Envy, the Second Deadliest Sin

Catholic Stand, Hunter Leonard:
The Second Deadliest Sin

In my experience, the vice of envy is often explained merely as a worse version of jealousy. It might seem that envy is just another way to explain the sin of wanting what others have – envying their possessions. This is not, however, a complete or accurate explanation of this deadly vice.

St. Thomas Aquinas pithily describes envy as sorrow for another’s good. This is such a succinct but powerful description of envy and a feeling that many of us have probably experienced.

When hearing the good news of others – the promotion of a colleague, a friend’s engagement, a sibling’s success – envy leads us to sorrow, frustration, or anger at this news. It is the vice of envy that causes us to be unhappy when someone else is experiencing joy.

While the sin of jealousy craves the success or possessions or experiences of another, envy agonizes that it belongs to them in the first place. Jealousy sees the success of another and says, ‘I want that for myself.’ Envy sees the success of another and says, ‘I don’t want them to have that.’ Read here in full.