Pride as a deadly sin

I saw the post on gluttony and didn’t want to derail it with my thoughts, but I have always wondered about pride as a deadly sin. Folks say “I am proud of you” all the time to their kids…is that sinful? The local Catholic HS says “Crusader Pride” as there moto (not sure if moto is the right word, but you get the idea.) Why isn’t that sinful?

Pride can be deadly if it leads to Mortal Sin. This kind of pride is about how humans think they know better than God.

To add my thoughts, and I am not even sure I agree with myself!, I do think both are sinful. I think both have an element of my child/school is better than. I think in both instances it can lead to valueing others less; others don’t deserve as much, others don’t work as hard, others aren’t as “blessed”.

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The sinful pride is arrogance and elevating self, whereas being proud of somebody else is selfless… assuming you’re pride originates in the good and not in the evil or another.


While I get what you are saying, you really only take pride in something that you are involved/related to somehow? So, in a sense, all pride is elevating the self?

Let’s suppose you love somebody (as you should love everyone) and they go out and make an effort to achieve something good. You feel proud of them and their effort, so I’m not sure how that would be self interest.





Contemplating on Scriptures relating on the sin of pride is very edifying. This parable particularly drives Jesus teaching home.

Luke 18 9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.”

My mothers expressions of pride in our achievements always contained a prayer of thanks to God. It was a great lesson which I’ve done with my children also to orient those natural feelings of pride in self or others, always towards the grace of God.

Obviously there is more than one meaning to the word “pride”.

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When you evaluate the Seven Deadlies you should always start first and foremost with how they relate to our relationship with God. God is more powerful, wiser, and kinder than we are and we should always keep Him at the center of our lives. Pride is the sin of pushing Him from that centerpoint by falsely elevating our own worth (counterpoint with sloth, the sin that pushes him from that centerpoint by denying His ability to work changes in our lives).

It is important to note, though, that Pride is not a sin of recognizing that we have worth. He clearly thinks that we do and elevating our opinion above His would itself be pride. We know that we have gifts that we are supposed to use for His glory and that others do to. Humility is not self abasement or the denial of capability or accomplishment, humility is the virtue of deferring to God and of recognizing His hand in our actions.

When you express pleasure or satisfaction in your children’s accomplishments, you are observing and taking satisfaction in real things. You are reinforcing them in the way they are living. Humility is grounded in that reality…it has a healthy sense of the way things are. Humility is literally to be well grounded.

Pride elevates the self to an unrealistic position. The deadly sin of pride puts one’s self before God. When you elevate yourself to God’s position, it becomes difficult to be a servant of God.
Hence “non-serviam” is the devil’s motto. “I will not serve” because I do not discern the difference between my self and God.

A linguistic observation : in my native language, French, “pride” as in “I am proud of you” would be translated as “fierté”. “Pride” as in “the sin of pride” would be translated as “orgueil”. They are not quite the same thing.

One of the differences I was taught between the two French concepts is that “orgueil” (mostly, but not always, sinful pride) compares respective worths in order to establish its superiority and doesn’t shy away from demeaning someone else, while “fierté” (mostly, but not always, non-sinful pride) simply affirms one’s or a loved one’s intrinsic worth, without looking to belittle others.

The parable quoted by @Emeraldlady above is a good example of “orgueil”.


That’s not the sinful kind of pride.
There’s a level of acceptable pride in society that we’re naturally supposed to express.

Telling your kid “I"m proud of you” is just expressing your approval, love and support. That kind of pride is okay.

Bragging about your kid excessively to everybody you meet would be the wrong kind of pride because it’s about promoting your own public image and showing off that you’re better than others because your kid is smarter or whatever.

Wearing a shirt that says “Proud to be Catholic” or “Crusader Pride” showing you go to the Catholic high school is just school spirit, which is an accepted custom for high school students. The students at the public school with the Wolverine mascot probably have a shirt that says “Wolverine Pride”, same thing.

Acting like you’re better than non-Catholics or better than the Wolverines would be the wrong kind of pride because again you’d be showing off like you’re better than them. You can cheer for your school while recognizing the other school’s students have just as much human dignity as you do and treating them accordingly.

The seven deadly sins are factors that are at the root of sin but not necessarily sins in and of themselves. Pride is not a sin when you’re thrilled about an accomplishment. It
becomes a sin when you let your ego get in the way of doing the right thing.


I like the different words approach. I think a lot of sinful pride is accepted in our society is non-sinful pride.

It is the only deadly sin that has an “acceptable” version and a “sinful” version?

The other local Catholic school has signs that they give to their families to put in their yards that say “Choose Excellence”. Sinful in your opinion? It seems to fall into the sinful pride that you describe above? Implicit in that seems to be the other schools aren’t exellent. I think a lot of sinful pride is accepted because the idea of “pride” isn’t explored as a place where humans fall down a lot.

These two different uses of the word pride are nothing alike.
Taking appropriate satisfaction in the excellence of a thing or an accomplishment is not sinful pride.

I think you are being overscrupulous. “Choose Excellence” is obviously touting the academic and behavioral aspects of the school. It’s advertising. By your standards it would seem that a Catholic person or institution could never advertise or market any business or product, could never be proud of their children or family, and would have to go around all day cringing in the mud repeating “I’m not worthy”.

There is a healthy level of self-worth and pride that is okay to have. When we go overboard with it, or forget to give glory to God, is when we start sinning.

It actually seems like you are in danger of sinning in the other direction - making such a big point out of how you’re not prideful that you set yourself apart from others and make like you’re better than them because you and you alone see how sinful it is to put a “Choose Excellence” sign promoting the Catholic school in your yard.

Please, speak to a priest.


Disagree. “choose excellence” implies that the other isn’t excellent. If both were “excellent”, there wouldn’t be a choice.

I don’t have a problem with it personally. I’m just trying to explore why one of the Catholic 7deadly sins it touted by a Catholic school and generally thought to be a good thing. This doesn’t hold true for any of the other 7. It just confused me a non-Catholic. Degree of “pride” doesn’t seem to be the complete answer to me. I lean more towards a previous poster saying that there should be two words, that the concepts aren’t the same between acceptable pride and sinful pride. I just thought it a topic worth exploring.

I wouldn’t say that there are acceptable and sinful versions of deadly sins. I see it rather as correctly understanding the terminology in a given context, knowing the nuances of a word and picking the right one.

Not necessarily. It affirms that this particular school is excellent, not that the others aren’t. Now if the sign said “Choose excellence rather than that sloppy so-called “school” across the street”, it would be another matter. But it is precisely what the sign doesn’t say, and assigning intentions we cannot be sure of is a tricky business, imo.

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