244. Cf. Mt 16:21-23.
245. Heb 4:15.
880 When Christ instituted the Twelve,
"he constituted [them] in the form of a college or permanent assembly, at
the head of which he placed Peter, chosen from among them."<398> Just as "by
the Lord's institution, St. Peter and the rest of the apostles constitute a
single apostolic college, so in like fashion the Roman Pontiff, Peter's
successor, and the bishops, the successors of the apostles, are related with
and united to one another."<399>
399. LG 22; cf. CIC, can. 330.
400. Cf. Mt 16:18-19; Jn 21:15-17.
401. LG 22 §2.
402. LG 23.
403. LG 22; cf. CD 2, 9.
404. LG 22; cf. CIC, can. 336.
405. CIC, can. 337 §1.
406. LG 22.
407. LG 22.
408. LG 23.
409. LG 23.
410. Cf. CD 3.
411. LG 23.
412. Cf. Gal 2:10.
1434 The interior penance of the
Christian can be expressed in many and various ways. Scripture and the
Fathers insist above all on three forms, fasting, prayer and almsgiving,<31>
which express conversion in relation to oneself, to God and to others.
Alongside the radical purification brought about by Baptism or martyrdom
they cite as means of obtaining forgiveness of sins: efforts at
reconciliation with one's neighbour, tears of repentance, concern for the
salvation of one's neighbour, the intercession of the saints and the
practice of charity "which covers a multitude of sins."<32>
32. 1 Pt 4:8; cf. Jas 5:20.
33. Cf. Am 5:24; Is 1:17.
34. Cf. Lk 9:23.
1438 The seasons and days of penance in
the course of the liturgical year (Lent, and each Friday in memory of the
death of the Lord) are intense moments of the Church's penitential
practice.<36> These times are particularly appropriate for spiritual
exercises, penitential liturgies, pilgrimages as signs of penance, voluntary
self-denial such as fasting and almsgiving, and fraternal sharing
(charitable and missionary works).
1694 Incorporated into Christ by
Baptism, Christians are "dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus" and
so participate in the life of the Risen Lord.<8> Following Christ and united
with him,<9> Christians can strive to be "imitators of God as beloved
children, and walk in love"<10> by conforming their thoughts, words and
actions to the "mind... which is yours in Christ Jesus,"<11> and by
following his example.<12>
9. Cf. Jn 15:5.
10. Eph 5:1-2.
11. Phil 2:5.
12. Cf. Jn 13:12-16.
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."<2> It is in
Christ, "the image of the invisible God,"<3> that man has been created "in
the image and likeness" of the Creator. It is in Christ, Redeemer and
Saviour, 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.<4>
3. Col 1:15; cf. 2 Cor 4:4.
4. Cf. GS 22.
5. GS 14 § 2.
6. GS 24 § 3.
7. GS 15 § 2.
1706 By his reason, man recognizes the
voice of God which urges him "to do what is good and avoid what is evil."<9>
Everyone is obliged to follow this law, which makes itself heard in
conscience and is fulfilled in the love of God and of neighbour. 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."<10> 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
11. GS 13 § 2.
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.
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:
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 saints.
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:
14. St. Augustine, Conf. 10, 20: PL 32, 791.
15. St. Thomas Aquinas, Expos. in symb. apost. I.
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:
25. Cf. the parable of the sower: Mt 13:3-23.
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."<26>
27. St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 4, 4, 3: PG 7/1, 983.
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."<33> 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 neighbourly fellowship, and rebels against divine truth.
34. Gal 5:1.
35. Cf. Jn 8:32.
36. 2 Cor 3:17.
37. Rom 8:21.
38. Missale Romanum, 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.
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
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 to it.
41. St. Thomas Aquinas, STh I-II, 26, 4, corp.art.
42. Cf. St. Augustine, De Trin., 8, 3, 4: PL 42, 949-950.
43. St. Augustine, De civ. Dei 14, 7, 2: PL 41, 410.
44. St. Thomas Aquinas, STh I-II, 24, 1 corp. art.
45. Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, STh I-II, 24, 3.
46. Ps 84:2.
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."<47>
48. Cf. Rom 2:14-16.
49. Cf. Rom 1:32.
50. 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.
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."<59> In such
cases, the person is culpable for the evil he commits.
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
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 heart.
1785 In the formation of conscience the
Word of God is the light for our path;<54> 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 Church.<55>
55. Cf. DH 14.
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 law.
1789 Some rules apply in every case:
57. 1 Cor 8:12.
58. Rom 14:21.
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 moral conscience.
1803 "Whatever is true, whatever is
honourable, 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 things."<62>
63. St. Gregory of Nyssa, De beatitudinibus, 1: PG 44, 1200D.
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.
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] labours are virtues; for she teaches
temperance and prudence, justice and courage."<64> 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."<65> "Keep sane and sober for your prayers."<66> Prudence is
"right reason in action," writes St. Thomas Aquinas, following
Aristotle.<67> 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 judgement of conscience. The prudent
man determines and directs his conduct in accordance with this judgement.
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
66. 1 Pt 4:7.
67. St. Thomas Aquinas, STh II-II, 47, 2.
1807 Justice is the moral virtue that
consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to God and
neighbour. 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 neighbour. "You shall not be partial to the poor
or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your
neighbour."<68> "Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that
you also have a Master in heaven." <69>
69. Col 4:1.
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 defence of a just cause. "The LORD is my
strength and my song."<70> "In the world you have tribulation; but be of
good cheer, I have overcome the world.<71>
71. Jn 16:33.
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 honourable. 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."<72> Temperance is often praised in the Old
Testament: "Do not follow your base desires, but restrain your
appetites."<73> In the New Testament it is called "moderation" or
"sobriety." We ought "to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this
73. Sir 18:30.
74. Titus 2:12.
75. St. Augustine, De moribus eccl. 1, 25, 46: PL 32, 1330-1331.
1812 The human virtues are rooted in
the theological virtues, which adapt man's faculties for participation in
the divine nature:<76> 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.
77. Cf. 1 Cor 13:13.
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."<78> 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."<79>
79. Rom 1:17; Gal 5:6.
1815 The gift of faith remains in one
who has not sinned against it.<80> But "faith apart from works is dead":<81>
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.
81. Jas 2:26.
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."<82> 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
83. Mt 10:32-33.
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."<84> "The Holy Spirit... he poured out upon us richly through
Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that we might be justified by his grace and
become heirs in hope of eternal life.<85>
85. Titus 3:6-7.
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.
1822 Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbour as ourselves for the love of God.
1823 Jesus makes charity the new
commandment .<96> By loving his own "to the end,"<97> 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
97. Jn 13:1.
98. Jn 15:9, 12.
99. Jn 15:9-10; cf. Mt 22:40; Rom 13:8-10.
100. Rom 5:10.
101. Cf. Mt 5:44; Lk 10:27-37; Mk 9:37; Mt 25:40, 45.
102. 1 Cor 13:4-7.
103. 1 Cor 13:1-4.
104. 1 Cor 13:13.
105. Col 3:14.
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.
110. Ps 143:10.
111. Rom 8:14, 17.
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, chastity."<112>
1849 Sin is an offence against reason,
truth and right conscience; it is failure in genuine love for God and
neighbour 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."<121>
122. Ps 51:4.
123. Gen 3:5.
124. St. Augustine, De civ. Dei 14, 28: PL 41, 436.
125. Cf. Phil 2:6-9.
1854 Sins are rightly evaluated
according to their gravity. The distinction between mortal and venial sin,
already evident in Scripture,<129> 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
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
132. Mk 10:19.
133. Cf. Mk 3:5-6; Lk 16:19-31.
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<133> do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary
character of a sin.
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 offence, 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 complete consent.
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."<134>
135. St. Augustine, In ep. Jo. 1, 6: PL 35, 1982.
1864 "Whoever blasphemes against the
Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin."<136>
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.<137> Such hardness of heart can
lead to final impenitence and eternal loss.
137. Cf. John Paul II, DeV 46.
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.<138> 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,<139>
the sin of the Sodomites,<140> the cry of the people oppressed in
Egypt,<141> the cry of the foreigner, the widow and the orphan,<142>
injustice to the wage earner. <143>
140. Cf. Gen 18:20; 19:13.
141. Cf. Ex 3:7-10.
142. Cf. Ex 20:20-22.
143. Cf. Dt 24:14-15; Jas 5:4.
1868 Sin is a personal act. Moreover,
we have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate
in them :
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."<144>
1972 The New Law is called a law of
love because it makes us act out of the love infused by the Holy Spirit,
rather than from fear; a law of grace , because it confers the strength of
grace to act, by means of faith and the sacraments; a law of freedom ,
because it sets us free from the ritual and juridical observances of the Old
Law, inclines us to act spontaneously by the prompting of charity and,
finally, lets us pass from the condition of a servant who "does not know
what his master is doing" to that of a friend of Christ -- "For all that I
have heard from my Father I have made known to you" -- or even to the status
of son and heir.<31>
2041 The precepts of the Church are set in the context of a moral life bound to and nourished by liturgical life. The obligatory character of these positive laws decreed by the pastoral authorities is meant to guarantee to the faithful the indispensable minimum in the spirit of prayer and moral effort, in the growth in love of God and neighbour:
2042 The first precept ("You shall
attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation") requires the faithful
to participate in the Eucharistic celebration when the Christian community
gathers together on the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord.<82>
83. Cf. CIC, can. 989; CCEO, can. 719.
84. Cf. CIC, can. 920; CCEO, cann. 708; 881 § 3.
2043 The fourth precept ("You shall
keep holy the holy days of obligation") completes the Sunday observance by
participation in the principal liturgical feasts which honour the mysteries
of the Lord, the Virgin Mary and the saints.<85>
86. Cf. CIC, cann. 1249-1251; CCEO, can. 882.
87. Cf. CIC, can. 222.
2055 When someone asks him, "Which
commandment in the Law is the greatest?"<8> Jesus replies: "You shall love
the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all
your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like
it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments
hang all the Law and the prophets."<9> The Decalogue must be interpreted in
light of this twofold yet single commandment of love, the fullness of the
9. Mt 22:37-40; cf. Dt 6:5; Lev 19:18.
10. Rom 13:9-10.
2177 The Sunday celebration of the
Lord's Day and his Eucharist is at the heart of the Church's life. "Sunday
is the day on which the paschal mystery is celebrated in light of the
apostolic tradition and is to be observed as the foremost holy day of
obligation in the universal Church."<110>
111. CIC, can. 1246 § 2: "The conference of bishops can abolish certain holy days of obligation or transfer them to a Sunday with prior approval of the Apostolic See."
Edited: December 29, 2006 -
Copyright © Sts. Martha and Mary Parish, Mississauga 2005 - 2007