cardinal sin

(redirected from cardinal)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

cardinal sin

A major transgression. It is interesting that this phrase should have become a modern cliché, in that “cardinal” appeared in a much earlier medieval concept of the cardinal virtues (justice, prudence, temperance, and fortitude, on which all other virtues depend). Their counterpart in evil was known as the seven deadly sins, described by Chaucer (among others) in The Persones [Parson’s] Tale: “Of the roote of thise seyene sinnes thanne is Pryde, the general rote of alle harmes; for of this rote springen certein braunches, as Ire, Envye, Accidie or Slewthe, Avarice or Coveitise (to commune understondinge), Glotonye, and Lecherys”—that is, pride, anger, envy, sloth, avarice, gluttony, and lechery. By Shakespeare’s time the term had less specific meaning; in Henry VIII (3.1) Queen Katharine chides Wolsey and Campeius, “Holy men I thought ye . . . but cardinal sins and hollow hearts I fear ye.”
See also: sin
References in classic literature ?
The position of the cardinal was indeed critical, and recent events had added to his difficulties.
Two days afterward these same magistrates appeared before the cardinal and their spokesman addressed Mazarin with so much fearlessness and determination that the minister was astounded and sent the deputation away with the same answer as it had received from the Duke of Orleans -- that he would see what could be done; and in accordance with that intention a council of state was assembled and the superintendent of finance was summoned.
He was the son of a banker at Lyons named Particelli, who, after becoming a bankrupt, chose to change his name to Emery; and Cardinal Richelieu having discovered in him great financial aptitude, had introduced him with a strong recommendation to Louis XIII.
On the next day Mathieu Mole, the chief president, whose courage at this crisis, says the Cardinal de Retz, was equal to that of the Duc de Beaufort and the Prince de Conde -- in other words, of the two men who were considered the bravest in France -- had been attacked in his turn.
Charles, Cardinal de Bourbon, Archbishop and Comte of Lyon, Primate of the Gauls, was allied both to Louis XI., through his brother, Pierre, Seigneur de Beaujeu, who had married the king's eldest daughter, and to Charles the Bold through his mother, Agnes of Burgundy.
Nevertheless, he was a fine man; he led a joyous cardinal's life, liked to enliven himself with the royal vintage of Challuau, did not hate Richarde la Garmoise and Thomasse la Saillarde, bestowed alms on pretty girls rather than on old women,--and for all these reasons was very agreeable to the populace of Paris.
It was this justly acquired popularity, no doubt, which preserved him on his entrance from any bad reception at the hands of the mob, which had been so displeased but a moment before, and very little disposed to respect a cardinal on the very day when it was to elect a pope.
Joannes Frollo de Molendin, in his quality of brother to an archdeacon, boldly attacked the scarlet; he sang in deafening tones, with his impudent eyes fastened on the cardinal, " Cappa repleta mero !"
Nothing is concealed from the cardinal; the cardinal knows everything."
"In that case, monseigneur, do you believe the cardinal will be so kind as to tell me what has become of my wife?"
"Perhaps he may; but you must, in the first place, reveal to the cardinal all you know of your wife's relations with Madame de Chevreuse."
"You are a very complacent husband, my dear Monsieur Bonacieux," said the cardinal.
As to the cardinal, he contented himself with touching with his withered lips a bouillon, served in a gold cup.
Anne of Austria, already suffering from the cancer which six or eight years after caused her death, ate very little more than the cardinal.
Monsieur, like a good courtier, was inquiring of monsieur le cardinal after the health of his nieces; he regretted, he said, not having the pleasure of receiving them at the same time with their uncle; they must certainly have grown in stature, beauty and grace, as they had promised to do the last time Monsieur had seen them.