Learning to Name Sins Is to Have More Power Over Them – Part Two

Recently I wrote about the need to recover a vocabulary of sin and posted an example related to lying. A good number of readers asked for the other lists I have been compiling. I include them here along with introductory material similar to that in the first post. These lists are always a work in progress, so please feel free to send me any additions you have.

Indeed, over the years we have steadily been losing the vocabulary of sin. Saying “I have sinned” is often replaced by “I made a mistake,” or “I made a poor decision,” or “I’m sorry if my behavior was hurtful in some way.”

Not only are we slow to say we have sinned, we are also ignorant of the subtleties of sin, in part because our vocabulary about sin is so limited. In this state we lose a certain advantage over sin because to name something is the beginning of isolating it and having increasing authority over it. When I can name something, I can focus on it and work on it. It moves from the realm of the abstract and theoretical to the real world.

Over the years I have been compiling lists of the names for various sins. I do this as an outgrowth of deliverance ministry, in which the importance of naming demons cannot be overestimated. Most demons resist disclosing their names mightily because once the exorcist knows the name of a demon, his authority over it is magnified in Jesus.

This is also true in the ordinary situations of life, where demons tempt us, and where the world and our own flesh compound the problem. The more we can name the subtleties of sin the less difficult it is to gain mastery over them.

There are not many people who will call themselves sinners easily. They have very little awareness of subtleties of sin. Most will say things like this: “I don’t tell lies—at least not big ones,” “I’m not really that prideful,” or “I’m not that narcissistic, at least not as much as so-and-so is.” In the case of fear or low self-esteem, many don’t see it as sinful at all. We consider ourselves victims of these drives and fail to recognize how many sinful actions proceed from them. It’s hard to get far into these lists without realizing that such drives are alarmingly common to us, even if by other means and words. Don’t be discouraged; pick a few and work on overcoming them. Naming them gives us focus and power; by God’s grace, progress can be made by naming the demons that serve these evils.

Pray this prayer: “All evil thoughts and demon-spirits, we name you and reject you in the name of Jesus. We ask every grace from God to be rooted in His truth about who we are and out of this proper vision to do and say what is right, not what is evil, self-serving, or harmful. Jesus, you said, ‘I am the Truth.’ Live in us and drive from us all that is not true.”

Many exorcists use lists like the ones below against demons that refuse to state their name. In effect, the exorcist says, “If you won’t tell me your name then I will name you.” This typically causes the demon great pain in addition to that caused by the reading of the Rite of Exorcism itself.

For all of us, naming the drives of sin has a similar effect. It brings them out of obscurity and into the light of reason where their darkness can be scattered. It takes time, but these drives will surely diminish if we name them and consistently rebuke them when they arise.

Here, then, are all the lists of words and phrases I am currently compiling:


Boasting, Conceit, Bragging, Haughtiness, Arrogance, Detraction, Aggrandizement, Braggadocio, Puffery, Grandiosity, Self-importance, Imposing, Obdurate, Judgmental, Wrath at God, Pride of vocation, Pride of place, Nursing wounds, Insolence, Rudeness, Vanity, Vainglory, Superiority, Indignation, Self-righteousness, Resistance, Non-submissive, Repelling, Open ears to evil, Politicizing, Polarization, Supremacy, Preeminence, Defiance, Challenge, Opposition, Antagonism, Spoiled, Snooty, Incorrigible, Willfulness, Worldly success, Worldly achievement, Prowess, Fanaticism, Radicalism, Self-magnification, Self-satisfied, Overconfident, Opinionated, Machismo, Egotism, Unspiritual, Competitive, Bloated, Controlling, Manipulative, Dominating, Domineering, Raw power, Exalted feelings, Scheming, Plotting, Dishonoring, Disproving, Discrediting, Argumentative, Contrarian, Playing devil’s advocate, Cunning, Conniving, Condescending, Idolatry, Intellectualizing, Self-actualization, Self-elevation, Comparison, Envy, Party factions, Minimization of sin, Unruly, Wild, Shocking, Ostentatious, Portentous, Pretentious, Showy, Free-spirited, Indignation, Spiritual superiority, Supervisory, Regulatory, Grandiose, “It’s beneath my dignity,” Self-justification, Refusal to forgive, Indiscriminate sermonizing, Excessive correction of others, Touchy, Hypercritical, Sacrilegious, Blithe, Unconcerned, Dismissive, Disdainful, Disrespectful, Flippant, Trivializing, Exorbitant, Scornful, Poverty of Judas, Pharisaical, Sanctimonious, Contemptuous, Smug, Lawlessness, Supercilious, Grudging, Big-headed, Patronizing, Pompous, Stubborn, Immovable, Inflexible, Intransigent, Obstinate, Uncompromising, Unyielding, Controlling, “Only I can do it,” Workaholic, Arrogant expertise, Sinful curiosity, Demand to know, Insistent on rights, Bullying, Aggressive, Pig-headed, Impatient, Refusing to wait, “I am more important,” Bigotry, Racism, Chauvinism, Inconsiderate, Careless, Intolerant of others’ weaknesses and foibles, Noncompliant, Dissenting, Recalcitrant, Incorrigible, Unreasonable, Ungrateful, Arbitrary, Churlish, Coarse, Impolite, Truculent, Aggressively defiant, Self-Absorbed, Sociopathic, Know-it-all, Blustering, Vociferous, Loudmouth, Boor, Unrepentant, Shameless, Unremorseful, Unapologetic, Irresponsible, Unaware.

All pride and prideful spirits depart!


Egotistical, Insistent, Picky, Fussy, Choosy, Particular, Demanding, Nitpicking, Hyper-independence, Hypersensitivity, Antipathy, Daintiness, Thin-skinned, Pettiness, Willfulness, Preconceived notions, Presumptions, “Because I say so,” “That’s not fair,” “Me first,” “Why are you taking so long?”, “Who do you think you are?”, “It’s not my fault,” “I can do it myself,” “Gimme,” “Mine,” Unreflective, Unapologetic, Unashamed, Unrepentant, Perfectionism, Rigidity, Paranoia, Suspicion, Irrationality, Instability, Fickle, Immovable, Moody, Unpredictable, Inconsistent, Careless, Complex, Unbalanced, Deaf, Distorted hearing, Perverted judgment, Perverted (selfish) thinking, Refusal to be taught, Ill-formed conscience, Spiritual blindness, Hardness of heart, Duality, Imprudence, Impulsiveness, Compulsiveness, Recklessness, Interruption, Cutting off, Dismissal, Entrenchment, Excessively self-aware, Excessive self-love, Self-seeking, Self-gratification, Self-glorification, Self-aggrandizement, Self-absorbency, Self-idolatry, Self-indulgence, Self-reliance, Self-sufficiency, Self-promotion, Self-importance.

All narcissistic demons, depart!


Pretension, Affectation, Posing, Posturing, Finessing, Unreality, Denial, Disavowal, Delusion, Labyrinth, Convoluted thinking, Cheating, Deliberate omission, Duplicity, Deceit, Dishonesty, Neglect of duty, Irreverence, Circumvention, Folly, Concealment, Suppression, Rationalization, Covering up, Blindness of spirit, Evasiveness, Caginess, Equivocation, Untruthfulness, Avoidance, Masking, Game-playing, Deception, Trickery, Sham, Illusion, Wishful thinking, Diversion, Entertaining error, Drama, Falsifying, Farce, Hallucination and dreaminess, Smoke and mirrors, Imitation, Aping, Phoniness, Fakery, Fraud, Scamming, Swindling, Libel, Slander, Defamation, Coyness, Cunning, Wiliness, Pretense, Calculating, Crafty, Undermining, Setting up false dichotomy, Distraction, Diversion, Changing the subject, Euphemisms, Understating, Overstating, Embellishment, Taking out of context, Absolutizing, Falsifying, Manipulating, Preconception, Prejudice, Rash judgment, Flattery, Fawning, Ingratiating, Insincerity, Artificiality, Hypocrisy, Sycophancy, Hedging, Juggling, Altering, Misrepresenting , Disguising, Vincible ignorance, Façade, Boasting, Showmanship, Theatrics, Acting, Trickery, Mockery, Appearances, Fantasy, Heresy, Deviance, Dissent, sheep’s clothing, Subversive, Cunning, Secretive, Substituting, Enigmatic, Irony, Mimicry, Mendacity, Fabrication, False witness, Spreading rumors, Evasion, Side-stepping, Dodging, Unreliable, Undependable, Unpredictable, Untrustworthy, Skirting, Shirking, Fudging, Ducking, Partial truth, Inaccuracy, Careless with the facts, Prevaricating, Stonewalling, Obstructing, Complicating.

All lies and lying spirits, depart!


Restless, Agitated, Edgy, Terror, Fright, Worry, Apprehension, Trepidation, Dismay, Shock, Anguish, Anxiety, Uneasiness, Darkness, Grief, Trauma, Troubled, Weeping, Oppression, Conflict, Morbidity, Fixation, Nervousness, Jumpiness, Mania, Hysteria, Obsession, Preoccupation, Helplessness, Vulnerability, Feeling naked and exposed, Defenseless, Hopeless, Insomnia, Nightmares, Commotion, Disturbances, Disorders, Troubles,  Shaky, Tense, Excitement, Turmoil, Confusion, Mayhem, Horror, Overcome, Over my head, Dread, Disgust, Gloom and doom, Desperation, Disappointment, Distraction, Negativity, Tremors, Tension, Headaches, Roaming around, Rumination, Nervous habits, Shackled, Bound, Pressured, Squeezed, Captive, Frozen, Isolated, Restricted, Paralyzed, Immobilized, Shut down, Walls, Coldness, Listlessness, Sluggishness, Sleepiness, Stress, Fatigue, Lethargy, Withdrawal from others and God, Discouragement, Loneliness, Foreboding, Ominous, Threatening, Ruining, Sadness, Despair, Despondency, Distressed, Disheartened, Powerless, Melancholy, Joyless, Crisis, Implosion, Recoiling, “I’m not able,” “I’m not worthy,” Self-condemnation, Perfectionism, Fear of pain, Fear of the cross, Fear of being hurt, Repression, Depression, Panic, Hurt, Rehearsing trouble, Paranoia, Suspicion, Fear of condemnation, Fear of judgment, Scrupulosity, Disordered fear of God, Excessive fear of Hell, Pessimism, Filtering out good news, Ingratitude, Discounting blessings and praise, Staying alone, Abandonment, Betrayal, Untrusting, Indifference, Blockages, Numbness, Closed up/in, Shut up/in, Locked up/in, Stupor, Separation anxiety, Strangulation, Suffocation, “Leave me alone,” Heaviness, Neglect, Loss, Defeat, Weakness of will, Excessive sentimentality, Drama, Blues, Bondage, Bound and gagged, Overly serious, Tied up in knots, Chained, Caught, Snared, Barbed wire, Imprisoned, Impossible, Nettling, Webbing, Avoidance, Humiliation, Inability to overcome, “All is lost.”

Phobias related to Heights, Crowds, Bridges, Planes, Water, Elevators, Hospitals, Close spaces, etc.

All demons and spirits of fear, depart!

Low self-esteem:

Insecurity, Ineptness, Shy, Nervous, Wary, Inhibited, Lonely, Cowardly, Inability to accept or give love, Inability to accept praise, Shame, Embarrassment, Humiliation, Guilt, Feeling accused or blamed, Feeling ugly, Aversion, Avoidance, Feeling unloved, Feeling unwanted, Pessimism, Indifference, No pity, Lukewarmness, Defeat, Inadequacy, Labor, Toil, Drudgery, Self-rejection, Self-pity, Self-contempt, Self-destruction, Self-doubt, Self-abandonment, Lack of confidence, Poor self-image, Self-deprecation, Inferiority, Feeling useless, Disordered or excessive feelings of responsibility, Disordered or misplaced compassion, Introspection, Incredulity at Praise or accomplishment, Unforgiving of self and God, Indecisiveness, Scrupulosity, Sloth, Procrastination, Postponement, Anesthetized, Numbness, Building walls, Dazed, Forgetful, Indecision, Obstruction, Hyper-analytical, Distorted thinking, Wounded heart, Disconnectedness of thoughts and feelings, Disjointed spirit, Past wounds, Paralysis, Passivity, Forgetfulness, Attention deficit, Memory lapse, Memory loss, Obsessive-compulsive, Hesitancy, Compromise, Drama, Transferred feelings, Projection, Negativity, Noncreative, Dimorphic, Preoccupation with appearance, Overly focused on body, Controlling, Overly concerned with things out of one’s control, Passive-aggressive, Dead end, Holding in, Hiding, Avoiding, Dodging, Masks, Resentments, “I must be punished,” “I’m not allowed,” “This can’t happen for me,” “I’m not worthy,” “I can’t,” “I won’t,” “God can’t,” “God won’t,” “You can’t help me,” “I can’t be healed,” “They don’t like me,” “I’m not as able,” “I’m not as good”, “I’m not as attractive,” “They’re all laughing at me,” “I’m unwanted.”

Demons of low self-esteem, depart! I am a gifted child of God; even my weaknesses serve His purposes. I reject your defeatism!

13 Replies to “Learning to Name Sins Is to Have More Power Over Them – Part Two”

  1. Divisions within the Church is heartbreaking, everything is a gift, spiritual superiority over another’s mass, another’s spirituality that breaks no rules, that constantly tears down according to their preferences and wisdom, causing scandal to those who love their Mass and worship permitted by the Church is a voice that rises above the Church, everybody has preferences and can respectfully engage others but crosses a line to speak as the Church. I love the Novus Ordo, I love the hymns, I love seeing the priest, I love the peace sign, I loved going to some wonderful latin-fill monastery masses when opportune but the attitude of your Mass Sucks really pisses me off with catholics, I can’t even last on trad
    websites because of the knives that come out.

  2. Many people have good reasons to experience depression or to lack confidence or enthusiasm, but it is so liberating to accept these conditions as a being in sinful states (based on my personal and continuing experiences). At that point we can repent and hand things over to God in humility. If we resist and reject our sinfulness, trying to justify our negative states and expressions, it is because we have made ourselves into a god.

    It would be much better for the Church if people spent much more time assessing their own sinfulness and seeking repentance and healing, than agitating from a position of ignorance and sinfulness for a perfect Church with perfect worship practices. Thus making their Church, their church involvement and preferred worship practices into idols and false gods.

    Great list Father!

  3. Excellent Father, there’s a lot of food for thought here which hopefully will enable me to turn more fully and trustingly to God enabling me to live more fully for Him. Thankyou!

  4. I would add the following to Lying – “Holding back” and “rebranding”.

    Under Fear I might add “Timid”.

    And regarding the Memory Loss of Low Self Esteem – I have memory issues, often due to hormones, but other times due to extreme stress. In the future, I likely an elevated risk of developing Alzheimers. It never occurred to me that I have low self esteem from these lapse, in fact I have found they force me to create new systems for retaining information (lists, calendar reminders, etc).

    Would you kindly relate how memory loss relates to low self-esteem?

    1. Low self esteem increases our stress levels which affects inflammation and bodily deterioration thus having an effect on memory. It makes sense that we are personally responsibility for at least some part of that outcome. The severity of which would have been reduced if we had loved God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength and with faith in the grace of God.

      Memory loss could also be a subconscious choice to avoid truth, such as the acknowledgement of our own weaknesses, limitations and neediness; or to avoid acknowledging that we are totally dependent on God due to our pride.

  5. The memory loss you refer to seems to be a secondary cause (stress) or subconscious. How can that be sin if there is no deliberate choice?

    1. Firstly sorry to hear about your stress and memory issues. I have suffered from severe depression and stress for 35 years. I now have other health issues that affect my memory.

      It is so liberating to see my sinfulness in my lack of gratitude (depression) and trust (stress) in God. Because I am simply a sinner, and can do no better through my own power, I am therefore free to accept Gods mercy. Once you get the hang of it, it also liberating to take the blame for the sins of others!

      I found no peace until I acknowledged that my depression was my choice. Had I not made a conscious decision to continue without joy and gratitude, while not seeking a closer understanding of God or trust in God’s love and mercy?

      1. Stephen, I am happy for you that you survived depression, not everyone is able to conquer it as you have, that is truly Grace at work in your life.

        My stress situations are acute, not chronic, and not a choice (often due to external stressors – family, work, etc), so I’m still confused as to how ancillary memory loss could be sinful. As far as I can tell, I have no depression or self esteem issues, though like everyone, I have bad days and good.

        So please forgive me, perhaps the Monsignor could chime in here – in what way should memory loss (as a secondary effect) be considered sinful? It seems as if memory loss would be more of a symptom than a choice and I can only equate it to treating a cough expecting it to cure the underlying cold virus.

        I am just confused by this particular condition as sin and knowing the basis would be helpful to me.

        1. C, Certainly the maladies of Job were not due to sins against God. Therefore I agree with you, memory loss can be totally unrelated to sin. However memory loss is a sin when it is a desired and willed or induced state (e.g delusion, avoidance of responsibility, drugs). A desire for memory loss may not be apparent to the individual involved.

          Memory loss and other health issues can also be an unintended consequence of our sinful actions (or lack of action e.g. not acknowledging our sins or seeking repentance and mercy). Most of us are not as righteous as Job.

    2. Memory loss is a natural thing. Our brains hold only so much information. To be sure, we probably forget well over 99 percent of everything we ever learned.

      What did I learn in 9th grade? No clue. Could not even tell you what my classses were or the schedule. What did I eat for dinner three days ago? Again, I don’t know.

      There is nothing wrong with memory loss per se. There is nothing wrong with forgetting. In fact, in some cases we are morally obligated to forget. To desire and to will such memory loss.

      There can be no fullness of forgiveness without forgetting the wrong, the sin. If you say you forgive someone, but you insist on remembering what it is that they did, then you are continuing to hold onto it, you have not really forgiven them in your heart.

      Likewise, if we insist on remembering the pleasure we received from sinning, rather than losing our memory of it, then we are still bound by that sin, still a slave to it, because of that remembrance of pleasure.

  6. Thank you so much Msgr. Pope. I love all of your articles and send them to my friends. I need this lists and others. From severe emotional, verbal and some physical abuse I have developed patterns and habits that are not healthy and I know now are sinful. I know you have overcome abuse but I am 65 have been hospitalized for a month many years ago. I am now bedridden and pray much and watch Mass on EWTN but I am far from cured. I would appreciate your prayers. There is so much fear in my life always and I know I am not supposed to fear purgatory but I keep trying and asking God daily for grace as well as Mother Mary. Please make more detailed lists of other sins. When I do my nightly Examen I struggle where to put sins like gossip, self-rightousness, complaining and critical.

  7. Wow! These lists are fantastic! Thank you Monsignor Charles Pope. Wow I didn’t know so many things fell under just one thing. Heck after reading this I surely need 20 exorcists!
    You are always in our family prayers, Monsignor.

  8. Oh my, I commit so many!
    I read “” and I thought
    Thank you father for this lists, it hit many aching spots and it even made me cry – at first I did not want to admit that the post was completely right, especially the part on low self esteem – but I suppose such pain is part of the cure; but reading the lists also let me relived, somehow.
    Thank you for showing a way to overcome these sins.
    Thank you very much. This post is so timely.
    I am looking forwars to reading more lists.

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