The Virtues - What Are They ?

A virtue is a good habit that enables us to act according to right reason, enlightened by faith.  It is a firm disposition to act according to God’s will and disregard the contrary impulses of our own will. The Catholic Church teaches that there are fourteen basic moral virtues, of three types:

The three theological virtues are supernatural.
The four cardinal virtues are natural.
The seven capital virtues are the roots from which all other virtues flow.
Additional moral virtues are included among the Gifts of the Holy Spirit and the Fruits of the Holy Spirit.
There are also five intellectual virtues.

Sanctifying grace infuses in us the theological (Greek: theos, to God) virtues of faith, hope and charity. They enter our soul as permanent habits or dispositions. They are not acquired by repetition of an act; God pours them directly into our soul. These virtues adapt our human faculties for participation in the divine nature.

They are supernatural virtues because they cannot be achieved through human effort, but can come only from God.  The theological virtues are often paired with the cardinal virtues.

There are four cardinal virtues: prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude.

They are called cardinal (Latin: cardo, hinge) virtues because they are hinges on which all moral virtues depend. These are also called moral (Latin: mores, fixed values) because they govern our actions, order our passions, and guide our conduct according to faith and reason.

The cardinal or moral virtues are natural, because they can be achieved through human effort, aided by grace.

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