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Virtues: Seven Habits of Champions #5 - Fortitude


The Virtues: The Seven Habits of Champions Ė

Show #5: Fortitude

By: Dr. Marcellino DíAmbrosio


I.                    Intro

A.                 Peter Kreeft, Back to Virtue.  Society was good at the hard virtues a century ago.  Now we are good at the soft ones.

B.                 Epidemic of fear and weakness.  We are overly tolerant of evil

C.                 Fortitude & courage synonyms.  Deal with 2 diff emotions Fear & Anger

D.                 Definition of Fortitude: willingness to suffer personal injury, even death, for the sake of truth and justice.Ē  The virtue that enables us to take risks.  Virtue of irascible (fear & anger) passions.  Preserves the good.  Clears the way for doing it. (CCC 1808)

II.                 Fear

A.                 We are vulnerable, fragile, creatures.  We can use life & health.  Given to animals & us.  Impulse to cause us to flee from danger, death, hurt.

B.                 But we often fear the wrong thing.  Peer pressure causes us to do dangerous things: drunkenness, premarital sex, drugs.  Fear disapproval of friends more than

C.                 Prudence helps you know if a fear is rational, whether to flee when fear

D.                 Fear of failure: ridicule does not kill you.  Genuine fear: Neglecting a serious responsibility.  Failure to take initiative.

E.                  Fortitude is the strength that makes fear subordinate to what is right & true.  Keeps you from acquiescing, giving in to, cooperating with evil

III.               Anger

A.                 Godís wrath:

B.                 Given to us to provide us with the energy to go after and attack evil and injustice.

C.                 Love the sinner and hate the sin.  Anger gives you the energy to go after the sinner and restrain him from doing harm.

D.                 Duty to attack evil: In Old Testament.  God gets angry when people fail to go after the enemy, dislodging the Canaanites.  Davidís response to Goliath a good example of righteous anger and aggressive fortitude.

E.                  Anger is the proper response to injustice.


IV.              Fortitude

A.                 Passive: Keeps us from running away from a confrontation

B.                 Attack: use anger right to go after evil and attack it.

C.                 Fortitude is not foolhardy and wasteful: mean between cowardice and rash, foolhardy daring

D.                 Thomas More as example of passive fortitude & the balance involved

1.                  Balance: prudence

2.                  Fool throws self against something that is evil with no chance of victory.  Waste.

3.                  Coward: shrinks from duty due to fear.

4.                  Friend & Chancellor under Henry VIII.  Did not rant & rave against the king.  Family.  Did not need to speak.  Strong signal to those in Europe.  No legal grounds.  Preserve his life while protesting.

5.                  Thomas would not compromise with evil.

6.                  Caving in to the king and lying would injure his own integrity, greater injury than the king could inflict upon him.

7.                  Fortitude understands that the loss of life is not the greatest tragedy, but rather the loss of oneís soul


V.                 Doing the Good involves injury and hardship: Annexed Virtues of fortitude

A.                 Patience

1.                  Be careful what you

2.                  Dealing with hardships with serenity and cheerfulness

3.                  Children a gift

B.                 Perseverance

1.                  Go out start doing something.  Didnít know it was going to be so hard.

2.                  Sticking with your call as multiple obstacles crop up

3.                  Thomas Edison: 10,000 failures.  Turns misfortune into a learning experience.

4.                  Maintains vision

VI.              Dimensions of Fortitude

A.                 Lack of Fortitude one of the biggest problems in the church

B.                 Bishops fearful of confronting priests; priests of people, people of others

C.                 Attack: not necessarily violent  Aggressive

D.                 Catholics are not pacifists.  Couldnít have a police force.  Sniper in Wash DC: must be stopped, even if it takes deadly force.  Just war theory.

E.                  Only the state can do this: not take justice into ones own hands

F.                  Taking initiative to confront and restrain evil

G.                 Evil: the lack of a good that ought to be there:

1.                  Example of loss of 18-35 yrs olds.        Lack of evangelization

2.                  Poverty: an objective evil

3.                  Sickness & disease

H.                 In Acts: boldness is one of the most common words

I.                    Gift of the Spirit of Fortitude.  Peter proves that fearful people can change!


VII.            4 Cardinal Virtues

A.                 When you have all 4, you are a leader

B.                 All of us are called to be leaders.

C.                 Most are called to be parents; parents must be leaders; therefore most are called to rise to leadership and must acquire the character necessary

D.                 Sheep who become Shepherds

E.                  Canít happen without grace


VIII.         Discussion Questions

A.                 Name some irrational fears that paralyze people.  How about you?

B.                 Name some things we really should fear.

C.                 Which annexed virtue under fortitude do you need most?  Patience or Perseverance?

D.                 Discuss examples of fortitude in Scripture.


This outline appears in the Virtues & Christian Character, Christian Lifestyle and Prayer  & Spirituality sections of The Crossroads Initiative Library.


The Virtues: Seven Habit of ChampionsEWTN - The Virtues: Seven Habits of Champions

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio offers a spirited 8-part mediation in this new EWTN Home Video on the four moral virtues - Fortitude, Prudence, Justice, and Temperance - as well as the three theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity.


Seven Habits of Champions lays out how God's inspiration for Christian living, contained in the Scriptures and made known through the Catechism and Church documents, is accessible to everyone and demonstrated for us through the lives of the saints. We are all called to holiness. And though the practice of these seven "habits," heroic virtue can be attained!


Each DVD tape contains 4 episodes aired on EWTN!

DVD 1:

Introduction to the Virtues

The Cardinal Virtue of Prudence

The Cardinal Virtue of Justice

The Cardinal Virtue of Temperance

DVD 2:

The Cardinal Virtue of Fortitude

The Theological Virtue of Faith

The Theological Virtue of Hope

The Theological Virtue of Charity 

Set of Two DVD with 8 shows - $49.95

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