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 Virtue of Fortitude

“Fortitude is the moral virtue that ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good. It strengthens the resolve to resist temptations and to overcome obstacles in the moral life. The virtue of fortitude enables one to conquer fear, even fear of death, and to face trials and persecutions. It disposes one even to renounce and sacrifice his life in defense of a just cause.” (CCC 1808). Fortitude includes a man’s willingness to properly face danger, to battle against injustice, to take on and achieve great things, and to patiently endure and persevere when things become difficult. 

Vices against Fortitude

In opposition to the virtue of Fortitude are a number of vices which defy a single word description and will be described in more detail below. Opposing taking on and achieving great things are the vices of aspiring to small things and being satisfied with trivial results. Opposing the taking of right action in the face of danger is the vice by which a man either cringes from action or overreacts foolishly. Opposing the willingness to patiently endure and persevere in difficulty, are the vices of losing the will to endure and persevere. The man who lacks Fortitude experiences the pain fear, failure, shame, self-doubt, public rejection of failure.

The Gift of Fortitude

To help a man grow in Fortitude, the Holy Spirit gives a receptive man the Gift of Fortitude which fills a man with the supernatural wisdom, strength and steadfastness to properly face danger and persevere under the most difficult circumstances and persecutions, even to the point of death by martyrdom. 

The Parts of Fortitude

Fortitude has several parts, or sub-virtues, each of which are opposed by various vices: 

The Virtue of Magnanimity

The Virtue of Magnificence

The Virtue of Courage

The Virtue of Perseverance

The Virtue of Patience