What are the three theological virtues?
Catechism of St Pius X
3 Q. What are the theological virtues?
The theological virtues are: Faith, Hope and Charity.
4 Q. Why are Faith, Hope and Charity called theological virtues?
Faith, Hope and Charity are called theological virtues, because they have God as their immediate and principal object, and are infused by Him.
5 Q. How can the theological virtues have God for their immediate object?
The theological virtues have God for their immediate object, in this way that by Faith we believe in God, and believe all He has revealed; by Hope, we hope to possess God; and by Charity, we love God and in Him we love ourselves and our neighbour.
6 Q. When does God infuse the theological virtues into the soul?
God in His goodness infuses the theological virtues into the soul when adorning us with His sanctifying grace; and hence when receiving Baptism we were enriched with these virtues and, along with them, with the gifts of the Holy Ghost.
Catechism of the Catholic Church
1814 – Faith is the theological virtue by which we believe in God and believe all that He has said and revealed to us, and that Holy Church proposes for our belief, because He is truth itself. By faith “man freely commits his entire self to God.”78 For this reason the believer seeks to know and do God’s will. “The righteous shall live by faith.” Living faith “work[s] through charity.”79
1815 – The gift of faith remains in one who has not sinned against it.80 But “faith apart from works is dead”:81 when it is deprived of hope and love, faith does not fully unite the believer to Christ and does not make him a living member of his Body.
1817 – Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit. “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”84 “The Holy Spirit . . . he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.”85
1818 – The virtue of hope responds to the aspiration to happiness which God has placed in the heart of every man; it takes up the hopes that inspire men’s activities and purifies them so as to order them to the Kingdom of heaven; it keeps man from discouragement; it sustains him during times of abandonment; it opens up his heart in expectation of eternal beatitude. Buoyed up by hope, he is preserved from selfishness and led to the happiness that flows from charity.
1822 – Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God.
1823 – Jesus makes charity the new commandment.96 By loving his own “to the end,”97 he makes manifest the Father’s love which he receives. By loving one another, the disciples imitate the love of Jesus which they themselves receive. Whence Jesus says: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love.” And again: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”98
78 DV 5.
79 Rom 1:17; Gal 5:6.
80 Cf. Council of Trent (1547): DS 1545.
81 Jas 2:26.
84 Heb 10:23.
85 Titus 3:6-7.
96 Cf. Jn 13:34.
97 Jn 13:1.
98 Jn 15:9,12.