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One of the four principal virtues of human morality, to which the others are necessarily related. These four central virtues are prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude. Each of the cardinal virtues has subjective, potential, and integral parts. The subjective parts are such acts and dispositions of soul as are necessary for the full possession of that virtue, as foresight is needed for prudence and patience for fortitude. The potential parts are virtues related to the cardinal virtue but yet distinct from it, as truthfulness is a potential part of justice. The integral parts are species of a cardinal virtue, as chastity is a species of temperance.
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.