( Latin vitium , any sort of defect) is here regarded as a habit inclining one to sin. It is the product of repeated sinful acts of a given kind and when formed is in some sense also their cause. Its specific characterization in any instance must be gathered from the opposition it implies to a particular virtue. It is manifest that its employment to designate the individual wicked act is entirely improper. They differ as the habit of doing something is distinguished from the act of that thing. Hence a man may have vices and yet be at times guilty of no sin, and conversely the commission of isolated sins does not make him vicious. Such guilt as he may have contracted in any case is charged directly to the sinful act, not to the vice. Hence the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas that, absolutely speaking, the sin surpasses the vice in wickedness. Even though the sin be removed by God the vice, if there was one, may still remain, just as failure to act in any direction does not necessarily and straightway destroy the habit which perchance existed. The habit of sinful indulgence of any sort is to be extirpated by unrelenting vigilance and the performance of contrary acts over a space more or less protracted according as the vice was more or less inveterate. Obviously this applies to vices antagonistic to acquired virtues, for so far as the infused virtues are concerned they can be recovered only, as they were originally obtained, through the gratuitous bounty of God. It is interesting to note that according to St. Thomas after one has been rehabilitated, in the state of grace and has received, let us say, the infused virtue of temperance, the vice of intemperance does not continue formally as a habit but only as a sort of disposition and as something which is in process of destruction. ( in via corruptionis ).
St. Theresa Holy Card
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online