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Seven deadly sins

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The Seven deadly sins, also known as the "capital vices", were enumerated in their present form by Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century. The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines them as "capital sins which Christian experience has distinguished, following St. John Cassian[?] and St. Gregory the Great (emphasis in the original)."

The seven deadly sins are:

  • lust - seeking sex for pleasure; overindulgence in sex; fornication
  • avarice or greed - a desire to possess more than one has need or use for
  • envy or covetousness - resentment of others for their possessions; competitiveness (Note: jealousy is a related vice, but not generally listed as one of the seven deadly sins.)
  • pride or vanity- a desire to be important or attractive to others
  • sloth or acedia[?] - laziness; idleness
  • gluttony - eating for pleasure; overindulgence in food, drink or intoxicants
  • anger or wrath - uncontrollable feelings of resentment, revenge or even denial.

As you can tell, several of these sins interlink: greed features a lot, envy and avarice are often confused, but envy and pride could also be confused.

The 4th century Egyptian monk Evagrius Ponticus[?] defined eight deadly sins, which were later reduced to seven by merging pride and vainglory. Prior to the current heptad being defined by Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century, accidie, often translated as sadness or listlessness, was used instead of sloth.

In the official Catechism of the Catholic Church, consisting of 2,865 numbered sections published in 1994 by order of Pope John Paul II, the seven deadly sins are dealt with in only one paragraph. The principal codification of moral transgression for Christians continues to be the Ten Commandments.

Contrast with the Four Cardinal Virtues and Three Theological Virtues.

The movie Se7en is about a serial killer obsessed with the seven deadly sins. There is also a board game named after the seven deadly sins, see Seven Deadly Sins board game.

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