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The undue craving for honour. Anciently in Rome the candidates for office were accustomed to go about ( ambire ) soliciting votes. This striving for popular favour was spoken of as ambitio. Honour is the manifestation of a certain reverence for a person because of the worth or assemblage of good qualities which that person is deemed to have. The excessive desire of distinction is of course a sin, not because it is wrong in itself to wish to have the respect or consideration of others, but because it is assumed that this quest is conducted without proper regard to the mandates of sound reason. This deordination in the desire of, or search for, honour may come about chiefly in three ways.
- One may want this exhibition of homage for some merit which he really does not possess.
- A man may permit himself to forget that the thing or things, whatever they may be, which are thought to deserve the testimony of others, are not his in fee simple, but God's, and that the credit therefore belongs primarily to God.
- A person may be so absorbed in the display of esteem for, or deference towards, himself as to fail to employ the particular degree of excellence which has evoked it for the welfare of others (St. Thomas, Summa Theol., II-II, Q. cxxxi, Art. 1).
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