Summa Theologica by St. Thomas Aquinas
SS: Treatise On The Theological Virtues
Q[30] Of Mercy
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[* The one Latin word "misericordia" signifies either pity or mercy. The distinction between these two is that pity may stand either for the act or for the virtue, whereas mercy stands only for the virtue.]

We must now go on to consider Mercy, under which head there are four points of inquiry:

A[1] Whether evil is the cause of mercy on the part of the person pitied?

A[2] To whom does it belong to pity?

A[3] Whether mercy is a virtue?

A[4] Whether it is the greatest of virtues?