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Virtue

The subject will be treated under the following heads:

I. Definitions;
II. Subjects;
III. Divisions;
IV. Causes;
V. Properties.

I. DEFINITIONS

According to its etymology the word virtue (Latin virtus ) signifies manliness or courage. "Appelata est enim a viro virtus: viri autem propria maxime est fortitudo" ("The term virtue is from the word that signifies man ; a man's chief quality is fortitude "; Cicero, "Tuscul.", I, xi, 18). Taken in its widest sense virtue means the excellence of perfection of a thing, just as vice, its contrary, denotes a defect or absence of perfection due to a thing. In its strictest meaning, however, as used by moral philosophers and theologians, it signifies a habit superadded to a faculty of the soul, disposing it to elicit with readiness acts conformable to our rational nature. "Virtue", says Augustine, "is a good habit consonant with our nature." From Saint Thomas's entire Question on the essence of virtue may be gathered his brief but complete definition of virtue: "habitus operativus bonus", an operative habit essentially good, as distinguished from vice, and operative habit essentially evil. Now a habit is a quality in itself difficult of change, disposing well or ill the subject in which it resides, either directly in itself or in relation to its operation. An operative habit is a quality residing in a power or faculty in itself indifferent to this or that line of action, but determined by the habit to this rather than to that kind of acts. (See HABIT.) Virtue then has this in common with vice, that it disposes a potency to a certain determined activity; but it differs specifically from it in that it disposes it to good acts, i.e. acts in consonance with right reason. Thus, temperance inclines the sensuous appetite to acts of moderation conformably to right reason just as intemperance impels the same appetite to acts of excess contrary to the dictates of our rational nature.

II. SUBJECTS OF VIRTUE

Before determining the subjects or potencies in which the different virtues reside, it will be necessary to distinguish two kinds of virtues: those which are virtues absolutely ( simpliciter ) and those which are virtues only in a restricted sense ( secundum quid ). The later confer only a faculty for well-doing, and render the possessor good only in a restricted sense, e.g. a good logician. The former, in addition to the facility for well-doing, cause one to use the facility rightly, and render the possessor unqualifiedly good. Now the intellect may be the subject of those habits which are called virtues in a restricted sense, such as science and art. But the will only, or any other faculty only in so far as it is moved by the will, can be the subject of habits, which are called virtues in the absolute sense. For it is the proper function of the will to move to their respective acts all the other powers which are in any way rational. Thus the intellect and sensuous appetite as moved by the will are the subjects of prudence and temperance, while the will itself is the subject of justice, a virtue in the absolute sense.

III. DIVISIONS OF VIRTUE

Virtues may be divided into intellectual, moral, and theological.

A. Intellectual Virtues

Intellectual virtue may be defined as a habit perfecting the intellect to elicit with readiness acts that are good in reference to their proper object, namely, truth. As the intellect is called speculative or practical according as it confines itself to the sole contemplation of truth or considers truth in reference to action, the intellectual virtues may be classified according to this twofold function of the mental faculty. The speculative intellectual virtues are wisdom, science, and understanding. Wisdom is the knowledge of conclusions through their highest causes. Thus philosophy, and particularly metaphysics, is properly designated as wisdom, since it considers truth of the natural order according to its highest principles. Science is the knowledge of conclusions acquired by demonstration through causes or principles which are final in one class or other. Thus there are different sciences, mathematics, physics, etc., but only one wisdom, the supreme judge of all. Understanding is defined as the habit of first principles; as habit or virtue it is to be distinguished, at least logically, from the faculty of intelligence. It is also called intuition, as it has for its object truths that are self-evident, the perception of which requires no discursive process. It is to be observed that these virtues differ from the gifts of the Holy Ghost, designated by the same name, inasmuch as they are qualities of the natural order, while the gifts are intrinsically supernatural. The practical intellectual virtues are two, namely, art and prudence.

Art

Art, according to the Schoolmen, signifies the right method with regard to external productions ( recta ratio factibilium ). Just as science perfects and directs the intellect to reason correctly with regard to its proper object in view of the attainment of truth, so also art perfects and directs the intellect in the application of certain rules in view of the production of external works, whether these be of a useful or æsthetic character. Hence the division into useful and fine arts. Art has this in common with the three speculative intellectual habits, that they are all virtues only in a restricted sense. Hence they constitute a man good only in a qualified sense, e.g. a good geometrician or a good sculptor. For the proper function of science as art, as such, is not to confer moral goodness, but to direct the intellect in its scientific or artistic processes.

Prudence

As art is the right method of production, so prudence, as defined by St. Thomas, is the right method of conduct ( recta ratio agibilium ). It differs from all the other intellectual virtues in this, that it is a virtue in the absolute sense, not only conferring a readiness for well-doing, but causing one to use that readiness rightly. Considered more specifically, it is that virtue which directs on in the choice of means most apt, under existing circumstances, for the attainment of a due end. It differs from the moral virtues as it resides not in the appetitive powers but in the intellect, its proper act being, not the choice of apt means, but the direction of that choice. But although prudence is essentially an intellectual virtue, nevertheless, under a certain respect ( materialiter ) it may be considered a moral virtue, since it has as its subject matter the acts of the moral virtues. For if the end be vicious, though a certain astuteness be manifested in the discernment of means, such astuteness is not real prudence, but the semblance of prudence. (See PRUDENCE.)

B. Moral Virtues

Moral virtues are those which perfect the appetitive faculties of the soul, namely, the will and the sensuous appetite. Moral virtue is so called from the word mos , which signifies a certain natural or quasi-natural inclination to do a thing. But the inclination to act is properly attributed to the appetitive faculty, whose function it is to move the other powers to action. Consequently that virtue is called moral which perfects the appetitive faculty. For as appetite and reason have distinct activities, it is necessary that not only reason be well disposed by the habit of intellectual virtue, but that the appetitive powers also be well disposed by the habit of moral virtue. From this necessity of the moral virtues we see the falsity of the theory of Socrates, who held that all virtue was knowledge, as he held that all vice was ignorance. Moreover, the moral virtues excel the intellectual, prudence excepted, in this, that they give not only the facility, but also the right use of the facility, for well- doing. Hence moral virtues are virtues absolutely; and when we say without qualification that a man is good, we mean morally good. As the proper function of the moral virtues is to rectify the appetitive powers, i.e. to dispose them to act in accordance with right reason, there are principally three moral virtues: justice, which perfects the rational appetite or will; fortitude and temperance, which moderate the lower or sensuous appetite. Prudence, as we have observed, is called a moral virtue, not indeed essentially, but by reason of its subject matter, inasmuch as it is directive of the acts of the moral virtues.

Justice

Justice, an essentially moral virtue, regulates man in relations with his fellow-men. It disposes us to respect the rights of others, to give each man his due. (See JUSTICE.) Among the virtues annexed to justice are:

  • religion, which regulates man in his relations to God, disposing him to pay due worship to his Creator;
  • piety, which disposes to the fulfillment of duties which one owes to parents and country (patriotism);
  • gratitude, which inclines one to recognition of benefits received;
  • liberality, which restrains the immoderate affection for wealth from withholding seasonable gifts or expenses;
  • affability, by which one is suitably adapted to his fellow-men in social intercourse so as to behave toward each appropriately.
All these moral virtues, as well as justice itself, regulate man in his dealings with others. But besides these there are moral virtues which regulate man with regard to his own inner passions. Now there are passions which impel man to desire that which reason impels him forward; hence there are principally two moral virtues, namely, temperance and fortitude, whose function it is to regulate those lower appetites.

Temperance

Temperance it is which restrains the undue impulse of concupiscence for sensible pleasure, while fortitude causes man to be brave when he would otherwise shrink, contrary to reason, from dangers or difficulties. Temperance, then, to consider it more particularly, is that moral virtue which moderates in accordance with reason the desires and pleasures of the sensuous appetite attendant on those acts by which human nature is preserved in the individual or propagated in the species. The subordinate species of temperance are:

  • abstinence, which disposes to moderation in the use of food;
  • sobriety, which inclines to moderation in the use of spirituous liquors;
  • chastity, which regulates the appetite in regard to sexual pleasures; to chastity may be reduced modesty, which is concerned with acts subordinate to the act of reproduction.
The virtues annexed to temperance are:
  • continence, which according to the Scholastics, restrains the will from consenting to violent movements or concupiscence ;
  • humility, which restrains inordinate desires of one's own excellence;
  • meekness, which checks inordinate movements of anger ;
  • modesty or decorum, which consists in duly ordering the external movements of anger ; to the direction of reason.
To this virtue may be reduced to what Aristotle designated as eutrapelia , or good cheer, which disposes to moderation in sports, games, and jests, in accordance with the dictates of reason, taking into consideration the circumstance of person, season, and place.

Fortitude

As temperance and its annexed virtues remove from the will hindrances to rational good arising from sensuous pleasure, so fortitude removes from the will those obstacles arising from the difficulties of doing what reason requires. Hence fortitude, which implies a certain moral strength and courage, is the virtue by which one meets and sustains dangers and difficulties, even death itself, and in never through fear of these deterred from the pursuit of good which reason dictates. (See FORTITUDE.) The virtues annexed to fortitude are:

  • Patience, which disposes us to bear present evils with equanimity; for as the brave man is one who represses those fears which make him shrink from meeting dangers which reason dictates he should encounter, so also the patient man is one who endures present evils in such a way as not to be inordinately cast down by them.
  • Munificence, which disposes one to incur great expenses for the suitable doing of a great work. It differs from mere liberality, as it has reference not to ordinary expenses and donations, but to those that are great. Hence the munificent man is one who gives with royal generosity, who does things not on a cheap but magnificent scale, always, however, in accordance with right reason.
  • Magnanimity, which implies a reaching out of the soul to great things, is the virtue which regulates man with regard to honours. The magnanimous man aims at great works in every line of virtue, making it his purpose to do things worthy of great honour. Nor is magnanimity incompatible with true humility. "Magnanimity", says St. Thomas, "makes a man deem himself worthy of great honours in consideration of the Divine gifts he possesses; whilst humility makes him think little of himself in consideration of his own short-comings".
  • Perseverance, the virtue which disposes to continuance in the accomplishment of good works in spite of the difficulties attendant upon them. As a moral virtue it is not to be taken precisely for what is designated as final perseverance, that special gift of the predestined by which one is found in the state of grace at the moment of death. It is used here to designate that virtue which disposes one to continuance in any virtuous work whatsoever.
(For a more detailed treatment of the four principal moral virtues, see CARDINAL VIRTUES.) C. Theological Virtues

All virtues have as their final scope to dispose man to acts conducive to his true happiness. The happiness, however, of which man is capable is twofold, namely, natural, which is attainable by man's natural powers, and supernatural, which exceeds the capacity of unaided human nature. Since, therefore, merely natural principles of human action are inadequate to a supernatural end, it is necessary that man be endowed with supernatural powers to enable him to attain his final destiny. Now these supernatural principles are nothing else than the theological virtues. They are called theological

  • because they have God for their immediate and proper object;
  • because they are Divinely infused;
  • because they are known only through Divine Revelation.
  • The theological virtues are three, viz. faith, hope, and charity.

    Faith

    Faith is an infused virtue, by which the intellect is perfected by a supernatural light, in virtue of which, under a supernatural movement of the will, it assents firmly to the supernatural truths of Revelation, not on the motive of intrinsic evidence, but on the sole ground of the infallible authority of God revealing. For as man is guided in the attainment of natural happiness by principles of knowledge known by the natural light of reason, so also in the attainment of his supernatural destiny his intellect must be illumined by certain supernatural principles, namely, Divinely revealed truths. (See FAITH.)

    Hope

    But not only man's intellect must be perfected with regard to his supernatural end, his will also must tend to that end, as a good possible of attainment. Now the virtue, by which the will is so perfected, is the theological virtue of hope. It is commonly defined as a Divinely infused virtue, by which we trust, with an unshaken confidence grounded on the Divine assistance, to attain life everlasting.

    Charity

    But the will must not only tend to God, its ultimate end, it must also be united to Him by a certain conformity. This spiritual union or conformity, by which the soul is united to God, the sovereign Good, is effected by charity. Charity, then, is that theological virtue, by which God, our ultimate end, known by supernatural light, is loved by reason of His own intrinsic goodness or amiability, and our neighbour loved on account of God. It differs from faith, as it regards God not under the aspect of truth but of good. It differs from hope inasmuch as it regards God not as our good precisely ( nobis bonum ), but as good in Himself ( in se bonum ). But this love of God as good in Himself does not, as the Quietists maintained, exclude the love of God as He is our good (see QUIETISM ). With regard to the love of our neighbor, it falls within the theological virtue of charity in so far as its motive is the supernatural love of God, and it is thus distinguished from mere natural affection. Of the three theological virtues, charity is the most excellent. Faith and hope, involving as they do a certain imperfection, namely, obscurity of light and absence of possession, will cease with this life, but charity involving no essential defect will last forever. Moreover, while charity excludes all mortal sin, faith and hope are compatible with grievous sin ; but as such they are only imperfect virtues; it is only when informed and vivified by charity that their acts are meritorious of eternal life (see LOVE, THEOLOGICAL VIRTUE OF).

    IV. CAUSES OF VIRTUE

    To the human intellect the first principles of knowledge, both speculative and moral, are connatural; to the human will the tendency to rational good is connatural. Now these naturally knowable principles and these natural tendencies to good constitute the seeds or germs whence the intellectual and moral virtues spring. Moreover by reason of individual natural temperament, resulting from physiological conditions, particular individuals are better disposed than others to particular virtues. Thus certain persons have a natural aptitude with regard to science, others to temperance, and others to fortitude. Hence nature itself may be assigned as the radical cause of the intellectual and moral virtues, or the cause of those virtues viewed in their embryonic state. In their perfect and fully developed state, however, the aforesaid virtues are caused or acquired by frequently repeated acts. Thus by multiplied acts the moral virtues are generated in the appetitive faculties in so far as they are acted upon by reason, and the determination of first principles (see HABIT). The supernatural virtues are immediately caused or infused by God. But a virtue may be called infused in two ways: first, when by its very nature ( per se ) it can be effectively produced by God alone; secondly, accidentally ( per accidens ) when it may be acquired by our own acts, but by a Divine dispensation it is infused, as in the case of Adam and Christ. Now besides the theological virtues, according to the doctrine of St. Thomas, there are also moral and intellectual virtues of their very nature Divinely infused, as prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. These infused virtues differ from the acquired virtues

    • as to their effective principle, being immediately caused by God, whilst the acquired virtues are caused by acts of a created vital power;
    • by reason of their radical principle, for the infused virtues flow from sanctifying grace as their source, whereas the acquired virtues are not essentially connected with grace;
    • by reason of the acts they elicit, those of the infused virtues being intrinsically supernatural, those of the acquired not exceeding the capacity of human nature ;
    • whilst one mortal sin destroys the infused virtues, with the acquired virtues acts of moral sin are not necessarily incompatible, as contrary acts are not directly opposed to the corresponding contrary habit.

    V. PROPERTIES OF VIRTUES

    A. Mean of Virtues

    One of the properties of virtues is that they consist in the golden mean, that is to say, in what lies between excess and deficit. For as the perfection of things subject to rule consists in conformity with that rule, so also evil in those same things results from deviation from that rule either by excess or defect. Hence the perfection of the moral virtues consists in rendering the movements of the appetitive powers conformable to their proper rule, which is reason, neither going beyond nor falling short of it. Thus fortitude, which makes one brave to meet dangers, avoids on the one hand reckless daring and on the other undue timidity. This golden mean, which consists in conformity with right reason, sometimes coincides with the mean of the objective thing (medium rei), as in the case of the virtue of justice, which renders to every man his due, no more and no less. The golden mean, however, is sometimes taken in reference to ourselves, as in the case of the other moral virtues, viz. fortitude and temperance. For these virtues are concerned with the inner passions, in which the standard of right cannot be fixed invariably, as different individuals vary with regard to the passions. Thus what would be moderation in one would be excess in another. Here also it is to be observed that the mean and extremes in actions and passions must be determined according to circumstances, which may vary. Hence with regard to a certain virtue, what may be an extreme according to one circumstance may be a mean according to another. Thus perpetual chastity, which renounces all sexual pleasures, and voluntary poverty, which renounces all temporal possessions, are true virtues, when exercised for the motive of more surely securing life everlasting. With regard to the intellectual virtues, their golden mean is truth or conformity to reality, whilst excess consists in false affirmation, and defect in false negation. Theological virtues do not absolutely ( per se ) consist in a mean, as their object is something infinite. Thus we can never love God excessively. Accidentally ( per accidens ), however, what is extreme or mean in theological virtues may be considered relatively to ourselves. Thus although we can never love God as much as He deserves, still we can love Him according to our powers.

    B. Connection of Virtues

    Another property of virtues is their connection with one another. This mutual connection exists between the moral virtues in their perfect state. "The virtues", says St. Gregory, "if separated, cannot be perfect in the nature of virtue; for that is no true prudence which is not just and temperate and brave ". The reason of this connection is that no moral virtue can be had without prudence ; because it is the function of moral virtue, being an elective habit, to make a right choice, which rectitude of choice must be directed by prudence. On the other hand prudence cannot exist without the moral virtues; because prudence, being a right method of conduct, has as principles whence it proceeds the ends of conduct, to which ends one becomes duly affected through the moral virtues. Imperfect moral virtues, however, that is to say, those inclinations to virtue resulting from natural temperament, are not necessarily connected with one another. Thus we see a man from natural temperament prompt to acts of liberality and not prompt to acts of chastity. Nor are the natural or acquired moral virtues necessarily connected with charity, though they may be so occasionally. But the supernatural moral virtues are infused simultaneously with charity. For charity is the principle of all good works referable to man's supernatural destiny. Hence it is necessary that there be infused at the same time with charity all the moral virtues by which one performs the different kinds of good works. Thus the infused moral virtues are not only connected on account of prudence, but also on account of charity. Hence he who loses charity by mortal sin looses all the infused but not the acquired moral virtues.

    From the doctrine of nature and properties of virtues it is abundantly clear how important a role they play in man's true and real perfection. In the economy of Divine Providence all creatures by the exercise of their proper activity must tend to that end destined for them by the wisdom of an infinite intelligence. But as Divine Wisdom governs creatures conformably to their nature, man must tend to his destined end, not by blind instance, but by the exercise of reason and free will . But as these faculties, as well as the faculties subject to them, may be exercised for the faculties subject to them, may be exercised for good or evil, the proper functions of the virtues is to dispose these various psychical activities to acts conductive to man's true ultimate end, just as the part which vice plays in man's rational life is to make him swerve from his final destiny. If, then, the excellence of a thing is to be measured by the end for which it is destined, without doubt among man's highest principles of action which play so important a part in his rational, spiritual, supernatural life, and which in the truest sense of the word are justly called virtues.

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    (B EDE ). Second Archbishop of Sydney, b. at Courtfield, Herefordshire, 9 January, 1834; ...

    Vauquelin, Louis-Nicolas

    Born at Saint-André d'Hebertot, Normandy, 16 May, 1763; died 14 Nov., 1829. In youth as ...

    Vaux, Laurence

    (V OSE ). Canon regular, author of a catechism, martyr in prison, b. at Blackrod, ...

    Vaux-de-Cernay

    A celebrated Cistercian abbey situated in the Diocese of Versailles, Seine-et-Oise, in what was ...

    Vavasour, Thomas

    English Catholic physician, pensioner of St. John's College, Cambridge, b. about 1536-7; d. at ...

    Vavasseur, François

    Humanist and controversialist, b. at Paray-le-Monial, 8 Dec., 1605; d. at Paris, 16 Dec., ...

    Vaz, Blessed Joseph

    A Goanese priest, Apostle of Ceylon [ Sri Lanka ], b. at Goa, 21 April, 1651; d. at Kandy, 16 ...

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    Ve 75

    Vecchietta, Lorenzo di Pietro

    Painter, sculptor, goldsmith, and architect, b. at Castiglione di Val d'Orcia, 1412; d. there, ...

    Vedas

    The sacred books of ancient India. The Sanskrit word veda means "knowledge", more particularly ...

    Vega, Andreas de

    Theologian and Franciscan Observantine, b. at Segovia in Old Castile, Spain, at unknown date ...

    Veghe, Johannes

    German preacher and religious writer, b. at Münster in Westphalia about 1435; d. there, 21 ...

    Vegio, Maffeo

    (MAPHEUS VEGIUS.) Churchman, humanist, poet, and educator, b. at Lodi, Italy, 1406; d. at ...

    Veglia, Diocese of

    (VEGIENSIS ET ARBENSIS). In Austria, suffragan of Görz-Gradisca. Parallel to the Dinaric ...

    Vehe, Michael

    Born at Bieberach near Wimpfen; died at Halle, April, 1559. He joined the Dominicans at Wimpfen, ...

    Veil, Humeral

    This is the name given to a cloth of rectangular shape about 8 ft. long and 1 1/2 ft. wide. The ...

    Veil, Religious

    In ancient Rome a red veil, or a veil with red stripes, distinguished newly-married women from ...

    Veit, Philipp

    Painter, b. at Berlin, 13 Feb., 1793; d. at Mainz, 18 Dec., 1877. Veit was a grandson of the ...

    Veith, Johann Emanuel

    Preacher, b. of Jewish parents at Kuttenplan, Bohemia, 1787; d. at Vienna, 6 Nov., 1876. In ...

    Velazquez, Diego Rodriguez de Silva y

    Spanish painter, b. at Seville 5 June, 1599 (the certificate of baptism is dated 6 June); d. at ...

    Venezuela

    A republic formed out of the provinces which, under Spanish rule, constituted the captaincy ...

    Veni Creator Spiritus

    The "most famous of hymns " (Frere), is assigned in the Roman Breviary to Vespers (I and II) ...

    Veni Sancte Spiritus Et Emitte Coelitus

    The sequence for Pentecost (the "Golden Sequence "). It is sung at Mass from Whitsunday until ...

    Veni Sancte Spiritus Reple

    A prose invocation of the Holy Ghost . The Alleluia following the Epistle of Whitsunday ...

    Venice

    Venice, the capital of a province in Northern Italy, is formed of a group of 117 small islands ...

    Venosa

    (VENUSIN.) Diocese in Southern Italy. The city is situated on a high precipitous hill, one of ...

    Ventimiglia

    (VENTIMILIENSIS) Located in the Province of Porto Maurizio, northern Italy. The city is ...

    Ventura di Raulica, Gioacchino

    Italian pulpit orator, patriot, phyilosopher, b. at Palermo, 8 Dec., 1792; d. at Versailles, 2 ...

    Venturino of Bergamo

    Preacher, b. at Bergamo, 9 April, 1304; d. at Smyrna, 28 March, 1346. He received the habit of ...

    Venusti, Raffaele

    (VENOSTA.) Born at Tirano, Valtellina, northern Italy, about the end of the fifteenth ...

    Vera Cruz

    (VERAE CRUCIS or JALAPENSIS). Diocese of the Mexican Republic, suffragan of the Archbishopric ...

    Verapoly, Archdiocese of

    (VERAPOLITANA.) Located on the Malabar Coast, India, having the Diocese of Quilon as ...

    Verbiest, Ferdinand

    Missionary and astronomer, b. at Pitthem near Coutrai, Also spelled "Kortrijk" Belgium, 9 ...

    Verbum Supernum Prodiens

    The first line of two hymns celebrating respectively the Nativity of Christ and the Institution ...

    Vercelli

    (VERCELLENSIS). Archdiocese in the Province of Novara, Piedmont, Italy. The city of Vercelli ...

    Vercellone, Carlo

    Biblical scholar, born at Biella, Milan ; died at Rome, 19 January, 1869. He entered the Order ...

    Verdaguer, Jacinto

    Poet, b. at Riudeperas, Province of Barcelona, Spain, 17 April, 1845; d. at Vallvidrera, ...

    Verdi, Giuseppe

    Composer, b. at Le Roncole, Parma, Italy, 10 October, 1813; d. at S. Agata, near Busseto, 27 ...

    Verdun, Diocese of

    (VIRODUNENSIS.) Comprises the Department of the Meuse. Suppressed by the Concordat of 1802, ...

    Verecundus

    sentence --> Bishop of Junca, in the African Province of Byzacena, in the middle of the ...

    Vergani, Paolo

    Italian political economist, b. in Piedmont, 1753; d. in Paris, about 1820. As a student, he ...

    Vergerio, Pier Paolo, the Elder

    Humanist, statesman, and canonist, b. at Capodistria, 23 July, 1370; d. at Budapest, 8 July, 1444 ...

    Vergil, Polydore

    Born at Ubino about 1470; died there probably in 1555. Having studied at Bologna and Padua, he ...

    Vergilius of Salzburg, Saint

    Irish missionary and astronomer, of the eighth century. Vergilius (or Virgilius, in Irish ...

    Vering, Friedrich Heinrich

    A German canonist, b. at Liesborn in Westphalia, 9 March, 1833; d. at Prague, 30 March, 1896. ...

    Vermont

    One of the New England states, extends from the line of Massachusetts, on the south 42° 44' N. ...

    Verna, La

    An isolated mountain hallowed by association with St. Francis of Assisi, situated in the centre ...

    Vernazza, Tommasina

    Born at Genoa, 1497; died there, 1587. Her father, Ettore Vernazza, was a patrician, founder of ...

    Verne, Jules

    Novelist, b. at Nantes, France, 1828; d. at Amiens, 1905. His first literary venture was a ...

    Vernier, Pierre

    Inventor of the instrument which bears his name, b. at Ornans, Franche-Comte, c. 1580; d. there, ...

    Veroli, Diocese of

    (VERULANA). Located in the Province of Rome. The city of Veroli (Verulae) is situated on the ...

    Verona

    (VERONENSIS.) Diocese in Venetia (Northern Italy ). The city, situated on both branches of ...

    Veronica Giuliani, Saint

    Born at Mercatello in the Duchy of Urbino, Italy, 1660; died at Citt` di Castello, 9 July, 1727. ...

    Veronica, Saint

    In several regions of Christendom there is honored under this name a pious matron of ...

    Verot, Augustin

    Third Bishop of Savannah, first of St. Augustine, b. at Le Puy, France, May, 1804; d. at St. ...

    Verrazano, Giovanni da

    Navigator, b. about 1485, of good family, at Val di Greve, near Florence ; executed at Puerto ...

    Verreau, Hospice-Anthelme

    A French-Canadian priest, educator, and historian, b. at l'Islet, P.Q., 6 Sept., 1828, of Germain ...

    Verri, Count Pietro

    Economist, b. at Milan, Dec., 1728; d. there, 29 June, 1797. After studying at Monza, Rome, and ...

    Verrocchio, Andrea del

    Born at Florence, 1435; d. at Venice, 1488. He was called Andrea di Michele di Francesco de' ...

    Versailles

    (VERSALIENSIS). Diocese ; includes the Department of Seine-et-Oise, France. Created in ...

    Versions of the Bible

    Synopsis GREEK : Septuagint; Aquila; Theodotion; Symmachus; other versions. VERSIONS FROM THE ...

    Versions of the Bible, Coptic

    DIALECTS The Coptic language is now recognized in four principal dialects, Bohairic (formerly ...

    Verstegan, Richard

    ( Alias ROWLANDS). Publisher and antiquarian, born at London, about 1548; died at Antwerp ...

    Vertin, John

    Third Bishop of Marquette, U.S.A. b. at Doblice, Diocese of Laibach (Carniolia), Austria, 17 ...

    Vertot, Réné-Aubert, Sieur de

    French historian, b. at Benetot, Normandy, 25 Nov., 1655; d. in Paris, 15 June, 1735. He was for ...

    Veruela

    A celebrated Cistercian monastery and church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. It is situated ...

    Vesalius, Andreas

    (WESALIUS.) The reorganizer of the study of anatomy ; b. at Brussels, 31 Dec., 1514; d. in a ...

    Vespasian

    (TITUS FLAVIUS VESPASIANUS). Roman Emperor, b. at Reate (now Rieti ), the ancient capital of ...

    Vespasiano da Bisticci

    ( Or FIORENTINO.) Florentine humanist and librarian, b. in 1421; d. in 1498. He was ...

    Vespers

    This subject will be treated under the following headings: I. Vespers in the sixth century; II. ...

    Vespers, Music of

    The texts (e.g. antiphons, psalms, hymn ) sung in Vespers vary according to the feast or the ...

    Vespers, Sicilian

    The traditional name given to the insurrection which broke out at Palermo on Easter Tuesday, 31 ...

    Vespucci, Amerigo

    A famous Italian navigator, born at Florence, 9 March, 1451; died at Seville, 22 February, 1512. ...

    Vessels, Altar

    The chalice is the cup in which the wine and water of the Eucharistic Sacrifice is contained. ...

    Vestibule (in Architecture)

    A hall projecting in front of the façade of a church, found from the fifth century both ...

    Vestments

    IN WESTERN EUROPE By liturgical vestments are meant the vestments that, according to the rules ...

    Veszprém

    (VESPRIMIENSIS.) Diocese in Hungary, suffragan of Gran, one of the sees founded about 1009 by ...

    Veto, The Royal

    (In the appointment of Bishops in Ireland and England.) Although the penal laws enacted ...

    Vetter, Conrad

    Preacher and polemical writer, b. at Engen in the present Grand Duchy of Baden, 1547; d. at ...

    Veuillot, Louis

    Journalist and writer, b. at Boynes, Loiret, 11 Oct., 1813; d. in Paris, 7 April, 1883. He was ...

    Vexiö, Ancient See of

    (WEPIONENSIS.) The Ancient See of Vexiö, in Sweden, comprised the County of Kronoberg ...

    Vexilla Regis Prodeunt

    This "world-famous hymn, one of the grandest in the treasury of the Latin Church " (Neale), and ...

    Vezzosi, Antonio Francesco

    Member of the Theatine Congregation and biographical writer, born at Arezzo, Italy, 4 October, ...

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    Vi 116

    Via Crucis

    (Also called Stations of the Cross, Via Crucis, and Via Dolorosa). These names are used to signify ...

    Via Dolorosa

    (Also called Stations of the Cross, Via Crucis, and Via Dolorosa). These names are used to signify ...

    Viader, José

    Born at Gallimes, Catalonia, 27 August, 1765. He received the habit of St. Francis at Barcelona ...

    Vianney, Saint Jean-Baptiste-Marie

    Curé of Ars, born at Dardilly, near Lyons, France, on 8 May, 1786; died at Ars, 4 ...

    Viaticum

    Name Among the ancient Greeks the custom prevailed of giving a supper to those setting out on a ...

    Viator, Clerics of Saint

    St. Viator, lector of the cathedral at Lyons, France, lived in the fourth century and is the ...

    Viborg, Ancient See of

    (VIBERGAE, VIBERGENSIS.) The ancient See of Viborg, in Denmark, comprised the Province of ...

    Vicar

    ( Latin vicarius , from vice , "instead of") In canon law, the representative of a person ...

    Vicar Apostolic

    (1) In the early ages of the Church, the popes committed to some residentiary bishops the ...

    Vicar Capitular

    The administrator of a vacant diocese, elected by a cathedral chapter. On the death of a ...

    Vicar of Christ

    (Latin Vicarius Christi ). A title of the pope implying his supreme and universal ...

    Vicar-General

    The highest official of a diocese after the ordinary. He is a cleric legitimately deputed to ...

    Vicari, Hermann von

    Archbishop of Freiburg in Baden, b. at Aulendorf in Wurtemberg, 13 May, 1773; d. at Freiburg, ...

    Vicariate Apostolic (Updated List)

    The following is an account of the newly-erected vicariates Apostolic and of those changed so ...

    Vice

    ( Latin vitium , any sort of defect) is here regarded as a habit inclining one to sin. It is ...

    Vicelinus, Saint

    Bishop of Oldenburg, apostle of Holstein, b. at Hameln about 1086; d. 12 Dec., 1154. Orphaned ...

    Vicente, Gil

    Portuguese dramatist, b. about 1470; he was living in 1536. He took up the study of law but ...

    Vicenza, Diocese of

    (VICENTINA). The city is the capital of a province in Venetia (Northern Italy ). The ...

    Vich, Diocese of

    (Vicensis, Ausonensis). Suffragan of Tarragona, bounded on the north by Gerona, on the east ...

    Vico, Francescoe de

    Astronomer, b. at Macerata, States of the Church, 19 May, 1805; d. at London, England, 15 Nov., ...

    Victimae Paschali Laudes Immolent Christiani

    The first stanza of the Easter sequence. Medieval missals placed it on various days within the ...

    Victor

    Bishop of Tunnunum (Tonnenna, Tunnuna) in Northern Africa and zealous supporter of the Three ...

    Victor I, Pope Saint

    (189-198 or 199), date of birth unknown. The "Liber Pontificalis" makes him a native of Africa ...

    Victor II, Pope

    (GEBHARD, COUNT OF CALW, TOLLENSTEIN, AND HIRSCHBERG.) Born about 1018; died at Arezzo, 28 ...

    Victor III, Pope Blessed

    (DAUFERIUS or DAUFAR). Born in 1026 or 1027 of a non-regnant branch of the Lombard dukes of ...

    Victor IV

    Two antipopes of this name. I. Cardinal Gregory Conti, elected in opposition to Innocent II ...

    Victor of Capua

    A sixth-century bishop about whose life nothing is known except what is found in his epitaph ...

    Victor Vitensis

    An African bishop of the Province of Byzacena (called VITENSIS from his See of Vita), b. ...

    Victoria

    (VICTORIEN. IN INS. VANCOUVER.) Diocese in southwestern British Columbia, of which province it ...

    Victoria Nyanza, Northern

    The Mission of Victoria Nyanza, founded in 1878 by the White Fathers of Cardinal Lavigerie, was ...

    Victoria Nyanza, Southern

    Vicariate apostolic erected from the mission of Nyanza, 13 June, 1894, lies north of the ...

    Victorinus, Caius Marius

    (Called also VICTORINUS MARIUS, or MARIUS FABIUS VICTORINUS, and frequently referred to as ...

    Victorinus, Saint

    An ecclesiastical writer who flourished about 270, and who suffered martyrdom probably in 303, ...

    Vida, Marco Girolamo

    Italian Humanist, b. at Cremona about 1490; d. in 1566. He came to Rome under Julius II ; a ...

    Vieira, Antonio

    Missionary, diplomat, orator, b. at Lisbon, 6 February, 1608; d. at Bahia, Brazil, 18 July, 1697. ...

    Viel, Nicholas

    Died 1625, the first victim of apostolic zeal on the shores of the St. Lawrence. After ...

    Vienna

    Vienna -- the capital of Austria-Hungary, the residence of the emperor, and the seat of a Latin ...

    Vienna, University of

    Foundation of the University Next to the University of Prague that of Vienna is the oldest ...

    Vienne, Council of

    Pope Clement V, by the Bull "Regnans in coelis" of 12 Aug., 1308, called a general council to ...

    Vierthaler, Franz Michael

    A distinguished Austrian pedagogue, b. at Mauerkirchen, Upper Austria, 25 September, 1758; d. ...

    Vieta, François

    (VIÈTE.) Father of modern algebra, b. at Fontenay-le-Comte (Poitou), 1540; d. in ...

    Viger, Denis-Benjamin

    French-Canadian statesman and writer, b. at Montreal, 19 Aug., 1774; d. 1861. After studying ...

    Viger, Jacques

    French-Canadian antiquarian and archaeologist, b. at Montreal, 7 May, 1787; d. 12 Dec., 1858. ...

    Vigevano

    (VIGLEVANENSIS.) Diocese in Lombardy, Province of Pavia. The city is a great agricultural ...

    Vigilius

    Bishop of Tapsus, in the African Province of Byzacena. Mentioned in the "Notitia" appended to ...

    Vigilius, Pope

    Reigned 537-55, date of birth unknown; died at Syracuse, 7 June 555. He belonged to a ...

    Vigilius, Saint

    Bishop of Trent, martyr, patron of Trent and of Tyrol, b. c. 353; d. 26 June, 405; feast 26 ...

    Vignola, Giacomo Barozzi da

    A theoretical and practical architect of the Transition Period between the Renaissance and ...

    Vigor, Simon

    French bishop and controversialist, b. at Evreux, Normandy, about 1515; d. at Carcassonne, 1 ...

    Vikings

    The Scandinavians who, in the ninth and tenth centuries, first ravaged the coasts of Western ...

    Villalpandus, Juan Bautista

    Born at Cordova, Spain, in 1552; entered the Society of Jesus in 1575; died on 22 May, 1608. His ...

    Villani, Giovanni

    Florentine historian, b. about 1276; d. of the plague in 1348. Descended from a wealthy family ...

    Villanovanus, Arnaldus

    (ARNALDUS OF VILLANUEVA, or VILLENEUVE, or BACHUONE). Celebrated in his day as a physician, ...

    Villefranche, Jacques-Melchior

    Publicist, b. at Couzon-sur-Saone, 17 Dec., 1829; d. at Bourg, 10 May, 1904. After excellent ...

    Villehardouin, Geoffroi de

    Maréchal de Champagne, warrior, and first historian in the French language, b. about 1150; ...

    Villeneuve-Barcement, Jean-Paul-Alban

    Vicomte de, b. at Saint-Auban, Var, 8 Aug., 1784; d. at Paris, 8 June, 1850. After having taken ...

    Villermé, Louis-René

    French economist, b. at Paris, 10 March, 1782; d. there, 16 Nov., 1863. He was devoted to ...

    Villers, Cistercian Abbey of

    Situated on the confines of Villers and Tilly, Duchy of Brabant, present Diocese of Namur ...

    Vilna

    (VILENSIS). Vilna, the capital of Lithuania, is situated at the junction of the Rivers ...

    Vincent de Paul, Saint

    Born at Pouy, Gascony, France, in 1580, though some authorities have said 1576; died at Paris, ...

    Vincent de Paul, Sisters of Charity of Saint

    A congregation of women with simple vows, founded in 1633 and devoted to corporal and ...

    Vincent de Paul, Sisters of Charity of Saint (New York)

    (Motherhouse at Mt. St. Vincent-on Hudson, New York; not to be confused with the Sisters of ...

    Vincent de Paul, Society of Saint

    An international association of Catholic laymen engaging systematically in personal service of ...

    Vincent Ferrer, Saint

    Famous Dominican missionary, born at Valencia, 23 January, 1350; died at Vannes, Brittany, 5 ...

    Vincent Kadlubek, Blessed

    (KADLUBO, KADLUBKO). Bishop of Cracow, chronicler, b. at Karnow, Duchy of Sandomir, Poland, ...

    Vincent of Beauvais

    Priest and encyclopedist. Little is known of his personal history. The years of his birth and ...

    Vincent of Lérins, Saint

    Feast on 24 May, an ecclesiastical writer in Southern Gaul in the fifth century. His work is ...

    Vincent, Saint

    (MALDEGARIUS). Founder and abbot of the monasteries of Hautmont and Soignies, b. of a noble ...

    Vincent, Saint

    Deacon of Saragossa, and martyr under Diocletian, 304; mentioned in the Roman Martyrology, 22 ...

    Vincentians

    A congregation of secular priests with religious vows founded by St. Vincent de Paul. The ...

    Vincenzo de Vit

    Latinist, b. at Mestrina, near Padua, 10 July, 1810; d. at Domo d'Ossola, 17 Aug., 1892. He made ...

    Vinci, Leonardo di Ser Piero da

    (LEONARDO DI SER PIERO DA VINCI) Florentine painter, sculptor, architect, engineer, and ...

    Vindicianus, Saint

    Bishop of Cambrai - Arras, b. if tradition is to be believed, perhaps at Beaulaincourt, near ...

    Vineam Domini

    An Apostolic Constitution issued by Clement XI against the Jansenists on 16 July, 1705. It ...

    Violence

    Violence ( Latin vis ), an impulse from without tending to force one without any concurrence on ...

    Viotti, Giovanni Battista

    Founder of the modern school of violinist, b. at Fontanetto, Piedmont, 23 May, 173; d. 3 ...

    Viraggio, Jacopo di

    ( Also DI VIRAGGIO). Archbishop of Genoa and medieval hagiologist, born at Viraggio (now ...

    Virgilius, Saint

    (VIRGILE). Archbishop of Arles, died c. 610. According to a life written in the eighth ...

    Virgin Birth of Christ

    The dogma which teaches that the Blessed Mother of Jesus Christ was a virgin before, during, ...

    Virgin Mary, Devotion to the

    Down to the Council of Nicaea Devotion to Our Blessed Lady in its ultimate analysis must be ...

    Virgin Mary, Name of

    The Blessed Virgin Mary is the mother of Jesus Christ, the mother of God. The Hebrew ...

    Virgin Mary, The

    The Blessed Virgin Mary is the mother of Jesus Christ, the mother of God. In general, the ...

    Virginia

    Surnamed "The Old Dominion", "The Mother of States and of Statesmen", one of the thirteen original ...

    Virginity

    Morally, virginity signifies the reverence for bodily integrity which is suggested by a virtuous ...

    Virtue

    The subject will be treated under the following heads: I. Definitions; II. Subjects; III. ...

    Virtue, Heroic

    The notion of heroicity is derived from hero, originally a warrior, a demigod; hence it connotes a ...

    Vischer, Peter

    Sculptor and metal founder, b. at Nuremberg about 1460; d. in 1529. His father Hermann, who ...

    Visdelou, Claude de

    Born at the Château de Bienassis, Pléneuf, Brittany, 122 Aug., 1656; died at ...

    Visigoths

    One of the two principal branches of the Goths. Until 375 their history is combined with that of ...

    Visions

    This article will deal not with natural but with supernatural visions, that is, visions due to ...

    Visit ad Limina

    (Sc. Apostolorum ) The visit ad limina means, technically, the obligation incumbent on ...

    Visitation Convent, Georgetown

    Located in the District of Columbia , United States of America . This convent was founded by ...

    Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

    I. THE EVENT Assuming that the Annunciation and the Incarnation took place about the vernal ...

    Visitation Order

    The nuns of the Visitation of Mary, called also Filles de Sainte-Marie, Visitandines, and ...

    Visitation, Canonical

    The act of an ecclesiastical superior who in the discharge of his office visits persons or ...

    Visitors Apostolic

    Officials whom canonists commonly class with papal legates. Visitors differ from other Apostolic ...

    Visits to the Blessed Sacrament

    By this devotional practice, which is of comparatively modern development, the presence of ...

    Vitalian, Pope Saint

    (Reigned 657-72). Date of birth unknown; d. 27 January, 672. Nothing is known of Vitalian's ...

    Vitalini, Bonifazio

    (DE VITALINIS). Jurist, b. at Mantua, Italy, about 1320; d. at Avignon after 1388. After ...

    Vitalis and Agricola, Saints

    Martyred at Bologna about 304 during Diocletian's persecution. Agricola, who was beloved for ...

    Vitalis of Savigny, Saint

    Founder of the monastery and Congregation of Savigny (1112), b. at Tierceville near Bayeaux ...

    Vitalis, Saint

    Martyr. His legend, which is of little historical value, relates that he was martyred by order ...

    Vitelleschi, Muzio

    Born at Rome 2 Dec., 1563; died there 9 Feb., 1645. He belonged to a distinguished family but ...

    Vitellius, Lucius

    Proclaimed Roman Emperor by the soldiers at Cologne during the civil war of A.D. 69; d. at Rome, ...

    Vitensis, Victor

    An African bishop of the Province of Byzacena (called VITENSIS from his See of Vita), b. ...

    Viterbo and Toscanella

    (VITERBIENSIS ET TUSCANENSIS). The city of Viterbo in the Province of Rome stands at the foot ...

    Vitoria

    (VICTORIENSIS). Diocese ; suffragan of Burgos, in Spain, bounded on the north by the Bay of ...

    Vittorino da Feltre

    (VITTORINO DE' RAMBALDONI). Humanist educator, b. at Feltre, 1397; d. at Mantua, 1446. He was ...

    Vitus, Modestus, and Crescentia, Saints

    According to the legend, martyrs under Diocletian ; feast, 15 June. The earliest testimony for ...

    Viva, Domenico

    Writer, b. at Lecce, 19 Oct., 1648; d. 5 July, 1726. He entered the Society of Jesus 12 May, ...

    Vivarini

    A family of Italian painters. Alvise Vivarini Born in 1446 or 1447; died in 1502. He was the ...

    Vives, Juan Luis

    Spanish humanist and philosopher, b. at Valencia, 6 March, 1492; d. at Bruges, 6 May, 1540. ...

    Viviers

    (VIVARIUM). Diocese ; includes the Department of Ardèche, France. It was suppressed ...

    Vivisection

    Defined literally the word vivisection signifies the dissection of living creatures; ordinarily it ...

    Vizagapatam, Diocese of

    Located in the east of India, suffragan to Madras. It is bounded on the north by the River ...

    Vizeu

    (VISENSIS). Diocese in north central Portugal. The bishopric dates from the sixth century and ...

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    Vl 1

    Vladimir the Great, Saint

    (VLADIMIR or VOLODOMIR). Grand Duke of Kieff and All Russia, grandson of St. Olga, and the ...

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    Vo 18

    Vocation, Ecclesiastical and Religious

    An ecclesiastical or religious vocation is the special gift of those who, in the Church of God, ...

    Vogüé, Eugène-Melchior, Vicomte de

    Critic, novelist, and historian, born at Nice, 25 February, 1848; died in Paris, 24 February, ...

    Vogler, George Joseph

    Theorist, composer and organist, b. at Würzburg, 15 June 1749, d. at Darmstadt, 6 May, ...

    Volk, Wilhelm

    (Pseudonym, LUDWIG CLARUS). Born at Halberstadt 25 Jan., 1804; died at Erfurt 17 March, 1869. ...

    Volksverein

    (PEOPLE'S UNION) FOR CATHOLIC GERMANY. A large and important organization of German Catholics ...

    Volta, Alessandro

    Physicist, b. at Como, 18 Feb., 1745; d. there, 5 March, 1827. As his parents were not in ...

    Volterra

    (VOLTARRANENSIS). Diocese in Tuscany. The city stands on a rocky mountain 1770 feet above the ...

    Volterra, Daniele da

    (RICCIARELLI). Italian painter, b. at Volterra, 1509; d. in Rome, 1566. Ricciarelli was called ...

    Voluntarism

    Voluntarism ( Latin voluntas , will) in the modern metaphysical sense is a theory which ...

    Voluntary

    Wilful, proceeding from the will. It is requisite that the thing be an effect of the will ...

    Voluntary Association, Right of

    I. LEGAL RIGHT A voluntary association means any group of individuals freely united for the ...

    Von Gagern, Max, Freiherr

    Born at Weilburg (in Nassau), Germany, 25 March, 1810; died at Vienna, 17 October, 1889. He was ...

    Vondel, Joost van Den

    Netherland poet and convert, b. at Cologne, 17 Nov., 1587, of parents whose residence was ...

    Voragine, Jacopo de

    ( Also DI VIRAGGIO). Archbishop of Genoa and medieval hagiologist, born at Viraggio (now ...

    Votive Mass

    ( Missa votiva ) A Mass offered for a votum , a special intention. So we frequently find ...

    Votive Offerings

    The general name given to those things vowed or dedicated to God, or a saint, and in ...

    Votive Offices

    A votive office is one not entered in the general calendar, but adopted with a view to satisfying ...

    Vows

    I. GENERAL VIEW A vow is defined as a promise made to God. The promise is binding, and so differs ...

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    Vr 2

    Vrau, Philibert

    "The holy man of Lille ", organizer of numerous Catholic activities; b. at Lille, 19 Nov., ...

    Vrie, Theodoric

    Historian of the Council of Constance . He describes himself as a brother of the Order of ...

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    Vu 1


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