Gluttony catholic

Gluttony Gluttony

• The excessive indulgence in food and drink

Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006.



     Catholic_Encyclopedia ► Gluttony

    (From Lat.


, to swallow, to gulp down), the excessive indulgence in food and drink. The moral deformity discernible in this vice lies in its defiance of the order postulated by reason, which prescribes necessity as the measure of indulgence in eating and drinking. This deordination, according to the teaching of the Angelic Doctor, may happen in five ways which are set forth in the scholastic verse: “Prae-propere, laute, nimis, ardenter, studiose” or, according to the apt rendering of Father Joseph Rickably: too soon, too expensively, too much, too eagerly, too daintily. Clearly one who uses food or drink in such a way as to injure his health or impair the mental equipment needed for the discharge of his duties, is guilty of the sin of gluttony. It is incontrovertible that to eat or drink for the mere pleasure of the experience, and for that exclusively, is likewise to commit the sin of gluttony. Such a temper of soul is equivalently the direct and positive shutting out of that reference to our last end which must be found, at least implicitly, in all our actions. At the same time it must be noted that there is no obligation to formerly and explicitly have before one’s mind a motive which will immediately relate our actions to


. It is enough that such an intention should be implied in the apprehension of the thing as lawful with a consequent virtual submission to Almighty God. Gluttony is in general a venial sin in so far forth as it is an undue indulgence in a thing which is in itself neither good nor bad. Of course it is obvious that a different estimate would have to be given of one so wedded to the pleasures of the table as to absolutely and without qualification live merely to eat and drink, so minded as to be of the number of those, described by the Apostle St. Paul, “whose god is their belly” (Phil., iii, 19). Such a one would be guilty of mortal sin. Likewise a person who, by excesses in eating and drinking, would have greatly impaired his health, or unfitted himself for duties for the performance of which he has a grave obligation, would be justly chargeable with mortal sin. St. John of the Cross, in his work “The Dark Night of the Soul” (I, vi), dissects what he calls spiritual gluttony. He explains that it is the disposition of those who, in prayer and other acts of religion, are always in search of sensible sweetness; they are those who “will feel and taste


, as if he were palpable and accessible to them not only in Communition but in all their other acts of devotion.” This he declares is a very great imperfection and productive of great evils.


    Transcribed by Joseph P. Thomas

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VIII. — New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat. 1910.

Catholic encyclopedia.

Synonyms :

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Gluttony — グラトニー (Guratonī) Sexo Masculino Primera aparición Capítulo 2 (manga) Episodio 1 (Full Metal Alchemist) Episodio 3 (Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood) Fullmetal Alchemist (manga) …   Wikipedia Español

  • Gluttony — Glut ton*y, n.; pl. {Gluttonies}. Excess in eating; extravagant indulgence of the appetite for food; voracity. Their sumptuous gluttonies, and gorgeous feasts. Milton. …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • gluttony — index greed Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • gluttony — (n.) c.1200, glutunie, from O.Fr. glutonie, from gluton glutton (see GLUTTON (Cf. glutton)). Gluttonry recorded from late 12c …   Etymology dictionary

  • gluttony — ► NOUN ▪ habitual greed or excess in eating …   English terms dictionary

  • gluttony — n. pl. gluttonies the habit or act of eating too much …   English World dictionary

  • Gluttony — Homunculus de Fullmetal Alchemist Pour les articles homonymes, voir Homoncule. Les Homunculus sont des personnages du manga et de l anime Fullmetal Alchemist (鋼の錬金術師, Hagane no Renkinjutsushi?) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Gluttony — Derived from the Latin gluttire , meaning to gulp down or swallow, gluttony is the over indulgence and over consumption of food, drink, or intoxicants to the point of waste. In some Christian denominations, it is considered one of the seven… …   Wikipedia

  • Gluttony — (Roget s Thesaurus) < N PARAG:Gluttony >N GRP: N 1 Sgm: N 1 gluttony gluttony Sgm: N 1 greed greed Sgm: N 1 greediness greediness &c. >Adj. Sgm: N 1 voracity voracity GRP: N 2 Sgm: N 2 epicurism …   English dictionary for students

  • gluttony — I (New American Roget s College Thesaurus) Insatiable appetite Nouns 1. gluttony, gluttonousness, hunger, hoggishness; greed, greediness; voracity, rapacity, edacity, crapulence; epicurism; good or high living; guzzling; good cheer, blowout;… …   English dictionary for students




Inordinate desire for the pleasure connected with food or drink. This desire may become sinful in various ways: by eating or drinking far more than a person needs to maintain bodily strength; by glutting one’s taste for certain kinds of food with known detriment to health; by indulging the appetite for exquisite food or drink, especially when these are beyond one’s ability to afford a luxurious diet; by eating or drinking too avidly, i.e., ravenously; by consuming alcoholic beverages to the point of losing full control on one’s reasoning powers. Intoxication that ends in complete loss of reason is a mortal sin if brought on without justification, e.g., for medical reasons. (Etym. Latin glutire, to devour.)

This was one of those words that I never really knew the definition of. When I was little, I remember watching a show on the Food Network called “Glutton for Punishment”, in which this man goes around the United States and does all these dirty jobs, to be rewarded with these very decadent meals. This only explained to me that gluttony=decadence. Why wouldn’t I want to enjoy a really good meal? Whey would anyone make food taste good if I wasn’t supposed to enjoy it?

As I got older, I was still very in the dark about the true definition of the word. This made it extremely hard to avoid the sin…I mean, how are you supposed to catch the criminal if you have no clues about his identity? If you search the definition of gluttony, it talks about habitual greed and excess in eating. Is that it? Was one of the rules God set out for us just to not take a fourth plate at the buffet?

That can’t be right.

What I get from putting two and two together is that everything is good in moderation, and that I should never enjoy too much of something, supposedly because I should be thinking about those who don’t get any of what I have, and I should have a moral enough mind for me to feel bad about this fact.

What I’ve come to realize is that our society runs on these seven sins, with gluttony being the most prominent one. Everywhere you look, society is telling you that you need more. More food for a better deal, more money, more time. More, more, MORE.

This is why I find it so hard to avoid gluttony. I think it is so hard to find that middle ground between living the life of a nun who has nothing and a millionaire who has everything and needs more. I’m stuck in the middle and not being able to achieve this makes me feel like I am a little worthless because I can’t live up to a nun.

But God doesn’t want me to feel worthless….

I’m so totally confused.

“We  overcome after a fashion, perhaps, our serious and dangerous vices, but  there it stops. The small desires we freely let grow as they will. We  neither embezzle nor steal, but delight in gossiping; we do not “drink,” but consume immoderate quantities of tea and coffee instead. The heart  remains quite full of appetites: the roots are not pulled out and we  wander around in the tanglewoods that have sprung up in the soil of our  self-pity.”

– Tito Colliander, The Way of the Ascetics

Thus far, most of the seven deadly sins I have spoken of have seemed to be the more obviously deadly ones – but this sin, gluttony, is not one that is given much notice these days.  And yet it is, along with lust, one of the most pervasive of sins in Western culture.

Gluttony is never being quite content with what we have, always wanting more (not in the sense of greed, on which I shall speak later), filling not only our stomachs but our entire lives with excess and still wanting more.  It bloats and distracts the soul, causing us to form idols out of things we think we “need”, and helps us avoid reality by filling our lives with distractions (think shopping or eating as a “cure” for sadness).  What we actually need has been replaced by want we think we need, what we think we want.  But our hearts can only be restless until they rest in God. (cf. Confessions of St. Augustine)

Nevertheless, we see a kind of insatiable hunger to fill the void that only God can fill with anything and everything else.  Even the way we eat in the West is often bordering on the ridiculous – we cram our bellies with as much food as we can, in as short a time as we can, and yet give our bodies no time to even digest what they have been given.  We pile our closets full of clothes we never wear, and all manner of other things of this kind.  “To want simply what is enough nowadays suggests to people primitiveness and squalor.”1 (Seneca)

The cure for the sin of gluttony is moderation – we eat to live, not live to eat, and this maxim can be extended to all other material things in life.  “Food is to be taken in so far as it supports our life, but not to the extent of enslaving us to the impulses of desire.”2 (St. John Cassian)  A good example is in drinking – I enjoy a good ale just as much as anyone else, but there is an obvious difference between enjoying a drink, and getting drunk.

But it might be asked, why write so alarmingly of such seemingly harmless things?  Simply because “gluttony engenders love of pleasure and many other passions as well.  It is the root from which the rest of the passions spring up in vigorous growth…”3  In other words, if we indulge our bodies in such ways as I have mentioned above, we will find that the sins of lust and greed will not be far behind, for these too are indulgences of the body.

Of course, it is prudent to mention once again, moderation.  We are not to starve ourselves immoderately, to never enjoy life, and all the rest of it.  But over-indulgence in even the little things an cause us to erect all kinds of idols in our lives that can distract us from God, and lead us into sin.  Therefore, “Just as a horseman, before setting out on a race, bridles his spirited horse, so we, to take this road, must impose on our flesh the strong bridle of mortification, so as to bring under control all appetites and movements.”4 (Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary-Magdalen)Common sense alone teaches us this – it is not peculiar to the Christian faith.  If I drink too much alcohol, I will become drunk, senseless, and sick.  If I eat too much at a meal, I will become loagy and sick to my stomach.  If I drink too much coffee, I will get the shakes and a headache.  These are small and simple reminders that gluttony is not the way our bodies were intended to be treated.

But it is not only moderation that is a solid weapon against the sin of gluttony – we also may make use of another, the practice of fasting.  Fasting does not only mean giving up certain foods (i.e. red meats on Fridays), but also giving up many other things that we love, for the love of Christ and in order to maintain our gaze solely on Him.  “It is impossible for us to carry our cross well and get through the temptation of the devil, the ordeal of the world, and the oppression of evil without fasting on the Mount of Temptation.”5 (Matthew the Poor)  But fasting should always “be moderate so as not to attract attention and not to deprive us of strength to fulfill the rule of prayer.”6 (Theophan the Recluse)  “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they  disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.” (Matt. 6:16)

1 – Letter XC

2 – Institutes, “On the Eight Vices”

3 – Ascetic Discourse

4 – Divine Intimacy, 296

5 – The Communion of Love, 111-112

6 – The Art of Prayer: An Orthodox Anthology, 217

Оценка 5 проголосовавших: 3


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here