Sorrow for another person’s good. (Looking at things the wrong way.) A spirit of competitiveness rather than brotherly love. The object of both charity and envy is our neighbor’s good, but by contrary movements, since charity rejoices in our neighbor’s good, while envy grieves over it.


  • “self-inflicted pain wounds the pining spirit, which is racked by the prosperity of others” St. Gregory the Great
  • “Sorrow for another’s good” St. John Damascene
  • “Envy slayeth the little one.” Job 5:2
  • “Let us not be made desirous of vainglory, provoking one another, envying one another.” Galatians 5:26
  • “My steps had well nigh slipped, for I was envious of the wicked, when I saw the prosperity of sinners” Psalm 72:2-3


  • hatred: the result of the sorrow at the other’s prosperity
  • tale-bearing: striving to lower another’s reputation secretly; “he’s not really all that”
  • detraction: striving to lower another’s reputation openly (on his face, in front of him to others)
  • joy at our neighbor’s misfortunes (schadenfreude): being able to defame another
  • grief at our neighbor’s prosperity: being unable to defame another

Self-examination from Episcopalian St. Augustine Prayer book (not exactly Thomistic, but useful)

ENVY: Envy is dissatisfaction with our place in God’s order of creation, manifesting in begrudging his gifts and vocation to others.


  • Offense at the talents, success or good fortune of others.
  • Selfish or unnecessary rivalry or competition.
  • Pleasure at others’ difficulties or distress.


  • Ill-will, false accusations, slander, backbiting.
  • Reading false motives into others’ behavior.
  • Initiation, collection or retailing of gossip.
  • Arousing, fostering or organizing antagonism against others.
  • Unnecessary criticism, even when true.
  • Deliberate annoyance of others, teasing or bullying.


  • Scorn of another’s virtue, ability, shortcomings, or failings.
  • Prejudice against those we consider inferior, or who consider us inferior, or who seem to threaten our security or position.
  • Ridicule of persons, institutions or ideals.

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