dead. In this sense, the Second Vatican Council
explained, âin Catholic doctrine there exists an
order or a âhierarchyâ of truths, since they vary in
their relation to the foundation of the Christian
This holds true as much for the dogmas
of faith as for the whole corpus of the Churchâs
teaching, including her moral teaching.
37.âSaint Thomas Aquinas taught that the
Churchâs moral teaching has its own âhierar-
chyâ, in the virtues and in the acts which proceed
What counts above all else is âfaith
working through loveâ (
5:6). Works of love
directed to oneâs neighbour are the most perfect
external manifestation of the interior grace of
the Spirit: âThe foundation of the New Law is in
the grace of the Holy Spirit, who is manifested in
the faith which works through loveâ.
thus explains that, as far as external works are
concerned, mercy is the greatest of all the vir-
tues: âIn itself mercy is the greatest of the vir-
tues, since all the others revolve around it and,
more than this, it makes up for their deficiencies.
This is particular to the superior virtue, and as
such it is proper to God to have mercy, through
which his omnipotence is manifested to the
, Decree on
., I-II, q. 66, a. 4-6.
., I-II, q. 108, a. 1.
., II-II, q. 30, a. 4: âWe do not worship God with
sacrifices and exterior gifts for him, but rather for us and for our