Evangelizing through the Catholic Arts

Prudence’s Principle Workings – Part III of III

command of action

How does ‘command’ work regarding Prudence’s Principle Workings? To command is to act upon good counsel and good judgment; therefore, Prudence gives judgment its authoritative value. However, if we fail to listen to good counsel, or discount good judgment, then our actions will be imprudent. Let’s go back to that bowl of ice cream, or slice of pizza. We all know that they taste good; however, they are not the healthiest of choices. Our counsel tells us that. We look for ways to discount good judgment by telling ourselves that one bowl or one slice won’t hurt us that much. That’s using faulty judgment, which culminates in the command to act imprudently. However, if we apply good counsel and good judgment, then we command appropriate actions to maintain good health.

When we integrate good counsel, good judgment, and appropriate action into the decision making process, Prudence ensures that we use proper norms of right reason. “For conscience, the act of the intellect which most immediately affects free choice, serves as the final instance of applied moral truth.” 1

As we close out our discussion on the virtue of Prudence, is there anything left unsaid? If so, enter the conversation in the comments section below. In our next series of reflection, we will cover the virtue of Temperance – What is temperance? You won’t want to miss it!


1Cessario, Romano. The Moral and Virtues and Theological Ethics. 2nd. Ed. p. 86. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2009. Print.

Leave a Reply