Monday, March 7, 2011

Catholic Lists: Seven Deadly Sins

Superbia (pride) by Hieronymus Bosch (c. 1500)
Through the centuries, catechists (those who teach the Faith) have found much value in relaying important aspects of the Catholic faith in easily-learned groupings and lists. This is the latest in a series of posts which present some of the better-known teachings of our Catholic faith, in list form.

As we approach the season of Lent, a time of self-examination and repentance, let's consider the Seven Deadly Sins. These are seven broad areas of sin which can permeate our spiritual lives and snuff out our ability and willingness to seek and live out Christian perfection. These sins are seen as the origin of other, particular sins and they should be viewed more as a disease of the soul than as particular sins of commission themselves. Scripture alludes to these spiritual deficiencies most clearly in the Book of Proverbs and in St. Paul's letter to the Galatians (Prov. 6:16-19 and Gal. 5:19-21), but the traditional list of seven developed through the centuries based on spiritual experience rather than a direct Scriptural text. 
 Pope Gregory I (d. 604) composed a list of seven deadly sins in 590 based on older lists. The poet Dante (d. 1321) used a similar list in his epic poem The Divine Comedy, and it is this latter form that is traditionally used today. They are (in no particular order):

1. Lust
2. Gluttony
3. Greed
4. Sloth 
5. Wrath
6. Envy
7. Pride

Learn them. Avoid them. Emulate Christ.

-----------------Fr. Joe's Dos Pesos:

Last night this was the very topic for RCIA. Dr. Buddy Arrington of the Barksdale College at Ole Miss gave a very excellent presentation using various sources but relying heavily on the writings of Bp. Fulton Sheen. Here are his notes. He also introduced some graphic work by artist Paul Cadmus. Worth a look!

Paul Cadmus' "Anger"