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The Seven Capital Sins

The Church recognizes seven capital sins. "Capital" refers to the ability of these personal sins to encourage and stimulate other sins and vices. According to the Catechism, they are "pride, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth or acedia" (1866).

The "sins that cry to heaven"

The Church recognizes five sins that "cry to heaven." Significantly, they all refer to social sin. They are "the blood of Abel, the sin of the Sodomites, the cry of the people oppressed in Egypt, the cry of the foreigner, the widow, and the orphan, and injustice to the wage earner" (Catechism 1867).

Social effects of personal sin

Section 1868 of the Catechism notes four situations by which humans gain some measure of responsibility for the sins of others. This happens when "we cooperate in them" by protecting the wicked, or by not revealing and/or not stopping, and/or not delaying others when "we are under obligation to do so," also by "ordering, advising, praising, approving" or by joining in the wickedness.

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