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Sloth. (Art by Thiago Lehmann)

Sloth is one of the Seven Deadly Sins in Christian moral tradition, particularly within Catholicism, that refers to laziness. Sloth is associated with the demon Belphegor who is also one of the Seven Princes of Hell.


Sloth is defined as spiritual or emotional apathy, neglecting what God has spoken, and being physically and emotionally inactive. It can also be either an outright refusal or merely a carelessness in the performance of one's obligations, especially spiritual, moral or legal obligations.

Mentally, acedia has a number of distinctive components of which the most important is affectlessness, a lack of any feeling about self or other, a mind-state that gives rise to boredom, rancor, apathy, and a passive, inert, or sluggish mentation. Physically, acedia is fundamentally with a cessation of motion and an indifference to work; it finds expression in laziness, idleness, and indolence. Two commentators consider the most accurate translation of acedia to be "self-pity," for it "conveys both the melancholy of the condition and self-centeredness upon which it is founded

Emotionally and cognitively, the evil of acedia finds expression in a lack of any feeling for the world, for the people in it, or for the self. Acedia takes form as an alienation of the sentient self first from the world and then from itself. Although the most profound versions of this condition are found in a withdrawal from all forms of participation in or care for others or oneself, a lesser but more noisome element was also noted by theologians.