Aquinas on Hating Sin in Summa TheologiaeII-II Q34 A3 and I-II Q23 A1

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This essay explores the phenomenological features of the passional response to evil that Aquinas calls 'hatred of sin' in Summa Thelogiae II-II Q34 A3 and I-II Q23 A1, among other places. Social justice concerns and philosophical objections, however, challenge the notion that one can feel hatred toward an agent's vice or sin without it being the agent who is hated. I argue that a careful, contextual reading of these texts shows that Aquinas cannot be read as commending 'hate' in any form. The texts under consideration offer no comfort to those who appeal to hatred of sin or vice to legitimate sentiments or actions that can be reasonably taken to express hatred of persons.