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The Seven Virtues

 

Explanations > Values > The Seven Virtues

 

When Pope Gregory defined the seven deadly sins that we should avoid, he also included a counter-balancing set of values that we should espouse and adopt. These are:

 

  1. Faith is belief in the right things (including the virtues!).
  2. Hope is taking a positive future view, that good will prevail.
  3. Charity is concern for, and active helping of, others.
  4. Fortitude is never giving up.
  5. Justice is being fair and equitable with others. 
  6. Prudence is care of and moderation with money.
  7. Temperance is moderation of needed things and abstinence from things which are not needed.

The first three of these are known as the Spiritual Virtues, whilst the last four are called the Chief or Natural Virtues. The Natural Virtues had already been defined by Greek philosophers, whilst the Spiritual Virtues are a slight variation on St. Paul's trio of Love, Hope and Faith (due to variation in translation from the original: Charity and Love arguably have a high level of overlap).

There are also a number of other sets of virtues, including:

  • The Seven Contrary Virtues which are specific opposites to the Seven Deadly Sins: Humility against pride, Kindness against envy, Abstinence against gluttony, Chastity against lust, Patience against anger, Liberality against greed, and Diligence against sloth.
  • The Theological Virtues: Love, Hope and Faith, as defined by St. Paul (who placed love as the greatest of them all).
  • The four Cardinal Virtues: Prudence, Temperance, Courage and Justice.
  • The Seven Heavenly Virtues: Faith, Hope, Charity, Fortitude, Justice, Temperance, Prudence.
  • The Seven Corporal Works of Mercy are a medieval list of things you can do to help others: feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, give shelter to strangers, clothe the naked, visit the sick, minister to prisoners, and bury the dead.
  • The Seven Bushido Virtues: Right decisions, Valor, Benevolence, Respect, Honesty, Honor, and Loyalty.

So what?

If you follow the virtues, you will be seen as a good person who is to be trusted. If you assume and act as if others follow the virtues, then they are more likely to do so. 

You can also be seen as being bold and daring if you break the virtues. Many modern groups (most notably youth) deliberately form their own identity by going against the values of others, so be aware of the other person's real values.

See also    

The Ten Commandments, The Seven Deadly Sins, Hope

http://www.newadvent.org/summa/3.htm, http://www.takase.com/MartialArts/Bushido/Bushido.htm, http://www.utm.edu/research/iep/v/virtue.htm, http://www.virtualsalt.com/think/xtrseven.htm

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