Book Access - "The Vices" Ch. 5 of "Virtue Stands in the Middle" Dr. Gustafson

Chapter 5 - The Vices

Dr. Christopher Gustafson, STD is a Catholic theologian in the United States. GPQ did an interview with him in January of 2022 on his upcoming book, Virtue Stands in the Middle, which you can access here. He has graciously offered to share parts of his upcoming book on virtue. The work not only delves in Catholic tradition and teaching on virtue and vice, but offers access to many images of the symbolism and iconographic tradition of the Seven Lady Virtues. Below is access to chapter five.  

"The virtues stand in sharp contrast to the vices. A vice exists where a virtue should be. It is like a black hole in the place where a star should shine. 1 It is the lack of that integrated behavior that ought to be in place. Lying exists where truthfulness should abide. Cowardice takes the place of courage. Apathy resides in the space where love should be found. Vice takes up those spaces in our hearts where virtue should flourish. When we miss the bullseye of virtue in our moral action, we hit vice. It is an easy target to hit, particularly if one is not focused on virtue. A vice is a pattern of sin or evil. Committing one sin does not a vice make. The sin of disobedience committed in the garden by our first parents was not the vice of disobedience (cf. Genesis 3). Rather, it was a single instance of this sin. A vice is a repeated pattern that becomes a part of our character, our moral makeup. The vice of disobedience is formed by repeated acts of disobedience. Some make the mistake of viewing the story of our first parents, Adam and Eve, as a type of myth or fairy tale. This point of view blinds one to reality. Adam and Eve were historical individuals whose disobedience has had a profound impact upon all of humanity. In fact, the reality of sin in the world doesn’t make sense without the role Adam and Eve played in human history. Our first parents were little less than gods. Their thoughts, emotions and desires were well-ordered and harmonious while they remained in God’s friendship (cf. Genesis 1-2). They hit the bullseye of virtue in their behaviors every time. Adam and Eve were not weighed down with those obstacles to exercising virtue such as ignorance, malice, weakness or concupiscence with which we are plagued. Virtue came naturally to them. Their interior harmony and close relationship with God disposed them to always do the right thing."