Catechism of the Catholic Church
Part Three: Life in Christ
Section One: Man's Vocation in the Spirit
Chapter One: The Dignity of the Human Person
1700 The Dignity of the Human Person is rooted in his creation in the
image and likeness of God (article 1); it is fulfilled in his vocation to
divine beatitude (article 2). It is essential to a human being freely to
direct himself to this fulfillment (article 3). By his deliberate actions
(article 4), the human person does, or does not, conform to the good
promised by God and attested by Moral Conscience (article 5). Human beings
make their own contribution to their interior growth; they make their
whole sentient and spiritual lives into means of this growth (article 6).
With the help of Grace they grow in virtue (article 7), avoid Sin, and if
they Sin they entrust themselves as did the prodigal son to the mercy
of our Father in heaven (article 8). In this way they attain to the
perfection of charity.
Article 1: Man: The Image of God
1701 "Christ, . . . in the very revelation of the mystery of the Father
and of his love, makes man fully manifest to himself and brings to light
his exalted vocation." It is in Christ, "the image of the invisible
God," that man has been created "in the image and likeness" of the
Creator. It is in Christ, Redeemer and Savior, that the divine image,
disfigured in man by the first Sin, has been restored to its original
beauty and ennobled by the Grace of God.
1702 The divine image is present in every man. It shines forth in the
communion of persons, in the likeness of the union of the divine persons
among themselves (cf. chapter two).
1703 Endowed with "a spiritual and immortal" soul, the human person is
"the only creature on earth that God has willed for its own sake." From
his conception, he is destined for eternal beatitude.
1704 The human person participates in the light and power of the divine
Spirit. By his reason, he is capable of understanding the order of things
established by the Creator. By free will, he is capable of directing
himself toward his true good. He finds his perfection "in seeking and
loving what is true and good."
1705 By virtue of his soul and his spiritual powers of intellect and will,
man is endowed with freedom, an "outstanding manifestation of the divine
1706 By his reason, man recognizes the voice of God which urges him "to do
what is good and avoid what is evil." Everyone is obliged to follow
this law, which makes itself heard in conscience and is fulfilled in the
love of God and of neighbor. Living a moral life bears witness to the
dignity of the person.
1707 "Man, enticed by the Evil One, abused his freedom at the very
beginning of history." He succumbed to temptation and did what was
evil. He still desires the good, but his nature bears the wound of
original Sin. He is now inclined to evil and subject to error:
Man is divided in himself. As a result, the whole life of men, both
individual and social, shows itself to be a struggle, and a dramatic one,
between good and evil, between light and darkness.
1708 By his Passion, Christ delivered us from Satan and from Sin. He
Merited for us the new life in the Holy Spirit. His Grace restores what
Sin had damaged in us.
1709 He who believes in Christ becomes a son of God. This filial adoption
transforms him by giving him the ability to follow the example of Christ.
It makes him capable of acting rightly and doing good. In union with his
Savior, the disciple attains the perfection of charity which is holiness.
Having matured in Grace, the moral life blossoms into eternal life in the
glory of heaven.
1710 "Christ . . . makes man fully manifest to man himself and brings to
light his exalted vocation" (GS 22 # 1).
1711 Endowed with a spiritual soul, with intellect and with free will, the
human person is from his very conception ordered to God and destined for
eternal beatitude. He pursues his perfection in "seeking and loving what
is true and good" (GS 15 # 2).
1712 In man, true freedom is an "outstanding manifestation of the divine
image" (GS 17).
1713 Man is obliged to follow The Moral Law, which urges him "to do what
is good and avoid what is evil" (cf. GS 16). This law makes itself heard
in his conscience.
1714 Man, having been wounded in his nature by original Sin, is subject to
error and inclined to evil in exerciSing his freedom.
1715 He who believes in Christ has new life in the Holy Spirit. The moral
life, increased and brought to maturity in Grace, is to reach its
fulfillment in the glory of heaven.
Article 2: Our Vocation to Beatitude
I. The Beatitudes
1716 The Beatitudes are at the heart of Jesus' preaching. They take up the
promises made to the chosen people Since Abraham. The Beatitudes fulfill
the promises by ordering them no longer merely to the possession of a
territory, but to the Kingdom of heaven:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the
meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and
thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the
merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for
they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called
sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when men revile you
and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.
1717 The Beatitudes depict the countenance of Jesus Christ and portray his
charity. They express the vocation of the faithful associated with the
glory of his Passion and Resurrection; they shed light on the actions and
attitudes characteristic of the Christian life; they are the paradoxical
promises that sustain hope in the midst of tribulations; they proclaim the
blesSings and rewards already secured, however dimly, for Christ's
disciples; they have begun in the lives of the Virgin Mary and all the
II. The Desire for Happiness
1718 The Beatitudes respond to the natural desire for happiness. This
desire is of divine origin: God has placed it in the human heart in order
to draw man to the One who alone can fulfill it:
We all want to live happily; in the whole human race there is no one who
does not assent to this proposition, even before it is fully
How is it, then, that I seek you, Lord? Since in seeking you, my God, I
seek a happy life, let me seek you so that my soul may live, for my body
draws life from my soul and my soul draws life from you.
God alone satisfies.
1719 The Beatitudes reveal the goal of human existence, the ultimate end
of human acts: God calls us to his own beatitude. This vocation is
addressed to each individual personally, but also to the Church as a
whole, the new people made up of those who have accepted the promise and
live from it in faith.
III. Christian Beatitude
1720 The New Testament uses several expressions to characterize the
beatitude to which God calls man:
- the coming of the Kingdom of God;
- the vision of God: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see
- entering into the joy of the Lord;
- entering into God's rest:
There we shall rest and see, we shall see and love, we shall love and
praise. Behold what will be at the end without end. For what other end do
we have, if not to reach the kingdom which has no end?
1721 God put us in the world to know, to love, and to serve him, and so to
come to paradise. Beatitude makes us "partakers of the divine nature" and
of eternal life. With beatitude, man enters into the glory of
Christ and into the joy of the Trinitarian life.
1722 Such beatitude surpasses the understanding and powers of man. It
comes from an entirely free gift of God: whence it is called supernatural,
as is the Grace that disposes man to enter into the divine joy.
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."
It is true,
because of the greatness and inexpressible glory of God, that "man shall
not see me and live," for the Father cannot be grasped. But because of
God's love and goodness toward us, and because he can do all things, he
goes so far as to grant those who love him the privilege of seeing him....
For "what is impossible for men is possible for God."
1723 The beatitude we are promised confronts us with decisive moral
choices. It invites us to purify our hearts of bad instincts and to seek
the love of God above all else. It teaches us that true happiness is not
found in riches or well-being, in human fame or power, or in any human
achievement - however beneficial it may be - such as science, technology,
and art, or indeed in any creature, but in God alone, the source of every
good and of all love:
All bow down before wealth. Wealth is that to which the multitude of men
pay an instinctive homage. They measure happiness by wealth; and by wealth
they measure respectability.... It is a homage resulting from a profound
faith ... that with wealth he may do all things. Wealth is one idol of the
day and notoriety is a second.... Notoriety, or the making of a noise in
the world - it may be called "newspaper fame" - has come to be considered
a great good in itself, and a ground of veneration.
1724 The Decalogue, the Sermon on the Mount, and the apostolic catechesis
describe for us the paths that lead to the Kingdom of heaven. Sustained by
the Grace of the Holy Spirit, we tread them, step by step, by everyday
acts. By the working of the Word of Christ, we slowly bear fruit in the
Church to the glory of God.
1725 The Beatitudes take up and fulfill God's promises from Abraham on by
ordering them to the Kingdom of heaven. They respond to the desire for
happiness that God has placed in the human heart.
1726 The Beatitudes teach us the final end to which God calls us: the
Kingdom, the vision of God, participation in the divine nature, eternal
life, filiation, rest in God.
1727 The beatitude of eternal life is a gratuitous gift of God. It is
supernatural, as is the Grace that leads us there.
1728 The Beatitudes confront us with decisive choices concerning earthly
goods; they purify our hearts in order to teach us to love God above all
1729 The beatitude of heaven sets the standards for discernment in the use
of earthly goods in keeping with the law of God.
Article 3: Man's Freedom
1730 God created man a rational being, conferring on him the dignity of a
person who can initiate and control his own actions. "God willed that man
should be 'left in the hand of his own counsel,' so that he might of his
own accord seek his Creator and freely attain his full and blessed
perfection by cleaving to him."
Man is rational and therefore like God; he is created with free will and
is master over his acts.
I. Freedom and Responsibility
1731 Freedom is the power, rooted in reason and will, to act or not to
act, to do this or that, and so to perform deliberate actions on one's own
responsibility. By free will one shapes one's own life. Human Freedom is a
force for growth and maturity in truth and goodness; it attains its
perfection when directed toward God, our beatitude.
1732 As long as freedom has not bound itself definitively to its ultimate
good which is God, there is the possibility of chooSing between good and
evil, and thus of growing in perfection or of failing and Sinning. This
freedom characterizes properly human acts. It is the basis of praise or
blame, Merit or reproach.
1733 The more one does what is good, the freer one becomes. There is no
true freedom except in the service of what is good and just. The choice to
disobey and do evil is an abuse of freedom and leads to "the slavery of
1734 Freedom makes man responsible for his acts to the extent that they
are voluntary. Progress in virtue, knowledge of the good, and ascesis
enhance the mastery of the will over its acts.
1735 Imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or
even nullified by ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate
attachments, and other psychological or social factors.
1736 Every act directly willed is imputable to its author:
Thus the Lord asked Eve after the Sin in the garden: "What is this that
you have done?" He asked Cain the same question. The prophet
Nathan questioned David in the same way after he committed adultery with
the wife of Uriah and had him murdered.
An action can be indirectly voluntary when it results from negligence
regarding something one should have known or done: for example, an
accident ariSing from ignorance of traffic laws.
1737 An effect can be tolerated without being willed by its agent; for
instance, a mother's exhaustion from tending her sick child. A bad effect
is not imputable if it was not willed either as an end or as a means of an
action, e.g., a death a person incurs in aiding someone in danger. For a
bad effect to be imputable it must be foreseeable and the agent must have
the possibility of avoiding it, as in the case of manslaughter caused by a
1738 Freedom is exercised in relationships between human beings. Every
human person, created in the image of God, has the natural right to be
recognized as a free and responsible being. All owe to each other this
duty of respect. The right to the exercise of freedom, especially in moral
and religious matters, is an inalienable requirement of the dignity of the
human person. This right must be recognized and protected by civil
Authority within the limits of The Common Good and public order.
II. Human Freedom in the Economy of Salvation
1739 Freedom and Sin. Man's Freedom is limited and fallible. In fact, man
failed. He freely Sinned. By refuSing God's plan of love, he deceived
himself and became a slave to Sin. This first alienation engendered a
multitude of others. From its outset, human history attests the
wretchedness and oppression born of the human heart in consequence of the
abuse of freedom.
1740 Threats to freedom. The exercise of freedom does not imply a right to
say or do everything. It is false to maintain that man, "the subject of
this freedom," is "an individual who is fully self-sufficient and whose
finality is the satisfaction of his own interests in the enjoyment of
earthly goods." Moreover, the economic, social, political, and
cultural conditions that are needed for a just exercise of freedom are too
often disregarded or violated. Such situations of blindness and injustice
injure the moral life and involve the strong as well as the weak in the
temptation to Sin against charity. By deviating from The Moral Law man
violates his own freedom, becomes imprisoned within himself, disrupts
neighborly fellowship, and rebels against divine truth.
1741 Liberation and salvation. By his glorious Cross Christ has won
salvation for all men. He redeemed them from the Sin that held them in
bondage. "For freedom Christ has set us free." In him we have
communion with the "truth that makes us free." The Holy Spirit has
been given to us and, as the Apostle teaches, "Where the Spirit of the
Lord is, there is freedom." Already we glory in the "liberty of the
children of God."
1742 Freedom and Grace. The Grace of Christ is not in the slightest way a
rival of our freedom when this freedom accords with the sense of the true
and the good that God has put in the human heart. On the contrary, as
Christian experience attests especially in prayer, the more docile we are
to the promptings of Grace, the more we grow in inner freedom and
confidence during trials, such as those we face in the pressures and
constraints of the outer world. By the working of Grace the Holy Spirit
educates us in spiritual freedom in order to make us free collaborators in
his work in the Church and in the world:
Almighty and merciful God, in your goodness take away from us all that is
harmful, so that, made ready both in mind and body, we may freely
accomplish your will.
1743 "God willed that man should be left in the hand of his own counsel
(cf. Sir 15:14), so that he might of his own accord seek his creator and
freely attain his full and blessed perfection by cleaving to him" (GS 17 #
1744 Freedom is the power to act or not to act, and so to perform
deliberate acts of one's own. Freedom attains perfection in its acts when
directed toward God, the sovereign Good.
1745 Freedom characterizes properly human acts. It makes the human being
responsible for acts of which he is the voluntary agent. His deliberate
acts properly belong to him.
1746 The imputability or responsibility for an action can be diminished or
nullified by ignorance, duress, fear, and other psychological or social
1747 The right to the exercise of freedom, especially in religious and
moral matters, is an inalienable requirement of the dignity of man. But
the exercise of freedom does not entail the putative right to say or do
1748 "For freedom Christ has set us free" (Gal 5:1).
Article 4: The Morality of Human Acts
1749 Freedom makes man a moral subject. When he acts deliberately, man is,
so to speak, the father of his acts. Human acts, that is, acts that are
freely chosen in consequence of a judgment of conscience, can be morally
evaluated. They are either good or evil.
I. The Sources of Morality
1750 The Morality of Human Acts depends on:
- the object chosen;
- the end in view or the intention;
- the circumstances of the action.
The object, the intention, and the circumstances make up the "sources," or
constitutive elements, of The Morality of Human Acts.
1751 The object chosen is a good toward which the will deliberately
directs itself. It is the matter of a human act. The object chosen morally
specifies the act of the will, insofar as reason recognizes and judges it
to be or not to be in conformity with the true good. Objective norms of
morality express the rational order of good and evil, attested to by
1752 In contrast to the object, the intention resides in the acting
subject. Because it lies at the voluntary source of an action and
determines it by its end, intention is an element essential to the moral
evaluation of an action. The end is the first goal of the intention and
indicates the purpose pursued in the action. The intention is a movement
of the will toward the end: it is concerned with the goal of the activity.
It aims at the good anticipated from the action undertaken. Intention is
not limited to directing individual actions, but can guide several actions
toward one and the same purpose; it can orient one's whole life toward its
ultimate end. For example, a service done with the end of helping one's
neighbor can at the same time be inspired by the love of God as the
ultimate end of all our actions. One and the same action can also be
inspired by several intentions, such as performing a service in order to
obtain a favor or to boast about it.
1753 A good intention (for example, that of helping one's neighbor) does
not make behavior that is intrinsically disordered, such as lying and
calumny, good or just. The end does not justify the means. Thus the
condemnation of an innocent person cannot be justified as a legitimate
means of saving the nation. On the other hand, an added bad intention
(such as vainglory) makes an act evil that, in and of itself, can be good
(such as almsgiving).
1754 The circumstances, including the consequences, are secondary elements
of a moral act. They contribute to increaSing or diminishing the moral
goodness or evil of human acts (for example, the amount of a theft). They
can also diminish or increase the agent's responsibility (such as acting
out of a fear of death). Circumstances of themselves cannot change the
moral quality of acts themselves; they can make neither good nor right an
action that is in itself evil.
II. Good Acts and Evil Acts
1755 A morally good act requires the goodness of the object, of the end,
and of the circumstances together. An evil end corrupts the action, even
if the object is good in itself (such as praying and fasting "in order to
be seen by men").
The object of the choice can by itself vitiate an act in its entirety.
There are some concrete acts - such as fornication - that it is always
wrong to choose, because chooSing them entails a disorder of the will,
that is, a moral evil.
1756 It is therefore an error to judge The Morality of Human Acts by
considering only the intention that inspires them or the circumstances
(environment, social pressure, duress or emergency, etc.) which supply
their context. There are acts which, in and of themselves, independently
of circumstances and intentions, are always gravely illicit by reason of
their object; such as blasphemy and perjury, murder and adultery. One may
not do evil so that good may result from it.
1757 The object, the intention, and the circumstances make up the three
"sources" of The Morality of Human Acts.
1758 The object chosen morally specifies the act of willing accordingly as
reason recognizes and judges it good or evil.
1759 "An evil action cannot be justified by reference to a good intention"
(cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Dec. praec. 6). The end does not justify the
1760 A morally good act requires the goodness of its object, of its end,
and of its circumstances together.
1761 There are concrete acts that it is always wrong to choose, because
their choice entails a disorder of the will, i.e., a moral evil. One may
not do evil so that good may result from it.
Article 5: The Morality of the Passions
1762 The human person is ordered to beatitude by his deliberate acts: the
Passions or feelings he experiences can dispose him to it and contribute
1763 The term "Passions" belongs to the Christian patrimony. Feelings or
Passions are emotions or movements of the sensitive appetite that incline
us to act or not to act in regard to something felt or imagined to be good
1764 The Passions are natural components of the human psyche; they form
the passageway and ensure the connection between the life of the senses
and the life of the mind. Our Lord called man's heart the source from
which the Passions spring.
1765 There are many Passions. The most fundamental passion is love,
aroused by the attraction of the good. Love causes a desire for the absent
good and the hope of obtaining it; this movement finds completion in the
pleasure and joy of the good possessed. The apprehension of evil causes
hatred, aversion, and fear of the impending evil; this movement ends in
sadness at some present evil, or in the anger that resists it.
1766 "To love is to will the good of another." All other affections
have their source in this first movement of the human heart toward the
good. Only the good can be loved. Passions "are evil if love is evil
and good if it is good."
II. Passions and Moral Life
1767 In themselves Passions are neither good nor evil. They are morally
qualified only to the extent that they effectively engage reason and will.
Passions are said to be voluntary, "either because they are commanded by
the will or because the will does not place obstacles in their way."
It belongs to the perfection of the moral or human good that the Passions
be governed by reason.
1768 Strong feelings are not decisive for the morality or the holiness of
persons; they are simply the inexhaustible reservoir of images and
affections in which the moral life is expressed. Passions are morally good
when they contribute to a good action, evil in the opposite case. The
upright will orders the movements of the senses it appropriates to the
good and to beatitude; an evil will succumbs to disordered Passions and
exacerbates them. Emotions and feelings can be taken up into The Virtues
or perverted by the vices.
1769 In the Christian life, the Holy Spirit himself accomplishes his work
by mobilizing the whole being, with all its sorrows, fears and sadness, as
is visible in the Lord's agony and passion. In Christ human feelings are
able to reach their consummation in charity and divine beatitude.
1770 Moral perfection consists in man's being moved to the good not by his
will alone, but also by his sensitive appetite, as in the words of the
psalm: "My heart and flesh Sing for joy to the living God."
1771 The term "Passions" refers to the affections or the feelings. By his
emotions man intuits the good and suspects evil.
1772 The principal Passions are love and hatred, desire and fear, joy,
sadness, and anger.
1773 In the Passions, as movements of the sensitive appetite, there is
neither moral good nor evil. But insofar as they engage reason and will,
there is moral good or evil in them.
1774 Emotions and feelings can be taken up in The Virtues or perverted by
1775 The perfection of the moral good consists in man's being moved to the
good not only by his will but also by his "heart."
Article 6: Moral Conscience
1776 "Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid
upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever calling him to love
and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in his heart at the right
moment.... For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God.... His
conscience is man's most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone
with God whose voice echoes in his depths."
I. The Judgment of Conscience
1777 Moral Conscience, present at the heart of the person, enjoins him
at the appropriate moment to do good and to avoid evil. It also judges
particular choices, approving those that are good and denouncing those
that are evil. It bears witness to the Authority of truth in reference
to the supreme Good to which the human person is drawn, and it welcomes
the commandments. When he listens to his conscience, the prudent man can
hear God speaking.
1778 Conscience is a judgment of reason whereby the human person
recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act that he is going to
perform, is in the process of performing, or has already completed. In all
he says and does, man is obliged to follow faithfully what he knows to be
just and right. It is by the judgment of his conscience that man perceives
and recognizes the prescriptions of the divine law:
Conscience is a law of the mind; yet [Christians] would not grant that it
is nothing more; I mean that it was not a dictate, nor conveyed the notion
of responsibility, of duty, of a threat and a promise.... [Conscience] is
a messenger of him, who, both in nature and in Grace, speaks to us behind
a veil, and teaches and rules us by his representatives. Conscience is the
aboriginal Vicar of Christ.
1779 It is important for every person to be sufficiently present to
himself in order to hear and follow the voice of his conscience. This
requirement of interiority is all the more necessary as life often
distracts us from any reflection, self-examination or introspection:
Return to your conscience, question it.... Turn inward, brethren, and in
everything you do, see God as your witness.
1780 The Dignity of the Human Person implies and requires uprightness of
Moral Conscience. Conscience includes the perception of the principles of
morality (synderesis); their application in the given circumstances by
practical discernment of reasons and goods; and finally judgment about
concrete acts yet to be performed or already performed. The truth about
the moral good, stated in the law of reason, is recognized practically and
concretely by the prudent judgment of conscience. We call that man prudent
who chooses in conformity with this judgment.
1781 Conscience enables one to assume responsibility for the acts
performed. If man commits evil, the just judgment of conscience can remain
within him as the witness to the universal truth of the good, at the same
time as the evil of his particular choice. The verdict of the judgment of
conscience remains a pledge of hope and mercy. In attesting to the fault
committed, it calls to mind the forgiveness that must be asked, the good
that must still be practiced, and the virtue that must be constantly
cultivated with the Grace of God:
We shall . . . reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn
us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.
1782 Man has the right to act in conscience and in freedom so as
personally to make moral decisions. "He must not be forced to act contrary
to his conscience. Nor must he be prevented from acting according to his
conscience, especially in religious matters."
II. The Formation of Conscience
1783 Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened. A
well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its
judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by
the wisdom of the Creator. The education of conscience is indispensable
for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by
Sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings.
1784 The education of the conscience is a lifelong task. From the earliest
years, it awakens the child to the knowledge and practice of the interior
law recognized by conscience. Prudent education teaches virtue; it
prevents or cures fear, selfishness and pride, resentment ariSing from
guilt, and feelings of complacency, born of human weakness and faults. The
education of the conscience guarantees freedom and engenders peace of
1785 In The Formation of Conscience the Word of God is the light for our
path, we must assimilate it in faith and prayer and put it into
practice. We must also examine our conscience before the Lord's Cross. We
are assisted by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, aided by the witness or
advice of others and guided by the authoritative teaching of the
III. To Choose in Accord with Conscience
1786 Faced with a moral choice, conscience can make either a right
judgment in accordance with reason and the divine law or, on the contrary,
an Erroneous Judgment that departs from them.
1787 Man is sometimes confronted by situations that make moral judgments
less assured and decision difficult. But he must always seriously seek
what is right and good and discern the will of God expressed in divine
1788 To this purpose, man strives to interpret the data of experience and
the signs of the times assisted by the virtue of prudence, by the advice
of competent people, and by the help of the Holy Spirit and his gifts.
1789 Some rules apply in every case:
- One may never do evil so that good may result from it;
- the Golden Rule: "Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to
- charity always proceeds by way of respect for one's neighbor and his
conscience: "Thus Sinning against your brethren and wounding their
conscience . . . you Sin against Christ." Therefore "it is right not
to . . . do anything that makes your brother stumble."
IV. Erroneous Judgment
1790 A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his
conscience. If he were deliberately to act against it, he would condemn
himself. Yet it can happen that Moral Conscience remains in ignorance and
makes Erroneous Judgments about acts to be performed or already committed.
1791 This ignorance can often be imputed to personal responsibility. This
is the case when a man "takes little trouble to find out what is true and
good, or when conscience is by degrees almost blinded through the habit of
committing Sin." In such cases, the person is culpable for the evil he
1792 Ignorance of Christ and his Gospel, bad example given by others,
enslavement to one's Passions, assertion of a mistaken notion of autonomy
of conscience, rejection of the Church's Authority and her teaching, lack
of conversion and of charity: these can be at the source of errors of
judgment in moral conduct.
1793 If - on the contrary - the ignorance is invincible, or the moral
subject is not responsible for his Erroneous Judgment, the evil committed
by the person cannot be imputed to him. It remains no less an evil, a
privation, a disorder. One must therefore work to correct the errors of
1794 A good and pure conscience is enlightened by true faith, for charity
proceeds at the same time "from a pure heart and a good conscience and
The more a correct conscience prevails, the more do persons and groups
turn aside from blind choice and try to be guided by objective standards
of moral conduct.
1795 "Conscience is man's most secret core, and his sanctuary. There he is
alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths" (GS 16).
1796 Conscience is a judgment of reason by which the human person
recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act.
1797 For the man who has committed evil, the verdict of his conscience
remains a pledge of conversion and of hope.
1798 A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its
judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by
the wisdom of the Creator. Everyone must avail himself of the means to
form his conscience.
1799 Faced with a moral choice, conscience can make either a right
judgment in accordance with reason and the divine law or, on the contrary,
an Erroneous Judgment that departs from them.
1800 A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his
1801 Conscience can remain in ignorance or make Erroneous Judgments. Such
ignorance and errors are not always free of guilt.
1802 The Word of God is a light for our path. We must assimilate it in
faith and prayer and put it into practice. This is how Moral Conscience is
Article 7: The Virtues
1803 "Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever
is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any
excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these
A virtue is an habitual and firm disposition to do the good. It allows the
person not only to perform good acts, but to give the best of himself. The
virtuous person tends toward the good with all his sensory and spiritual
powers; he pursues the good and chooses it in concrete actions.
The goal of a virtuous life is to become like God.
I. The Human Virtues
1804 Human virtues are firm attitudes, stable dispositions, habitual
perfections of intellect and will that govern our actions, order our
Passions, and guide our conduct according to reason and faith. They make
possible ease, self-mastery, and joy in leading a morally good life. The
virtuous man is he who freely practices the good.
The moral virtues are acquired by human effort. They are the fruit and
seed of morally good acts; they dispose all the powers of the human being
for communion with divine love.
The cardinal virtues
1805 Four virtues play a pivotal role and accordingly are called
"cardinal"; all the others are grouped around them. They are: prudence,
justice, fortitude, and temperance. "If anyone loves righteousness,
[Wisdom's] labors are virtues; for she teaches temperance and prudence,
justice, and courage." These virtues are praised under other names in
many passages of Scripture.
1806 Prudence is the virtue that disposes practical reason to discern our
true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving
it; "the prudent man looks where he is going." "Keep sane and sober
for your prayers." Prudence is "right reason in action," writes St.
Thomas Aquinas, following Aristotle. It is not to be confused with
timidity or fear, nor with duplicity or dissimulation. It is called auriga
virtutum (the charioteer of The Virtues); it guides the other virtues by
setting rule and measure. It is prudence that immediately guides the
judgment of conscience. The prudent man determines and directs his conduct
in accordance with this judgment. With the help of this virtue we apply
moral principles to particular cases without error and overcome doubts
about the good to achieve and the evil to avoid.
1807 Justice is the moral virtue that consists in the constant and firm
will to give their due to God and neighbor. Justice toward God is called
the "virtue of religion." Justice toward men disposes one to respect the
rights of each and to establish in human relationships the harmony that
promotes equity with regard to persons and to The Common Good. The just
man, often mentioned in the Sacred Scriptures, is distinguished by
habitual right thinking and the uprightness of his conduct toward his
neighbor. "You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but
in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor." "Masters, treat your
slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in
1808 Fortitude is the moral virtue that ensures firmness in difficulties
and constancy in the pursuit of the good. It strengthens the resolve to
resist temptations and to overcome obstacles in the moral life. The virtue
of fortitude enables one to conquer fear, even fear of death, and to face
trials and persecutions. It disposes one even to renounce and sacrifice
his life in defense of a just cause. "The Lord is my strength and my
song." "In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I
have overcome the world."
1809 Temperance is the moral virtue that moderates the attraction of
pleasures and provides balance in the use of created goods. It ensures the
will's mastery over instincts and keeps desires within the limits of what
is honorable. The temperate person directs the sensitive appetites toward
what is good and maintains a healthy discretion: "Do not follow your
inclination and strength, walking according to the desires of your
heart." Temperance is often praised in the Old Testament: "Do not
follow your base desires, but restrain your appetites." In the New
Testament it is called "moderation" or "sobriety." We ought "to live
sober, upright, and godly lives in this world."
To live well is nothing other than to love God with all one's heart, with
all one's soul and with all one's efforts; from this it comes about that
love is kept whole and uncorrupted (through temperance). No misfortune can
disturb it (and this is fortitude). It obeys only [God] (and this is
justice), and is careful in discerning things, so as not to be surprised
by deceit or trickery (and this is prudence).
The Virtues and Grace
1810 Human virtues acquired by education, by deliberate acts and by a
perseverance ever-renewed in repeated efforts are purified and elevated by
divine Grace. With God's help, they forge character and give facility in
the practice of the good. The virtuous man is happy to practice them.
1811 It is not easy for man, wounded by Sin, to maintain moral balance.
Christ's gift of salvation offers us the Grace necessary to persevere in
the pursuit of The Virtues. Everyone should always ask for this Grace of
light and strength, frequent the sacraments, cooperate with the Holy
Spirit, and follow his calls to love what is good and shun evil.
II. The Theological Virtues
1812 The Human Virtues are rooted in The Theological Virtues, which adapt
man's faculties for participation in the divine nature: for the
theological virtues relate directly to God. They dispose Christians to
live in a relationship with the Holy Trinity. They have the One and Triune
God for their origin, motive, and object.
1813 The Theological Virtues are the foundation of Christian moral
activity; they animate it and give it its special character. They inform
and give life to all the moral virtues. They are infused by God into the
souls of the faithful to make them capable of acting as his children and
of Meriting eternal life. They are the pledge of the presence and action
of the Holy Spirit in the faculties of the human being. There are three
theological virtues: faith, hope, and charity.
1814 Faith is the theological virtue by which we believe in God and
believe all that he has said and revealed to us, and that Holy Church
proposes for our belief, because he is truth itself. By faith "man freely
commits his entire self to God." For this reason the believer seeks to
know and do God's will. "The righteous shall live by faith." Living faith
"work[s] through charity."
1815 The gift of faith remains in one who has not Sinned against it.
But "faith apart from works is dead": when it is deprived of hope and
love, faith does not fully unite the believer to Christ and does not make
him a living member of his Body.
1816 The disciple of Christ must not only keep the faith and live on it,
but also profess it, confidently bear witness to it, and spread it: "All
however must be prepared to confess Christ before men and to follow him
along the way of the Cross, amidst the persecutions which the Church never
lacks." Service of and witness to the faith are necessary for
salvation: "So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will
acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me
before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven."
1817 Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of
heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ's
promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the Grace
of the Holy Spirit. "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without
wavering, for he who promised is faithful." "The Holy Spirit . . . he
poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that we
might be justified by his Grace and become heirs in hope of eternal
1818 The virtue of hope responds to the aspiration to happiness which God
has placed in the heart of every man; it takes up the hopes that inspire
men's activities and purifies them so as to order them to the Kingdom of
heaven; it keeps man from discouragement; it sustains him during times of
abandonment; it opens up his heart in expectation of eternal beatitude.
Buoyed up by hope, he is preserved from selfishness and led to the
happiness that flows from charity.
1819 Christian hope takes up and fulfills the hope of the chosen people
which has its origin and model in the hope of Abraham, who was blessed
abundantly by the promises of God fulfilled in Isaac, and who was purified
by the test of the sacrifice. "Hoping against hope, he believed, and
thus became the father of many nations."
1820 Christian hope unfolds from the beginning of Jesus' preaching in the
proclamation of The Beatitudes. The Beatitudes raise our hope toward
heaven as the new Promised Land; they trace the path that leads through
the trials that await the disciples of Jesus. But through the Merits of
Jesus Christ and of his Passion, God keeps us in the "hope that does not
disappoint." Hope is the "sure and steadfast anchor of the soul . . .
that enters . . . where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf."
Hope is also a weapon that protects us in the struggle of salvation: "Let
us . . . put on the breastplate of faith and charity, and for a helmet the
hope of salvation." It affords us joy even under trial: "Rejoice in
your hope, be patient in tribulation." Hope is expressed and nourished
in prayer, especially in the Our Father, the summary of everything that
hope leads us to desire.
1821 We can therefore hope in the glory of heaven promised by God to those
who love him and do his will. In every circumstance, each one of us
should hope, with the Grace of God, to persevere "to the end" and to
obtain the joy of heaven, as God's eternal reward for the good works
accomplished with the Grace of Christ. In hope, the Church prays for "all
men to be saved." She longs to be united with Christ, her Bridegroom,
in the glory of heaven:
Hope, O my soul, hope. You know neither the day nor the hour. Watch
carefully, for everything passes quickly, even though your impatience
makes doubtful what is certain, and turns a very short time into a long
one. Dream that the more you struggle, the more you prove the love that
you bear your God, and the more you will rejoice one day with your
Beloved, in a happiness and rapture that can never end.
1822 Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all
things for his own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of
1823 Jesus makes charity the new commandment. By loving his own "to
the end," he makes manifest the Father's love which he receives. By
loving one another, the disciples imitate the love of Jesus which they
themselves receive. Whence Jesus says: "As the Father has loved me, so
have I loved you; abide in my love." And again: "This is my commandment,
that you love one another as I have loved you."
1824 Fruit of the Spirit and fullness of the Law, charity keeps the
commandments of God and his Christ: "Abide in my love. If you keep my
commandments, you will abide in my love."
1825 Christ died out of love for us, while we were still "enemies."
The Lord asks us to love as he does, even our enemies, to make ourselves
the neighbor of those farthest away, and to love children and the poor as
The Apostle Paul has given an incomparable depiction of charity: "charity
is patient and kind, charity is not jealous or boastful; it is not
arrogant or rude. Charity does not insist on its own way; it is not
irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the
right. Charity bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things,
endures all things."
1826 "If I . . . have not charity," says the Apostle, "I am nothing."
Whatever my privilege, service, or even virtue, "if I . . . have not
charity, I gain nothing." Charity is superior to all The Virtues. It
is the first of The Theological Virtues: "So faith, hope, charity abide,
these three. But the greatest of these is charity."
1827 The practice of all The Virtues is animated and inspired by charity,
which "binds everything together in perfect harmony"; it is the form
of The Virtues; it articulates and orders them among themselves; it is the
source and the goal of their Christian practice. Charity upholds and
purifies our human ability to love, and raises it to the supernatural
perfection of divine love.
1828 The practice of the moral life animated by charity gives to the
Christian the spiritual freedom of the children of God. He no longer
stands before God as a slave, in servile fear, or as a mercenary looking
for wages, but as a son responding to the love of him who "first loved
If we turn away from evil out of fear of punishment, we are in the
position of slaves. If we pursue the enticement of wages, . . . we
resemble mercenaries. Finally if we obey for the sake of the good itself
and out of love for him who commands . . . we are in the position of
1829 The fruits of charity are joy, peace, and mercy; charity demands
beneficence and fraternal correction; it is benevolence; it fosters
reciprocity and remains diSinterested and generous; it is friendship and
Love is itself the fulfillment of all our works. There is the goal; that
is why we run: we run toward it, and once we reach it, in it we shall find
III. The Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit
1830 The moral life of Christians is sustained by the gifts of the Holy
Spirit. These are permanent dispositions which make man docile in
following the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
1831 The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding,
counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. They belong in
their fullness to Christ, Son of David. They complete and perfect the
virtues of those who receive them. They make the faithful docile in
readily obeying divine inspirations.
Let your good spirit lead me on a level path.
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God . . . If
children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.
1832 The fruits of the Spirit are perfections that the Holy Spirit forms
in us as the first fruits of eternal glory. The tradition of the Church
lists twelve of them: "charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control,
1833 Virtue is a habitual and firm disposition to do good.
1834 The Human Virtues are stable dispositions of the intellect and the
will that govern our acts, order our Passions, and guide our conduct in
accordance with reason and faith. They can be grouped around the four
cardinal virtues: prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance.
1835 Prudence disposes the practical reason to discern, in every
circumstance, our true good and to choose the right means for achieving
1836 Justice consists in the firm and constant will to give God and
neighbor their due.
1837 Fortitude ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the
pursuit of the good.
1838 Temperance moderates the attraction of the pleasures of the senses
and provides balance in the use of created goods.
1839 The moral virtues grow through education, deliberate acts, and
perseverance in struggle. Divine Grace purifies and elevates them.
1840 The Theological Virtues dispose Christians to live in a relationship
with the Holy Trinity. They have God for their origin, their motive, and
their object - God known by faith, God hoped in and loved for his own
1841 There are three theological virtues: faith, hope, and charity. They
inform all the moral virtues and give life to them.
1842 By faith, we believe in God and believe all that he has revealed to
us and that Holy Church proposes for our belief.
1843 By hope we desire, and with steadfast trust await from God, eternal
life and the Graces to Merit it.
1844 By charity, we love God above all things and our neighbor as
ourselves for love of God. Charity, the form of all The Virtues, "binds
everything together in perfect harmony" (Col 3:14).
1845 The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit bestowed upon Christians are
wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of
Article 8: Sin
I. Mercy and Sin
1846 The Gospel is the revelation in Jesus Christ of God's mercy to
Sinners. The angel announced to Joseph: "You shall call his name
Jesus, for he will save his people from their Sins." The same is true
of the Eucharist, the sacrament of redemption: "This is my blood of the
covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of Sins."
1847 "God created us without us: but he did not will to save us without
us." To receive his mercy, we must admit our faults. "If we say we
have no Sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we
confess our Sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our Sins and
cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
1848 As St. Paul affirms, "Where Sin increased, Grace abounded all the
more." But to do its work Grace must uncover Sin so as to convert our
hearts and bestow on us "righteousness to eternal life through Jesus
Christ ourLord." Like a physician who probes the wound before
treating it, God, by his Word and by his Spirit, casts a living light on
Conversion requires convincing of Sin; it includes the interior judgment
of conscience, and this, being a proof of the action of the Spirit of
truth in man's inmost being, becomes at the same time the start of a new
grant of Grace and love: "Receive the Holy Spirit." Thus in this
"convincing concerning Sin" we discover a double gift: the gift of the
truth of conscience and the gift of the certainty of redemption. The
Spirit of truth is the Consoler.
II. The Definition of Sin
1849 Sin is an offense against reason, truth, and right conscience; it is
failure in genuine love for God and neighbor caused by a perverse
attachment to certain goods. It wounds the nature of man and injures human
solidarity. It has been defined as "an utterance, a deed, or a desire
contrary to the eternal law."
1850 Sin is an offense against God: "Against you, you alone, have I
Sinned, and done that which is evil in your sight." Sin sets itself
against God's love for us and turns our hearts away from it. Like the
first Sin, it is disobedience, a revolt against God through the will to
become "like gods," knowing and determining good and evil. Sin is
thus "love of oneself even to contempt of God." In this proud self-
exaltation, Sin is diametrically opposed to the obedience of Jesus, which
achieves our salvation.
1851 It is precisely in the Passion, when the mercy of Christ is about to
vanquish it, that Sin most clearly manifests its violence and its many
forms: unbelief, murderous hatred, shunning and mockery by the leaders and
the people, Pilate's cowardice and the cruelty of the soldiers, Judas'
betrayal - so bitter to Jesus, Peter's denial and the disciples' flight.
However, at the very hour of darkness, the hour of the prince of this
world, the sacrifice of Christ secretly becomes the source from which
the forgiveness of our Sins will pour forth inexhaustibly.
III. The Different Kinds of Sins
1852 There are a great many kinds of Sins. Scripture provides several
lists of them. The Letter to the Galatians contrasts the works of the
flesh with the fruit of the Spirit: "Now the works of the flesh are plain:
fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife,
jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, factions, envy, drunkenness,
carouSing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those
who do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God."
1853 Sins can be distinguished according to their objects, as can every
human act; or according to The Virtues they oppose, by excess or defect;
or according to the commandments they violate. They can also be classed
according to whether they concern God, neighbor, or oneself; they can be
divided into spiritual and carnal Sins, or again as Sins in thought, word,
deed, or omission. The root of Sin is in the heart of man, in his free
will, according to the teaching of the Lord: "For out of the heart come
evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness,
slander. These are what defile a man." But in the heart also resides
charity, the source of the good and pure works, which Sin wounds.
IV. The Gravity of Sin: Mortal and Venial Sin
1854 Sins are rightly evaluated according to their gravity. The
distinction between mortal and venial Sin, already evident in
Scripture, became part of the tradition of the Church. It is
corroborated by human experience.
1855 Mortal Sin destroys charity in the heart of man by a grave violation
of God's law; it turns man away from God, who is his ultimate end and his
beatitude, by preferring an inferior good to him.
Venial Sin allows charity to subsist, even though it offends and wounds
1856 Mortal Sin, by attacking the vital principle within us - that is,
charity - necessitates a new initiative of God's mercy and a conversion of
heart which is normally accomplished within the setting of the sacrament
When the will sets itself upon something that is of its nature
incompatible with the charity that orients man toward his ultimate end,
then the Sin is mortal by its very object . . . whether it contradicts the
love of God, such as blasphemy or perjury, or the love of neighbor, such
as homicide or adultery.... But when the Sinner's will is set upon
something that of its nature involves a disorder, but is not opposed to
the love of God and neighbor, such as thoughtless chatter or immoderate
laughter and the like, such Sins are venial.
1857 For a Sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met:
"Mortal Sin is Sin whose object is grave matter and which is also
committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent."
1858 Grave matter is specified by The Ten Commandments, corresponding to
the answer of Jesus to the rich young man: "Do not kill, Do not commit
adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor
your father and your mother." The gravity of Sins is more or less
great: murder is graver than theft. One must also take into account who
is wronged: violence against parents is in itself graver than violence
against a stranger.
1859 Mortal Sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It
presupposes knowledge of the Sinful character of the act, of its
opposition to God's law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate
to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart do
not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a Sin.
1860 Unintentional ignorance can diminish or even remove the imputability
of a grave offense. But no one is deemed to be ignorant of the principles
of The Moral Law, which are written in the conscience of every man. The
promptings of feelings and Passions can also diminish the voluntary and
free character of the offense, as can external pressures or pathological
disorders. Sin committed through malice, by deliberate choice of evil, is
1861 Mortal Sin is a radical possibility of human freedom, as is love
itself. It results in the loss of charity and the privation of sanctifying
Grace, that is, of the state of Grace. If it is not redeemed by repentance
and God's forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ's kingdom and the
eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to make choices for
ever, with no turning back. However, although we can judge that an act is
in itself a grave offense, we must entrust judgment of persons to the
justice and mercy of God.
1862 One commits venial Sin when, in a less serious matter, he does not
observe the standard prescribed by The Moral Law, or when he disobeys the
moral law in a grave matter, but without full knowledge or without
1863 Venial Sin weakens charity; it manifests a disordered affection for
created goods; it impedes the soul's progress in the exercise of the
virtues and the practice of the moral good; it Merits temporal punishment.
Deliberate and unrepented venial Sin disposes us little by little to
commit mortal Sin. However venial Sin does not set us in direct opposition
to the will and friendship of God; it does not break the covenant with
God. With God's Grace it is humanly reparable. "Venial Sin does not
deprive the Sinner of sanctifying Grace, friendship with God, charity, and
consequently eternal happiness."
While he is in the flesh, man cannot help but have at least some light
Sins. But do not despise these Sins which we call "light": if you take
them for light when you weigh them, tremble when you count them. A number
of light objects makes a great mass; a number of drops fills a river; a
number of grains makes a heap. What then is our hope? Above all,
1864 "Whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness,
but is guilty of an eternal Sin." There are no limits to the mercy of
God, but anyone who deliberately refuses to accept his mercy by repenting,
rejects the forgiveness of his Sins and the salvation offered by the Holy
Spirit. Such hardness of heart can lead to final impenitence and
V. The Proliferation of Sin
1865 Sin creates a proclivity to Sin; it engenders vice by repetition of
the same acts. This results in perverse inclinations which cloud
conscience and corrupt the concrete judgment of good and evil. Thus Sin
tends to reproduce itself and reinforce itself, but it cannot destroy the
moral sense at its root.
1866 Vices can be classified according to The Virtues they oppose, or also
be linked to the capital Sins which Christian experience has
distinguished, following St. John Cassian and St. Gregory the Great. They
are called "capital" because they engender other Sins, other vices.
They are pride, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth or acedia.
1867 The catechetical tradition also recalls that there are "Sins that cry
to heaven": the blood of Abel, the Sin of the Sodomites, the cry
of the people oppressed in Egypt, the cry of the foreigner, the
widow, and the orphan, injustice to the wage earner.
1868 Sin is a personal act. Moreover, we have a responsibility for the
Sins committed by others when we cooperate in them:
- by participating directly and voluntarily in them;
- by ordering, adviSing, praiSing, or approving them;
- by not discloSing or not hindering them when we have an obligation to do
- by protecting evil-doers.
1869 Thus Sin makes men accomplices of one another and causes
concupiscence, violence, and injustice to reign among them. Sins give rise
to social situations and institutions that are contrary to the divine
goodness. "Structures of Sin" are the expression and effect of personal
Sins. They lead their victims to do evil in their turn. In an analogous
sense, they constitute a "social Sin."
1870 "God has consigned all men to disobedience, that he may have mercy
upon all" (Rom 11:32).
1871 Sin is an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law
(St. Augustine, Faust 22: PL 42, 418). It is an offense against God. It
rises up against God in a disobedience contrary to the obedience of
1872 Sin is an act contrary to reason. It wounds man's nature and injures
1873 The root of all Sins lies in man's heart. The kinds and the gravity
of Sins are determined principally by their objects.
1874 To choose deliberately - that is, both knowing it and willing it -
something gravely contrary to the divine law and to the ultimate end of
man is to commit a mortal Sin. This destroys in us the charity without
which eternal beatitude is impossible. Unrepented, it brings eternal
1875 Venial Sin constitutes a moral disorder that is reparable by charity,
which it allows to subsist in us.
1876 The repetition of Sins - even venial ones - engenders vices, among
which are the capital Sins.
Col 1:15; cf. 2 Cor 4:4.
Cf. GS 22.
GS 14 # 2.
GS 24 # 3.
GS 15 # 2.
GS 13 # 1.
GS 13 # 2.
St. Augustine, De moribus eccl. 1, 3, 4: PL 32,1312.
St. Augustine, Conf. 10, 20: PL 32, 791.
St. Thomas Aquinas, Expos. in symb. apost. I.
Cf. Mt 4:17.
Mt 5:8; cf. 1 Jn 2; 1 Cor 13:12.
Cf. Heb 4:7-11.
St. Augustine, De civ. Dei 22, 30, 5: PL 41,804.
2 Pet 1:4; cf. Jn 17:3.
Cf. Rom 8:18.
St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 4,20,5: PG 7/1, 1034-1035.
John Henry Cardinal Newman, "Saintliness the Standard of Christian
Principle," in Discourses to Mixed Congregations (London: Longmans, Green
and Co., 1906) V, 89-90.
Cf. the parable of the sower: Mt 13:3-23.
GS 17; Sir 15:14.
St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 4, 4, 3: PG 7/1, 983.
Cf. Rom 6:17.
Cf. Gen 4:10.
Cf. 2 Sam 12:7-15.
Cf. DH 2 # 7.
CDF, instruction, Libertatis conscientia 13.
Cf. In 8:32.
2 Cor 17.
Roman Missal, 32nd Sunday, Opening Prayer: Omnipotens et misericors
Deus, universa nobis adversantia propitiatus exclude, ut, mente et corpore
pariter expediti, quae tua sunt liberis mentibus exsequamur.
Cf. Mt 6:24.
Cf. Mk 7:21.
St. Thomas Aquinas, STh I-II, 26, 4, corp. art.
Cf. St. Augustine, De Trin., 8, 3, 4: PL 42, 949-950.
St. Augustine, De civ. Dei 14, 7, 2: PL 41, 410.
St. Thomas Aquinas, STh I-II, 24, 1 corp. art.
Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, STh I-II, 24, 3.
Cf. Rom 2:14-16.
Cf. Rom 1:32.
John Henry Cardinal Newman, "Letter to the Duke of Norfolk," V, in
Certain Difficulties felt by Anglicans in Catholic Teaching II (London:
Longmans Green, 1885), 248.
St. Augustine, In ep Jo. 8, 9: PL 35, 2041.
1 Jn 3:19-20.
DH 3 # 2.
Cf. Ps 119:105.
Cf. DH 14.
Mt 7:12; cf. Lk 6:31; Tob 4:15.
1 Cor 8:12.
1 Tim 5; cf. 8:9; 2 Tim 3; 1 Pet 3:21; Acts 24:16.
St. Gregory of Nyssa, De beatitudinibus, 1: PG 44, 1200D.
1 Pet 4:7.
St. Thomas Aquinas, STh II-II, 47, 2.
Sir 5:2; cf. 37:27-31.
St. Augustine, De moribus eccl. 1, 25, 46: PL 32, 1330-1331.
Cf. 2 Pet 1:4.
Cf. 1 Cor 13:13.
Rom 1:17; Gal 5:6.
Cf. Council of Trent (1547): DS 1545.
LG 42; cf. DH 14.
Cf. Gen 17:4-8; 22:1-18.
1 Thess 5:8.
Cf. Rom 8:28-30; Mt 7:21.
Mt 10:22; cf. Council of Trent DS 1541.
1 Tim 2:4.
St. Teresa of Avila, Excl. 15:3.
Cf. Jn 13:34.
Jn 15:9, 12.
Jn 15:9-10; cf. Mt 22:40; Rom 13:8-10.
Cf. Mt 5:44; Lk 10:27-37; Mk 9:37; Mt 25:40, 45.
1 Cor 13:4-7.
1 Cor 13:1-4.
1 Cor 13:13.
Cf. 1 Jn 4:19.
St. Basil, Reg. fus. tract., prol. 3 PG 31, 896 B.
St. Augustine, In ep. Jo. 10, 4: PL 35, 2057.
Cf. Isa 11:1-2.
Rom 8:14, 17.
Gal 5:22-23 (Vulg.).
Cf. Lk 15.
St. Augustine, Sermo 169, 11, 13: PL 38, 923.
1 Jn 8-9.
John Paul II, DeV 31 # 2.
St. Augustine, Contra Faustum 22: PL 42, 418; St. Thomas Aquinas, STh
I-II, 71, 6.
St. Augustine, De civ. Dei 14, 28: PL 41, 436.
Cf. Phil 2:6-9.
Cf. Jn 14:30.
Gal 5:19-21; CE Rom 1:28-32; 1 Cor 9-10; EPh 5:3-5; Col 3:5-8; 1 Tim
9-10; 2 Tim 2-5.
Cf. 1 Jn 16-17.
St. Thomas Aquinas, STh I-II, 88, 2, corp. art.
RP 17 # 12.
Cf. Mk 3:5-6; Lk 16:19-31.
John Paul II, RP 17 # 9.
St. Augustine, In ep. Jo. 1, 6: PL 35, 1982.
Mk 3:29; cf. Mt 12:32; Lk 12:10.
Cf. John Paul II, DeV 46.
Cf. St. Gregory the Great, Moralia in Job, 31, 45: PL 76, 621A.
Cf. Gen 4:10.
Cf. Gen 18:20; 19:13.
Cf. Ex 3:7-10.
Cf. Ex 20:20-22.
Cf. Deut 24:14-15; Jas 5:4.
John Paul II, RP 16.