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St. Thomas Aquinas said:

Objection 1. It would seem that the unnatural vice is not the greatest sin among the species of lust. For the more a sin is contrary to charity the graver it is. Now adultery, seduction and rape which are injurious to our neighbor are seemingly more contrary to the love of our neighbor, than unnatural sins, by which no other person is injured. Therefore the unnatural sin is not the greatest among the species of lust.

On the contrary, Augustine says that "of all these", namely the sins belonging to lust, "that which is against nature is the worst".

I answer that, In every genus, worst of all is the corruption of the principle on which the rest depend. Now the principles of reason are those things that are according to nature, because reason presupposes things as determined by nature, before disposing of other things according as it is fitting. This may be observed both in speculative and in practical matters. Wherefore just as in speculative matters the most grievous and shameful error is that which is about things the knowledge of which is naturally bestowed on man, so in matters of action it is most grave and shameful to act against things as determined by nature. Therefore, since by the unnatural vices man transgresses that which has been determined by nature with regard to the use of venereal actions, it follows that in this matter this sin is gravest of all. After it comes incest, which, as stated above, is contrary to the natural respect which we owe persons related to us.

With regard to the other species of lust they imply a transgression merely of that which is determined by right reason, on the presupposition, however, of natural principles. Now it is more against reason to make use of the venereal act not only with prejudice to the future offspring, but also so as to injure another person besides. Wherefore simple fornication, which is committed without injustice to another person, is the least grave among the species of lust. Then, it is a greater injustice to have intercourse with a woman who is subject to another's authority as regards the act of generation, than as regards merely her guardianship. Wherefore adultery is more grievous than seduction. And both of these are aggravated by the use of violence. Hence rape of a virgin is graver than seduction, and rape of a wife than adultery. And all these are aggravated by coming under the head of sacrilege, as stated above.

Reply to Objection 1. Just as the ordering of right reason proceeds from man, so the order of nature is from God Himself: wherefore in sins contrary to nature, whereby the very order of nature is violated, an injury is done to God, the Author of nature.

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  • I believe this question has been asked before!
    – Ken Graham
    Jul 23 at 17:05
  • Yes, but I was not convinced by the answer. Jul 23 at 17:06
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    Are you not convinced by the answer to this duplicate question Did Thomas Aquinas rate masturbation as a greater sin than rape? The answer started off with the exact article you quoted. If you're not satisfied, please state your reason in a comment to the answer which will go to DJClayworth who may be able to improve the answer in light of your input. Jul 23 at 17:41
  • That comment was written 6 years ago. It's ridiculous to make me expect an answer from that. Jul 23 at 17:48
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    It doesn't matter that the answer is 6 years old, the author of the answer has been active on the site since then (in fact, they were on the site less than an hour ago). Feel free to leave a comment with a follow up, and there's a good chance you'll get a response.
    – cigien
    Jul 23 at 17:52