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Whether attrition can become contrition?

Objection 1: It would seem that attrition can become contrition. For contrition differs from attrition, as living from dead. Now dead faith becomes living. Therefore attrition can become contrition.

Objection 2: Further, matter receives perfection when privation is removed. Now sorrow is to grace, as matter to form, because grace quickens sorrow. Therefore the sorrow that was previously lifeless, while guilt remained, receives perfection through being quickened by grace: and so the same conclusion follows as above.

On the contrary, Things which are caused by principles altogether diverse cannot be changed, one into the other. Now the principle of attrition is servile fear, while filial fear is the cause of contrition. Therefore attrition cannot become contrition.

I answer that, There are two opinions on this question: for some say that attrition may become contrition, even as lifeless faith becomes living faith. But, seemingly, this is impossible; since, although the habit of lifeless faith becomes living, yet never does an act of lifeless faith become an act of living faith, because the lifeless act passes away and remains no more, as soon as charity comes. Now attrition and contrition do not denote a habit, but an act only: and those habits of infused virtue which regard the will cannot be lifeless, since they result from charity, as stated above (Sent. iii, D, 27, Q[2], A[4]; FS, Q[65], A[4]). Wherefore until grace be infused, there is no habit by which afterwards the act of contrition may be elicited; so that attrition can nowise become attrition: and this is the other opinion.

Reply to Objection 1: There is no comparison between faith and contrition, as stated above.

Reply to Objection 2: When the privation is removed from matter, the matter is quickened if it remains when the perfection comes. But the sorrow which was lifeless, does not remain when charity comes, wherefore it cannot be quickened.

It may also be replied that matter does not take its origin from the form essentially, as an act takes its origin from the habit which quickens it. Wherefore nothing hinders matter being quickened anew by some form, whereby it was not quickened previously: whereas this cannot be said of an act, even as it is impossible for the identically same thing to arise from a cause wherefrom it did not arise before, since a thing is brought into being but once.

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