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Dictionary

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

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AVOIDING SIN

The moral responsibility of not exposing oneself unnecessarily to occasions of sin. Three principles are standard in Catholic moral teaching: 1. no one is obliged to avoid the remote occasions of sin. This is true because the danger of sin is slight and otherwise it would be impossible to live in the world; 2. everyone is obliged to avoid voluntary proximate occasions of sin, where "voluntary" means that it can easily be removed or avoided; 3. anyone in a necessary proximate occasion of sin is obliged to make the occasion remote. An occasion is necessary when the person's state of life or profession or circumstances make it morally impossible to avoid exposure to certain enticements. What is a proximate danger to sinning can be rendered remote by such means as prayer, the sacraments, and custody of the senses, especially of the eyes.

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

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