whatever he will. The last degree of humility is |fear of God|: to this is opposed |the habit of sinning,| which implies contempt of God.

In these twelve degrees not only are the species of pride indicated, but also certain things that precede and follow them, as we have stated above with regard to humility (Q, A).

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