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The Seven Cardinal Sins

Seven Cardinal Sins:

Vainglory/Pride, Greed, Lust, Envy, Gluttony, Wrath, and Sloth.

Daughters are sins that specifically come out of the mentioned cardinal sin.

Vainglory / Pride

"Vainglory is the beginning of every sin." (ST, I-II)

Vainglory glory can be best described by the breaking of Romans 12:3 "For I say, by the grace that is given me, to all that are among you, not to be more wise than it behoveth to be wise, but to be wise unto sobriety, and according as God hath divided to every one the measure of faith." Pride in and of itself is not a sin. The obsession with getting praise from men, doing things for praise alone, and getting unjust praise. Being proud of justly earned praise is within the right of man, in fact it does glory to God when we use our His Light to shine through us. Living a good life, having others recognise you may inspire them to do the same as well. What we are talking about is specifically unjust pride or Vainglory is a capital vice because it leads to other vices or daughters.


Obstinacy - by which a man is too much attached to his own opinion.

Discord - which is an unwillingness to give up one's own will and concur with others.

Contention - the over enjoyment of quarrelling noisily with another.

Disobedience - a man refuses to carry out the command of his superiors be it boss, parents, or spiritual leader.

The best way for us to rid ourselves of pride is prayer, fasting, the practice of magnanimity, and the donation of money and time out of the love of God.

Greed / Covetousness

"Man seeks, according to a certain measure, to have external riches, in so far as they are necessary for him to live in keeping with his condition of life. Wherefore it will be a sin for him to exceed this measure, by wishing to acquire or keep them immoderately. This is what is meant by covetousness, which is defined as "immoderate love of possessing." (S.T. II, II. 118)

In a time of excessiveness Greed is the topic of the times, the have and the have nots. It is important to understand that wanting things or desiring money is not a sin, for it is natural to want things and this natural want is not an issue in and of itself, the issue comes with excess. Having money for emergencies, savings for a house or a car is understandable but to have things just to have and to behold is an issue. When having so much loses its function is when we start to sin. The saying "He has so much money, he does not even know what to do with it."


Fraud, Lying, Falsehood - these are all related for they are crimes against your neighbor. Having to cheat or mislead your neighbor to "Get ahead" is the main line into Greed.

The best way to break the opposite of Greed is gratitude. Pray for the virtue but donate money and donate time. Thank the Lord for the things that you have.

Lust / (inordinate/illicit) Sexual Desire

"Lust is disordered desire for or inordinate enjoyment of sexual pleasure. Sexual pleasure is morally disordered when sought for itself, isolated from its procreative and unitive purposes” (CCC 2351).

The most important thing about knowing about what Lust is and that is what it is not. Lust is not expressing passion for your spouse or creating a child. If an obsession of pleasure grows, expressing love for the sake of just pleasure, or seeking additive measures to maximize pleasure then even spouses can sin within their marriage.


Blindness of Mind - With Lust comes a perversion of the heart, there comes a focus on one individual body part and not the whole person. The more we sin the more our intellect is clouded with worldly things.

Thoughtlessness - This refers to the addiction of the animalistic pleasure. Not being able to or wanting to think about anything else.

Inconstancy - The desire the body for constant pleasure breaks down its ability to have fortitude against hardship.

Rashness - Tied in with thoughtlessness, the mind is filled with lewdness and is unable to weigh and judge words as justly as they should be.

Self-love - Wishing any good for one's self is the origin of all sins but the specific wanting of cardinal pleasure for one's self makes self-love a daughter.

Hatred of God - The wanting of cardinal pleasure can cause hatred in the heart for God because he forbids us and has given us the capacity to be more than animals driven by our instincts.

Love of this World / Despair of a Future World - Our life should be focused on getting to Heaven, the desire of cardinal pleasures causes us to focus too much on this world and there is an inclination to not want the good times to end.

The only other suggestion to break a habit of Lust, other than prayer and mortification, is to try to identify the occasions of sin and remove or lessen your time in them.


"[Another man’s] good may be reckoned as being one’s own evil, in so far as it conduces to the lessening of one’s own good name or excellence. … [M]en are envious of those goods in which a good name consists, and about which men like to be honored and esteemed" (ST II:II 36)

With all sin it is important to understand what it is and what it is not. Envy is not a sin when we are sorrowful that we have not mastered something within our reach, for that is something we should do. Envy is a sin when we cause ourselves sorrow for wanting things above our station in life. Dreading that you'll never live the life of a billionaire is a sin since it is wanting something far above your station or the wishing you had a life like your friends causes you ill feelings


Tale-Bearing - Telling lies about your neighbor to defame him.

Detracting - An open form of tale-bearing when you call out your neighbour’s faults to bring them down.

Joy at Another's Misfortune - Wish bad on your neighbor or celebrities when things go wrong for them.

The best way to overcome envy is to focus on what we have and to be thankful for what we have and our station in life.


“Gluttony denotes, not any desire of eating or drinking, but an inordinate desire. Now desire is said to be inordinate through leaving the order of reason, wherein the good of moral value consists: and a thing is said to be a sin through being contrary to virtue.” (ST, II-II, 148.1)

When people think of gluttony they may think of America or the stories of the collapse of the Western Roman empire, or maybe even the story of the rich man who's table Lazarus begged at. Luke 16:19 "There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day". Gluttony is more than just overeating or drinking too much, it's the obsession and organizing our life around these pleasures.


Unseemly Joy - All passions are focused on being intoxicated with food or drink.

Scurrility / Levity in Behavior – Gossiping, in and of itself, is a sin, and so too unnecessary or excessive use of swearing and/or vulgarities.

Uncleanness - Either inducing vomiting to eat more or eating too much and passing out.

Loquaciousness - Much like Scurrility this more refers to idles conversion or chatter. We are called to speak with intent and meaning.

Dullness of Mind (As regards the understanding) - Mentioned briefly before, we must always be clear of mind.

To cultivate a life without gluttony, pray and fasting should be implemented.


"The name of a passion. A passion of the sensitive appetite is good in so far as it is regulated by reason, whereas it is evil if it set the order of reason aside" (ST II:II 158)

Anger and wrath need to be distinguished between. Anger is natural to us. We can be justly angry at wrongs done to us or in the world. Anger is in our design to do the right thing. The most notable times of just anger is the story of Christ braiding a leather whip and kicking out the money lenders from the temple. When anger becomes wrath is when we indulge ourselves in passion of it. Like lust it can be easily be over-indulged in and prevented. Anger may also be acceptable in small things, subbing your toe, stepping on children’s toys, or getting cut off on the drive to work.

Since anger is natural to our being the lack of anger or passion is a sin. Saint John Chrysostom said, “if there be no anger, teaching is bootless, the judicial process undermined, and crimes unchecked." If you learn that a small part of the population does an disproportional amount of crimes and that does not inspire an anger within you, then that means that there is something lacking in your judgement.


Quarrelling - This is the physical manifestation of unchecked passions.

Swelling of the Mind - the plotting of vengeance against those who have wronged us, thinking that it is our right to wrong someone in turn.

Indignation - Being so caught up in the passions that we lash out at those who are unworthy.

Blasphemy - When we are so caught up in passion that we lose control and curse God it is a sin of anger but when we think so highly of ourselves that we set ourselves against God it is a sin of pride.

Clamour - Similarly to blasphemy, we get caught up in the heat of the moment and instead of insulting the Lord we insult our neighbour.

Contumely - Like clamour and blasphemy, if we lose control of ourselves and insult a loved one or a brother.

The best way to break a habit of rather is to be in constant control of thoughts and feelings. Understand why things upset us in such a way that we lose control.


“Sloth is not an aversion of the mind from any spiritual good, but from the Divine good, to which the mind is obliged to adhere” (II-II, 35, 3).

Sloth is much more than just laziness. Sloth is a burden of the heart, it's when the heart is infected with apathy. Romans 12:11 is the best example of this:" Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.” The concept of just wanting to enjoy entertainment or finding yourself scrolling Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram all day, is a symptom of Sloth.


Sluggishness - Reluctance to follow the commandments.

Faintheartedness - Not giving ourselves fully to God by prayer and things that we rather put off or not do.

Despair - Not praying because we are afraid that we are beyond the God's mercy.

Spite - Hold harsh feelings to a priest that speaks boldly on controversial things.

Malice - The hatred of things Good and Christian.

How to over-come Sloth? The two best ways are to focus less on our own desires by finding out what the Lord wishes of us to and to give thanks to the Lord for what he has already given us.

J. P. Jarosz
Jp Jarosz