The 7 Deadly Sins and 7 Cardinal Virtues

Topics: Seven deadly sins, Seven virtues, Theological virtues Pages: 11 (2764 words) Published: September 14, 2008
The 7 Deadly Sins and 7 Cardinal Virtues

The "Seven Deadly Sins"', also known as the "Capital Vices" or "Cardinal Sins", are a classification of vices that were originally used in early Christian teachings to educate and instruct followers concerning (immoral) fallen man's tendency to sin. The Roman Catholic Church divided sin into two principal categories: "venial", which are relatively minor, and could be forgiven through any sacrament of the Church, and the more severe "capital" or "mortal" sins, which, when committed, destroyed the life of grace, and created the threat of eternal damnation unless either absolved through the sacrament of confession, or otherwise forgiven through perfect contrition on the part of the penitent. Beginning in the early 14th century, the popularity of the Seven deadly sins as a theme among European artists of the time eventually helped to ingrain them in many areas of Christian culture and Christian consciousness in general throughout the world. One means of such ingraining was the creation of the mnemonic "SALIGIA" based on the first letters in Latin of the seven deadly sins: superbia, avaritia, luxuria, invidia, gula, ira, acedia.

Listed in the same order used by both Pope Gregory the Great in the 6th Century AD, and later by Dante Alighieri in his epic poem The Divine Comedy, the Seven deadly sins are as follows: (7) Luxuria(extravagance, later lust);

(6) Gula(gluttony);
(5) Avaritia(greed);
(4) Acedia(sloth);
(3) Ira(wrath);
(2) Invidia(envy); and
(1) Superbia(pride).

Each of The Seven Deadly Sins has an opposite among the corresponding Seven holy virtues (sometimes also referred to as the Contrary Virtues).

The identification and definition of the Seven deadly sins over their history has been a fluid process and the idea of what each of the seven actually encompass has evolved over time. This process has been aided by the fact that they are not referred to in either a cohesive or codified manner in the Bible itself, and as a result other literary and ecclesiastical works referring to the Seven deadly sins were instead consulted as sources from which definitions might be drawn. Part II of Dante's Divine Comedy, Purgatorio, has almost certainly been the best known source since the Renaissance, though many later interpretations and versions, especially those of the more conservative and Pentecostal Protestant denominations, have instead tended to portray the consequence for those guilty of committing one or more of these sins as being eternal torment in Hell, rather than possible purification through penance in Purgatory.

The Sins
==> Lust (Latin: luxuria)

Synonyms: Lust (fornication, perversion)

Lust is usually thought of as involving obsessive or excessive thoughts or desires of a sexual nature. Unfulfilled lusts sometimes lead to sexual or sociological compulsions and/or transgressions including (but obviously not limited to) sexual addiction, adultery, bestiality, and rape.

Dante's criterion was "excessive love of others," which therefore rendered love and devotion to God as secondary. However, lust and love are two different things; while a genuine, selfless love can represent the highest degree of development and feeling of community with others in a human relationship, Lust can be described as the excessive desire for sexual release. The other person can be therefore seen as a "means to an end" for the fulfillment of the subject's desires, and becomes thus objectified in the process. In Purgatorio, the penitent walks within flames to purge himself of lustful/sexual thoughts.

==> Gluttony (Latin: gula)

Synonyms: Gluttony (waste, overindulgence)

Modern views identify Gluttony with an overindulgence of food and drink, though in the past any form of thoughtless excess could fall within the definition of this sin. Marked by unreasonable or...
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