Cardinal Virtues: Primary Moral Virtues



Theological VirtuesFaith, Hope and Charity — are gifts of God received on Baptism for natural morality and share of divine nature.

Cardinal Virtues — prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance — group all other moral virtues and are the foundation of natural morality under the theological virtues.

Aristotle defined prudence as the “right reason applied to practice.”  The virtue to judge right and wrong resides in the practical intellect, and God infuses prudence through theological virtues.

Justice is the will to honor people rights.

Fortitude, reasoned and reasonable, is the courage to overcome fear, and the strength to implement the determinations of prudence and justice.

Temperance moderates our desires of legitimate goods, like food and drink.

Fortitude controls unreasonable fear, and temperance unreasonable desire.


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