The Seven Capital Sins Their Remedies And Contrary Virtues

The Seven Capital Sins Their Remedies And Contrary Virtues

The capital sins are the source of all sins. The word capital derives from the Latin “caput,” meaning “head.” Note that they are not called “capital” because they are prevalent around a nation’s capital or capitol. Actually, St. Thomas Aquinas preferred to use the word “vice” instead of “sin” when addressing this issue. He stated, “A capital vice is that which has an exceedingly desirable end so that in his desire for it, a man goes on to the commission of many sins, all of which are said to originate in that vice as their chief source” (Summa Theologiae, II-II, 153, 4). Here St. Thomas emphasized the disposition or the habit which inclines a person to sin. Therefore, the capital sins or vices are indeed “capital” and grave because they are the source of particular actual sins, which may be mortal or venial; in turn, the repetition of actual sins, particularly mortal sins, leads to the spiritual corruption of the person, whose life is permeated by the vice.

The traditional list of capital sins, as specified by Pope St. Gregory the Great, are as follows: pride, avarice, lust, envy, gluttony, anger, and sloth. Interestingly, St. Thomas listed “vainglory” instead of pride to highlight that pride is the source of all sin without exception. Nevertheless, we will now focus briefly on each of the capital sins, their remedies and contrary virtues.


1. PRIDE: (vice) A haughty attitude shown by people who believe, often unjustifiably, that they are better than others.

HUMILITY: (virtue) In Latin Humus, means rich soil, earth or wet. It is the quality of being modest or respectful like Mother Mary when she said to the angel, “be it done to me according , to your words” and Simon Peter at Capernaum, when he said to Jesus “Depart from me Lord, I am a sinner.”

2. GLUTONY: (vice) Greed, the act or practice of excess need. That’s lack of control.

TEMPERANCE: (virtue) Self – restraint in the face of temptation or desire.

3. ANGER: (vice) A feeling of extreme annoyance, depress or humiliation.

PATIENCE, MEEKNESS, LOVE: (virtue) The ability to endure waiting or delay without becoming annoyed or upset, or to persevere calmly when face with difficulties.

4. SLOTH: (vice) Neglect ion of one’s duties, or a dislike of work or any kind of physical exertion.

DELIGENCE, INDUSTRIOUSNESS: (virtue) Being busy, hard working, conscientious, and doing the right things at the appropriate times.

5. LUST: (vice) Disordered sexual desired, feeling/ thought/ action.

CHASTITY: (virtue) Purity of mind, words, body and acts.

6. ENVY (JEALOUSY): (vice) The resentful or unhappy feeling of wanting somebody else’s success, good fortune, qualities, or possessions.

BROTHERLY LOVE: (virtue) To feel tender affection for the progress of one another.

7. COVETEOUSNESS: (vice) Having a strong desire to possess something that belongs to somebody else.

CONTENTMENT: (virtue) A feeling of calm satisfaction.

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