Obedience as per St. ThomasSt. Thomas' description of obedience in the Summa is broken down into six articles examining whether:
- One man is bound to obey another? Yes, inferiors a bound to
obey their superiors.
- Obedience is a special virtue? Yes, it is a special virtue.
- Obedience is the greatest of all virtues? No, Charity is the
- God ought to be obeyed in all things? Yes, all are bound to
obey the Divine Command.
- Subjects are bound to obey their superiors in all things?
No, if the Superior commands something against God or outside of
their sphere of authority obedience is not required in the latter
and sinful in the former.
- Against God: We are bound to obey the divine command as
known through the Divine, Written and Natural Law. To disobey the these is to commit sin.
- Sphere of Authority: This defines the limits of authority.
St. Thomas speaks of the limits of authority for rulers, parents,
as well as religious leaders. In each case there is typically a
form of Law that defines the limits of authority. In the case of
religious, St. Thomas refers to the 'regular mode of life' which is
set out in the Rule of the institute two which a person binds
- Against God: We are bound to obey the divine command as known through the Divine, Written and Natural Law. To disobey the these is to commit sin.
- Christians are bound to obey the secular powers? Yes,
following the conditions defined above.