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Life in Christ

457

V.

T

he

P

roliferation of

S

in

1865

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.

1866

Vices can be classified according to the virtues they op-

pose, or also be linked to the

capital sins

which Christian experience

has distinguished, following St. John Cassian and St. Gregory the

Great. They are called “capital” because they engender other sins,

other vices.

138

They are pride, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony,

and sloth or acedia.

1867

The catechetical tradition also recalls that there are “

sins

that cry to heaven

”: the blood of Abel,

139

the sin of the Sodomites,

140

the cry of the people oppressed in Egypt,

141

the cry of the foreigner,

the widow, and the orphan,

142

injustice to the wage earner.

143

1868

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.

1869

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.”

144

138 Cf. St. Gregory the Great,

Moralia in Job,

31, 45: PL 76, 621A.

139 Cf.

Gen

4:10.

140 Cf.

Gen

18:20; 19:13.

141 Cf.

Ex

3:7-10.

142 Cf.

Ex

20:20-22.

143 Cf.

Deut

24:14-15;

Jas

5:4.

144 John Paul II,

RP

16.

401

1768

2539

2268

1736

408

1887