Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Q108 A3: Whether there are many angels in one order?

Yes. We can only distinguish the angelic offices and orders in a general way, so as to place many angels in one order, because our knowledge of the angels is imperfect.

Non possumus distinguere officia et ordines Angelorum, nisi in communi, secundum quem modum, multi Angeli sub uno ordine continentur, quia
nos imperfecte Angelos cognoscimus, et eorum officia.

But if we knew the offices and distinctions of the angels perfectly, we should know perfectly that each angel has his own office and his own order among things, and much more so than any star, though this be hidden from us.

Si autem perfecte cognosceremus officia Angelorum, et eorum distinctiones, perfecte sciremus quod quilibet Angelus habet suum proprium officium et suum proprium ordinem in rebus, multo magis quam quaelibet stella, etsi nos lateat.

All the angels of one order are in some way equal in a common similitude, whereby they are placed in that order; but absolutely speaking they are not equal. Hence Dionysius says (Coel. Hier. x) that in one and the same order of angels there are those who are first, middle, and last.

Omnes Angeli unius ordinis sunt aliquo modo aequales, quantum ad communem similitudinem secundum quam constituuntur in uno ordine, sed simpliciter non sunt aequales. Unde Dionysius dicit, X cap. Cael. Hier., quod in uno et eodem ordine Angelorum, est accipere primos, medios et ultimos.