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Angry Truth

Angry Truth

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Cease Lying about St. Thomas Aquinas.

[Image by Dorthée Quennesson of  Pixabay]

Too many human beings are and have been misquoting and cherry picking St. Thomas Aquinas for generations to try to defend the sin of anger. 

It ends here. 

I will be directly quoting from the Summa in great detail so that there is no doubt as to that fact that the various emotional degrees of human anger are a sin:

bugged, annoyed, irritated, frustrated, put-out, peeved, fed-up, pissed-off, mad, angry, vexed, hostile, furious, enraged, rage, impatient, controlling, intolerant, hateful, animosity, bitterness, resentment, unforgiving, vengeful, spiteful, envy, jealously, etc.

For those who like to speed read and therefore may fail to recognize important details, I will be highlighting key points in bold font.

All of Dr. St. Thomas Aquinas' quotes proving human anger is a sin, vs. The Divine Virtues of Zeal ("zealous anger") or Righteous Indignation, are taken from Aquinas' "Summa, Question 158. Anger", https://www.newadvent.org/summa/3158.htm

The Summa Theologiæ of St. Thomas AquinasSecond and Revised Edition, 1920. Literally translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province. Online Edition Copyright © 2017 by Kevin Knight. Nihil Obstat. F. Innocentius Apap, O.P., S.T.M., Censor. Theol. Imprimatur. Edus. Canonicus Surmont, Vicarius Generalis. Westmonasterii. APPROBATIO ORDINIS Nihil Obstat. F. Raphael Moss, O.P., S.T.L. and F. Leo Moore, O.P., S.T.L.Imprimatur. F. Beda Jarrett, O.P., S.T.L., A.M., Prior Provincialis Angliæ


"Article 2. Whether anger is a sin?"

"The Apostle says (Ephesians 4:31): "Let all indignation and anger [Vulgate: 'Anger and indignation'] . . . be put away from you.""

"I answer that, Anger, as stated above (Article 1), is properly the name of a passion. A passion of the sensitive appetite is good in so far as it is regulated by reason, whereas it is evil if it set the order of reason aside. Now the order of reason, in regard to anger, may be considered in relation to two things. First, in relation to the appetible object to which anger tends, and that is revenge. Wherefore if one desire revenge to be taken in accordance with the order of reason, the desire of anger is praiseworthy, and is called "zealous anger""

[Me: "Zealous anger" is defined by Aquinas, which is located at the end of this article, and is NOT an instinctual passion.]

"Cf. Gregory, Moral. v, 45. On the other hand, if one desire the taking of vengeance in any way whatever contrary to the order of reason, for instance if he desire the punishment of one who has not deserved it, or beyond his deserts, or again contrary to the order prescribed by law, or not for the due end, namely the maintaining of justice and the correction of defaults, then the desire of anger will be sinful, and this is called sinful anger."

[Me: "Order prescribed by law" is referring to the law of God.  You thinking someone deserves punishment/consequences, etc. as stated above, doesn't automatically make you right.  As a prideful selfish sinful human being who fails to properly discern directly with Jesus Christ daily as to whether your anger falls outside of this description, while you fail to seek self-awareness daily of all of your interior and exterior sins, including lies you believe directly from the Holy Spirit, and failing to spend sufficient quality time daily in silence with Jesus Christ in order to learn Truth/Love/Virtues, you will be rationalizing and falsely justifying that your anger is not a sin.  And if you have any idolatry/bad coping/vice or lust or gluttony or pride whatsoever, all of your anger in any degree, even mild, is absolutely a sin.]

"Secondly, the order of reason in regard to anger may be considered in relation to the mode of being angry, namely that the movement of anger should not be immoderately fierce, neither internally nor externally; and if this condition be disregarded, anger will not lack sin, even though just vengeance be desired."

"Reply to Objection 1. Since passion may be either regulated or not regulated by reason, it follows that a passion considered absolutely does not include the notion of merit or demerit, of praise or blame. But as regulated by reason, it may be something meritorious and deserving of praise; while on the other hand, as not regulated by reason, it may be demeritorious and blameworthy. Wherefore the Philosopher says (Ethic. ii, 5) that "it is he who is angry in a certain way, that is praised or blamed.""

[Me: All human passions (from the full age of reason; age 7 according to Cannon Law) can and are to be regulated / checked by our reason according to Aquinas and failure to do so and/or failure to be correct are a sin, as stated in other parts of his Summa as well as directly quoted below.]

"Reply to Objection 3. Man is master of his actions through the judgment of his reason, wherefore as to the movements that forestall that judgment, it is not in man's power to prevent them as a whole, i.e. so that none of them arise, although his reason is able to check each one, if it arise. Accordingly it is stated that the movement of anger is not in man's power, to the extent namely that no such movement arise. Yet since this movement [of anger] is somewhat in his power, it is not entirely sinless if it be inordinate. The statement of the Philosopher that "the angry man acts with displeasure," means that he is displeased, not with his being angry, but with the injury which he deems done to himself: and through this displeasure he is moved to seek vengeance."

"Reply to Objection 4. The irascible power in man is naturally subject to his reason, wherefore its act is natural to man, in so far as it is in accord with reason, and in so far as it is against reason, it is contrary to man's nature."

[Me: what is naturally subject to our reason (aka intellect and free will powers of our soul) is morally qualifiable.] 


"Article 3. Whether all anger is a mortal sin?"

"On the contrary, A gloss on Psalm 4:5, "Be ye angry and sin not," says: "Anger is venial [sin] if it does not proceed to action.""

"I answer that, The movement of anger may be inordinate and sinful in two ways, as stated above (Article 2). First, on the part of the appetible object, as when one desires unjust revenge; and thus anger is a mortal sin in the point of its genus, because it is contrary to charity and justice. Nevertheless such like anger may happen to be a venial sin by reason of the imperfection of the act. This imperfection is considered either in relation to the subject desirous of vengeance, as when the movement of anger forestalls the judgment of his reason; or in relation to the desired object, as when one desires to be avenged in a trifling matter, which should be deemed of no account, so that even if one proceeded to action, it would not be a mortal sin, for instance by pulling a child slightly by the hair, or by some other like action. Secondly, the movement of anger may be inordinate in the mode of being angry, for instance, if one be too fiercely angry inwardly, or if one exceed in the outward signs of anger. On this way anger is not a mortal sin in the point of its genus; yet it may happen to be a mortal sin, for instance if through the fierceness of his anger a man fall away from the love of God and his neighbor."

[Me: Therefore, if you feel angry and are not being charitable / loving in any detailed way in your thinking or exterior behaving, then your anger is absolutely at the very least a venial sin. "Imperfection of the act" refers to the imperfection of the interior act of feeling angry and any and all interior intellectual act(s) that cause the feeling.]

"Reply to Objection 1. It does not follow from the passage quoted that all anger is a mortal sin, but that the foolish are killed spiritually by anger, because, through not checking the movement of anger by their reason, they fall into mortal sins, for instance by blaspheming God or by doing injury to their neighbor."

"Reply to Objection 2. Our Lord said this of anger, by way of addition to the words of the Law: "Whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment" (Matthew 5:21). Consequently our Lord is speaking here of the movement of anger wherein a man desires the killing or any grave injury of his neighbor: and should the consent of reason be given to this desire, without doubt it will be a mortal sin."

"Reply to Objection 3. In the case where anger is contrary to charity, it is a mortal sin, but it is not always so, as appears from what we have said."

[Me: "it is not always so", meaning therefore it will be a venial sin otherwise.]


"Article 4. Whether anger is the most grievous sin?"

"Hence on the part of the evil which it desires, the sin of anger agrees with those sins which desire the evil of our neighbor, such as envy and hatred; but while hatred desires absolutely another's evil as such, and the envious man desires another's evil through desire of his own glory, the angry man desires another's evil under the aspect of just revenge. Wherefore it is evident that hatred is more grievous than envy, and envy than anger: since it is worse to desire evil as an evil, than as a good; and to desire evil as an external good such as honor or glory, than under the aspect of the rectitude of justice."

[Me: "Evil" means anything that is not objectively a good.  Objectively what is wrong, bad, harmful, uncharitable, disrespectful, unloving, a sin, etc. is also evil.  Envy and hatred are not the only other sins that the sin of anger agrees with, these are simply two examples.  Human's rationalize their sinful anger as not a sin when rationalizing that their anger is "just" / "justice".]

"On the part of the good, under the aspect of which the angry man desires an evil, anger concurs with the sin of concupiscence that tends to a good. On this respect again, absolutely speaking, the sin of anger is apparently less grievous than that of concupiscence, according as the good of justice, which the angry man desires, is better than the pleasurable or useful good which is desired by the subject of concupiscence. Wherefore the Philosopher says (Ethic. vii, 4) that "the incontinent in desire is more disgraceful than the incontinent in anger.""

[Me:  "Concupiscence" is, "as the Philosopher says (Rhet. i, 11), "concupiscence is a craving for that which is pleasant."  Therefore, the "sin of concupiscence" is the absence of right judgement, temperance and prudence, etc., objectively being a sin itself, means that the "sin of concupiscence" can be completely healed if we choose to cooperate with God in healing us of it.]

"On the other hand, as to the inordinateness which regards the mode of being angry, anger would seem to have a certain pre-eminence on account of the strength and quickness of its movement, according to Proverbs 27:4, "Anger hath no mercy, nor fury when it breaketh forth: and who can bear the violence of one provoked?" Hence Gregory says (Moral. v, 45): "The heart goaded by the pricks of anger is convulsed, the body trembles, the tongue entangles itself, the face is inflamed, the eyes are enraged and fail utterly to recognize those whom we know: the tongue makes sounds indeed, but there is no sense in its utterance.""

"Reply to Objection 1. Chrysostom says [Hom. xlviii in Joan.] that "nothing is more repulsive than the look of an angry man, and nothing uglier than a ruthless* face, and most of all than a cruel soul." ['Severo'. The correct text is 'Si vero.' The translation would then run thus . . . 'and nothing uglier.' And if his 'face is ugly, how much uglier is his soul!']. Chrysostom is alluding to the repulsiveness of the outward gestures which result from the impetuousness of anger."


"Article 6. Whether anger should be reckoned among the capital vices?"

"On the contrary, Gregory (Moral. xxxi, 45) places anger among the capital vices."

[Me: Anger is a capital sin/vice, which is why it can become an addiction.] 

"I answer that, As stated above (I-II:84:3; I-II:84:4), a capital vice is defined as one from which many vices arise. Now there are two reasons for which many vices can arise from anger."

"The first is on the part of its object which has much of the aspect of desirability, in so far as revenge is desired under the aspect of just or honest*, which is attractive by its excellence, as stated above (Article 4). [Honesty must be taken here in its broad sense as synonymous with moral goodness, from the point of view of decorum; Cf. II-II:145:1.] The second is on the part of its impetuosity, whereby it precipitates the mind into all kinds of inordinate action. Therefore it is evident that anger is a capital vice."

"Reply to Objection 2. As stated above (II-II:118:7; II-II:148:5; k1 153, 4; I-II:84:4), it belongs to the notion of a capital vice to have a most desirable end, so that many sins are committed through the desire thereof. Now anger, which desires evil under the aspect of good, has a more desirable end than hatred has, since the latter desires evil under the aspect of evil: wherefore anger is more a capital vice than hatred is."

"Reply to Objection 3. Anger is stated to be the door to the vices accidentally, that is by removing obstacles, to wit by hindering the judgment of reason, whereby man is withdrawn from evil. It is, however, directly the cause of certain special sins, which are called its daughters."

"Article 7. Whether six daughters are fittingly assigned to anger?"

"Objection 1. It would seem that six daughters are unfittingly assigned to anger, namely "quarreling, swelling of the mind, contumely, clamor, indignation and blasphemy.""

[Me: This is a list of 6 other sins caused by the sin of anger.]

"On the contrary, Gregory (Moral. xxxi, 45) assigns these daughters to anger."

"I answer that, Anger may be considered in three ways. First, as consisting in thought, and thus two vices arise from anger. one is on the part of the person with whom a man is angry, and whom he deems unworthy [indignum] of acting thus towards him, and this is called "indignation." The other vice is on the part of the man himself, in so far as he devises various means of vengeance, and with such like thoughts fills his mind, according to Job 15:2, "Will a wise man . . . fill his stomach with burning heat?" And thus we have "swelling of the mind.""

[Me: Anger "consisting in thought", meaning in one sense, the anger is caused by particular wrong/disordered thinking (called "irrational thinking" in modern English).

"Secondly, anger may be considered, as expressed in words: and thus a twofold disorder arises from anger. One is when a man manifests his anger in his manner of speech, as stated above (Article 5, Reply to Objection 3) of the man who says to his brother, "Raca": and this refers to "clamor," which denotes disorderly and confused speech. The other disorder is when a man breaks out into injurious words, and if these be against God, it is "blasphemy," if against one's neighbor, it is "contumely.""

"Thirdly, anger may be considered as proceeding to deeds; and thus anger gives rise to "quarrels," by which we are to understand all manner of injuries inflicted on one's neighbor through anger."

"Reply to Objection 1. The blasphemy into which a man breaks out deliberately proceeds from pride, whereby a man lifts himself up against God: since, according to Sirach 10:14, "the beginning of the pride of man is to fall off from God," i.e. to fall away from reverence for Him is the first part of pride [Cf. II-II:162:7 ad 2]; and this gives rise to blasphemy. But the blasphemy into which a man breaks out through a disturbance of the mind, proceeds from anger."

[Me: Blasphemy includes using the Lord's name in vain.]

"Reply to Objection 3. Swelling of the mind is not taken here as identical with pride, but for a certain effort or daring attempt to take vengeance; and daring is a vice opposed to fortitude."


"Article 1. Whether it is lawful to be angry?"

"On the contrary, Chrysostom [Hom. xi in the Opus Imperfectum, falsely ascribed to St. John Chrysostom] says: "He that is angry without cause, shall be in danger; but he that is angry with cause, shall not be in danger: for without anger, teaching will be useless, judgments unstable, crimes unchecked." Therefore to be angry is not always an evil."

[Me: Here, Chrysostom and Aquinas are NOT referring to our normal feeling angry. If you think you know how to recognize what Chrysostom and Aquinas mean by "angry with cause", without reading further and doing even more daily searching for Truth directly from Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit on your sinful intellectual acts that cause your feeling of anger, you will be very mistaken.]

"I answer that, Properly speaking anger is a passion of the sensitive appetite, and gives its name to the irascible power, as stated above (I-II:46:1) when we were treating of the passions. Now with regard to the passions of the soul, it is to be observed that evil may be found in them in two ways. First by reason of the passion's very species, which is derived from the passion's object. Thus envy, in respect of its species, denotes an evil, since it is displeasure at another's good, and such displeasure is in itself contrary to reason: wherefore, as the Philosopher remarks (Ethic. ii, 6), "the very mention of envy denotes something evil." Now this does not apply to anger, which is the desire for revenge, since revenge may be desired both well and ill. Secondly, evil is found in a passion in respect of the passion's quantity, that is in respect of its excess or deficiency; and thus evil may be found in anger, when, to wit, one is angry, more or less than right reason demands. But if one is angry in accordance with right reason, one's anger is deserving of praise."

[Me: Then it is not human anger, but rather Zeal (Zealous Anger or Righteous Indignation) from God. See second paragraph down below. ]

[Me: "Anger is a passion of the sensitive appetite" in both brute animals and human beings, and is biological sensory displeasure regarding an objectively difficult concrete evil while moving to fight/work to obtain an objective need or prevent the loss of an objective need.  This truth does NOT negate the truth that we human beings, capable of using our intellect and free will powers of our soul, are responsible for choosing to not act like brute animals who are below our nature.]

"Reply to Objection 2. Anger may stand in a twofold relation to reason. First, antecedently; in this way it withdraws reason from its rectitude, and has therefore the character of evil."

"Secondly, consequently, inasmuch as the movement of the sensitive appetite is directed against vice and in accordance with reason, this anger is good, and is called "zealous anger.""

[Me: "In accordance with reason" means in agreement with God's Reason, not our human faulty reasoning that we pridefully believe is correct without checking it with God and not having exterior confirmation to corroborate.]

Wherefore Gregory says (Moral. v, 45): "We must beware lest, when we use anger as an instrument of virtue, it overrule the mind, and go before it as its mistress, instead of following in reason's train, ever ready, as its handmaid, to obey." This latter anger, although it hinder somewhat the judgment of reason in the execution of the act, does not destroy the rectitude of reason. Hence Gregory says (Moral. v, 45) that "zealous anger troubles the eye of reason, whereas sinful anger blinds it."

"Article 8. Whether there is a vice opposed to anger resulting from lack of anger?"

"On the contrary, Chrysostom [Hom. xi in Matth. in the Opus Imperfectum, falsely ascribed to St. John Chrysostom] says: "He who is not angry, whereas he has cause to be, sins. For unreasonable patience is the hotbed of many vices, it fosters negligence, and incites not only the wicked but even the good to do wrong.""

[Me: Before you jump up and down for joy thinking that this justifies any of your feelings of anger in even a mild degree, keep reading for the definition of "unreasonable patience", which is the failure of "judgement of reason" by a "simple movement of the will not through passion" (and is not the feeling of anger as you will read below), which are sins such as, apathy, enabling, co-dependency, failing to judge right from wrong, failing to speak Truth when necessary, failing to have proper boundaries, failing to properly discipline, people pleasing and feelings fixing, many types of fear based decision making, etc.]

"I answer that, Anger may be understood in two ways. On one way, as a simple movement of the will, whereby one inflicts punishment, not through passion, but in virtue of a judgment of the reason: and thus without doubt lack of anger is a sin. This is the sense in which anger is taken in the saying of Chrysostom, for he says (Hom. xi in Matth., in the Opus Imperfectum, falsely ascribed to St. John Chrysostom): "Anger, when it has a cause, is not anger but judgment. For anger, properly speaking, denotes a movement of passion": and when a man is angry with reason, his anger is no longer from passion: wherefore he is said to judge, not to be angry."

[Me: Thereby proving that our normal feeling of anger in any degree (eg. annoyed, frustrated, irritated, "pissed-off", etc) is NOT virtuous, but rather a sin.  Check it: If we are unaccepting of the reality or not feeling charitable toward the other person, then our anger is a sin.]

"On another way anger is taken for a movement of the sensitive appetite, which is with passion resulting from a bodily transmutation. This movement is a necessary sequel, in man, to the movement of his will, since the lower appetite necessarily follows the movement of the higher appetite, unless there be an obstacle. Hence the movement of anger in the sensitive appetite cannot be lacking altogether, unless the movement of the will be altogether lacking or weak. Consequently lack of the passion of anger is also a vice, even as the lack of movement in the will directed to punishment by the judgment of reason."

[Me: aka, a failure to properly: say "no" to evil, discipline, teach, and set boundaries.]

"Reply to Objection 1. He that is entirely without anger when he ought to be angry, imitates God as to lack of passion, but not as to God's punishing by judgment."

"Reply to Objection 2. The passion of anger, like all other movements of the sensitive appetite, is useful, as being conducive to the more prompt execution [Cf. I-II:24:3] of reason's dictate: else, the sensitive appetite in man would be to no purpose, whereas "nature does nothing without purpose" [Aristotle, De Coelo i, 4]."

[Me: The basic passion of anger is nothing more than displeasure over what is an objectively bad with the desire to fight for/work to obtain what is an objective good.]

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