I received a message from a reader of the portal Moldova Creștină, where I am asked the following questions:
Recently the Catholic Church published a new list of those seven deadly sins. Why is/isn’t it important to emphasize these seven sins? Are pedophilia and abortion deadly sins? Is there any salvation for those who commited them? Why was it necessary to divide them into venial, or less serious and mortal sins?
It is a large subject, but I will try to answer as shortly and as consistenly as possible.
What are those seven deadly sins?
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, those seven capital sins are:
Another Romano-Catholic Catechism explains it so:
These sins are called capital, or principal, because they are the source of many sins.
Who and when defined these seven deadly sins?
The list of those seven mortal sins was established by Pope Gregory the Great in the VIth century and then it was popularized in the Middle Ages by Dante in “The Inferno”.
After 1500 years, in March 2008, the Catholic Church has brought the seven deadly sins up to date by adding seven new ones. The list was published in the Vatican newspaper “L’Osservatore Romano” and are the following:
- Damaging environment
- Genetic engineering
- Being obscenely rich
- Drug dealing
- Causing social injustice
Here is what the priest Cornel Cadar, spiritual counselor of the Romano-Caholic Episcopy from Iasi said regarding the renewed list of those seven deadly sins
The Holy See hasn’t replace the list of deadly sins that was established by the Church. The interview from the “L’Osservatore Romano” talks about new sins. They point out that there are new forms of sins. The Catholic Church said these things for many times. So, Bishop Gianfranco Girotti talks about “new sins” and not “deadly sins”. Modern sins, because they are very well seen nowadays, in our modern society. By the way, the title of the intereview signed by Bicola Gori is “The new forms of social sin”. The interlocutor reminds sins that affect one’s individual and social rights: bioethics, drugs, social and economical inequalities, ecology. That interview does not mention capital sins. I don’t know how Romanian mass media has began to talk about deadly sins. Following the tradition set by St. John Cassian and by St. Gregory the Great, the Church continues to keep the list of those seven deadly sins. They are named capital sins because they generate other sins. They are: lust, gluttony, avarice, sloth, anger, envy, and pride. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, besides these deadly sins there are sins against the Holy Spirit, revolting sins and strange sins. And of course, talking about sin keeps its full meaning for those who believe in God. Sin means violation of God’s laws, a violation of the relationship with Him and with your neighbour. But if we don’t take into account the context, sin is a mistake, an error and an inattention to social rules. Such “mistakes” are punished by society sometimes, when there are established some laws.
What does the Bible relate about those seven deadly sins?
I have found an answer to this question on the portal www.gotquestions.org, that says:
There are many people that fear when they think about a list of those seven deadly sins, and suppose that God never forgets them. Is this idea of those “deadly seven sins” biblical? Yes and no. Proverbs 6:16–19 says: “There are six things which the LORD hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: (1)haughty eyes, (2) a lying tongue, and (3) hands that shed innocent blood, (4) a heart that devises wicked plans, (5) feet that run rapidly to evil, (6) false witness who utters lies, (7) and one who spreads strife among brothers.” Most people think of the list of those “seven deadly sins” the next: pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, avarice, and sloth. Even if these are sins for sure, the Bible never describes them as being “those seven deadly sins”. The traditional list of “those seven deadly sins” can be a good way to categorize sins among them. Almost every sin that can be imagined is included in those seven biblical categories. But the most important is that none of these sins is “deadly” than any other sin. All sins lead to death (Romans 6:23). But praised be God for He sent Jesus Christ, the Savior and through Him all our sins, inlcuding “those seven deadly sins” can be forgiven. (Matthew 26:28, Acts 10:43, Ephesians 1:7)
What sins do you have that weigh on you and that you want to find out if God can forgive them or no?
Translated by Felicia Djugostran