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( Latin nec , not, and legere , to pick out).
The condition of not heeding. More specifically it is here considered as the omission, whether habitual or not, of the care required for the performance of duties, or at any rate, for their full adequate discharge. In the teaching of St. Thomas, it is rated not only as a characteristic discernible in the commission of all sins, but also as a special sin in itself. Its particular deformity he judges to be the imputable lack of satisfying such solicitude as is here and now demanded for the satisfying of obligations. He therefore assigns prudence as the virtue to which it is directly opposed. What has been said applies also to actions which are not of precept, once it is resolved to undertake them. Negligence, according to St. Thomas, is initially at least a lack of promptness of will, and is quite distinguishable from torpor or slipshodness in execution. It is not commonly esteemed to be more than a venial sin. There are, however, two notable exceptions to this statement:
- if a person is careless to the point of omitting something which is indispensable for salvation ( de necessitate salutaris ) or
- if the remissness of will be so great as totally to extinguish the love of God in the soul, then the sin commited is obviously grievous.
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