The Virtues and Sin



 Perugino1481.  Christ Gives the Keys to Peter

Mortal Sin 1854-64;    Cooperation in Evil 1868





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 things.” [Phil 4:8]

1803 « Quaecumque sunt vera, quaecumque pudica, quaecumque iusta, quaecumque casta, quaecumque amabilia, quaecumque bonae famae, si qua virtus et si qua laus, haec cogitate » (Phil4,8).

    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. [§1733, 1768]

Virtus est habitualis et firma dispositio ad bonum faciendum. Ipsa non solum personae permittit actus peragere bonos, sed etiam optima sui ipsius donare. Persona virtuosa omnibus suis viribus sensibilibus et spiritualibus ad bonum tendit; id prosequitur et eligit in suis concretis actionibus:

    The goal of a virtuous life is to become like God. [St. Gregory of Nyssa, De beatitudinibus, 1: PG 44, 1200D]

« Sit finis vitae cum virtute degendae, ut quis Numini divino assimiletur ».81


I. Virtutes humanae

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. [§2500]

1804 Virtutes humanae habitus sunt firmi, dispositiones stabiles, habituales intellectus et voluntatis perfectiones, quae nostros regulant actus, nostras ordinant passiones et nostrum agendi modum ducunt secundum rationem et fidem. Ipsae facilitatem, dominium comparant et gaudium ad vitam moraliter bonam ducendam. Homo virtuosus ille est qui bonum libere exercet.

    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. [§1827]

Virtutes morales humano acquiruntur modo. Fructus sunt et germina actuum moraliter bonorum; omnes hominis potentias disponunt ad communicandum cum amore divino.

The cardinal virtues

Cardinalium virtutum distinctio

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.” [Wis 8:7] These virtues are praised under other names in many passages of Scripture.

1805 Quattuor virtutes munere funguntur « cardinis ». Propterea appellantur « cardinales »; ceterae omnes circum eas ordinantur. Illae sunt prudentia, iustitia, fortitudo et temperantia. « Si iustitiam quis diligit, labores huius sunt virtutes: sobrietatem enim et prudentiam docet, iustitiam et fortitudinem » (Sap 8,7). Aliis nominibus hae virtutes in pluribus Scripturae laudantur locis.

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.” [Prov 14:15.] ”Keep sane and sober for your prayers.” [1 Pet 4:7] Prudence is “right reason in action,” writes St. Thomas Aquinas, following Aristotle. [St. Thomas Aquinas, STh II-II, 47, 2] 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. [§1788, 1780]

1806 Prudentia est virtus quae practicam disponit rationem ad nostrum verum bonum in omnibus discernendum adiunctis et ad iusta seligenda media ad illud efficiendum. Homo « astutus considerat gressus suos » (Prv 14,15). « Estote itaque prudentes et vigilate in orationibus » (1 Pe 4,7). Prudentia est « recta ratio agibilium », scribit sanctus Thomas82 post Aristotelem. Ipsa nec cum timiditate vel metu confunditur nec cum duplicitate vel simulatione. Auriga virtutum appellatur: alias enim regit virtutes illis regulam indicans et mensuram. Prudentia immediate iudicium ducit conscientiae. Homo prudens suum agendi modum decidit et ordinat hoc sequendo iudicium. Hac virtute, principia moralia sine errore casibus applicamus particularibus et dubia superamus de bono peragendo et malo vitando.

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.” [Lev 19:15] ”Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.” [Col 4:1] [§1095, 2401]

1807 Iustitia virtus est moralis quae in constanti et firma consistit voluntate Deo et proximo tribuendi id, quod illis debetur. Iustitia erga Deum « virtus religionis » appellatur. Erga homines disponit ad uniuscuiusque observanda iura et ad stabiliendam in relationibus humanis harmoniam quae aequitatem respectu personarum et boni communis promovet. Homo iustus, saepe in Libris Sacris commemoratus, rectitudine distinguitur habituali suarum cogitationum et rectitudine sui agendi modi erga proximum. « Non consideres personam pauperis nec honores vultum potentis. Iuste iudica proximo tuo » (Lv 19,15). « Domini, quod iustum est et aequum servis praestate, scientes quoniam et vos Dominum habetis in caelo » (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 defense of a just cause. “The Lord is my strength and my song.” [Ps 118:14] ”In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” [Jn 16:33] [§2848, 2473]

1808 Fortitudo virtus est moralis quae firmitatem in difficultatibus praestat et constantiam in bono prosequendo. Propositum roborat tentationibus resistendi et obstacula in vita morali superandi. Fortitudinis virtus capacitatem praebet metum, etiam mortis, vincendi, aggrediendi probationem et persecutiones. Disponit ad progrediendum usque ad abrenuntiationem et propriae vitae sacrificium pro iusta defendenda causa. « Fortitudo mea et laus mea, Dominus » (Ps 118,14). « In mundo pressuram habetis, sed confidite, ego vici mundum » (Io 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 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.” [Sir 5:2; cf. 37:27-31] Temperance is often praised in the Old Testament: “Do not follow your base desires, but restrain your appetites.” [Sir 18:30] In the New Testament it is called “moderation” or “sobriety.” We ought “to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world.” [Titus 2:12] [§2341. 2517]

1809 Temperantia est virtus moralis quae voluptatum moderatur allectationem atque in bonorum creatorum usu praebet aequilibrium. Dominium roborat voluntatis in instinctus et desideria inter honestatis continet limites. Persona temperans ordinat suos sensibiles ad bonum appetitus, sanam servat discretionem et non sequitur fortitudinem suam ut ambulet in concupiscentiis cordis sui.83Temperantia in Vetere Testamento saepe laudatur: « Post concupiscentias tuas non eas et a voluptatibus tuis te contine » (Eccli 18,30). In Novo Testamento, ipsa « moderatio » appellatur vel « sobrietas ». Oportet ut « sobrie et iuste et pie vivamus in hoc saeculo » (Tit 2,12).

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). [St. Augustine, De moribus eccl. 1, 25, 46: PL 32, 1330-1331]

« Nihil sit aliud bene vivere, quam toto corde, tota anima, tota mente diligere Deum, [...], ut incorruptus in eo amor atque integer custodiatur, quod est temperantiae, ut nullis frangatur incommodis, quod est fortitudinis, nulli alii serviat, quod est iustitiae, vigilet in discernendis rebus, ne fallacia paulatim dolusve subrepat, quod est prudentiae ».84

The virtues and grace

Virtutes et gratia

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. [§1266]

1810 Virtutes humanae, educatione, deliberatis actibus et renovata semper in conatu perseverantia adquisitae, divina purificantur et elevantur gratia. Dei adiutorio, ipsae excudunt indolem et in bono exercendo facilitatem praebent. Virtuosus homo in illis exercendis felix est.

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. [§2015]

1811 Homini vulnerato a peccato facile non est morale servare aequilibrium. Donum salutis per Christum gratiam nobis tribuit necessariam ad perseverandum in virtutibus quaerendis. Unusquisque hanc lucis et roboris gratiam semper postulare debet, ad sacramenta recurrere, cum Sancto Spiritu cooperari, Eius vocationes sequi ad bonum amandum et se a malo servandum.


II. Virtutes theologales

1812 The human virtues are rooted in the theological virtues, which adapt man’s faculties for participation in the divine nature: [Cf. 2 Pet 1:4] 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. [§2656-2658,1266]

1812 Virtutes humanae in virtutibus radicantur theologalibus quae hominis facultates ad naturae divinae accommodant participationem.85 Virtutes enim theologales directe ad Deum referuntur. Christianos disponunt ut in consuetudine cum Sanctissima Trinitate vivant. Deum Unum et Trinum habent tamquam originem, motivum et obiectum.

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. [Cf. 1 Cor 13:13] [§2088]

1813 Virtutes theologales moralem agendi modum christiani proprium fundant, animant et distinguunt. Ipsae omnes virtutes morales informant et vivificant. A Deo in animas infunduntur fidelium ad eos efficiendos capaces qui tamquam filii Eius agant et vitam mereantur aeternam. Ipsae praesentiae et actionis Spiritus Sancti in hominis facultatibus sunt pignus. Tres sunt virtutes theologales: fides, spes et caritas.86

Faith  [§142-175]


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.” [DV 5] 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.” [Rom 1:17; Gal 5:6] [506]

1814 Fides virtus est theologalis qua in Deum credimus atque omnia quae Ipse nobis dixit et revelavit quaeque Ecclesia nobis credenda proponit, quia Ille est ipsa veritas. Fide « homo se totum libere Deo committit ».87 Propterea qui credit, voluntatem Dei cognoscere conatur et facere. « Iustus [...] ex fide vivet » (Rom 1,17). Fides viva « per caritatem operatur » (Gal 5,6).

1815 The gift of faith remains in one who has not sinned against it. [Cf. Council of Trent (1547): DS 1545] But “faith apart from works is dead”: [Jas 2:26] 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.

1815 Fidei donum in eo permanet qui contra eamdem non peccavit.88 Sed « fides sine operibus mortua est » (Iac 2,26). Fides, spe et amore privata, fidelem Christo plene non unit neque eum vivens Eius corporis efficit membrum.

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.” [LG 42; cf. DH 14] 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.” [Mt 10:32-33] [§2471]

1816 Christi discipulus non solum debet fidem servare ex eaque vivere, sed illam praeterea profiteri, cum securitate testari et propagare: « Omnes [...] parati sint oportet, Christum coram hominibus confiteri, Eumque inter persecutiones, quae Ecclesiae nunquam desunt, in via crucis subsequi ».89Fidei servitium et testimonium ad salutem requiruntur: « Omnis [...] qui confitebitur me coram hominibus, confitebor et ego eum coram Patre meo, qui est in caelis; qui autem negaverit me coram hominibus, negabo et ego eum coram Patre meo qui est in caelis » (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.” [Heb 10:23] ”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 life.” [Titus 3:6-7] [§1024]

1817 Spes est virtus theologalis qua, tamquam nostram felicitatem, Regnum caelorum et vitam appetimus aeternam, nostram fiduciam in Christi collocantes promissionibus et nitentes non nostris viribus, sed auxilio gratiae Spiritus Sancti. « Teneamus spei confessionem indeclinabilem, fidelis enim est, qui repromisit » (Heb 10,23). Is Hunc Spiritum « effudit super nos abunde per Iesum Christum Salvatorem nostrum, ut iustificati gratia Ipsius heredes simus secundum spem vitae aeternae » (Tit3,6-7).

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. [27]

1818 Virtus spei appetitioni respondet ad felicitatem a Deo in corde uniuscuiusque hominis positae; exspectationes assumit quae activitates inspirant hominum; eas purificat ut easdem ad Regnum caelorum ordinet; ab animi protegit defectione; in omni sustinet derelictione; in beatitudinis aeternae exspectatione dilatat cor. Spei impulsus a caeco sui amore (« egoismo ») praeservat et ad felicitatem ducit caritatis.

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. [Cf. Gen 17:4-8; 22:1-18] ”Hoping against hope, he believed, and thus became the father of many nations.” [Rom 4:18] [146]

1819 Spes christiana spem populi electi iterum assumit et perficit, quae suam originem suumque invenit exemplar in spe Abrahae promissionibus Dei in Isaac repleti et per sacrificii probationem purificati.90 « Contra spem in spe credidit, ut fieret pater multarum gentium » (Rom 4,18).

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.” [Rom 5:5] Hope is the “sure and steadfast anchor of the soul... that enters... where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf.” [Heb 6:19-20] 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.” [1 Thess 5:8] It affords us joy even under trial: “Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation.” [Rom 12:12] Hope is expressed and nourished in prayer, especially in the Our Father, the summary of everything that hope leads us to desire. [§1716, 2772]

1820 Inde ab initio praedicationis Iesu, spes christiana in nuntio explicatur beatitudinum.Beatitudines, caelum versus, tamquam in novam Terram promissam, nostram elevant spem; huic delineant viam per probationes quae Iesu manent discipulis. Sed per Iesu Christi Eiusque passionis merita, Deus nos in spe servat quae « non confundit » (Rom 5,5). Spem « sicut ancoram habemus animae, tutam ac firmam », eo usque incedentem « ubi praecursor pro nobis introivit Iesus » (Heb6,19-20). Ipsa est etiam armatura quae nos in colluctatione protegit salutis: « induti loricam fidei et caritatis et galeam spem salutis » (1 Thess 5,8). Illa nobis in ipsa probatione procurat gaudium: « Spe gaudentes, in tribulatione patientes » (Rom 12,12). In oratione exprimitur et nutritur, praesertim in Oratione dominica, compendio omnium quae spes efficit ut appetamus.

1821 We can therefore hope in the glory of heaven promised by God to those who love him and do his will. [Cf. Rom 8:28-30; Mt 7:21] In every circumstance, each one of us should hope, with the grace of God, to persevere “to the end”[Mt 10:22; cf. Council of Trent DS 1541] 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.” [1 Tim 2:4] She longs to be united with Christ, her Bridegroom, in the glory of heaven: [§2016, 1037]

1821 Sperare igitur possumus caeli gloriam a Deo illis promissam qui Eum diligunt91 et Eius faciunt voluntatem.92 In quibuslibet adiunctis, unusquisque debet sperare, cum gratia Dei, perseverare in finem93 et caeli obtinere gaudium tamquam aeternam Dei pro bonis operibus gratia Christi peractis retributionem. Spe orat Ecclesia « omnes homines [...] salvos fieri » (1 Tim 2,4). Ipsa, in gloria caeli, Christo, Sponso suo, unita esse cupit:

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. [St. Teresa of Avila, Excl. 15:3]

« Spera, spera, tu quae nescis quandonam veniet dies et hora. Diligenter vigila, quoniam breviter omnia transeunt, quamvis desiderium tuum in incertum vertat certum, et in longum vertat breve tempus. Animadverte te, quo magis certabis, eo magis amorem, quem in Deum habes tuum, esse monstraturam et magis, Dilecto tuo fruituram cum gaudio et delectatione, quae finem habere non potest ».94



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 God. [§1723]

1822 Caritas est virtus theologalis qua Deum super omnia propter Se Ipsum et proximum nostrum tamquam nosmetipsos propter Dei diligimus amorem.

1823 Jesus makes charity the new commandment. [Cf. Jn 13:34] By loving his own “to the end,” [Jn 13:1] 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.” [Jn 15:9, 12] [§1970]

1823 Iesus ex caritate mandatum novum efficit.95 Suos diligens « in finem » (Io 13,1), Patris manifestat amorem quem Ipse recipit. Discipuli se mutuo diligentes Iesu imitantur amorem quem etiam in se recipiunt. Propterea dicit Iesus: « Sicut dilexit me Pater, et ego dilexi vos; manete in dilectione mea » (Io 15,9). Et etiam: « Hoc est praeceptum meum, ut diligatis invicem, sicut dilexi vos » (Io 15,12).

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.” [Jn 15:9-10; cf. Mt 22:40; Rom 13:8-10] [735]

1824 Caritas, fructus Spiritus et plenitudo Legis, Dei et Eius Christi servat mandata. « Manete in dilectione mea. Si praecepta mea servaveritis, manebitis in dilectione mea » (Io 15,9-10).96

1825 Christ died out of love for us, while we were still “enemies.” [Rom 5:10] 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 Christ himself. [Cf. Mt 5:44; Lk 10:27-37; Mk 9:37; Mt 25:40, 45] [604]

1825 Christus amore erga nos mortuus est, cum adhuc eramus « inimici » (Rom 5,10). Dominus a nobis postulat ut amemus sicut Ipse etiam nostros inimicos,97 ut nos remotissimo faciamus proximos,98 ut sicut Ipsum amemus parvulos99 et pauperes. 100

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.” [1 Cor 13:4-7]

Sanctus apostolus Paulus incomparabilem caritatis effecit descriptionem: « Caritas patiens est, benigna est caritas, non aemulatur, non agit superbe, non inflatur, non est ambitiosa, non quaerit, quae sua sunt, non irritatur, non cogitat malum, non gaudet super iniquitatem, congaudet autem veritati; omnia suffert, omnia credit, omnia sperat, omnia sustinet » (1 Cor 13,4-7).

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.” [1 Cor 13:1-4] 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.” [1 Cor 13:13]

1826 Sine caritate, dicit etiam Apostolus, « nihil sum ». Et quidquid est privilegium, servitium, etiam virtus... si caritatem non habuero, « nihil mihi prodest ». 101 Caritas est omnibus superior virtutibus. Virtutum theologalium est prima: « Nunc autem manet fides, spes, caritas, tria haec; maior autem ex his est caritas » (1 Cor 13,13).

1827 The practice of all the virtues is animated and inspired by charity, which “binds everything together in perfect harmony”; [Col 3:14] 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. [815, 826]

1827 Omnium virtutum exercitium caritate animatur et inspiratur. Ipsa est « vinculum perfectionis » (Col 3,14); ipsa est forma virtutum; eas connectit et inter se ordinat; fons est et terminus earum christianae praxis. Caritas roborat et purificat nostram humanam amandi facultatem. Eam ad supernaturalem amoris divini perfectionem elevat.

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 us”: [Cf. 1 Jn 4:19] [§1972]

1828 Praxis vitae moralis caritate animata spiritualem filiorum Dei libertatem praebet christiano. Hic non amplius sistit coram Deo tamquam servus in timore servili neque tamquam mercennarius salarium quaerens, sed tamquam filius qui amori respondet Illius qui « prior dilexit nos » (1 Io 4,19):

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 children. [St. Basil, Reg. fus. tract., prol. 3 PG 31, 896 B]

« Aut enim supplicii metu a malo declinamus, versamurque in affectu servili; aut mercedis fructus requirentes, ob nostram ipsorum utilitatem mandata explemus, et hoc pacto mercennariis efficimur similes; aut ob ipsum honestum caritatemque erga Legislatorem nostrum [...], et ita demum ut filii afficimur ». 102

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 communion: [2540]

1829 Caritas habet, ut fructus, gaudium, pacem et misericordiam; beneficentiam exigit et correctionem fraternam; benevola est; reciprocationem suscitat, manet quin quaerat quae sua sunt, et est liberalis; amicitia est et communio:

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 rest. [St. Augustine, In ep. Jo. 10, 4: PL 35, 2057]

« Ipsa est consummatio omnium operum nostrorum, dilectio. Ibi est finis: propter hoc currimus; ad ipsum currimus; cum venerimus ad eam, requiescemus ». 103


III. Spiritus Sancti dona et fructus

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.

1830 Vita moralis christianorum Spiritus Sancti donis sustinetur. Haec dispositiones sunt permanentes quae hominem docilem reddunt ut Spiritus Sancti sequatur impulsus.

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. [Cf. Isa 11:1-2] They complete and perfect the virtues of those who receive them. They make the faithful docile in readily obeying divine inspirations. [§1266, 1299]

1831 Septem Spiritus Sancti dona sunt sapientia, intellectus, consilium, fortitudo, scientia, pietas et timor Dei. Eadem in sua plenitudine ad Christum pertinent Filium David. 104 Illorum qui ea recipiunt, virtutes complent et ducunt ad earumdem perfectionem. Fideles dociles reddunt ad prompte inspirationibus divinis oboediendum.

Let your good spirit lead me on a level path. [PS 143:10]

« Spiritus Tuus bonus deducet me in terram rectam » (Ps 143,10).

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. [Rom 8:14, 17]

« Quicumque enim Spiritu Dei aguntur, hi filii Dei sunt. [...] Si autem filii, et heredes; heredes quidem Dei, coheredes autem Christi » (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.” [Gal 5:22-23 (Vulg.)] [736]

1832 Fructus Spiritus sunt perfectiones quas Spiritus Sanctus, ut gloriae aeternae primitias, in nobis efformat. Ecclesiae traditio duodecim enumerat: « fructus [...] est caritas, gaudium, pax, patientia, benignitas, bonitas, longanimitas, mansuetudo, fides, modestia, continentia, castitas » (Gal 5,22-23 vulg.).



1833 Virtue is a habitual and firm disposition to do good.

1833 Virtus dispositio est habitualis et firma ad bonum faciendum.

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.

1834 Humanae virtutes dispositiones intellectus et voluntatis sunt stabiles, quae nostros regulant actus, nostras ordinant passiones et nostrum agendi modum ducunt secundum rationem et fidem. Eaedem possunt circum quattuor virtutes cardinales ordinari: prudentiam, iustitiam, fortitudinem et temperantiam.

1835 Prudence disposes the practical reason to discern, in every circumstance, our true good and to choose the right means for achieving it.

1835 Prudentia practicam disponit rationem ad nostrum verum bonum discernendum in omnibus adiunctis et ad iusta seligenda media ad illud adimplendum.

1836 Justice consists in the firm and constant will to give God and neighbor their due.

1836 Iustitia in constanti et firma consistit voluntate Deo et proximo tribuendi id, quod illis debetur.

1837 Fortitude ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good.

1837 Fortitudo firmitatem in difficultatibus praebet et constantiam in bono prosequendo.

1838 Temperance moderates the attraction of the pleasures of the senses and provides balance in the use of created goods.

1838 Temperantia allectationem moderatur voluptatum sensibilium atque in bonorum creatorum usu praebet aequilibrium.

1839 The moral virtues grow through education, deliberate acts, and perseverance in struggle. Divine grace purifies and elevates them.

1839 Virtutes morales educatione, actibus deliberatis et perseverantia in conatu crescunt. Gratia divina eas purificat et elevat.

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 sake.

1840 Virtutes theologales christianos disponunt ut in consuetudine cum Sanctissima Trinitate vivant. Ipsae, tamquam originem, motivum et obiectum, habent Deum, Deum nempe fide cognitum, speratum et propter Se Ipsum amatum.

1841 There are three theological virtues: faith, hope, and charity. They inform all the moral virtues and give life to them.

1841 Tres sunt virtutes theologales: fides, spes et caritas. 105 Ipsae omnes morales virtutes informant et vivificant.

1842 By faith, we believe in God and believe all that he has revealed to us and that Holy Church proposes for our belief.

1842 Fide credimus in Deum atque omnia credimus quae Ipse nobis revelavit quaeque Ecclesia nobis proponit credenda.

1843 By hope we desire, and with steadfast trust await from God, eternal life and the graces to merit it.

1843 Spe cupimus et a Deo exspectamus, cum firma fiducia, vitam aeternam et gratias ad illam merendam.

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).

1844 Caritate Deum super omnia et nostrum proximum tamquam nosmetipsos proter amorem diligimus Dei. Ipsa est « vinculum perfectionis » (Col 3,14) et omnium virtutum forma.

1845 The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit bestowed upon Christians are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord.

1845 Septem Spiritus Sancti dona christianis concessa sunt sapientia, intellectus, consilium, fortitudo, scientia, pietas et timor Dei.


81 Sanctus Gregorius Nyssenus, De beatitudinibus, oratio 1: Gregorii Nysseni opera, ed. W. Jaeger, v. 72 (Leiden 1992) p. 82 (PG 44, 1200).

82 Sanctus Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae, II-II, q. 47, a. 2, sed contra: Ed. Leon. 8, 349.

83 Cf Eccli 5,2; 37,27-31.

84 Sanctus Augustinus, De moribus Ecclesiae catholicae, 1, 25, 46: CSEL 90, 51 (PL 32, 1330-1331).

85 Cf 2 Pe 1,4.

86 Cf 1 Cor 13,13.

87 Concilium Vaticanum II, Const. dogm. Dei Verbum, 5: AAS 58 (1966) 819.

88 Cf Concilium Tridentinum, Sess. 6a, Decretum de iustificatione, c. 15: DS 1544.

89 Concilium Vaticanum II, Const. dogm. Lumen gentium, 42: AAS 57 (1965) 48; cf Id., Decl. Dignitatis humanae, 14: AAS 58 (1966) 940.

90 Cf Gn 17,4-8; 22,1-18.

91 Cf Rom 8,28-30.

92 Cf Mt 7,21.

93 Cf Mt 10,22; Concilium Tridentinum, Sess. 6a, Decretum de iustificatione, c. 13: DS 1541.

94 Sancta Theresia a Iesu, Exclamaciones del alma a Dios, 15, 3: Biblioteca Mística Carmelitana, v. 4 (Burgos 1917) p. 290.

95 Cf Io 13,34.

96 Cf Mt 22,40; Rom 13,8-10.

97 Cf Mt 5,44.

98 Cf Lc 10,27-37.

99 Cf Mc 9,37.

100 Cf Mt 25,40.45.

101 Cf 1 Cor 13,1-3.

102 Sanctus Basilius Magnus, Regulae fusius tractatae, prol. 3: PG 31, 896.

103 Sanctus Augustinus, In epistulam Ioannis ad Parthos tractatus, 10, 4: PL 35, 2056-2057.

104 Cf Is 11, 1-2.

105 Cf 1 Cor 13,13.






I. Misericordia et peccatum

1846 The Gospel is the revelation in Jesus Christ of God’s mercy to sinners. [Cf. Lk 15] The angel announced to Joseph: “You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” [Mt 1:21] 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.” [Mt 26:28] [430, 1365]

1846 Evangelium est revelatio, in Iesu Christo, misericordiae Dei erga peccatores. 106 Angelus id nuntiat Ioseph: « Vocabis nomen Eius Iesum: Ipse enim salvum faciet populum Suum a peccatis eorum » (Mt 1,21). Idem valet de Eucharistia, sacramento Redemptionis: « Hic est enim sanguis meus Novi Testamenti, qui pro multis effunditur in remissionem peccatorum » (Mt 26,28).

1847 “God created us without us: but he did not will to save us without us.” [St. Augustine, Sermo 169, 11, 13: PL 38, 923] 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.” [1 Jn 8-9] [§387, 1455]

1847 Deus, « qui [...] te fecit sine te, non te iustificat sine te ». 107 Eius misericordiae acceptatio a nobis postulat culparum nostrarum confessionem: « Si dixerimus quoniam peccatum non habemus, nosmetipsos seducimus, et veritas in nobis non est. Si confiteamur peccata nostra, fidelis est et iustus, ut remittat nobis peccata et emundet nos ab omni iniustitia » (1 Io 1,8-9).

1848 As St. Paul affirms, “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” [Rom 5:20] 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.” [Rom 5:21] Like a physician who probes the wound before treating it, God, by his Word and by his Spirit, casts a living light on sin: [385]

1848 Sicut sanctus Paulus id affirmat: « ubi [...] abundavit peccatum, superabundavit gratia » (Rom5,20). Sed gratia ut opus efficiat suum, peccatum debet detegere ad nostrum convertendum cor et ad nobis conferendam « iustitiam in vitam aeternam per Iesum Christum Dominum nostrum » (Rom5,21). Deus, sicut medicus qui vulnus inspicit antequam illud sanet, per Suum Verbum Suumque Spiritum, lucem in peccatum emittit vivam:

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. [John Paul II, DeV 31 § 2][§1433]

« Conversio enim postulat persuasionem de peccato, iudicium in se interius continet ipsius conscientiae idque, cum comprobatio sit actionis Spiritus veritatis in hominis intimo, simul novum evadit principium largitionis gratiae amorisque: “Accipite Spiritum Sanctum”. Itaque, in illo “arguere de peccato” reperimus duplicem largitionem: donum veritatis ipsius conscientiae necnon donum certitudinis de Redemptione. Spiritus veritatis est Paraclitus ». 108


II. Peccati definitio

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.” [St. Augustine, Contra Faustum 22: PL 42, 418; St. Thomas Aquinas, STh I-II, 71, 6] [311, 1952]

1849 Peccatum contra rationem, veritatem, rectam conscientiam est culpa; a vero amore erga Deum et erga proximum, propter perversam ad quaedam bona affectionem, est defectio. Hominis vulnerat naturam et humanam attentat solidarietatem. Definitum est tamquam « factum vel dictum vel concupitum aliquid contra aeternam Legem ». 109

1850 Sin is an offense against God: “Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in your sight.” [Ps 51:4] 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,” [Gen 3:5] knowing and determining good and evil. Sin is thus “love of oneself even to contempt of God.” [St. Augustine, De civ. Dei 14, 28: PL 41, 436] In this proud self- exaltation, sin is diametrically opposed to the obedience of Jesus, which achieves our salvation. [Cf. Phil 2:6-9] [1440,397, 615]

1850 Peccatum est in Deum offensa: « Tibi, Tibi soli peccavi et malum coram Te feci » (Ps 51,6). Peccatum se contra Dei amorem erga nos extollit et ab eo nostra amovet corda. Idem, sicut primum peccatum, inoboedientia est, contra Deum rebellio, propter voluntatem essendi « sicut Deus » (Gn3,5), bonum et malum cognoscendo et determinando. Sic peccatum est « amor sui usque ad contemptum Dei ». 110 Propter hanc sui ipsius superbam exaltationem, peccatum oboedientiae Iesu quae salutem perfecit, 111 per diametrum est oppositum.

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, [Cf. Jn 14:30] the sacrifice of Christ secretly becomes the source from which the forgiveness of our sins will pour forth inexhaustibly. [§598, 2746, 616]

1851 In passione praecise, in qua Christi misericordia illud est victura, peccatum suam violentiam suamque multiplicitatem optime manifestat: incredulitatem, mortiferum odium, reiectionem et ludibria principum et populi, Pilati debilitatem, militum crudelitatem, Iudae proditionem Iesu tam acerbam, Petri negationem ac discipulorum derelictionem. In ipsa tamen tenebrarum et Principis huius mundi hora, 112 Christi sacrificium secreto fit fons ex quo nostrorum peccatorum inexhauste profluet venia.


III. Peccatorum diversitas

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.” [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]

1852 Magna est peccatorum varietas. Plures eorum catalogos affert Scriptura. Epistula ad Galatas opera carnis fructui opponit Spiritus: « Manifesta autem sunt opera carnis, quae sunt fornicatio, immunditia, luxuria, idolorum servitus, veneficia, inimicitiae, contentiones, aemulationes, irae, rixae, dissensiones, sectae, invidiae, ebrietates, comissationes, et his similia, quae praedico vobis, sicut praedixi, quoniam, qui talia agunt, Regnum Dei non consequentur » (Gal 5,19-21). 113

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.” [Mt 15:19-20] But in the heart also resides charity, the source of the good and pure works, which sin wounds. [§1751, 2067, 368]

1853 Peccata secundum suum obiectum possunt distingui, sicut pro omni actu humano fit, vel secundum virtutes quibus per excessum vel defectum opponuntur, vel secundum praecepta quibus adversantur. Ordinari etiam possunt prout ad Deum, ad proximum vel ad se ipsum referantur; dividi possunt in spiritualia et carnalia peccata, vel etiam in peccata cogitationis, verbi, per actionem vel per omissionem. Peccati radix est in hominis corde, in eius libera voluntate, secundum Domini doctrinam: « De corde [...] exeunt cogitationes malae, homicidia, adulteria, fornicationes, furta, falsa testimonia, blasphemiae. Haec sunt, quae coinquinant hominem » (Mt 15,19-20). In corde etiam caritas residet, bonorum operum et purorum principium, quam peccatum vulnerat.





Mortal Sin 1854-1864  








V. Gravitas peccati: peccatum mortale et veniale













1854 Sins are rightly evaluated according to their gravity. The distinction between mortal and venial sin, already evident in Scripture, [Cf. 1 Jn 16-17] became part of the tradition of the Church. It is corroborated by human experience.

1854 Peccata secundum eorum gravitatem oportet aestimare. Distinctio inter peccatum mortale et peccatum veniale, quae iam in Scriptura percipitur, 114 in Ecclesiae praevaluit Traditione. Eam experientia hominum confirmat.





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. [§1395]

1855 Peccatum mortale, per gravem Legis Dei infractionem, in corde hominis destruit caritatem; hominem avertit a Deo qui finis eius est ultimus eiusque beatitudo, Illi bonum praeferens inferius.

    Venial sin allows charity to subsist, even though it offends and wounds it.

Peccatum veniale caritatem subsistere sinit, etiamsi eam offendat et vulneret.





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 of reconciliation: [§1446]

1856 Peccatum mortale, principium vitale, quod est caritas, oppugnans in nobis, novo misericordiae Dei eget incepto et cordis conversione, quae normali modo intra sacramentum Reconciliationis perficitur:

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. [St. Thomas Aquinas, STh I-II, 88, 2, corp. art]

« Cum [...] voluntas fertur in aliquid quod secundum se repugnat caritati, per quam homo ordinatur in ultimum finem, peccatum ex suo obiecto habet quod sit mortale [...] sive sit contra dilectionem Dei, sicut blasphemia, periurium et huiusmodi; sive contra dilectionem proximi, sicut homicidium, adulterium et similia. [...] Quandoque vero voluntas peccantis fertur in id quod in se continet quandam inordinationem, non tamen contrariatur dilectioni Dei et proximi: sicut verbum otiosum, risus superfluus, et alia huiusmodi. Et talia sunt peccata venialia ». 115





1857 For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met:

[1] “Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and

[2] which is also committed with full knowledge

[3] and deliberate consent.” [RP 17 § 12]

1857 Ut peccatum sit mortale tres condiciones simul requiruntur: est peccatum mortale quodvis peccatum « cuius obiectum est materia gravis et, insuper, quod plena conscientia et deliberato consensu admittitur ». 116





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.” [Mk 10:19] 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. [§2072, 2214]

1858 Materia gravis decem determinatur mandatis secundum Iesu responsum ad iuvenem divitem: « Ne occidas, ne adulteres, ne fureris, ne falsum testimonium dixeris, ne fraudem feceris, honora patrem tuum et matrem » (Mc 10,19). Gravitas peccatorum maior vel minor est: homicidium gravius est furto. Qualitas personarum laesarum etiam est perpendenda: violentia contra cognatos exercita per se gravior est quam illa contra alienum.





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 [Cf. Mk 3:5-6; Lk 16:19-31] do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin. [§1734]

1859 Peccatum mortale plenam cognitionem requirit plenumque consensum.

Cognitionem praesupponit indolis peccatoriae actus, eius oppositionis ad Legem Dei.

Consensum etiam implicat sufficienter deliberatum ut electio sit personalis.

Ignorantia affectata et cordis induratio 117 indolem voluntariam peccati non minuunt, sed augent.





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 the gravest. [§1735, 1767]

1860 Ignorantia involuntaria potest imputabilitatem culpae gravis minuere, atque adeo excusare. Sed nemo legis moralis putatur ignorare principia quae in conscientia cuiuslibet hominis sunt inscripta. Sensibilitatis impulsus, passiones indolem voluntariam et liberam culpae possunt pariter minuere, sicut etiam externae pressiones vel perturbationes pathologicae. Peccatum ex malitia, ex deliberata mali electione, gravissimum est.





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. [§1742, 1033]

1861 Peccatum mortale radicalis est possibilitas libertatis humanae, sicut ipse amor. Caritatis amissionem secum fert et privationem gratiae sanctificantis, id est, status gratiae. Nisi poenitentia redimatur et Dei venia, a Regno Dei exclusionem producit et aeternam inferni mortem, cum nostra libertas potestatem habeat electiones faciendi definitivas, sine reditu. Nihilominus, quamquam iudicare possumus actum quemdam in se culpam esse gravem, iudicium de personis iustitiae et misericordiae Dei debemus concredere.





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.

1862 Peccatum veniale committitur, cum mensura a lege morali praescripta non servatur in materia levi, vel etiam cum legi morali in materia gravi non praestatur oboedientia, sed sine plena cognitione vel sine pleno consensu.





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 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.” [John Paul II, RP 17 § 9] [§1394, 1472]

1863 Peccatum veniale caritatem debilitat; deordinatam erga bona creata exprimit affectionem; animae progressum impedit in virtutum exercitio et in boni moralis praxi; poenas meretur temporales. Peccatum veniale deliberatum et sine poenitentia permanens nos paulatim disponit ad peccatum committendum mortale. Tamen peccatum veniale Foedus non disrumpit cum Deo. Cum gratia Dei est humanitus reparabile. « Non privat gratia sanctificante, amicitia cum Deo, caritate neque aeterna beatitudine »: 118

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, confession. [St. Augustine, In ep. Jo. 1, 6: PL 35, 1982]

« Non potest homo, quamdiu carnem portat, nisi habere vel levia peccata. Sed ista levia quae dicimus, noli contemnere. Si contemnis quando appendis; expavesce, quando numeras. Levia multa faciunt unum grande: multae guttae implent flumen; multa grana faciunt massam. Et quae spes est? Ante omnia, Confessio... ». 119





1864 “Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.” [Mt 12:32; Mk. 3:29; Lk 12:10] 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. [Cf. John Paul II, DeV 46] Such hardness of heart can lead to final impenitence and eternal loss. [§2091, 1037]

1864 « Omne peccatum et blasphemia remittetur hominibus, Spiritus autem blasphemia non remittetur » (Mt 12,31). 120 Misericordia divina limitibus caret, sed qui deliberate misericordiam Dei per poenitentiam accipere respuit, suorum peccatorum veniam reiicit et salutem per Spiritum Sanctum oblatam. 121 Talis induratio ad impoenitentiam finalem potest conducere et ad aeternam damnationem.







V. Peccati multiplicatio

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. [§401, 1768]

1865 Peccatum exercitationem constituit ad peccatum; per eorumdem actuum repetitionem vitium generat. Inde perversae procedunt inclinationes quae conscientiam obscurant et concretam de bono et malo corrumpunt aestimationem. Sic peccatum ad se multiplicandum tendit et ad se roborandum, sed sensum moralem radicitus destruere nequit.

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. [Cf. St. Gregory the Great, Moralia in Job, 31, 45: PL 76, 621A] They are pride, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth or acedia. [§2539]

1866 Vitia possunt statui secundum virtutes quibus adversantur, vel etiam ad peccata capitaliareduci quae experientia christiana, sanctum Ioannem Cassianum 122 et sanctum Gregorium Magnum secuta, 123 distinxit. Capitalia appellantur quia alia peccata, alia vitia generant. Sunt superbia, avaritia, invidia, ira, luxuria, gula, pigritia seu acedia.

1867 The catechetical tradition also recalls that there are sins that cry to heaven”: the blood of Abel, [Cf. Gen 4:10] the sin of the Sodomites, [Cf. Gen 18:20; 19:13] the cry of the people oppressed in Egypt, [Cf. Ex 3:7-10] the cry of the foreigner, the widow, and the orphan, [Cf. Ex 20:20-22] injustice to the wage earner. [Cf. Deut 24:14-15; Jas 5:4] [§2268]

1867 Traditio catechetica in memoriam etiam revocat exsistere « peccata quae ad coelum clamant ». Ad coelum clamant: sanguis Abel; 124 peccatum Sodomitarum; 125 clamor populi in Aegyto oppressi; 126 gemitus advenae, viduae et orphani; 127 iniustitia in mercennarium. 128

1868_cooperation in sin




1868 Sin is a personal act. Moreover, we have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them: [§1736]

1868 Peccatum actus est personalis. Praeterea, in peccatis ab aliis commissis habemus responsabilitatem, cum eisdem cooperamur:

- by participating directly and voluntarily in them;

— in illis directe et voluntarie participantes;

- by ordering, advising, praising, or approving them;

— ea praecipientes, suadentes, laudantes vel approbantes;

- by not disclosing or not hindering them when we have an obligation to do so;

— ea non revelantes vel non impedientes, cum ad id tenemur;

- by protecting evil-doers.

— illos protegentes qui malum faciunt.





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.” [John Paul II, RP 16] [§408, 1887]

1869 Sic peccatum homines invicem complices reddit, inter eos concupiscentiam, violentiam et iniustitiam facit regnare. Peccata condiciones sociales et institutiones provocant bonitati divinae contrarias. « Structurae peccati » expressio sunt et effectus peccatorum personalium. Ipsae ad malum vicissim committendum suas inducunt victimas. Sensu analogico, « peccatum sociale » constituunt. 129



1870 “God has consigned all men to disobedience, that he may have mercy upon all” (Rom 11:32).

1870 « Conclusit [...] Deus omnes in incredulitatem, ut omnium misereatur » (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 Christ.

1871 Peccatum est « factum vel dictum vel concupitum aliquid contra aeternam Legem ». 130Offensa est in Deum. Idem se contra Deum per inoboedientiam extollit oboedientiae Christi contrariam.

1872 Sin is an act contrary to reason. It wounds man’s nature and injures human solidarity.

1872 Peccatum actus est rationi contrarius. Naturam vulnerat et humanam attentat solidarietatem.

1873 The root of all sins lies in man’s heart. The kinds and the gravity of sins are determined principally by their objects.

1873 Omnium peccatorum radix est in corde hominis. Eorum species eorumque gravitas secundum eorum obiecta praecipue mensurantur.

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 death.

1874 Deliberate eligere, id est, scienter et voluntario, rem Legi divinae et fini hominis ultimo graviter contrariam idem est ac peccatum mortale committere. Id destruit in nobis caritatem, sine qua beatitudo aeterna est impossibilis. Sine poenitentia mortem aeternam secum fert.

1875 Venial sin constitutes a moral disorder that is reparable by charity, which it allows to subsist in us.

1875 Peccatum veniale moralem deordinationem constituit reparabilem per caritatem quam illud in nobis sinit subsistere.

1876 The repetition of sins - even venial ones - engenders vices, among which are the capital sins.

1876 Peccatorum, etiam venialium, repetitio vitia generat, inter quae peccata capitalia sunt praecipua.

 106 Cf Lc 15.

107 Sanctus Augustinus, Sermo 169, 11, 13: PL 38, 923.

108 Ioannes Paulus II, Litt. enc. Dominum et vivificantem, 31: AAS 78 (1986) 843.

109 Sanctus Augustinus, Contra Faustum manichaeum, 22, 27: CSEL 25, 621 (PL 42, 418); cf Sanctus Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae, I-II, q. 71, a. 6: Ed. Leon. 7,8-9.

110 Sanctus Augustinus, De civitate Dei, 14, 28: CSEL 402, 56 (PL 41, 436).

111 Cf Phil 2,6-9.

112 Cf Io 14,30.

113 Cf Rom 1,28-32; 1 Cor 6,9-10; Eph 5,3-5; Col 3,5-9; 1 Tim 1,9-10; 2 Tim 3,2-5.

114 Cf 1 Io 5,16-17.

115 Sanctus Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae, I-II, q. 88, a. 2, c: Ed. Leon. 7, 135.

116 Ioannes Paulus II, Adh. ap. Reconciliatio et paenitentia, 17: AAS 77 (1985) 221.

117 Cf Mc 3,5-6; Lc 16,19-31.

118 Ioannes Paulus II, Adh. ap. Reconciliatio et paenitentia, 17: AAS 77 (1985) 221.

119 Sanctus Augustinus, In epistulam Iohannis ad Parthos tractatus, 1, 6: PL 35, 1982.

120 Cf Mc 3,29; Lc 12,10.

121 Cf Ioannes Paulus II, Litt. enc. Dominum et vivificantem, 46: AAS 78 (1986) 864-865.

122 Cf Sanctus Ioannes Cassianus, Conlatio, 5, 2: CSEL 13, 121 (PL 49, 611).

123 Cf Sanctus Gregorius Magnus, Moralia in Iob, 31, 45, 87: CCL 143B, 1610 (PL 76, 621).

124 Cf Gn 4,10.

125 Cf Gn 18,20; 19,13.

126 Cf Ex 3,7-10.

127 Cf Ex 22,20-22.

128 Cf Dt 24,14-15; Iac 5,4.

129 Cf Ioannes Paulus II, Adh. ap. Reconciliatio et paenitentia, 16: AAS 77 (1985) 216.

130 Sanctus Augustinus, Contra Faustum manichaeum, 22, 27: CSEL 25, 621 (PL 42, 418).
















Donum filii