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Gluttony


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"It is the mark of a mean, vulgar and ignoble spirit to dwell on the thought of food before meal times or worse to dwell on it afterwards, to discuss it and wallow in the remembered pleasures of every mouthful. Those whose minds dwell before dinner on the spit, and after on the dishes, are fit only to be scullions. "
-St Francis de Sales, quoted by hugheyforlife in another thread

What exactly is gluttony? The Catechism doesn't define it (it just lists it as a deadly sin) except in the very back, and then only says that it's eating too much food.

Is it gluttony to eat for the pleasure of eating? Is it gluttony to eat more than the bare necessity for survival? Is it gluttony to think about food outside of meals (such as, "oh, I think I'll go have a cookie" or "yeah, I really like prime rib, myself")?

Does someone have a practical definition?

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[quote name='Raphael' post='972352' date='May 5 2006, 12:10 PM']

What exactly is gluttony? The Catechism doesn't define it (it just lists it as a deadly sin) except in the very back, and then only says that it's eating too much food.

Is it gluttony to eat for the pleasure of eating? Is it gluttony to eat more than the bare necessity for survival? Is it gluttony to think about food outside of meals (such as, "oh, I think I'll go have a cookie" or "yeah, I really like prime rib, myself")?

Does someone have a practical definition?
[/quote]
I definitely don't think eating for the pleasure of eating would be considered gluttony. I mean, God made eating pleasureable for a reason, and I don't think he'd mind if we enjoyed it! :lol: And I'd never consider eating between meals gluttony either. I think it becomes gluttony when you start to think about food [i]all the time[/i] and are obsessed with simply getting to the next meal.

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Yeah...I think if we remove the enjoyment of food for piety then we might as well remove the enjoyment of sex.

Gluttony is EXCESS and, in my mind, can apply to more than just food. Everything in moderation. Excess leads to death; drink excessively and get alcohol poisoning; eat excessively and get heart disease; live excessively and poison your mind. Pleasure is good and meant to be enjoyed. Francis de Sales is my patron and I love him but I think that quote is easily taken overboard...I love fine wines and foods and enjoy savoring them and articulating such enjoyments into carefully crafted descriptions. I don't think there is anything wrong with that. What would be wrong is letting such enjoyments turn into an obsession - an idol.

I heard that the wealthy people of America could, using only excess money and goods, elimate world poverty (at least momentarily). If that's true, to me, that's mind numbing gluttany.

Edited by Ziggamafu
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This is my opinion, but I'd say that gluttony is habitually choosing to eat beyond being full or something that is not food (paint chips, grass, etc.). I'd also consider someone eating as a coping mechanism would count too. I don't think that snacking by itself or enjoying baked delicacies would count. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if there IS a hard and fast rule about what defines gluttony. Different people have different nutritional needs. I think my above statements are a good start though.

God made eating pleasurable so that we could enjoy tasting our food, not just be sustained by it. If we think about food when we're hungry, it's natural! As a matter of fact, I'm thinking about food now. I haven't eaten lunch yet and my stomach is rumbling.

Note that when you overeat regularly, food tends to lose its appeal. When you abuse food, it becomes like an addiction... you no longer enjoy it, but you feel compelled to continue eating anyway.

Ok, grab what you want from that... I'm slightly scatterbrained at the moment.

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The book of Ecclesiastes says that we are to enjoy life while we are living it, however, enjoying life without God is vanity. If we are serving God, then enjoying our food and not overdueing it is the way the Bible says to live. God does not wish to deny us good things, however, He will not tolerate being replaced by them.

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[quote name='scardella' post='972398' date='May 5 2006, 11:01 AM']
This is my opinion, but I'd say that gluttony is habitually choosing to eat beyond being full or something that is not food (paint chips, grass, etc.).
[/quote]

Who on earth eats paint chips and grass?????

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I think gluttony is pretty much like lust, a disorder of a legitimate appetite. There is an appropriate sense in which a husband can "look forward" to the pleasure of conjugal relations, just as someone can "look forward" to the pleasure of eating. There is more leeway with eating, because food is not a person; it exists to be "used".

I don't think gluttony is simply eating a little too much, even if you know you shouldn't. Feasts are meant to be enjoyed, even to a little excess. But it's more of an insatiable appetite of the soul that wants to devour food. Like lust, it's not satisfied when you "scratch" it. That only fuels it even more.

I think your common belly-stretching overeating is probably no more than a venial sin, if it is a sin at all. But food becomes a God for a lot of people. That would be, I think, the deadly sin of gluttony.



[quote name='scardella' post='972398' date='May 5 2006, 01:01 PM']Note that when you overeat regularly, food tends to lose its appeal. When you abuse food, it becomes like an addiction... you no longer enjoy it, but you feel compelled to continue eating anyway.[/quote]

This is true. And it's interesting how when I want to eat moderately, I'm filled with just a little food. But when I don't want to eat moderately, I can consume like there's no tommorow. I think that goes back to the spiritual/psychological factor. True gluttony isn't just about being hungry, but about an insatiable desire.

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[i]1910 New Catholic Dictionary[/i][list]The inordinate indulgence in food or drink, when through appetite one anticipates frequently the proper time for taking refreshment, or partakes in excess, or demands food more costly than one can afford, or devours it voraciously, or spends too great care in the preparation of it.
[/list][i]Catholic Glossary[/i][list]Gluttony: An unreasonable appetite for food and drink; one of the seven capital sins.
[/list][i]New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia[/i][list](From Lat. gluttire, to swallow, to gulp down), the excessive indulgence in food and drink. The moral deformity discernible in this vice lies in its defiance of the order postulated by reason, which prescribes necessity as the measure of indulgence in eating and drinking. This deordination, according to the teaching of the Angelic Doctor, may happen in five ways which are set forth in the scholastic verse: "Prae-propere, laute, nimis, ardenter, studiose" or, according to the apt rendering of Father Joseph Rickably: too soon, too expensively, too much, too eagerly, too daintily. Clearly one who uses food or drink in such a way as to injure his health or impair the mental equipment needed for the discharge of his duties, is guilty of the sin of gluttony. It is incontrovertible that to eat or drink for the mere pleasure of the experience, and for that exclusively, is likewise to commit the sin of gluttony. Such a temper of soul is equivalently the direct and positive shutting out of that reference to our last end which must be found, at least implicitly, in all our actions. At the same time it must be noted that there is no obligation to formerly and explicitly have before one's mind a motive which will immediately relate our actions to God. It is enough that such an intention should be implied in the apprehension of the thing as lawful with a consequent virtual submission to Almighty God. Gluttony is in general a venial sin in so far forth as it is an undue indulgence in a thing which is in itself neither good nor bad. Of course it is obvious that a different estimate would have to be given of one so wedded to the pleasures of the table as to absolutely and without qualification live merely to eat and drink, so minded as to be of the number of those, described by the Apostle St. Paul, "whose god is their belly" (Phil., iii, 19). Such a one would be guilty of mortal sin. Likewise a person who, by excesses in eating and drinking, would have greatly impaired his health, or unfitted himself for duties for the performance of which he has a grave obligation, would be justly chargeable with mortal sin. St. John of the Cross, in his work "The Dark Night of the Soul" (I, vi), dissects what he calls spiritual gluttony. He explains that it is the disposition of those who, in prayer and other acts of religion, are always in search of sensible sweetness; they are those who "will feel and taste God, as if he were palpable and accessible to them not only in Communition but in all their other acts of devotion." This he declares is a very great imperfection and productive of great evils.
[/list][i]Pocket Catholic Dictionary[/i][list]GLUTTONY. Inordinate desire for the pleasure connected with food or drink. This desire may become sinful in various ways: by eating or drinking far more than a person needs to maintain bodily strength; by glutting one’s taste for certain kinds of food with known detriment to health; by indulging the appetite for exquisite food or drink, especially when these are beyond one’s ability to afford a luxurious diet; by eating or drinking too avidly, i.e., ravenously; by consuming alcoholic beverages to the point of losing full control of one’s reasoning powers. Intoxication that ends in complete loss of reason is a mortal sin if brought on without justification, e.g., for medical reasons. (Etym. Latin glutire, to devour.)
[/list]all of these resources are online here:
[url="http://www.phatmass.com/directory/index.php/cat_id/292"]http://www.phatmass.com/directory/index.php/cat_id/292[/url]

pax christi,
phatcatholic

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