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AGE OF DISCRETION

Sometimes refers to the age at which a person reaches adulthood and can make lifetime decisions, especially regarding one's state of life. But more commonly it is the age when a child is capable of making free acts of the will and therefore becomes morally responsible for his actions. This was St. Pius X's understanding as regards the age for receiving the sacraments of penance and Holy Communion. In general, it is about seven years of age.

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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