• Latin: pietas, dutifulness


Term connoting good works arising from some natural obligation, especially filial duty. Transferred to the supernatural order, piety, as a virtue, touches the whole extent of Christian practise, the direct service of God, and what terminates in Him indirectly, the service of the neighbor. This appears from Our Lord’s words: “As long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me,” and from the reduction of the commandment of the, love of the neighbor to that of the love of God. Hence by pious works ar.e commonly understood the works of mercy. These the virtue regards especially. Piety is also one of the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost, an habitual disposition of the soul to be moved readily to the filial love of God, becoming in a higher degree an habitual appreciation of the Fatherhood of God and of what it imports. Thus it not only facilitates the exercise of the virtue, but effects also an habitual reverence for whatever is connected with the Divine service: the poor in whom we serve Him, the saints in whom we honor Him, the sacramentals, the Church, and the altar.

MLA Citation

  • “piety”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 12 June 2010. Web. 4 December 2021. <http://catholicsaints.info/piety/>