Catholic Answers

Search Articles


Search Scans
Scans by volume
Random Article
Login - advanced access


1,001 Saints
List of Popes
Art Gallery
Map Room


Church Hierarchy
Church History - to 1517 A.D.
Hagiography - saints
Homiletics - sermons
Mariology - on Mary
Religious Orders
Sacred Scripture

Front Matter — Vol I

Title Page
Copyright & Imprimatur
To the Knights of Columbus
Tables of Abbreviations

Site Status

Updated:  Aug 12, 2013
prev: Covenanters Covenanters Diocese of Covington next: Diocese of Covington


Generally, an unreasonable desire for what we do not possess

High Resolution Scan ———————————

Login or register to access high resolution scans and other advanced features.

Registration is Free!

Errata* for Covetousness:

Login or register to access the errata and other advanced features.

Registration is Free!

* Published by Encyclopedia Press, 1913.

Covetousness, generally, an unreasonable desire for what we do not possess. In this sense, it differs from concupiscence only in the implied notion of non-possession, and thus may cover all things which are sought after inordinately. Classified under this general head, we may have covetousness of honors, or pride; of the flesh, or concupiscence properly so called; of riches, or covetousness proper (Lat. avaritia), or avarice. When covetousness of the flesh or of wealth has for its object that which is already the lawful possession of another, it falls under the ban of the Ninth or Tenth Commandment of God; and such desires, willfully indulged, partake, as we are told by the Lord (Matt., v), in their malice, of the nature of the external acts themselves. For he who deliberately desires the possession of another man's lawful wife or goods has already in his heart committed the sin of adultery or theft. In its specific meaning, covetousness looks to riches in themselves, whether of money or of property, whether possessed or not, and pertains less to their acquisition than to their possession or accumulation. Thus defined, it is numbered among the sins which are called capital, because it is, as St. Paul says (Tim., vi), a radix omnium peccatorum.

The capital sin of covetousness is in reality rather a vice or inclination to sin, which is sinful only in that it proceeds from the unholy condition of original sin in which we are born, and because it leads us into sin. And so far is the desire—natural in us all—to acquire and hold possessions from being reproved as offensive by God, that, if kept within the bounds of reason and justice and resisted triumphantly in its inordinate cravings, it is positively meritorious. Even when indulged, covetousness is not a grievous sin, except in certain conditions which involve offense of God or the neighbor, e.g. when one is prepared to employ, or does actually employ, illicit or unjust means to satisfy the desire of riches, holds to them in defiance of the strict demands of justice or charity, makes them the end rather than the means of happiness, or suffers them to interfere seriously with ones bounden duty to God or man. Nourished and developed into an unrestricted habit, it becomes the fruitful mother of all manner of perfidy, heartlessness and unrest.


discuss this article | send to a friend

Discussion on 'Covetousness'

prev: Covenanters Covenanters Diocese of Covington next: Diocese of Covington

Report translation problem

*Description: Copy and paste the phrase with the problem or describe how the trascription can be fixed.
  * denotes required field


Art Gallery
Art Gallery

Catholic Q & A

Popular Subjects
Top 20 Questions

Ask A Faith Question

Quotable Catholics RSS

"The longer it lasts the better it will be."
-- Theo Venard, Blessed, missionary priest, martyr in China; to his executioner, who had just asked Venard what he would give to be killed quickly because the executioner coveted Venard's clothing. Fr. Venard was beheaded.


Latest OCE Discussion

Your usage constitutes agreement with User License :: Permissions :: Copyright © 2015, Catholic Answers.
Site last updated Aug 12, 2013