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Pope, at general audience, reflects on temperance

April 17, 2024

At his April 17 general audience, held in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis reflected on temperance, in the latest talk in a series of Wednesday general audiences devoted to the virtues and vices.

“In our continuing catechesis on the cardinal virtues, we now turn to the fourth and final virtue of temperance, which the Catechism describes as ‘the moral virtue that moderates the attraction of pleasures and provides balance in the use of created goods,’“ according to the Vatican’s summary of his remarks. “Temperance is the virtue of self-mastery, of healthy discretion, guiding us to keep desires within the bounds of what is honorable.”

The summary continued:

It helps us to act wisely in every situation, knowing when to speak, when to correct and when silence serves as the best response.

In matters of pleasure, temperance prompts us to exercise sound judgment, choosing moderation over excess, enabling us to savor life’s pleasures in measured doses. In this sense, it is in harmony with the Gospel values of littleness, discretion and meekness.

By cultivating the virtue of temperance, may we experience the profound joy of living balanced lives, delighting appropriately in the good things bestowed on us by God, the things that really matter.

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