Catholic Dictionary




An excessive or insatiable desire for money or material things. In its strict sense, avarice is the inordinate holding on to possessions or riches instead of using these material things for some worthwhile purpose. Reluctance to let go of what a person owns is also avarice.

Of itself, avarice is venially sinful. But it may become mortal when a person is ready to use gravely unlawful means to acquire or hold on to his possessions, or when because of his cupidity he seriously violates his duty of justice or charity. (Etym. Latin avaritia, greediness, covetousness, avarice.)