September 22, 1999

Seven Deadly Sins FAQ

What People Ask About the Seven Deadly Sins

Are the Seven Deadly Sins considered Catholic dogma?

The list (as it is) originated in the Catholic Church, with Pope St. Gregory the Great, but it is really more of a help for spiritual progress than a doctrine. The Gospel already covers them all very well, and so does the whole Bible, and countless books. The Seven Deadly Sins is just a very short list that is easy to understand and apply. That doesn’t mean we worship Greed if we want to, only that the Gospel already says it is bad, and this was revealed long before this list was made. That is another way of looking at it, too: this list is not a new revelation, only a condensed version of what had already been said very clearly.

Why are the Seven Deadly Sins considered “deadly”?

They are called “deadly” because they wound love, and therefore do great harm to our relationship with God and others. Eventually, they can kill the soul, in a sense. And they aren’t much fun to live with, either.

What colors are associated with the Seven Deadly Sins?


Although some artists have used specific colors, there does not appear to be an artistic rule for this. We often associate green with Envy, but colors are such wonderful things that it seems a shame to associate them with sins. All the sins should probably get the dingy colors, though, because they are pretty boring.

What animals are associated with the Seven Deadly Sins?

Sorry, same answer. There doesn’t seem to be any sort of consistent pattern here. Maybe a pig for Gluttony, a peacock for Pride? Maybe a Pride of Lions.

Too much virtue is bad and not enough vice is bad. Please tell everyone this.

(Not really a question.) Early Christians and Greek philosophers would disagree. If you can have too much, it isn’t an instrinsic good. When people talk about “too much love,” they really mean the “wrong kind of love,” which isn’t love at all. Obsessive self destruction, maybe, but not love. In the same way, some people claim a certain amount of Pride is good. Again, there is no basis for this in the Scriptures or Church teaching. Pride was the downfall of Lucifer, the first humans and their children. Oedipus’ overweaning Pride destroyed him and those around him. Over and over again, Pride causes grief. Why would we want to defend it? Then again, some people keep dangerous pets that eventually eat their child (or their neighbor’s) so it must be (fallen) human nature to “sow the seeds of our own destruction.” The same for Gluttony or Anger. In what way are these ever positives? Righteous anger may appear to be an exception, but the vice of Anger is common, self-centered and destructive, while righteous anger is rare, centers on justice and others’ rights, and is cleansing. Jesus clearing the Temple is an example of righteous anger. Most of us will never experience it.

I think that you would have to be completely unhuman to keep within the boundaries of the seven deadly sins. If you know anyone tell them i admire them.

Actually, almost everyone is within the bounds of the Seven Deadly Sins. The hard part is escaping them, and being free, even for a moment. Lots of people think virtue is being bound and sin is liberating. Captives don’t really understand freedom until they have a taste of it; they will never be content with slavery after tasting freedom. In the same way, I’ve had enough freedom now to know I can never go back to my former way of life. I admire Jesus partly because it is great to see someone that is totally free. I love him because he shares his freedom with me.

I know I have seen the seven deadly sins listed together in one sentence in the bible. Do you know where in the bible?

They never occur as in this list.


Hi….i’m doing research for our school Christian Club, KFC (Kids For Christ), and, during a group discussion, it came up that God said “For I, the Lordyour Fod, am a jealous God..” which was responded to by “but what about the Seven Deadly Sins? Isn’t one of them jelousy” which was answered by “i thought the Seven Deadly Sins were written by Catholics?” What I’m asking is did the Catholics write the Seven Deadly Sins? And if they are written in the bible, can you tell me where? This will solve much confusion if you can please answer this question, and if there’s any proof, could you also send that? Thank you!!! God Bless You!!! Sincerely, one of His children

Hi, thanks for writing! Yes, the Seven Deadlies were originated by Pope St. Gregory the Great. You can read about him at: He was familiar with an early list made by St. John Cassian, and both men (and many others) had been thinking about the basic attitudes behind sin for some time. They used their own experience in the light of Scripture, coupled with a great deal of prayer and meditation. The seven deadlies were used as a framework for self examination. The list does not exist in Scripture as such, but all seven are proscribed throughout, especially in the Epistles of St. Paul and James. You can verify this by searching in As you’ve noticed, jealousy is not on the list. Perhaps this is because “romantic” love as practiced today (i.e. dating) didn’t exist at that time. In any case, God can be “jealous” because He alone has the right, as the Creator. When people are jealous, they are claiming to own someone, and are upset that someone else “owns” them. The best documentation for the origin would be to check the Catholic Catechism, or read “Moralia in Job” by Pope St. Gregory the Great. (31, 45: PL 76, 621A) Feel free to write anytime, especially about what Catholics believe. I can answer just about anything, give reference materials, and I’m never offended by any question!

hey!! thanx so much, all that info helped a lot, and i loved the way you left websites so i could do further research and proof. It all helped a lot!! Thanx again!!! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Ashlie


I wanted to right and thank you for your work on the Seven Deadly Sins pages. I am not of the Catholic faith, but I have been curious for some time about the basis for these explicit seven, which I have been told are not Biblical. The explications that I have seen on your pages are more than satisfactory, and I have been pondering your writing, and referred texts, a good deal over these past few days. I have a couple of Protestant friends who I know will be very interested in perusing your site as well, and I will refer them shortly. I pray for your continued ministry.

Hi, thanks for writing! I’m grateful that you found something useful, and please let me know if I can be of service again. Questions are always welcome, as are your prayers.

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