(Latin: passio, a suffering, an affection)

A desire or emotion in which excitement reaches an intense degree. The passions are movements or tendencies of the sensitive appetite toward a sense good or away from a sense evil. The sensitive appetite tends toward the good of the individual animal life or the life of the species. The passions therefore are of the sensitive or animal order and are found in the animal as well as in man. Emotions in man, such as surprise or laughter, that are not concerned with good or evil, are not passions. Again such tendencies in man as are not concerned with the good or evil of sense, but with intellectual or spiritual good or evil, e.g., desire of learning, love, of virtue, are not in the strict sense of the word passions. The good and evil that are the objects of passion are the good and evil of sense, and commonly as presented by the imagination. This fact shows that the passions are fed by the imagination, and that the control of the passions must begin with its control. The passions in themselves are non-moral. Only in so far as they are subject to the will do they come under the moral law. When regulated by reason and subjected to right control of the will, the passions can be considered good and used in the practise and acquisition of virtue. Love and hatred as general tendencies toward good and evil are the generic passions. Under them come desire and aversion, joy and sadness, hope and despair, courage and fear, and anger.

New Catholic Dictionary

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