Author Topic: Pride and Covetousness : The Beginning and Root Of All Sins  (Read 134 times)

Offline TerrorDæmonum

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Quote from: Catechism of Pius X
The Vices and other Very Grievous Sins

3 Q. Which are the vices called capital?
A. The vices called capital are seven: Pride, Covetousness, Lust, Anger, Gluttony, Envy and Sloth.

Quote from: Ecclesiasticus 10:7-15
Pride is hateful before God and men: and all iniquity of nations is execrable. A kingdom is translated from one people to another, because of injustices, and wrongs, and injuries, and divers deceits.But nothing is more wicked than the covetous man. Why is earth and ashes proud? There is not a more wicked thing than to love money: for such a one setteth even his own soul to sale: because while he liveth he hath cast away his bowels.

All power is of short life. A long sickness is troublesome to the physician. The physician cutteth off a short sickness: so also a king is today, and tomorrow he shall die. For when a man shall die, he shall inherit serpents, and beasts, and worms.The beginning of the pride of man, is to fall off from God:  Because his heart is departed from him that made him: for pride is the beginning of all sin: he that holdeth it, shall be filled with maledictions, and it shall ruin him in the end.

Quote from: 1 Timothy 3-12
If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to that doctrine which is according to godliness, He is proud, knowing nothing, but sick about questions and strifes of words; from which arise envies, contentions, blasphemies, evil suspicions, Conflicts of men corrupted in mind, and who are destitute of the truth, supposing gain to be godliness.

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world: and certainly we can carry nothing out. But having food, and wherewith to be covered, with these we are content. For they that will become rich, fall into temptation, and into the snare of the devil, and into many unprofitable and hurtful desires, which drown men into destruction and perdition. For the desire of money is the root of all evils; which some coveting have erred from the faith, and have entangled themselves in many sorrows.

But thou, O man of God, fly these things: and pursue justice, godliness, faith, charity, patience, mildness. Fight the good fight of faith: lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art called, and hast confessed a good confession before many witnesses.

Quote from: Summa Theologica, Second Part of the Second Part, Question 118
Article 1. Whether covetousness is a sin?

On the contrary, It is written (Hebrews 13:5): "Let your manners be without covetousness, contented with such things as you have."

I answer that, In whatever things good consists in a due measure, evil must of necessity ensue through excess or deficiency of that measure. Now in all things that are for an end, the good consists in a certain measure: since whatever is directed to an end must needs be commensurate with the end, as, for instance, medicine is commensurate with health, as the Philosopher observes (Polit. i, 6). External goods come under the head of things useful for an end, as stated above (II-II:117:3; I-II:02:1). Hence it must needs be that man's good in their respect consists in a certain measure, in other words, that 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." It is therefore evident that covetousness is a sin.

Article 4. Whether covetousness is always a mortal sin?

On the contrary, A gloss on 1 Corinthians 3:12, "If any man build upon this foundation," says (cf. St. Augustine, De Fide et Oper. xvi) that "he builds wood, hay, stubble, who thinks in the things of the world, how he may please the world," which pertains to the sin of covetousness. Now he that builds wood, hay, stubble, sins not mortally but venially, for it is said of him that "he shall be saved, yet so as by fire." Therefore covetousness is some times a venial sin.

I answer that, As stated above (Article 3) covetousness is twofold. On one way it is opposed to justice, and thus it is a mortal sin in respect of its genus. For in this sense covetousness consists in the unjust taking or retaining of another's property, and this belongs to theft or robbery, which are mortal sins, as stated above (II-II:66:8). Yet venial sin may occur in this kind of covetousness by reason of imperfection of the act, as stated above (II-II:66:6 ad 3), when we were treating of theft.

In another way covetousness may be take as opposed to liberality: in which sense it denotes inordinate love of riches. Accordingly if the love of riches becomes so great as to be preferred to charity, in such wise that a man, through love of riches, fear not to act counter to the love of God and his neighbor, covetousness will then be a mortal sin. If, on the other hand, the inordinate nature of his love stops short of this, so that although he love riches too much, yet he does not prefer the love of them to the love of God, and is unwilling for the sake of riches to do anything in opposition to God or his neighbor, then covetousness is a venial sin.

Quote from: Summa Theologica, First Part of the Second Part, Question 84
Article 1. Whether covetousness is the root of all sins?

On the contrary, The Apostle says (1 Timothy 6:10): "The desire of money is the root of all evil."

I answer that, According to some, covetousness may be understood in different ways. First, as denoting inordinate desire for riches: and thus it is a special sin. Secondly, as denoting inordinate desire for any temporal good: and thus it is a genus comprising all sins, because every sin includes an inordinate turning to a mutable good, as stated above (I-II:72:2). Thirdly, as denoting an inclination of a corrupt nature to desire corruptible goods inordinately: and they say that in this sense covetousness is the root of all sins, comparing it to the root of a tree, which draws its sustenance from earth, just as every sin grows out of the love of temporal things.

Now, though all this is true, it does not seem to explain the mind of the Apostle when he states that covetousness is the root of all sins. For in that passage he clearly speaks against those who, because they "will become rich, fall into temptation, and into the snare of the devil . . . for covetousness is the root of all evils." Hence it is evident that he is speaking of covetousness as denoting the inordinate desire for riches. Accordingly, we must say that covetousness, as denoting a special sin, is called the root of all sins, in likeness to the root of a tree, in furnishing sustenance to the whole tree. For we see that by riches man acquires the means of committing any sin whatever, and of sating his desire for any sin whatever, since money helps man to obtain all manner of temporal goods, according to Ecclesiastes 10:19: "All things obey money": so that in this desire for riches is the root of all sins.

Article 2. Whether pride is the beginning of every sin?

On the contrary, It is written (Sirach 10:15): "Pride is the beginning of all sin."

I answer that, Some say pride is to be taken in three ways. First, as denoting inordinate desire to excel; and thus it is a special sin. Secondly, as denoting actual contempt of God, to the effect of not being subject to His commandment; and thus, they say, it is a generic sin. Thirdly, as denoting an inclination to this contempt, owing to the corruption of nature; and in this sense they say that it is the beginning of every sin, and that it differs from covetousness, because covetousness regards sin as turning towards the mutable good by which sin is, as it were, nourished and fostered, for which reason covetousness is called the "root"; whereas pride regards sin as turning away from God, to Whose commandment man refuses to be subject, for which reason it is called the "beginning," because the beginning of evil consists in turning away from God.

Now though all this is true, nevertheless it does not explain the mind of the wise man who said (Sirach 10:15): "Pride is the beginning of all sin." For it is evident that he is speaking of pride as denoting inordinate desire to excel, as is clear from what follows (verse 17): "God hath overturned the thrones of proud princes"; indeed this is the point of nearly the whole chapter. We must therefore say that pride, even as denoting a special sin, is the beginning of every sin. For we must take note that, in voluntary actions, such as sins, there is a twofold order, of intention, and of execution. In the former order, the principle is the end, as we have stated many times before (I-II:1:1 ad 1; I-II:18:7 ad 2; I-II:15:1 ad 2; I-II:25:2). Now man's end in acquiring all temporal goods is that, through their means, he may have some perfection and excellence. Therefore, from this point of view, pride, which is the desire to excel, is said to be the "beginning" of every sin. On the other hand, in the order of execution, the first place belongs to that which by furnishing the opportunity of fulfilling all desires of sin, has the character of a root, and such are riches; so that, from this point of view, covetousness is said to be the "root" of all evils, as stated above (Article 1).