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What's The Difference Between Pride And Vanity?


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#1 Chamomile

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 03:17 PM

I've been wondering today, what's the difference between these two sins? Or are they the same? What's a good Catholic definition for both?

From just thinking about it and doing a teeny bit of research, it seems that pride would be the root sin of vanity (but then again, pride seems to be the root of all sins). I don't think I understand the distinctions between the two words.


Could vanity every outrank pride in its prevalence in one's life?

Most importantly, how does one rid oneself of vanity? I've always know humility to be the opposite virtue to pride, and it seems it would be the same for vanity.

Real-life examples of vanity (not looking in the mirror, as that one's obvious) would be helpful, too.



Thanks!





#2 CatherineM

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 06:36 PM

I've been wondering today, what's the difference between these two sins? Or are they the same? What's a good Catholic definition for both?

From just thinking about it and doing a teeny bit of research, it seems that pride would be the root sin of vanity (but then again, pride seems to be the root of all sins). I don't think I understand the distinctions between the two words.


Could vanity every outrank pride in its prevalence in one's life?

Most importantly, how does one rid oneself of vanity? I've always know humility to be the opposite virtue to pride, and it seems it would be the same for vanity.

Real-life examples of vanity (not looking in the mirror, as that one's obvious) would be helpful, too.



Thanks!

I'm sure someone else will give a more scholarly answer in regard to the deadly sins, but I can talk to real life vanity. I struggled with it for years when I was an attorney. I wore very expensive designer clothes, tailor made shoes, expensive bags, etc. I had not been raised with money, and my mother had always made our clothes for us and cut our hair. I went to school with wealthy kids, and I guess I had more envy of them than I realized. When I began to make good money, I went through it so fast in order to put forth this new persona. I told myself that it was to help my position in court, that juries would look at me as successful. I won just as many cases before I discovered Armani and Ferragamo, but I couldn't see that for the monster I had created. When I got hurt, and could no longer practice, I was surrounded by all this finery, with no place to wear them. The money I wasted could have gone to so many other causes. Today, I only allow myself a few articles of clothing, that I either make myself, or buy second hand. I wear simple plain colors. It is partly out of penance, and partly out of an effort to keep the monster in its cage. My vanity came from pride, but also from envy. You will find that most sins are interconnected in some way. One leads to another.

#3 TeresaBenedicta

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 11:03 PM

Traditionally, writers about the spiritual life indicate three "root sins": Pride, Vanity, Sensuality.

This article offers a good explanation of these three root sins and gives a good description of each of them. Here is what they say as indicators of pride and vanity, which might help in understanding the difference. Basically, though, it comes down to pride putting self above God and vanity putting other's opinions above God. The indicators under each:

COMMON MANIFESTATIONS OF PRIDE:

too high an opinion of myself
annoyance with those who contradict me, brooking no contradictions
anger if I donít get my way or am not taken into account
easily judgmental, putting others down, gossiping about them
slow to recognize my own mistakes, or to see when I hurt others, and inability to seek and give forgiveness
rage when others donít thank me for favors
unwillingness to serve, rebellion against what I donít like
impatience, distance, brusqueness in my daily contact with others
thinking I am the only one who knows how to do things right, unwillingness to let others help
inflated idea of my own intelligence and understanding, dismissing what I do not understand or what others see differently
not feeling a need for God, even though I do say prayers
nursing grudges, even in small matters
never taking orders
inflexible in preferences
always putting myself and my things first, indifference towards others and their needs, never putting myself out for them
centering everything (conversation, choices..) on myself and my likes
calculating in my relations with God and with others

COMMON MANIFESTATIONS OF VANITY:

always seeking admiration and praise, worrying about not getting it
excessive concern about physical appearance
being guided by the opinions of others rather than principle (this is sometimes called ďhuman respectĒ)
some types of shyness
sacrificing principles in order to fit in
placing too much a premium on popularity and acceptance
easily discouraged at my failures
taking pleasure in listening to gossip and hearing about othersí failures
always wanting to be the center of attention, at times stretching the truth, or lying outright, or being uncharitable in my words in order to achieve this


How do we overcome the root sin of vanity? Purity of intention. Seeking to do the right thing for the right reasons. Doing good things in hidden ways, purposely seeking to do these things in secret. A lot depends on what aspect of vanity that one struggles with.

I hope this helps some. Check out the article, I think it will make things even more clear.




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