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Catholic Dictionary




Sluggishness of soul or boredom because of the exertion necessary for the performance of a good work. The good work may be a corporal task, such as walking; or a mental exercise, such as writing; or a spiritual duty, such as prayer. Implicit in sloth is the unwillingness to exert oneself in the performance of duty because of the sacrifice and the effort required. As a sin, it is not to be confused with mere sadness over the inconvenience involved in fulfillin one's obligations, nor with the indeliberate feelings of repugnance when faced with unpleasant work. It becomes sinful when the reluctance is allowed to influence the will and, as a result, what should have been done is either left undone or performed less well than a person is responsible for doing. Sloth may also mean a repugnance to divine inpirations or the friendship of God due to the self-sacrifice and labor needed to co-operate with actual grace or to remain in the state of grace. This kind of laziness is directly opposed to the love of god and is one of the main reasons why some people, perhaps after years of virtuous living, give up on the pursuit of holiness or even become estranged from God. (Etym. Middle-English slowthe, slow.)