The catholic church know two kinds of sins: The venial sins and the deadly sins. The venial sins can be forgiven by any sacrament but to be forgiven a mortal sin the sacrament of reconciliation is needed.
A venial sin has to meet a few criteria including that it´s not been committed with full knowledge or consent. Normally they don´t “add up” to create a moral sin.
Seven Deadly Sins
The list usually includes the following sins: greed, sloth, pride, wrath, lust, envy and gluttony. Our concept of the seven deadly sins dates back as far as the 4th century. The greek monk Evagrius Ponticus listed eight “evil thoughts” as follows:
Gluttony, lust, greed, despair, wrath, acedia, vainglory and pride.
Pope Gregory I later revised the list to the following:
Lust, gluttony, greed, discouragement, wrath, envy and pride.
Definitions of the deadly sins
Lust: excessive thoughts and desires of sexual nature
Gluttony: church leader Thomas Aquinas defined it as eating:
- to soon
- to expensively
- to much
- to eagerly
- to daintily
- to wildly
Greed: excessive desire for wealth or power
Wrath: uncontrolled harted and anger
Envy: desiring what another person has and resenting them for it
Pride: this is the source of all other sins and defined as the desire or believe to be better, more important or attractive then others.
Peter Binsfeld paired each sin with a demon in 1589. According to his list Lucifier, Mammon, and Asmodeus personify the sins pride, greed and lust. Envy, gluttony, anger and sloth are represented by Leviathan, Beelzebub, Satan and Belphegor.
The seven virtues
The seven virtues are what could be called “the other side of the coin”. They are the anti-thesis of the deadly sins and include:
Chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness and humility.
Similar concepts of virtues/sins exist in other religions. One example are the “five poisons” in Buddhism. They are: Passion,
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aggression, ignorance, pride and jealousy. Hinduism knows the Arishadvargas, six passions that prevent men from attaining salvation.