Deadly Sin


Sloth, we are told, is a deadly sin; is depression merely a modern, apologetic word for sloth, or is there actually a condition of the mind which ameliorates sinfulness?


One must distinguish between “sloth” the deadly sin and say depression…

So on one hand one has say a emotional disorder and on the other hand one has that which is a sin.

Depression per se does not = sloth.

Now as to the term “deadly”

To borrow from my previous post:

The term “deadly” --often confuses persons.

Such is simply not the case that deadly sins/capital sins = grave matter .

For example --the chief of them is Pride. Pride yes can be grave matter --like a person says I do not need God. But often in the life of say a Christian it is venial matter (sinning in pride in other ways…)

Anger can be grave matter – like for example --when one is deliberately angry -seeking to say seriously harm someone.

Or seriously wounding charity or justice…

But often it can be venial in life. One gets a little angry that something did not go the way one wanted…etc

or take gluttony – individual acts of such by way of intemperance are often venial in nature.

Though for example one can have grave matter --for example getting drunk where one looses ones reason…etc.

So no it is not a simple: Deadly sins -Capital sins = grave matter.

Of course sins under lust – like fornication, lusting after some woman, adultery etc do not admit of parvity of matter.

A better term is “capital sins”. They are called Capital cause they are the “head” capitus of many other sins that they engender…(and deadly cause yes the seven can be deadly…)

But the term used more so today is capital sins.


1866 Vices can be classified according to the virtues they oppose, or also be linked to the capital sins which Christian experience has distinguished, following St. John Cassian and St. Gregory the Great. They are called “capital” because they engender other sins, other vices. They are pride, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth or acedia.

  1. What are vices?


Vices are the opposite of virtues. They are perverse habits which darken the conscience and incline one to evil. The vices can be linked to the seven, so-called, capital sins which are: pride, avarice, envy, anger, lust, gluttony, and sloth or acedia.…um-ccc_en.html


Also, in a way, sloth doesn’t necessarily mean laziness in the normal sense. It’s more in terms of spiritual matters. Being lazy in spiritual matters can lead one down a dangerous road. The seven deadly sins aren’t necessarily mortal sins in and of themselves, it’s the things that they lead to which can kill (the spirit).

This can applied to any of these sins in some capacity. Even lust which many would say is an automatic grave sin has layers. Someone can lust for their wife and not be at fault unless they lust to just use her rather than uniting in the marital embrace. However, to lust for another woman once married is a grave offense (as Jesus says). At the same time, an unmarried man can technically lust for a woman, but if he doesn’t act upon that or let these thoughts linger and control him, does he commit a grave sin? I think not.


Sloth and depression are two different issues. Depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain.


All good answers, and food for thought. However, I suppose the question I’m really asking is, with the mental health industry prescribing pills and therapy for any blue day you might have, how often are we diagnosed with (or, indeed, diagnose ourselves with) depression of variable profundity when what we’re really suffering from is actually good old fashioned sloth?


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit