Catechism of the Catholic Church

Life in Christ 607 2537 It is not a violation of this commandment to desire to obtain things that belong to one’s neighbor, provided this is done by just means. Traditional catechesis realistically mentions “those who have a harder struggle against their criminal desires” and so who “must be urged the more to keep this commandment”: . . . merchants who desire scarcity and rising prices, who cannot bear not to be the only ones buying and selling so that they themselves can sell more dearly and buy more cheaply; those who hope that their peers will be impoverished, in order to realize a profit either by selling to them or buying from them . . . physicians who wish disease to spread; lawyers who are eager for many important cases and tri­ als. 322 2538 The tenth commandment requires that envy be banished from the human heart. When the prophet Nathan wanted to spur King David to repentance, he told him the story about the poor man who had only one ewe lamb that he treated like his own daughter and the rich man who, despite the great number of his flocks, envied the poor man and ended by stealing his lamb. 323 Envy can lead to the worst crimes. 324 “Through the devil’s envy death en­ tered the world”: 325 We fight one another, and envy arms us against one an­ other. . . . If everyone strives to unsettle the Body of Christ, where shall we end up? We are engaged in making Christ’s Body a corpse. . . . We declare ourselves members of one and the same organism, yet we devour one another like beasts. 326 2539 Envy is a capital sin. It refers to the sadness at the sight of another’s goods and the immoderate desire to acquire them for oneself, even unjustly. When it wishes grave harm to a neighbor it is a mortal sin: St. Augustine saw envy as “ the diabolical sin.” 327 “From envy are born hatred, detraction, calumny, joy caused by the misfortune of a neighbor, and displeasure caused by his prosperity.” 328 322 Roman Catechism, III, 37. 323 Cf. 2 Sam 12:1-4. 324 Cf. Gen 4:3-7; 1 Kings 21:1-29. 325 Wis 2:24. 326 St. John Chrysostom, Hom. in 2 Cor. 27, 3-4: PG 61, 588. 327 Cf. St. Augustine, De catechizandis rudibus 4, 8: PL 40, 315-316. 328 St. Gregory the Great, Moralia in Job 31, 45: PL 76, 621. 2317 391 1866