Summary Against Modern Thought: Eat Up!

Summary Against Modern Thought: Eat Up!

Previous post.

Enjoying your meal is not gluttony. If you get kicked out of the all-you-can it, it is.


1 Just as the exercise of sexual capacities is without sin, provided it be carried on with reason, so also in the case of the use of food. Now, any action is performed in accord with reason when it is ordered in keeping with what befits its proper end. But the proper end of taking food is the preservation of the body by nutrition. So, whatever food can contribute to this end may be taken without sin. Therefore, the taking of food is not in itself a sin.

2 Again, no use of a thing is evil in itself unless the thing itself is evil in itself. Now, no food is by nature evil, for everything is good in its own nature, as we showed above. But a certain article of food may be bad for a certain person because it is incompatible with his bodily state of health. So, no taking of food is a sin in itself, by virtue of the type of thing that it is; but it can be a sin if in opposition to reason a person uses it in a manner contrary to his health.

3 Besides, to use things for the purpose for which they exist is not evil in itself. But plants exist for the sake of animals; indeed, some animals exist for the sake of others, and all exist for the sake of man, as is evident from earlier considerations. Therefore, to use either plants or the flesh of animals for eating or for whatever other utility they may have for man is not a sin in itself.

Notes Meat eaters unite!

4 Moreover, a sinful defect may be transferred from the soul to the body, but not conversely, for we call something sinful according as there is a deordination of the will.

Now, food pertains immediately to the body, not to the soul. So, the taking of food cannot be a sin in itself unless, of course, it be incompatible with rectitude. It could be so, in one way, by virtue of incompatibility with the proper end of food: thus, for the sake of the pleasure associated with eating food a man might eat food which works against the health of his body, either because of the kind of food or the quantity.

This could be so in another way, because it is opposed to the situation of the person who uses the food or of those with whom he lives; for instance, a man might eat finer foods than his circumstances could well provide and in a manner different from the customs of the people with whom he lives.

It is possible in a third way, by virtue of food being prohibited by law for some special reason: thus, in the Old Law, certain kinds of food were prohibited for a symbolic reason; and in Egypt the eating of the flesh of the ox was prohibited in olden times so that agriculture would not be hindered; or even because certain rules prohibit the use of certain foods, with a view to the restraint of concupiscence.

Notes What’s that quotation about more men being slain at the table than in battle?

5 Hence, the Lord says: “What goes into the mouth does not defile a man” (Mat. 15:11). And in 1 Corinthians (10:25) it is said: “Whatever is sold in the meat market, eat; asking no question for conscience’ sake.” And in 1 Timothy (4:4) it is said: “Every creature of God is good, and nothing to be rejected that is received with thanksgiving.”

Notes Have a bacon sandwich with me, but no margarine. I suppose bats could be on the menu, too, but be sure to reach at least 160 F when cooking.

6 By this conclusion we refute the error of some people who say that the use of certain foods is illicit in itself. Of these the Apostle speaks in the same place (1 Tim. 4:1-3): “in the last times some shall depart from the faith forbidding to marry, to abstain from meats which God created to be received with thanksgiving.”

Notes In the last times there shall be PETA.

7 Now, since the use of food and sexual capacities is not illicit in itself, but can only be illicit when it departs from the order of reason, and since external possessions are necessary for the taking of food, for the upbringing of offspring and the support of a family, and for other needs of the body, it follows also that the possession of wealth is not in itself illicit, provided the order of reason be respected. That is to say, a man must justly possess what he has; he must not set the end of his will in these things, and he must use them in a fitting way for his own and others’ benefit.

Hence, the Apostle does not condemn the rich, but he gives them a definite regulation for the use of their wealth, when he says: “Charge the rich of this world not to be high-minded, nor to trust in the uncertainty of riches, but… to be rich in good works, to give easily, to communicate to others” (1 Tim. 6:17-18); and in Ecclesiasticus (31:8): “Blessed is the rich man that is found without blemish, and that hath not gone after gold, nor put his trust in money nor in treasure.”

8 By this we also set aside the error of those who, as Augustine says in his book On Heresies, “most arrogantly call themselves Apostolics, because they refuse to accept into their communion those who practice marriage, and who possess goods of their own (practices which the Catholic Church has), and also many monks and clerics. But these men are thereby heretics, for, in separating themselves from the Church, they think that there is no hope for those who use these things which they do without.”


  1. Dr. Briggs I absolutely loved this remark
    “Have a bacon sandwich with me, but no margarine. I suppose bats could be on the menu, too, but be sure to reach at least 160 F when cooking.” – speaking of bats – this was quite funny as well ” Bat-eating Troglodytes of Wuhan” by Dmitry Orlov

    Lastly – here’s one positive thing that we can all do – 54 day Rosary Novena for the consecration of Russian to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and to end Corona Virus Insanity – and fall out – God bless

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