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A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.

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ALTRUISM

A theory of conduct claiming that only actions directed toward the happiness of other people have any moral value. In fact, the supreme end of all action is to be found only in devotion to the welfare of others. The theory was first propounded by Auguste Comte, a French philosopher, in the early nineteenth century. It ignores, on principle, man's primary duty toward the Creator and inverts the teaching of Christ by making love of one's neighbor more important than the love of God.

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

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