Self-centeredness, lack of empathy are consequences of being driven by envy

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Pope Francis continued his catechesis on the vices and virtues. He reflected on “envy and vainglory, two capital vices typical of people who seek to be the center of the world and the center of all praise.”

When it comes to envy, “there is the false idea that God must act according to worldly logic. However, the divine logic is love and gratitude.” When a person is vain, they have “no empathy” for others “and do not consider them as equals. They tend to instrumentalize everything and everyone in order to achieve their ambitions.”


Dear brothers and sisters,

In our catechesis on the virtues and the vices, we now turn to envy and vainglory. Envy, already present in the story of Cain and Abel, is a destructive force fuelled by resentment towards others, and can lead to deadly hatred. The remedy to envy lies in Saint Paul’s exhortation: “Love one another with brotherly affection, compete in esteeming one another” (Rom12:10).

Vainglory is marked by an inflated self-esteem, a craving for constant praise and frequently prone to using other people for one’s own ends. Saint Paul’s example of boasting of his weakness rather than achievements offers an effective way for overcoming vainglory. May we, like him, know that God’s grace is sufficient, since his power is made perfect in weakness, and all the more gladly boast of our weaknesses, that the power of Christ may set us free for a more generous love of others.

I extend a warm welcome to the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially the groups from England, Ireland, the Netherland, Norway, Malaysia, Vietnam, and the United States of America. I offer a special greeting to the students and professors from Saint Mary’s University, Twickenham, England. Upon all of you and upon your families, I invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. God bless you!


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