The Cardinal (Latin, cardinalis, meaning “principle, chief, essential”) Virtues are the four major human virtues under which all other sub-virtues can be organized: Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, and Temperance.
The Cardinal Virtue of Prudence helps a man make and carry out decisions which lead to the true good and is opposed by the vice of Imprudence. Human Prudence can be supernaturally infused by the Holy Spirit through the Gift of Counsel. To grow in Prudence, a man needs to understand the basic logic of decision-making (Survey, Judge, Command) and a number of parts which lead to prudent decisions.
“Justice is the moral virtue that consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to God and neighbor. Justice toward God is called the “virtue of religion.” Justice toward men disposes one to respect the rights of each and to establish in human relationships the harmony that promotes equity with regard to persons and to the common good. The just man, often mentioned in the Sacred Scriptures, is distinguished by habitual right thinking and the uprightness of his conduct toward his neighbor” (CCC 1807). The man steeped in Justice is peaceful and confident as deals with injustice in the world.
The Cardinal Virtue of Fortitude helps a man take on and achieve great accomplishments and is opposed by a number of vices which weaken and deter a man. Human Fortitude can be supernaturally infused by the Holy Spirit through the Gift of Fortitude. To grow in Fortitude, a man needs to build several habits which allow him to aspire to achieve a heroic mission and persevere through difficulties and opposition.
The Cardinal Virtue of Temperance helps a man enjoy licit pleasures in the world in a balanced way and overcome his passions and impulses which result in becoming enslaved by the vice of Intemperance. Human Temperance can be supernaturally infused by the Holy Spirit through the Gift of the Fear of the Lord. To grow in Temperance, a man needs to build several habits which allow him to gain the self-mastery to moderate his impulses and urges.