Life in Christ
Sin creates a proclivity to sin; it engenders vice by repeti-
tion of the same acts. This results in perverse inclinations which
cloud conscience and corrupt the concrete judgment of good and
evil. Thus sin tends to reproduce itself and reinforce itself, but it
cannot destroy the moral sense at its root.
Vices can be classified according to the virtues they op-
pose, or also be linked to the
which Christian experience
has distinguished, following St. John Cassian and St. Gregory the
Great. They are called “capital” because they engender other sins,
They are pride, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony,
and sloth or acedia.
The catechetical tradition also recalls that there are “
that cry to heaven
”: 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,
injustice to the wage earner.
Sin is a personal act. Moreover, we have a responsibility
for the sins committed by others when
we cooperate in them:
by participating directly and voluntarily in them;
by ordering, advising, praising, or approving them;
by not disclosing or not hindering them when we have an
obligation to do so;
by protecting evil-doers.
Thus sin makes men accomplices of one another and
causes concupiscence, violence, and injustice to reign among them.
Sins give rise to social situations and institutions that are contrary
to the divine goodness. “Structures of sin” are the expression and
effect of personal sins. They lead their victims to do evil in their
turn. In an analogous sense, they constitute a “social sin.”
138 Cf. St. Gregory the Great,
Moralia in Job,
31, 45: PL 76, 621A.
144 John Paul II,