Summa Theologiae by St Thomas Aquinas
SS: Treatise On Fortitude And Temperance
Q148 Of Gluttony
< previous   Article 4   next >

Prologue   A1   A2   A3   A4   A5   A6  

A4 Whether the species of gluttony are fittingly distinguished?

[a] Objection 1:
It seems that the species of gluttony are unfittingly distinguished by Gregory who says (Moral. xxx, 18): "The vice of gluttony tempts us in five ways. Sometimes it forestalls the hour of need; sometimes it seeks costly meats; sometimes it requires the food to be daintily cooked; sometimes it exceeds the measure of refreshment by taking too much; sometimes we sin by the very heat of an immoderate appetite" -- which are contained in the following verse: "Hastily, sumptuously, too much, greedily, daintily."

[b] For the above are distinguished according to diversity of circumstance. Now circumstances, being the accidents of an act, do not differentiate its species. Therefore the species of gluttony are not distinguished according to the aforesaid.

[c] Objection 2:
Further, as time is a circumstance, so is place. If then gluttony admits of one species in respect of time, it seems that there should likewise be others in respect of place and other circumstances.

[d] Objection 3:
Further, just as temperance observes due circumstances, so do the other moral virtues. Now the species of the vices opposed to the other moral virtues are not distinguished according to various circumstances. Neither, therefore, are the species of gluttony distinguished thus.

[e] On the contrary,
stands the authority of Gregory quoted above.

[f] I answer that,
As stated above [3498] (A [1]), gluttony denotes inordinate concupiscence in eating. Now two things are to be considered in eating, namely the food we eat, and the eating thereof. Accordingly, the inordinate concupiscence may be considered in two ways. First, with regard to the food consumed: and thus, as regards the substance or species of food a man seeks "sumptuous" -- i. e. costly food; as regards its quality, he seeks food prepared too nicely -- i. e. "daintily"; and as regards quantity, he exceeds by eating "too much."

[g] Secondly, the inordinate concupiscence is considered as to the consumption of food: either because one forestalls the proper time for eating, which is to eat "hastily," or one fails to observe the due manner of eating, by eating "greedily."

[h] Isidore [* De Summo Bon. ii, 42] comprises the first and second under one heading, when he says that the glutton exceeds in "what" he eats, or in "how much," "how" or "when he eats."

[i] Reply to Objection 1:
The corruption of various circumstances causes the various species of gluttony, on account of the various motives, by reason of which the species of moral things are differentiated. For in him that seeks sumptuous food, concupiscence is aroused by the very species of the food; in him that forestalls the time concupiscence is disordered through impatience of delay, and so forth.

[j] Reply to Objection 2:
Place and other circumstances include no special motive connected with eating, that can cause a different species of gluttony.

[k] Reply to Objection 3:
In all other vices, whenever different circumstances correspond to different motives, the difference of circumstances argues a specific difference of vice: but this does not apply to all circumstances, as stated above ([3499] FS, Q [72], A [9]).