Moderation vs. gluttony

What is the difference between gluttony and eating in moderation?

It seems confusing now as to what really constitues gluttony/overindulgence today.

I mean, without being a health fanatic about it…

So what do you think?

1809 Temperance is the moral virtue that moderates the attraction of pleasures and provides balance in the use of created goods. It ensures the will’s mastery over instincts and keeps desires within the limits of what is honorable. the temperate person directs the sensitive appetites toward what is good and maintains a healthy discretion: "Do not follow your inclination and strength, walking according to the desires of your heart."72 Temperance is often praised in the Old Testament: "Do not follow your base desires, but restrain your appetites."73 In the New Testament it is called “moderation” or “sobriety.” We ought "to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world."74


Well, if you’re eating so much in general, or so much of the wrong kind of thing, that you’re damaging your health, then you are probably guilty of gluttony.

Prudence, temperance and reason…

I think once you feel satisfied, you are supposed to stop eating. If you go on to stuff yourself, you are doing so for pleasure, not need for food and then it could be gluttony. I still struggle with it at times.

I think it would only possibly be a fault and not a sin if we were to eat a little more than necessary for enjoyment’s sake (especially on thanksgiving! ;)). It would pass into venial sin territory I think only when eat so much we risk damaging our health.

God or the Church does not say we should eat for nutrition alone or only until satisfied. If so then Catholics would not be allowed to eat cake, ice cream, cookies, chocolate or any other food that really has no nutritional value. Pleasure is not a bad thing. Inordinate seeking of pleasure over time for purely selfish reasons is.

Modern Catholic Dictionary:

GLUTTONY. Inordinate desire for the pleasure connected with food or drink. This desire may become sinful in various ways: by eating or drinking far more than a person needs to maintain bodily strength; by glutting one’s taste for certain kinds of food with known detriment to health; by indulging the appetite for exquisite food or drink, especially when these are beyond one’s ability to afford a luxurious diet; by eating or drinking too avidly, i.e., ravenously; by consuming alcoholic beverages to the point of losing full control of one’s reasoning powers. Intoxication that ends in complete loss of reason is a mortal sin if brought on without justification, e.g., for medical reasons. (Etym. Latin glutire, to devour.)

MODERATION. The balanced use of what is naturally agreeable, whether to the body or spirit. It is the conscious control of one’s desires in order to use some human power to the best advantage of oneself or someone else.

TEMPERANCE. The virtue that moderates the desire for pleasure. In the widest sense, temperance regulates every form of enjoyment that comes from the exercise of a human power or faculty, e.g., purely spiritual joy arising from intellectual activity or even the consolations experienced in prayer and emotional pleasure produced by such things as pleasant music or the sight of a beautiful scene. In the strict sense, however, temperance is the correlative of fortitude. As fortitude controls rashness and fear in the face of the major pains that threaten to unbalance human nature, so temperance controls desire for major pleasures. Since pleasure follows from all natural activity, it is most intense when associated with our most natural activities. On the level of sense feeling, they are the pleasures that serve the individual person through food and drink, and the human race through carnal intercourse. Temperance mainly refers to these appetites. (Etym. Latin temperare, to apportion, regulate, qualify.)

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